Woohoo: the trans-Tasman bubble is back on from Wednesday, with fully-vaccinated New Zealanders from the South Island now being allowed to come here without mandatory quarantine. However, Australians will still have to quarantine when heading over there.

The bubble was previously suspended due to the Delta outbreaks in Australia’s south-east and in New Zealand.

“Looking at the situation in the South Island of New Zealand, where they’ve not had any cases since last year, 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,” The Federal Government’s Chief Health Officer Paul Kelly 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 — as long as they’ve been there for 14 days — to come in quarantine free.”

It’s good news for some Australians who have been stuck in New Zealand for the last few months.

“I understand there are some Australians that have been stuck in the South Island of New Zealand for some time, and we’d welcome them home,” Kelly said.

Opening the bubble with New Zealand is the first step in the government’s plan to resume international travel. For some states, like NSW, this could be as soon as next month — though for other states, international travel wont be on again for a while. Health Minister Greg Hunt said that for now the priority is for Australians and their immediate family to come back.

“Phase one is the opening up of double vaccinated travel for Australians to leave, and for Australia residents and immediate family to come back,” he said.

“Phase two is for priority visa holders … such as students and priority workers.

“Phase three would be for fully vaccinated international travellers, that would include tourism, to arrive.”

While we can’t go packing our bags just yet, the slight re-opening of the Australian-New Zealand bubble is an exciting step in the right direction.

Image: Getty Images / DEA / C. DANI I. JESKE