Tough times make tough rinds taste sweet. So even though I don’t want to upset our wonderful neighbours, someone has to be today’s hair in the soup: the news we are now in a reciprocal travel bubble with New Zealand tastes better than it really should.
The unkind might even go as far as to say it’s the only country in the world Australians don’t want to visit.
View this post on Instagram
Jibes aside, grey nomads and nature lovers will be pleased to note New Zealand has finally given the all-clear for the long-awaited travel bubble with Australia.
Quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and Australia will start on April 19, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Tuesday. https://t.co/CyoVbhFxCt
— Reuters Health (@Reuters_Health) April 6, 2021
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern this morning revealed a quarantine-free two-way trans-Tasman travel bubble will start from 11.59pm on Sunday, April the 18th.
The decision comes after months of hold-ups following small outbreaks in both Australia and New Zealand.
It also comes after some genius advertising campaigns by Kiwi tourism agencies (credit where credit is due).
Just because we now have a bubble though doesn’t mean it can’t be put on pause at any time.
“While quarantine-free travel to Australia and vice versa will start in a fortnight, it will not be what it was pre-COVID,” Ms Ardern said.
“While we absolutely wish to encourage family and friends to reunite and visitors to come and enjoy the hospitality New Zealand is ready and waiting to offer, those undertaking travel on either side of the ditch will do so under the guidance of flyer beware.”
“People will need to plan for the possibility of travel being disrupted if there is 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.”
The three? Continue, pause, or suspend.
“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.”
Ms Ardern also said if New Zealand discovered multiple COVID-19 cases of unknown origin, the country would probably suspend flights for a period of time.
Though this development is of course good news for Australians looking to spread their wings a little wider (and for those with friends and family in New Zealand), it may not be the amazing breakthrough you might see it trumpeted as.
View this post on Instagram
Satirical newspaper The Betoota Advocate has already had a pop at the news, with 26,735 people (at the time of writing) giving their snark a ‘like’ on Instagram (see above).
Beyond that, normal international travel is not slated to return until 2023.
There’s your Tuesday dose of grounding, served hot.