Trans-Tasman Travel Bubble: Everything You Need to Know
Future of International Travel
With international flights grounded and country borders closed, it is fair to say that avid travellers from all over are feeling the weight of the Coronavirus (COVID) pandemic. Although Australia has reportedly been comparatively successful in suppressing the spread of the virus, it is unlikely that international travel will return to its pre-COVID state for a number of years. As each country takes its own measures to prevent the continued spread, there will be a number of Trans-Tasman travel requirements that need to be met before any form of international travel can resume.
These requirements will most likely be in the form of on-the-spot testing, wide-spread vaccination and the introduction of Immunity Passports. Given that it is expected to take anywhere from 12 to 18 months to produce a successful vaccination, it is unlikely we will be heading overseas anytime soon. This was put into perspective by the International Air Transport Association’s Director-general, Alexandre de Juniac, “We have published today a new forecast about the potential recovery of the air traffic and what we see is that things should come back to normal in 2023,” as he told ABC TV.
This news comes as one of a series of setbacks that have been experienced by the Australian tourism industry, which has seemed to suffer the most during this trying time. Though, if Australians are to be labelled as anything, resourceful should be at the top. As restrictions began to tighten, many popular tourist destinations have sought other ways to bring their attractions to the wider community via online interaction. Take Brisbane’s own Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, for example. Given the park is not open to outside visitors, employees have begun live-streaming wildlife sessions, where-in they will give brief educational lessons on a specific animal kept within the sanctuary. Pretty cool, right?
With what has been said, things aren’t all doom and gloom for travel-oriented Australians. As restrictions are beginning to ease, more and more residents are being given the green-light for non-essential travel. Although rules will vary from state to state, full inter-state travel restrictions are expected to be lifted within the coming months. Along with this, both Australian and New Zealand leaders, Scott Morrison and Jacinda Ardern have shared that they have a joint-interest in introducing a ‘Trans-Tasman travel bubble’ that would allow unrestricted travel between the ANZAC nations.
As both governments are, understandably, moving very cautiously; there has been no set time frame regarding the introduction of this ‘bubble’. Given inter-state restrictions are yet to be lifted, it can be expected that it won’t be put in place until the risk of cross-contamination is at a minimum.
Benefits of the Trans-Tasman Bubble
Unrestricted travel between Australia and New Zealand could work to greatly benefit both countries’ economies as both nations share a closely integrated tourist network. Reports by Tourism Research Australia show that New Zealand travellers made up a total of 14.91% of all international travellers during 2019. This makes New Zealand our second-largest market, right behind China. Given the tourism industry generated $2.6 billion from NZ travellers during 2019, re-introducing the NZ market could prove to be a lifeline for many tourist-centric businesses in Australia.
The same could be said for New Zealand as its travel numbers are somewhat similar. As presented by Tourism New Zealand, Australia is the country’s largest tourist market, with as many as 590,000 Australian travellers visiting between April 2019 and March 2020. A lift on the restrictions could be crucial as NZ enters its annual ski-season; an influx of eager Australian tourists could be exactly what it needs.
Will other countries be included?
With the continued discussion on the Trans-Tasman Bubble, other nearby countries have also shown an interest in being included. These include the Pacific Island nations of Fiji and the Cook Islands. As both countries are popular tourist destinations for Australian and NZ travellers alike, it comes as no surprise that they are interested in opening their borders. Along with this, as both countries have remained relatively untouched by COVID, they could prove to be a low-risk stepping stone for the re-introduction of international markets.
As with NZ, there has been no set-plans for the introduction of Pacific Island countries, in fact, it has not yet been confirmed whether they will be included. Again, the time frame will revolve around each country’s ability to control the spread of COVID. Though, if you are itching to head overseas, the Pacific Islands may be in reach within the near future.
Places to Visit – Things to do!
As aviation and tourist-focused industries look to bounce back from the pandemic, consumers can likely expect low prices on airfares, accommodation, holiday packages and cruise tickets as companies attempt to entice reluctant travellers. This could mean your next holiday could be taken at a fraction of the normal cost! If you’re currently cooped up inside and dreaming of your next holiday (we’re with you on this one), why wait?! Let us give you some insight on the best places to visit once the Trans-Tasman bubble has been established:
Great Barrier Reef
Being one of the seven wonders of the natural world, the Great Barrier Reef is a must-see for Australian residents and international travellers alike. Located just off the east coast of Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef stands as the largest reef system on Earth, covering approximately 344,400 square kilometres. If you’re looking for a marine adventure, it doesn’t get better than the Great Barriers reef.
