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Explained: How Kiwis in Australia can get home with bubble paused

written by Adam Thorn | July 23, 2021

Air New Zealand A321 Neo, as shot by Rob Finlayson

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Friday the trans-Tasman bubble would be suspended to all of Australia for two months.

The travel corridor – already paused to NSW, Victoria and SA – will be halted from 10pm AEST but the rules on how Kiwis can return depend on where you are travelling from.

All eligible travellers must return a negative PCR or TR-PCR test no more than 72 hours before their flight.

Here, we explain the rules for Kiwis in Australia currently trying to return home.

For the next seven days (from 10pm AEST on Friday).



Air New Zealand will schedule a number of special repatriation flights, but those returning will have to complete two weeks of hotel quarantine.

“These seats will be restricted to the number of spaces available in managed isolation facilities (MIQ) rooms provided by the New Zealand government,” said the airline in a statement.

“Managed return flights from Sydney will be available from Wednesday, 28 July and will operate to Auckland only. On arrival, travellers will go into MIQ for a period of 14 days. Seats available will depend on MIQ availability.”

The schedule will see flights depart from Sydney (flight number NZ864) on 28 July and 1, 3, 5 and 7 August.

Seats can be booked here.


Those travelling from, or transiting through, Victoria must return home immediately when they land, and then follow the current lockdown rules imposed in Victoria. They must continue to isolate for three days, take a COVID test, and isolate until they get a negative result.

Air New Zealand said it has added two additional flights from Melbourne to Auckland on Monday and Tuesday next week and will continue to add flights to its schedule as demand becomes clearer.

All other Australian states

Kiwis from states other than NSW and Victoria can return without any form of quarantine until 11:59pm on Friday, 30 July (seven days after the national suspension).

From Saturday, 31 July

Australia will be treated like any other nation that New Zealand has closed its borders to, meaning all returnees will have to undertake two weeks in hotel quarantine. Seats on flights will be dependent on the number of rooms in the country’s managed isolation facilities.

Air New Zealand said that, following the seven-day pause in quarantine-free travel, from 11.59pm on Friday 30 July, all quarantine-free passenger flights from Australia to New Zealand will be suspended for the next eight weeks.

A reduced number of passenger flights will continue to operate to Australia during this period to ensure customers currently visiting New Zealand from Australia can return home. A limited number of quarantine flights will operate from Australia to New Zealand during this time with bookings dependent on availability of MIQ accommodation.

Cargo services will continue to operate across the Tasman to keep goods moving between New Zealand and the Australian ports the airline operates to.

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Comments (2)

  • Why would anyone take the risk of travelling between the two countries under these circumstances?? I assume that the 2 weeks of hotel quarantine on arrival in NZ is at the passenger’s own expense?

  • I see a lot of comments about kiwis returning home, what are your thoughts about Australians returning home, we are half way through a business trip and weren’t due to return home home until halfway through August?

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