Australia’s trans-Tasman travel bubble with New Zealand will officially open this month, with Kiwis permitted to visit New South Wales and the Northern Territory from October 16. Huge, huge news.

Speaking in Canberra this morning, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack announced Kiwis outside of coronavirus hotspot areas will soon be permitted to enter NSW and the NT without first spending two weeks under quarantine.

This doesn’t mean Australians are free to travel to New Zealand, mind you, just that Kiwis can come here.

“I know if [New Zealand Prime Minister] Jacinda Ardern wants to have Australians going into New Zealand, that will be up to her,” McCormack said.

He said the plan will have other benefits, as eliminating the need for New Zealanders entering those regions to undergo hotel quarantine will free up hundreds of spaces for Australians returning from overseas.

McCormack added that South Australia will likely be the next state to enter the scheme.

The decision mirrors a draft roadmap from a peak Aussie travel industry body, who last week said that permitting tourists from New Zealand – which is doing a bloody good job battling coronavirus infections – would be a solid first step towards totally unrestricted travel.

It’s important to note that New Zealanders visiting Australia will still have to quarantine upon their return home, too.

Speaking after today’s announcement, Ardern said, “In our view, we are not ready to have quarantine-free travel with Australia.

“They have a very different strategy to us, and so they’re making that decision and that is their prerogative, but for now, we of course have to keep New Zealanders safe.”

Extremely promising signs, though.

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