Queensland's hard border comes down just in time for Christmas.
Tens of thousands of people are heading to Queensland by air and road after the state opened its border to vaccinated Australians, almost 230 days after locking out most of the country.
At 1am local time on Monday, the sunshine state dropped entry restrictions for those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and can show they've had a negative PCR test before beginning their journey.
The border easing comes after Queensland hit its 80 per cent double dose vaccination milestone last week, allowing interstate travellers to head north in time for the festive season in a much-needed boost for local tourism.
The first flight to Queensland since the border reopened has just taken off from Sydney! Jetstar flight #JQ400 will soon land on the Gold Coast, where @Bianca_Stone is waiting to welcome the passengers ✈️ pic.twitter.com/zT1J58T4Fr— Sunrise (@sunriseon7) December 12, 2021
Qantas and Jetstar expect to carry 10,000 passengers on flights to and from the state on Monday, with most of the day's flights fully booked.
The two airlines will this week operate around 700 flights to and from Queensland across 28 routes from Victoria and New South Wales, well up on last week's 100 or so flights when the border was still closed.
As Christmas nears, they expect to put on to 1200 weekly flights to and from the state.
"We know how difficult the border closures have been for many people and today will no doubt be emotional, particularly for family and friends who can reunite after months apart," Jetstar Group CEO Gareth Evans said on Monday.
Queensland Police will be watching the roads into the state with a huge number of vehicles expected to cross the border with NSW.
As our borders open tomorrow, we are expecting increased traffic at the border zones. If you can, we encourage travel outside of peak hours. Stay safe! 🚘— Queensland Health (@qldhealth) December 12, 2021