Australians are finally being welcomed back across the ditch with New Zealand scrapping quarantine requirements for Aussie tourists from today.
New Zealand’s international borders have been shut to the world since March 2020 with the exception of a short-lived travel bubble with Australia last year.
Around 4,000 Australians are expected to make the trip to New Zealand on day one of the border reopening.
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Airlines will ramp up flights in the coming weeks with up to 20,000 passengers a day expected to travel there in June.
New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern says it’s a great day for both countries.
“I can’t actually imagine or remember a time when we would have been just so excited to be welcoming our Australian family back to our shores. It’s very genuine,” Ms Ardern told Seven.
Tourists will need to be double-vaccinated and have a negative COVID test before departure.
They will need another negative test upon arrival.
Pre-COVID, Australians accounted for around 40 per cent of all tourists to New Zealand with around 1.5 million visitors each year.
That number rises to around 50 per cent during the ski season.
“The numbers don’t really tell the story. I think for us, you are our extended family. It means a lot to us to be able to welcome you back to your second home because that’s probably how we see ourselves and in many ways, it’s how we see you,” Ms Ardern said.
“So it’s more than just economic for us. It’s a big part of who we are is welcoming people to our shores.”