Transtasman bubble: How the world reacted to ‘exciting’ NZ-Australian travel bubble

The much-anticipated transtasman travel bubble between New Zealand and Australia finally has a start date: April 19 – and the announcement has made a splash globally.

Quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and Australia can begin in less than two weeks, at 11.59pm on April 19.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins this afternoon confirmed that all the conditions for the bubble have been met.

“The director general of health considers the risk of transmission of Covid-19 from Australia to New Zealand is low and that quarantine free travel is safe to commence,” Ardern said.

It’s one of the first of its kind since Covid-19 closed most of the world down – and other nations around the globe are looking at us with envy.

In Australia, the news was well received with numerous media agencies reporting the latest triumph.

‘EXCITING DAY’: NZ ANNOUNCES TRANSTASMAN TRAVEL BUBBLE – ran with Jacinda Ardern’s line of calling the long-awaited announcement an “exciting day”, highlighting the “new chapter” in both Australia and NZ’s Covid-19 response.

“Dust off your passport and get your suitcase ready, because Australian residents will be able to fly to New Zealand – without having to enter mandatory hotel quarantine – in less than two weeks,” the wrote.


9 News senior journalist Mark Saunokonoko said the move could “pull the lever on a multi-billion dollar jackpot for both countries”.

“Tourism operators and airlines Qantas, Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand, whose bottom lines have all been smashed by the coronavirus, will be the big winners,” he wrote.

9 News reported more than 1.4 million Kiwis visited Australia in 2019, spending $2.6 billion.

“Only China, with 1.43 million tourists, sent more visitors to Australia. That pipeline of cash from Kiwi travellers has been switched off for 13 months.”

They also said it would be good news for New Zealand with more than half a million Australians crossing the ditch to visit friends and family each year.

Speaking on job losses and financial stress, 9 News wrote “the loss of international tourism cost the Australian economy $34.3 billion in 2020, according to Austrade statistics,” costing thousands of jobs.


The Sydney Morning Herald was quick to showcase New Zealand to its readers, issuing a list of highlights travellers should consider looking into when they venture across the ditch.

It suggested tourists could travel the Central Otago touring route, Pipinui Point Retreat Wellington, Wellington’s Chocolate Factory tours, offroading and jetboating in Queenstown, and Weta Workshop among other mouth-watering destinations.

The list suggests a range of regions to visit including Auckland, Wellington, Rotorua, Queenstown, the country’s great outdoors and cultural experiences.

Sydney Morning Herald also headlined what new rules travellers would have to be wary of, including if tourists need to be vaccinated, whether they need permission from Home Affairs to travel to NZ and what happens if there is a lockdown while residents are in another country.

“New Zealand has warned its residents that they will be covered by the rules of that lockdown in any particular state and there is an element of ‘flyer beware’ to any travel where they might have to be tested, isolate or quarantine depending on the circumstance.”


The BBC reported on our country’s first travel bubble with Australia praising both nation’s ability to contain Covid outbreaks and very low or near-zero infection rates”.

They also revealed it is the world’s second travel bubble arranged since the outbreak.

“This travel bubble is believed to be the second in the world, after one opened up between the islands of Taiwan and Palau last week.”


UK paper The Guardian described the bubble as a ‘great relief” in its headline on the latest travel bubble news as well as highlighting how many Kiwis live in Australia.

“More than 600,000 New Zealanders live in Australia, and many families straddle the border,” they wrote.

The Guardian also highlighted tourism has been dramatically hit.

“The move is being celebrated by New Zealand tourism businesses, many of which have struggled to survive over the last year without international tourism.

“In March, Tourism New Zealand forecast that opening travel to Australians could allow tourism revenue to recover to 70 per cent of pre-Covid levels. With the travel bubble open, they expected a NZ$1 billion boost to the New Zealand economy over the rest of the calendar year.”

It also asked prominent New Zealanders to recommend places to visit for tourists.

The Guardian spoke to musician Benee, fashion designer Karen Walker, Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins, and filmmaker Julia Parnell among others.

Benee recommended Waitomo Caves, writing: “I love the Waitomo caves, it’s so beautiful. I went black water rafting there a few years ago with my family and it was the coolest thing ever. We got to look at underground waterfalls and floated around underground on tubes. I highly recommend going, it was crazy fun, I had never done anything like it before.”

Meanwhile, musician Marlon Williams said: “The South Island’s west coast is my favourite place in the world. It’s always been a repository of precious things for Maori and Pakeha alike, be it gold, coal, pounamu or just the glory of the landscape itself. Lake Kaniere, about half an hour inland from Hokitika, is one of the coast’s crowning jewels. Birdsong and cool moistness and the deepest greens you’ve ever seen.”

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