travel

Absolutely everything you need to know about the trans-Tasman bubble.

Aussies and Kiwis can finally pack their bags after New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a trans-Tasman travel bubble will open next week.

Ardern declared that the trans-Tasman bubble has been given the green light on Tuesday, with two-way quarantine-free travel across the ditch starting from 11:59pm April 18.

"Cabinet was presented with advice today that conditions for opening up quarantine-free travel with Australia had been met," she told reporters on Tuesday afternoon.

"The Director-General of Health considers the risk of transmission of COVID-19 from Australia to New Zealand to now be low, and that quarantine-free travel would be safe to commence."

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Arden said the travel bubble was an "important step forward" in COVID recovery.

"The Trans-Tasman travel bubble represents the start of a new chapter in our COVID response and recovery, one that people have worked so hard for. That makes New Zealand and Australia relatively unique.

"This is an important step forward in our COVID response and represents an arrangement I do not believe we have seen in any other part of the world."

Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the bubble a "win-win" for both countries. 

"It is a win-win outcome for the Trans-Tasman travel to be open," he told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

"Both countries benefit from that occurring."

"And all in time for Anzac Day... which is tremendous, to see that occur in the true Anzac spirit of our two nations coming together again."

But before you grab your passports, here's everything we know about the Trans-Tasman bubble.

How does the Trans-Tasman bubble work? 

Under the bubble, people from both Australia and New Zealand will be allowed to travel to either country without having to enter mandatory hotel quarantine.

To achieve this, certain strategies have been put in place. 

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"When those in Australia, currently, make the welcome decision to come to New Zealand, they’ll be making a booking on what is called a 'green zone flight'," said Arden.

"That means there’ll be no passengers on that flight who have come from anywhere but Australia in the last 14 days.

"They will also be flown from crew who have not flown on any high-risk routes for a set period of time."

Passengers will also need to provide "comprehensive" contact information for their time in New Zealand.

What happens if there's a COVID-19 outbreak?

While travellers will soon enjoy quarantine-free travel between the two countries, Arden warned it won't be the same as pre-COVID times.

"Quarantine-free travel will not be what it was pre-COVID-19, and those undertaking travel will do so under the guidance of 'flyer beware'," she explained. 

"People will need to plan for the possibility of having travel disrupted if there is an outbreak."

The New Zealand Government have also put a framework in place in the event of an outbreak. 

"Once we know about a case in Australia, we will have three possible responses when it comes to flights and access to our border."

"We've captured these with a framework based on continue, pause, or suspend.

"For instance, if a case is found that is quite clearly linked to a border worker in a quarantine facility and is well contained, you'll likely see travel continue in the same way.

"If, however, a case was found that was not clearly linked to the border, and a state responded by a short lockdown to identify more information, we'd likely pause flights from that state in the same way we would stop travel into and out of a region in New Zealand as if it were going into a full lockdown."

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Do I need to get vaccinated? 

No, you won't need to be vaccinated to travel to New Zealand or return to Australia, nor will you need to produce a negative COVID-19 test. However, rules around COVID testing may change in the case of an outbreak.

Can I travel if I have the cold or flu?

No, you won’t be allowed to travel if you have cold or flu symptoms. There will also be random temperature checks as an extra precaution.

When can I book a flight?

Major airlines will be able to take bookings from April 19.

Will there be a bubble with other countries?

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said authorities were looking at Singapore, Japan and South Korea as other potential destinations for a travel bubble.

"But at this stage we are not in a position to move forward on any of those."

- With AAP.

Feature Image: Getty.

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