Auckland New Zealand
Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Dan Freeman on Unsplash.

The New Zealand government has suspended travel from all Australian states & territories to New Zealand for the next 8 weeks, in response to growing outbreaks of the Delta strain of COVID-19 in various parts of Australia including Sydney.

From 11.59pm on 23 July 2021, Australians will no longer be able to travel to New Zealand under the quarantine-free travel bubble arrangement. But New Zealand citizens and other exempted people who normally live in New Zealand, and are currently in Australia, have an additional 7 days to get home.

According to the New Zealand government’s official Unite Against COVID-19 website, the following people are still allowed to travel from Australia to New Zealand without entering quarantine until 11.59pm on 30 July 2021:

  • New Zealand citizens, permanent residents & resident visa holders
  • Australian citizens & permanent residents who normally live in New Zealand or are moving to New Zealand, and last departed New Zealand on/after 6 April 2021
  • New Zealand temporary visa holders who last departed New Zealand on/after 6 April 2021
  • Spouses, civil union partners, de facto partners, dependent children or parents of dependent children of any of the above categories

While people in the above categories can still travel to New Zealand for another week, travel is not currently permitted from NSW. This includes anyone who has been in NSW in the past 14 days. And anyone travelling from Victoria to New Zealand will now need to self-isolate for 3 days and get a COVID-19 test after arrival.

The pre-flight COVID-19 testing requirement also remains in place for travel from all Australian states & territories except NSW (because people arriving in New Zealand from NSW are now being placed directly into two weeks of quarantine).

At this stage, the trans-Tasman bubble is scheduled to resume on 25 September 2021. The exact timing will depend on the evolving situation in Australia, and how well the various outbreaks across the country are contained. But New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she wants the bubble to eventually continue.

“We do want the bubble to resume, we remain committed to it, but we need to be certain the outbreak is contained,” Ardern said.

Qantas, Air New Zealand and Jetstar will continue to operate many flights until 30 July 2021. But the vast majority of Qantas and Jetstar trans-Tasman flights between 31 July and 24 September 2021 will be cancelled. You can find a list of Qantas trans-Tasman flights scheduled to operate over the coming period on the Qantas website.

Air New Zealand will continue to operate limited flights across the Tasman after 30 July, but only to/from Auckland. One-way travel from New Zealand to Australia will still be possible during this time, but anyone eligible to return to New Zealand after 30 July will need to book a spot in “MIQ” (Managed Isolation & Quarantine) until the travel bubble resumes. This is the same process that applies to anyone else travelling back to New Zealand from overseas.

The trans-Tasman bubble launched on 19 April 2021 on a “flyer beware” basis, around 13 months after New Zealand had first closed its border to Australians due to COVID-19. Since then, travel from individual states to New Zealand – and at one point, all of Australia – has been paused at various points. But this is the most significant pause of the travel bubble since it began.

To date, only one person is known to have travelled from Australia to New Zealand under the quarantine-free travel bubble arrangement with COVID-19. (This person later passed the virus onto their partner, who was travelling with them and tested positive after returning to Sydney.) This incidence caused Wellington to enter “level 2” restrictions for a brief period and prompted thousands of Kiwis to get tested and isolate. Luckily, it seems the Australian traveller did not pass the virus on to anyone in New Zealand.

Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: New Zealand Travel Bubble Announcement

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]