Kiwis trapped in Melbourne's COVID-19 lockdown prepare to wait it out

Victoria is back in lockdown and so are New Zealanders living and travelling there.

The state and its capital city, Melbourne, are in the grip of a new COVID-19 outbreak and the highly infectious variant is spreading rapidly.

Anne Spratt and her husband hadn't seen their granddaughter in more than a year, and were desperate for a family catch up, so earlier this month they packed their bags and got on a flight to Melbourne.

Now they're in lockdown.

"It's very up and down, yesterday we all felt extremely frustrated and sad and quite anxious. We were also meant to go and visit my brother-in-law and on Sunday we were meant to have a big family thing."

They were planning to fly home on Monday but that won't be happening now that the ban on quarantine free travel has been extended out to next Friday.

But Spratt was staying philosophical.

"As my lovely daughter said ... 'the only thing we have to worry about is a lockdown, that's so much better than having to worry about someone close to us being so sick with COVID that they're going to die'. It puts it in perspective."

They would just have to bide their time and wait, Spratt said.

Melbourne people had been bracing for another lockdown.

The state's outbreak has reached 26 cases on Thursday , with 11 new cases recorded from Wednesday to Thursday.The list of exposure sites across Victoria had reached 115 on Thursday.

Declan Weir saw locals getting ready before the lockdown had even been announced.

"People were having a last frantic rush into the office ... and doing some final shopping."

Last year the city spent more than 100 days in lockdown, although this time round, there was a worrying difference.

"It's that speed of spread. I think one of the things we noticed is just how many of these sites came up on Saturday and Sunday... it's gone from no COVID last week to being real again," Weir said.

Stephanie Fletcher was due to fly out to Auckland on Saturday with her 10-month-old to visit family and friends.

She said she was "gutted".

"I had a good cry about it today... it's just heartbreaking that they're going through this again."

Meanwhile, thousands of visitors from Australia who got to New Zealand before the travel bubble closed are now being told that if they have been in the greater Melbourne area since 20 May they must isolate until they return a negative COVID-19 test.