Despite the Australian Government essentially issuing an international travel ban right back at the start of *all this*, talk of ‘travel bubbles’ has been rife with speculation of when and where.
New Zealand was one of the first countries to put a potential travel bubble on the table, with Australian Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham originally estimating that it could happen as early as July 2020. Obviously, thanks to a rising number of cases in Australia, it did not. Although to be fair, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern did suggest even at the time that it would probably be closer to September.
Speaking to ABC News on Sunday, September 28, Birmingham once again mentioned his hope for the travel bubble before the end of the year.
“That would just be a great step, and it would prove the work that is being done to make sure this can be done, again, in a safe way — that travellers between Australia and New Zealand can be given corridors and clearances through our international airports without coming into contact with higher-risk travellers who might be returning from other parts of the region and still have to go through quarantine,” he explained.
“It’s up to [New Zealand] as to whether they choose to open up to Australia, but we’re certainly making sure that we’re prepared and I’m hopeful that could be this year and then maybe set a model for us to look at for any other countries that meet similar high standards”.
Then, of course, September rolled around and it still wasn’t a ~thing~, although several Australian states have since opened their borders for holidaying New Zealanders, without mandatory quarantine periods.
Now, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacina Ardern has officially agree to a trans-Tasman bubble.
At a post-Cabinet press conference on Monday, December 14, Ardern confirmed the NZ Cabinet “has agreed in principle to establish a travel bubble with Australia, we anticipate in the first quarter of 2021”.
Of course, she did make it clear that no exact date is set, and the finalisation is still awaiting “confirmation from the Australian Cabinet, and no significant changes in the circumstances of either country”.
So basically we’ll still need to pass a bunch of provisos including 28-days Covid case free. So, like, don’t book your trip just yet, but definitely start planning.
(Lead Image: Unsplash / Tobias Keller)
Kassia is the Editor of AWOL, and a straight-up travel addict. She was born without a sense of direction, yet an intense desire to explore the world. As such, she's lost 90% of the time but she's learned to roll with it. You can catch her latest adventures on Instagram @probably_kassia.