What is a travel bubble?
To restart international travel in a safe controlled manner, governments are looking to create ‘travel bubbles’. Travel Bubbles are agreements between two or more governments allowing people to move between areas of low, or no Coronavirus transmission without the need of a full 14 day quarantine period.
Countries like Australia & New Zealand are very cautious about the movement of people across international borders, in fear COVID-19 will spread widely again. The hypothetical ‘bubble’ is an agreement to lift travel restrictions between those countries.
If a third country wanted to enter an agreement with either country, then both Australia and New Zealand would need to agree to expand the bubble to include the other country. Over time more countries could join a growing bubble until the risk of the pandemic passes.
There are examples of this already happening domestically in Australia, with the clearest example being Queensland and South Australia; residents of these states can move freely over their state lines with minimal disruption while excluding residents from other states entering.
What is the Trans-Tasman travel bubble?
Australia and New Zealand are very keen to resume some sort of travel between the two nations again as soon as it’s safe to do so. The Prime Ministers have both expressed interest in allowing travel between COVID-19 safe regions by as early as Christmas.
If this sounds familiar to you, it is. Serious negotiations stalled earlier this year as Victoria’s second wave took hold of the state.
Under the current proposal, we could see travel between areas of low Coronavirus transmission, for example Sydney to Christchurch, allowing both Australians and Kiwis to enter each others countries without undergoing mandatory quarantine. This would be a huge development for Australia, as this could free up places in the hotel quarantine system by up to 15%, allowing many more Australians from the rest of the world to return home.
If this goes ahead, how can I get to NZ?
Expect airlines, especially Qantas & Air New Zealand to jump at the opportunity to open routes across the Tasman again. We’ve already seen multiple examples in Australia where airlines have added capacity on highly sought after routes following relaxations of state borders.
We can expect flights to be cheap, really cheap. Airlines will be keen to chase your dollars to get you sitting in their seat. When searching some random dates for future travel next year, airlines are already offering seats lower than AUD$250 each way. When the time comes, keep in mind there are a few things to consider to buying the best value for money airfares.
As it stands, there are no definitive routes that airlines will be allowed to fly and the timeline on quarantine free travel is still a speculative game. Don’t make any formal plans or circle any dates in the calendar until the governments release a formal policy!
Why would anyone travel to NZ?
I’ve been fortunate enough to venture to New Zealand twice, in 2010 and 2012; covering stops in Auckland, Hawkes Bay, Taupo and Wellington. The landscapes and experiences are a world away from Australia with the only requirement (normally) being a short three hour flight.
The top of my New Zealand bucket list is the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown. I’m itching just thinking about the opportunity to experience one of the world famous bungy jumps, hike some amazing trails and play some of the world’s most scenic golf courses.
Long story short
While the announcements by the Prime Ministers at the moment are somewhat speculative, it shows genuine interest from both sides of the Tasman that travel between the two countries is high on the agenda.
A Trans-Tasman bubble will help tourism operators who are desperate to start selling travel dreams again, help reunite families across ‘The Ditch’ & for people like you and me, will scratch that ever growing itch to whip out the passport and discover our next adventure.
Let me know in the comments below…!
Aussies, what is at the top of your New Zealand bucket list?
Kiwis, where in Australia are you most excited to explore once the borders open for tourists?