The will-they-won’t-they back and forth over the possibility of a trans-Tasman travel bubble with New Zealand has become the ‘Ross and Rachel’ of potential future holiday options for Australians. And much like that sit-com romance, Australia’s longing yearnings for gorgeous New Zealand look set to remain unrequited for longer than we’d like.
Despite faint hopes that holidaying in New Zealand could be made a reality by summer, the boss of Air New Zealand, Greg Foran, told the Sydney Morning Herald that quarantine-free air travel – which would allow movement between the two countries without the need for 14 of hotel isolation – would not be considered until at least March 2021. Foran cited the second wave outbreaks in Melbourne and Auckland as the reason for delaying the establishment of a travel bubble. Foran added that the goal of eradicating the virus through social distancing and hygiene measures, which was believed to have been achieved in New Zealand until a shocking resurgence of the virus occurred last month, was an unrealistic expectation.
After a nail-biting few months, it seems the tide may be turning once again in Australia’s ongoing battle against the virus. After suffering a devastating second wave, the strict, multi-month lockdown in Victoria has brought daily caseloads back down to a new low of just 11 cases, and in Sydney, community spread is also on the decline, with just a single new case outside of hotel quarantine reported on September 21. This progress is an encouraging indication that plans to reopen Australia’s interstate borders by Christmas will still go ahead, so while we might not be travelling overseas any time soon, we can at least look forward to domestic trips in the not too distant future.