COVID-19: Australian government approves quarantine-free travel for South Island

Quarantine-free travel to Australia will resume on Wednesday from the South Island.
Quarantine-free travel to Australia will resume on Wednesday from the South Island. Photo credit: Image - Getty Images

The Australian government has announced people in the South Island will be able to travel across the Tasman quarantine-free from Wednesday.

Australia chief medical officer Paul Kelly released a statement on Sunday announcing green zone travel from the South Island.

"The Australian government has approved the recommencement of green zone travel from the South Island of New Zealand from 11:59pm (local time) on Tuesday, October 19, subject to a PCR test within 72 hours of departure and the passenger being fully vaccinated," Kelly said.

"There is very good work being done to stop people from the North Island going to the South Island, so that is not a risk. 

"We hope to allow anyone who's been in the South Island of New Zealand, whether they're Australians, New Zealanders or other nationalities, to come in quarantine-free."

Passengers also have to declare they have not been in the North Island at any point in the past 14 days. 

The pause is still in effect for the North Island as Delta continues to spread in and around the Auckland region, meaning passengers travelling to Australia from the north will still have to do quarantine in a government hotel for 14 days.

"The Australian government will continue the pause of green zone flights from the North Island of New Zealand until 11:59pm on October 31 2021, with all flights being classified as Red Zone flights until this time."

There will be a further review of the travel arrangements on October 30.

A New Zealand Government spokesperson said the news didn't affect Aotearoa's border settings. 

"New Zealand's border settings remain the same at this stage. Anyone travelling overseas would need to go through an MIQ facility on return. 

"However we are keeping our border settings with Australia under regular review."