Today is the day: New Zealand welcomes back Aussies

International travellers returned to New Zealand and were welcomed back at Auckland International Airport on Wednesday. 13 April 2022 Photograph by Greg Bowker // Auckland International Airport

It’s the day Aussies and Kiwis alike have all been waiting for; New Zealand is officially open for Australian travellers!

Fully vaccinated Aussies travelling to New Zealand will no longer need to self isolate upon arrival, opening the flood gates to those of us keen to get out and explore the land of the long white cloud.

Andrew Waddel, Tourism New Zealand’s general manager for Australia said he is over the moon.

“We’re thrilled to be welcoming back Australian travellers to Aotearoa today. It’s been great to see a steady increase in Australians travelling again and we’re excited they can now head across the Tasman and enjoy the best New Zealand has to offer,” he said.

“Historically, Australians make up 40 per cent of our international visitors and we’re excited to be reconnecting with Australia again.”

Today, Air New Zealand has eleven near-full flights arriving from Melbourne, Sydney, Gold Coast, Brisbane and Perth with the first having touched down touching down at 6:00am from Perth into Auckland.

“We’ve seen high demand across the Tasman with Aussies keen to reconnect with friends and whānau both in New Zealand and Australia,” Air New Zealand chief customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty said.

Last week, Air New Zealand added an extra 96 trans-Tasman flights for April through to June, an increase of approximately 20,000 seats.

“We’ve also been ramping up capacity for the winter period so Aussies can enjoy our fantastic ski slopes here in New Zealand,” Geraghty said.

The airline is also treating passengers to hot cross buns as an Easter treat between 15-25 April.

In other New Zealand aviation news, Qatar Airways has launched a new route from Adelaide to Auckland as an extension of its current service between Doha and Adelaide.

The flight will be operated by a B777-300ER three times per week, meaning the carrier will now operate 34 weekly flights to Australia.

International travellers were welcomed back at Auckland International Airport today (Photograph by Greg Bowker // Auckland International Airport)

Kiwi Minister for Tourism Zoe Bettison welcomed the first Qatar flight from Auckland, saying it signalled a much-longed return to two-way travel with New Zealand.

“I know the South Australian Tourism Commission has been very active in this space all the way through the pandemic, making sure South Australia remains top of mind for Kiwis wanting a holiday,” she said.

“Pre-COVID, a record 43,000 trips were made by Kiwis – now we can welcome more of our friends from across the ditch, tempt them with our great wineries, vast outback, the beaches and the Murray River, and look forward to showing them around more of SA than ever.

“It is terrific that we will see New Zealanders be able to reconnect with friends and family, as well as open up business travel and leisure visitors, who are keen to have a much-deserved holiday.”

New Zealand’s biggest online travel agency, Mix & Match, has also marked the occasion with a big announcement, launching its expansion into the $5 billion Australian market.

The OTA has partnered with News Corp to get the word out.

“As a challenger brand in the Australian market we will now be able to access News Corp Australia’s trusted digital and print brands to connect directly with the majority of Australian online travel bookers,” Mix & Match CEO Tim Paulsen said.

“We believe the Australian travel market contains significant pent-up demand.

“We’ll be offering consumers the freedom to search and book an extensive range of great priced flights, hotels and other products launching soon, all with the reassurance of a professional call centre when in-person support is needed.”

Those entering New Zealand from overseas will still need to complete a travel declaration, which you can find HERE. Travellers will also need to provide a negative pre-departure test and proof of full vaccination.

Featured image: International travellers returned to New Zealand and were welcomed back at Auckland International Airport on Wednesday 13 April 2022 (Photograph by Greg Bowker // Auckland International Airport)

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