Who Bets on a New Zealand Winter Travel Bubble?

Who bets on a New Zealand winter travel bubble?

Snow tour companies are happy to, but the way things are going on both sides of the Tasman the rest of us might want to hold off.

After all the talk about getting a bubble up and running in the first quarter of 2021 late last year from leaders in both countries the chatter had dropped off.

Hands up who would like to get back to Coronet Peak? © nzski.com

The travel industry is obviously keen for it to happen. None more so than Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, who announced the company was taking international bookings again from 01 July.

Which overlooked the minor detail the government decides who comes into Australia, or not. And who leaves – Aussies still need to apply for permission to leave the country.

Still, we couldn’t help ourselves checking.

First week of July Sydney to Queenstown? No problem, fare not too bad either – $AUD 480 outbound, $378 back again as below:

Easy enough to find a flight ..

So it’s easy enough to find a winter flight to New Zealand.

But read the conditions as detailed below and you find what you can book is not currently possible to use!

You need to be in NZ for at least 14 days prior to travel to Australia. Also, not much point planning to ski or board, you need to hotel quarantine on arrival in New Zealand.

Government travel requirement
To travel on this flight and to be eligible to enter Australia, you must have spent at least 14 days in New Zealand immediately before your date of travel, and not have been in an area designated as a COVID-19 hotspot. Find out more about travel to Australia.

New Zealand visa and quarantine requirements

  • The New Zealand Government requires some visitors and transit passengers to have a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA). Apply for your NZeTA at least 72 hours before departure via Manage Booking once you have completed your booking.
  • It’s a requirement for entry into New Zealand to register for hotel quarantine. Visit the MIQ website to register. 
  • You must show your voucher at check-in and will not be allowed to board your flight without a voucher.

New Zealand has cases of the new virus variants (in maritime crews in quarantine), which have been well publicised there and the alarm level is high. Discussions on relaxing border controls attract similar negative reactions as they do in Australia.

As pockets of community transmission continue in Australia and state borders continue to close, usually virtually without warning, restarting international travel remains in the too hard basket.

Tens of thousands of Australian citizens and permaneant residents remain unable to return home due to minimal flight and quarantine numbers available to do that.

Health Department Secretary Professor Brendan Murphy told ABC TV “I think we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions. Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus, and it’s likely that quarantine will continue for some time.”

So vaccines are not the panacea either. Even if you are in a category to get vaccinated in time for winter, that won’t be enough.

The health advice on both sides of the Tasman is to wait and see how effective the vaccines are before opening things up.

We were pretty optimistic a Trans-Tasman bubble would open up in time for later last winter, or spring at least, last year. But now it just seems even further away.

What do you think? And why?