Trans-Tasman bubble opening: Here's your complete guide

The trans-Tasman bubble begins at 11:59pm on April 19.
The trans-Tasman bubble begins at 11:59pm on April 19. Photo credit: Getty Images

On Sunday at 11:59pm Kiwis will be saying goodbye to the little bubble of five million we have all been cocooned in for over a year.

With the opening of the trans-Tasman bubble, New Zealanders and Australians will be able to engage in quarantine-free travel between the two countries. 

New Zealand's borders closed to anyone who is not a New Zealand citizen or resident on March 19 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic intensified around the world. 

The bubble is not only providing welcome relief for tourism businesses on both sides of the ditch and reuniting friends and family, it's a huge step towards pre-COVID normality.

However, travelling is a little different from how it used to be. 

If you're planning to travel to Australia soon there are a few things you need to know before you jet off.

Where can you go?

All Australian States and Territories are participating in the bubble. This means you can go anywhere within Australia. 


Air New Zealand, Qantas and Jetstar are offering quarantine-free flights, also known as "green flights" across the ditch.

Green flights are flights that only have passengers who meet quarantine-free travel criteria as well as crew who have not flown on any "high-risk routes" for a set period of time.

Cheaper return flights are around the $600 mark while the steeper end reaches more than $900.


To be eligible to travel to Australia quarantine-free you need to have been in New Zealand for 14 days or more, and not have been in a designated hotspot - (AKA not anywhere near a COVID-19 outbreak)

You will also need to be well and without any COVID-19 symptoms which include:

  • A new or worsening cough
  • Fever (at least 38C)
  • Shortness of breath
  • A sore throat
  • Sneezing and runny nose
  • Temporary loss of smell

You don't need a pre-departure COVID-19 test to travel to Australia. 


Prior to your flight, it's encouraged you register at SafeTravel. This means you will receive all the latest travel advice and information. 

You should organise travel insurance and a plan for travel disruption.

Importantly, you need to complete the Australia Travel Declaration at least 72 hours before you depart.

This declaration will ask for information on your contact details in Australia, flight details, quarantine requirements, and your health status. 


The airport process will be a little different to pre-COVID times. 

It's recommended you wear a mask at the airport and if you have any symptoms, stay at home.

Health professionals may be stationed at airports ready to take random temperature checks and health assessments of travellers.

Your airline will be deciding whether you should be allowed to board. To ensure you're not denied embarking on that all-important flight, it's recommended you bring evidence of any pre-existing conditions (such as hay fever) when you check-in. 

Masks are compulsory while on board your flight.
Masks are compulsory while on board your flight. Photo credit: Getty Images


Once on board the plane, it's compulsory to wear a mask unless you are aged 12 and under or have a medical exemption.

You can bring your own mask or use one provided by your airline.

If you begin to feel unwell during the flight you'll be isolated from others. In-flight development of COVID-19 symptoms also means you'll undergo a health check upon arrival into Australia.

Decisions will be made about what happens next for you and others who were on board your aircraft - you should be prepared to pay for any costs associated with quarantine or medical care. 

If you begin to feel unwell during the flight you will be isolated from other passengers.
If you begin to feel unwell during the flight you will be isolated from other passengers. Photo credit: Getty Images

Aussie airports

As you disembark your flight you'll need to keep that mask on. Mask use is compulsory in Australian airports unless you are exempt. 

Just like New Zealand airports, you may have to undergo a health check. If you feel unwell while at the airport, tell a staff member or biosecurity officer. 


It's time to enjoy your trip, whether it's catching up with loved ones or a much-needed international getaway you've finally made it across the Tasman Sea for the first time in at least a year. 

Obviously, you need to practice good hygiene, hand washing, sanitising, covering sneezes, you know the drill. 

If you feel unwell stay at your accommodation and call a doctor. 

You can also call the National coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccine helpline on 1800 020 080. Calls are free from Australia and you can call at any time. 

You will also need to download the contact tracing app that is used where you are. 

There is an Australia-wide app but most states and territories use their own separate app. 

Most apps will work with a New Zealand SIM card but some may need an Australian card or contact details. It's all dependant on where you are. 

If you feel unwell while in Australia stop the adventuring and stay at your accommodation.
If you feel unwell while in Australia stop the adventuring and stay at your accommodation. Photo credit: Getty Images

COVID-19 mishaps

What if COVID-19 comes to break up the party? We all know re-emergence of the virus in the community is a very real risk. 

A community case of COVID-19 in either country could lead to the Government pausing any quarantine-free travel arrangements. 

You are responsible for any disruption to your travel due to COVID-19. You may need to stay in Australia for longer than anticipated and you need to be prepared to foot the cost. 

You should also be prepared for the possibility of having to undertake a stay in a managed isolation upon your return to New Zealand. If this happens you will need to pay for your stay. 

Getting home to New Zealand

You will need to complete a travel declaration before you depart Australia and answer questions about your health. You do not need a pre-departure COVID-19 test. 

It's recommended you keep your Australian contact tracing app open on your phone for up to a month upon your return to New Zealand. This is in case you receive an alert.