Update (21 October): Air New Zealand will resume a second-weekly Sydney-Norfolk Island flight from November.
With international borders shut, there are few opportunities for Australians to travel overseas this year. But Norfolk Island, an Australian territory located between New Zealand and New Caledonia, is open for business.
Norfolk Island has introduced a similar hotspot-based system to Queensland. Visitors will need to apply for a Norfolk Island Entry Pass 24-72 hours before arriving, although a previous plan to charge a $25 fee for an entry pass has been scrapped. Those arriving from Australian states & territories that are not deemed current COVID-19 hotspots do not need to quarantine on arrival.
From 1 October 2020, travellers from New South Wales and the ACT will also be able to enjoy quarantine-free travel to Norfolk Island.
Unfortunately, anyone that has been in Victoria during the past 14 days, including in transit, is not presently permitted to enter the island. There is an exception for essential workers who will be required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
But with no COVID-19 cases on Norfolk Island, the local tourism industry is pitching the island as a covid-free holiday destination to Aussies looking for an island escape. As Norfolk Island is not a COVID-19 hotspot, there is also no requirement to quarantine upon returning home to the mainland.
Flights from the Australian mainland to Norfolk Island are somewhat limited, but additional flights will commence in late October. There are normally multiple flights each week from Sydney and Brisbane to the island with Air New Zealand, which has had a monopoly on commercial flights from Australia’s mainland to the island since Norfolk Island Airlines ceased operations in 2018. But at the moment, Air New Zealand is just operating weekly Airbus A320neo flights to Norfolk Island from Sydney and Brisbane, respectively.
Air New Zealand currently flies from Brisbane to Norfolk Island every Saturday, with return flights available on Fridays. Flights from Sydney are available on Fridays, returning on Saturdays. Air New Zealand will restore a second weekly flight from Brisbane to Norfolk Island, operating on Tuesdays, from 27 October 2020.
There is currently no award availability on Air New Zealand’s flights to Norfolk Island, but cash fares are available. Air New Zealand “Seat” fares from Brisbane to Norfolk Island start at $626 return, with additional charges applicable for checked baggage or “Works” fares including a meal and in-flight movies.
Meanwhile, Lord Howe Island – an idyllic destination located around 600km northeast of Sydney in the Tasman Sea – had delayed reopening to tourists until at least November. But with very low numbers of new COVID-19 cases in NSW at the moment, there is some speculation that this reopening could be brought forward to as early as next week.
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