Quarantine-free travel from New Zealand’s South Island will resume from next week, the federal government revealed.
The surprise announcement comes months after the travel bubble was temporarily paused in response to growing Covid-19 cases in Australia.
On Sunday, chief medical officer Paul Kelly said the federal government had reopened travel from New Zealand’s South Island in response to no new locally-acquired cases since last year.
But travel from the North Island will remain off limits until the end of the month.
Flights from the South Island will recommence from midnight Tuesday, Professor Kelly said.
“There is very good work being done to stop people from the North Island going to the South Island, so that is not a risk,” he said.
“We hope to allow anyone who’s been in the South Island of New Zealand, whether they’re Australians, New Zealanders or other nationalities, to come in quarantine-free.”
Mr Kelly said both NSW and Victoria had agreed to the quarantine-free travel plan.
“There are some Australians who have been stuck in the South Island New Zealand for quite some time and we’d welcome them home,” Professor Kelly said.
According to the Department of Health, people travelling from New Zealand will need to take a pre-departure PCR test within 72 hours of their flight and show evidence they are fully vaccinated.
They are also required to declare they have not been to the North Island in the last 14 days.
Health Minister Greg Hunt also announced Australia was in discussions with Singapore to open quarantine-free travel options in the future.
“It’s under rapid development … they (Singapore) have a very good handle on the disease,” he said.