With its pristine waters and low tides, there is no shortage of amazing sights to see. Some of the most popular methods of exploring this natural wonder include; snorkelling, glass-bottom boat tours and scuba-diving. Other popular activities include; fishing, kayaking and island hopping. Not only is the coral incredibly diverse and beautiful but there are also over 1,600 unique species of animals to encounter! These include; fish, turtles, sharks, whales, rays and dugongs. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a location with more marine life!
First established in 1835 with the arrival of settlers from Tasmania, then known as Van Diemen’s Land, Melbourne was one the first large settlements on mainland Australia. After being declared a city in 1847 and then the capital of Victoria in 1851, Melbourne has grown to become the second-most populous city in Australia. Thanks in part to the great Australian gold rush during the mid 19th century, the city has become known as the cultural melting pot of Australia due to the wide variety of ethnicities and cultures.
It is due to this diversity that the city is such a wonder to explore! Channel your inner Aussie and spend a day at the local bowls clubs, head to Etihad Stadium to watch the local AFL team (up the Demons!) or sit down for a chicken parmigiana and a pint at one of the many pubs. If you’re feeling artsy, take a stroll through an art gallery, jump around to some live music or laugh out loud at a comedy club.
For a more cultural experience, it would be best to simply explore the city. With pop-up markets, corner stores and food stands, the city is practically oozing with unique experiences. One notable example is Melbourne’s own Chinatown, one of the oldest Chinese settlements outside of Asia, it offers everything you could expect from traditional cuisine, medicine and entertainment!
Kaikōura, South Island
Located on the eastern coast of New Zealand’s southern island is Kaikōura, a picturesque coastal village known for its marine life and unique animal encounters. The name ‘Kaikōura’ comes directly from the Māori language, New Zealand’s indigenous population, and literally translates to ‘food crayfish’. As the name suggests, crayfish is Kaikōura’s specialty. Just a two-hour drive from Christchurch, Kaikōura is a great stop for those looking to explore New Zealand’s landscapes with the offer of whale-watching tours, coastal hikes and dolphin swimming!
Queenstown, South Island
Queenstown is your one-stop-shop for everything New Zealand has to offer. Offering all of the amenities common for a modern city, Queenstown is also uniquely assimilated with its natural surroundings. This means a pristine climate, stunning views and plenty of outdoor activities. From casual experiences like hiking, nature tours and fishing; Queenstown also offers a good variety of adrenaline-filled experiences.
Test your courage and take the plunge by bungy jumping off the historic Kawarau Bridge. Zip through the forest or over a canyon at one of a number of high speed flying foxes or try out the world’s highest swing, the Nevis Swing – we would recommend packing an extra pair of pants for this one. Being one of the few destinations in Oceania with consistent snowfall, Queenstown is perfect for those looking for a world-class skiing (or snowboarding) experience. Whether you’re a beginner or veteran, the ski fields of Queenstown will have something for everyone.
Bouma National Heritage Park, Fiji
Located on Taveuni, Fiji’s third-largest island, Bouma National Heritage Park is a dream for any nature-loving individuals. Covering roughly 80% of the island, the park offers everything you could want from a nature adventure. Including birdwatching, hiking trails and kayaking routes. Along with this, you can snatch a moment of respite from the tropical heat by taking a dip in the natural pools under one of the three Tavoro Waterfalls, each maintained by each of the four nearby villages; Waitabu, Vidawa, Korovou, and Lavena. To sum it all up, you can make the trek to Des Voeux Peak, a mountain that offers spectacular views from its 1,195-meter summit.
Aitutaki Lagoon, Cook Islands
Comprising a host of smaller islands, Aitutaki is best known for its lagoon. The quintessential tropical paradise, Aitutaki’s crystal-like turquoise water makes it look like something out of a film. Like many tropical destinations, Aitutaki offers all of the usual kayaking, snorkelling and fishing experiences. Though, if you are looking for a little more freedom, you could hire a private boat to visit one of the 21 smaller islands dotted around the outer edge of the lagoon, most of which are uninhabited.
If you’re looking to stay, the lagoon offers gorgeous places of accommodation at a wide range of prices. From resorts to bungalows both luxurious and modest, there are plenty of accommodation options. So whether you’re honeymooning or are on a trip with the family, Aitutaki could be the place!
If you are looking to travel without an immediate dent in your budget, consider a holiday loan with Nifty. We offer quick cash loans to eligible applicants from $300 to $10,000. We are a 100% online lender, so our loan processing speed is as fast as it gets.