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Trans-Tasman travel bubble guide

Here's what you need to know about crossing the trans-Tasman during COVID-19.

The two-way travel bubble between New Zealand and Australia is temporarily paused.

“For New Zealanders in Australia, we are absolutely committed to getting you home,” Prime minister Jacinda Arden said.

Only New Zealand citizens and those ordinarily resident in New Zealand will be able to fly home”.

Read on for the rules that are currently in place, which airlines are crossing the ditch and the costs of heading Down Under.

When will the trans-Tasman bubble open?

The trans-Tasman bubble is temporarily closed. Keep in mind that due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia, Kiwis should expect quarantine when they land and pay AU$200 for pre-departure testing.

Talks about opening up a travel bubble between New Zealand and Australia began in May 2020.

What rules and restrictions are in place?

New Zealand visitors can freely travel to Australia without the need for quarantining upon arrival, these are the rules to follow.

Australia has set up a “green zone”, which has the following rules in place:

  • Travellers must wear a musk when onboard the flight and at the airport (children under 12 and those with medical exemptions are excluded from this regulation)
  • You may have to complete a health screening upon arrival
  • You will be separated from arrivals coming in from non-green-zone countries
  • Physical distancing measures of 1.5 metres must be acknowledged
  • It is recommended that travellers download the COVID-Safe app, which assists in contact tracing

Which airlines are offering flights between Australia and New Zealand?

These are the carriers that are increasing flight schedules between New Zealand and Australia.

  • Air New Zealand: Flights are departing from Auckland, Wellington, Gisborne, Hamilton, Kerikeri, Napier, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Rotorua, Taupo, Tauranga, Whangarei, Christchurch, Queenstown, Blenheim, Dunedin, Hokitika, Invercargill, Nelson and Timaru. Australian destinations include Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, the Gold Coast and Brisbane
  • Qantas: Auckland-Sydney, Christchurch-Sydney, Queenstown-Sydney, Dunedin-Sydney, Nelson-Sydney, Wellington-Sydney, Napier Hastings-Sydney, New Plymouth-Sydney, Palmerston North-Sydney, Queenstown-Melbourne, Christchurch-Melbourne, Nelson-Melbourne, Wellington-Melbourne, Palmerston North-Melbourne, Napier Hastings-Melbourne, New Plymouth-Melbourne, Auckland-Melbourne, Christchurch-Gold Coast, Auckland-Gold Coast, Queenstown-Gold Coast and Wellington-Gold Coast
  • Jetstar: Auckland-Sydney, Auckland-Gold Coast, Wellington-Gold Coast, Christchurch-Melbourne, Auckland-Melbourne, Christchurch-Gold Coast, Queenstown-Gold Coast, Queenstown-Sydney and Queenstown-Melbourne

Virgin Australia aims to have its planes in the Tasman sky by 31 October 2021.

Repatriation and essential services continue to operate out of Auckland.

Can I still earn frequent flyer points?

Yes. Frequent flyer points can be used on all flights booked, flown and on future bookings. We recommend ensuring that your airfare has flexibility attached just in case you need to cancel or reschedule.

Air New Zealand’s Airpoints and Qantas’s Frequent Flyer programs have extended status tier memberships by up to a year as a result of the coronavirus.

Can I get travel insurance for coronavirus?

It is not possible to take out travel insurance for COVID-19 as all countries (except Australia) are marked as a Level 4 Do Not Travel.

Since Australia is no longer on the list, COVID-19 insurance policies may start to come into play.

Cover yourself when you travel by ensuring all your bookings have the option of flexibility, including airfares, accommodation, travel agents, tours and cruise lines.

How much will travel to Australia cost?

The best value-for-money seats are with New Zealand’s one and only national carrier, coming in from $280 one way for routes such as Auckland-Sydney. Not only do they come in as some of the cheapest, but you’re also getting all the perks of full-service fares.

Flights with Australia’s flying kangaroo Qantas, are currently sitting around $320 and Jetstar sits closely behind from $250 one way on the same route for similar travel dates in May.

Qantas domestic and international CEO Andrew David said, “Hopefully, stories of missed weddings and birthdays on either side of the ditch will now be a thing of the past.

“We know Australians are keen to head overseas again, so we expect strong demand for flights to New Zealand and there are many Kiwis who can’t wait for a winter escape to warmer weather in Australia.”

See the latest exchange rates and read more about them here.

Who will enter the bubble next?

As of 17 May, the one-way travel corridor between New Zealand and the Pacific Island has officially changed into a two-way travel bubble.

With a large portion of the world still struggling with the threat of COVID-19, New Zealand proceeds with caution when it comes to other travel bubbles.

More to come.

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