The vaccine rollout has been gaining pace worldwide, and many tourist destinations like Vietnam and Thailand have been reopening to visitors. But travel Down Under has been off-limits, with Australia’s borders closed for both inbound and outbound travel since March 2020.
Until now, that is. The country’s plan to stay closed until 2022 has been scrapped, with international borders set to reopen – meaning fully-vaxxed Australians living abroad can finally be reunited with their families.
Announcing the rule change, Aussie prime minister Scott Morrison said: ‘It’s time to give Australians their lives back.’
Fully-jabbed visa holders from anywhere in the world will also be able to enter the country from December 1, but to start with, this will only include working-holiday visa holders such as backpackers, plus international students, skilled workers, refugee applicants and provisional family visa holders.
When it comes to leisure travel, visitors from New Zealand are also now free to visit the country as long as they’ve had both jabs, while people living in Australia are permitted to travel internationally. Children under 12 can also enter and leave the country, regardless of their vaccination status.
‘Travel bubbles’ with Japan and South Korea will be also be established, similar to that already in effect with Singapore. This will allow fully-vaccinated holidaymakers from these countries to enter Australia without the need to quarantine upon arrival. Travellers will, however, have to present a negative Covid test taken three days before arrival. Unvaccinated arrivals must still quarantine in hotels.
Some travel behemoths like Qantas have restarted major routes to the country again, meaning you can at least pencil in a trip. Given Australia’s cautious handling of the pandemic, however, we’d recommend that you keep an eye on restriction changes.
Meanwhile, Australians have been so desperate to travel that a series of scenic day flights over Antarctica sold out quickly – despite sky-high fares. When you gotta fly, you gotta fly!
Did you see the USA will now let in travellers from the UK and Europe?