Quarantine-free Travel Bubble Flight to Australia Experience

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Our family of 4 has been waiting in eager anticipation for the news on quarantine-free travel to Australia since April this year. As you may have heard, the Trans-Tasman bubble between New Zealand and Australia has opened on 19th April 2021.

While we’re not on the first quarantine-free flights over to Australia, we’re here now in Gold Coast over the long weekend – the second week since the opening of the trans-Tasman bubble and will continue to travel up north without a confirmed return date.

Many of our travel family friends have doubts, questions and other commitments that may be holding them back from taking the quarantine-free flights to Australia in the early days. What is it like travelling to Australia without having to quarantine?

In this post, we’ll run through the quarantine-free travel process and requirements of getting across the Tasman. We will share our family’s journey travelling from New Zealand to Australia under the new Tran-Tasman bubble regulations. Hopefully, this post will help your family gain some confidence in travelling between New Zealand and Australia.

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Quarantine-free Travel Requirements

Air New Zealand has taken a day to process our booking, as I could imagine how busy they must’ve been with the number of booking requests. About 10 days before our flight, we received a follow-up email from Air New Zealand to outline the requirements for quarantine-free travel to Australia.

Below is an outline of the quarantine-free travel requirements for travellers between New Zealand and Australia. Please refer to NZ and AU official websites for updates and the most accurate information.

  • Must have been in either Australia or New Zealand for the last 14 days prior to departure.
  • Must not have had a positive COVID-19 test result or prove you’re no longer infectious.
  • Must not be awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test
  • Must complete a travel declaration
  • Must wear a mask in the airport and on the plane for all passengers over 12yo.

Australia Travel Declaration

Apart from the usual eligibility requirements, you are required to fill in an Australian Travel Declaration form if you’re travelling from New Zealand to Australia, and vice versa.

The declaration form must be completed between 7-3 days prior to your departure date. The form is pretty straightforward and asks you to fill in each passenger’s personal and travel details. Upon completing the declaration form, you will receive an email with a QR code that you will need to present at the airport.

At Auckland Airport

When we arrived at Auckland International Airport in the morning, it was quieter than usual. Most of the check-in counters were closed, and the majority of flights displayed on the big screen were flights to Australia.

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Quiet Auckland Airport

© Photos by Kida

We were flying with Air New Zealand to Gold Coast, Australia. The check-in counter was taped off around the self check-in machines, and that was the only section on that floor where there were people.

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Air New Zealand quarantine-free travel to Australia check in counter

© Photos by Kida

Before we could line up to check-in, we were asked to show the Australia Travel Declaration QR codes. Surprisingly, there were a number of people who weren’t aware of it and had to fill out the forms on the spot.

Then, we proceeded to check in with the self-serving machines. We printed a bag tag for our check-in luggage and a bag tag for our stroller, then dropped them off at the baggage drop counters. Easy.

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Luggage drop at Auckland International Airport

© Photos by Kida

That was it, everything else was as usual, except the airport was noticeably emptier. Many shops and restaurants were closed, and we could see optimistic signs of ‘we look forward to seeing you soon’ everywhere. It was a sad sight to see the once bustling airport this quiet.

© Photos by Kida

As for Covid hygiene practices at the airports, every other chair at the Gates had a sign to promote physical distancing. Some people were wearing masks already, but most people put on the masks only when they got on the plane.

We were allowed to take the masks off while eating and drinking. So flight attendants didn’t seem to be too concerned, as many were snacking throughout the flight.

It was a smooth flight to the Gold Coast. We were directed by the airport staff at every checkpoint and didn’t really notice any differences apart from the check-in procedures.

Gold Coast Airport was much busier than Auckland Airport with the arrivals from both domestic flights and flights from New Zealand. It was heart-warming to see emotions flying everywhere with the reunions of families and friends.

Family Travel Video

Flying from Auckland to Gold Coast on a quarantine-free flight vlog

We felt so refreshing looking out the window flying over and above the clouds and out of the country for the first time in over a year.

This quarantine-free trip to Australia was Joah’s first overseas trip. He put on his first pair of shoes, stumbled his way through the airports, and walked his first steps at the Surfers Paradise Market tonight.

© Photos by Kida

On this special day, Joah reached a remarkable milestone and marked the beginning of many more adventures to come. But for New Zealand and Australia, the quarantine-free travels reconnected our people once again and revitalised our economy. We truly hope more and more countries will be able to join the bubble and reignite the long-suffered tourism industry soon.

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Joah’s first flight overseas

© Photos by Kida

Don’t Be A Stranger!

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In the meantime…

Are you planning to travel to Australia under the quarantine-free travel arrangements? How do you feel about it?

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