Australians can now travel around the globe by exploiting a loophole in the New Zealand travel bubble – as long as they’re happy to risk being stranded overseas.
Since March 2020, most Australian citizens and permanent residents have been banned from leaving the country for leisure.
But today the trans-Tasman travel bubble opened, allowing Australians to travel quarantine-free to and from New Zealand.
Unlike Australia, New Zealand ‘advises’ its residents not to travel overseas but has not banned them from leaving.
This means that Australians could fly to New Zealand, before purchasing a new ticket and travelling to a third country like Singapore or the United States.
Australians could be able to exploit a loophole in the New Zealand travel bubble to continue to fly further abroad
However, complications could arise for jetsetters when they go to book a flight home, as they risk joining the estimated 35,000 Australians currently stranded abroad.
The combined cost of flights and government mandated hotel quarantine, as well as the limited seats on planes has made returning home to Australia no easy task.
A spokesperson from Australia Border Force said that New Zealand does not prevent Australian citizens leaving the country and travelling onwards overseas.
This means New Zealand Customs authorities would be unlikely to stop Australians travelling to a third country beyond the trans-Tasman travel bubble.
‘Those who travel onwards from New Zealand to another international destination must be aware that returning to Australia or New Zealand may be difficult due to the current restrictions on passenger numbers and the availability of flights’, they told the Australian Financial Review.
The Department of Home Affairs have updated their website to advise Australians they would need to special permit to travel beyond New Zealand to another country.
‘If you are transiting through New Zealand to another destination you must apply for an outward travel exemption,’ it said.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said the opening of the trans-Tasman bubble today is ‘truly exciting’
Those that travel further abroad from New Zealand may risk joining the 35,000 Australians currently stranded overseas due to exorbitant prices of flights and hotel quarantine
Under existing Covid rules, Australians can only leave if they get an exemption from the Department of Home Affairs for reasons including work visa purposes requiring a longer stay abroad.
The ban on Australians going overseas was introduced a year ago as non-citizens and non-residents were also stopped from entering the country in a bid to slow the spread of Covid-19.
Former home affairs minister Peter Dutton introduced that travel ban policy, which his successor Karen Andrews is now in charge of.
A human biosecurity emergency was also declared giving federal Health Minister Greg Hunt the power to issue orders to combat the outbreak of COVID-19.
Health Minster Greg Hunt said about 5,000 people were expected to fly between Australia and New Zealand on Monday, many reuniting with loved ones after months of being apart