Travel guide: Australia’s new state travel rules for international arrivals
Australia is open to vaccinated travellers, but each state has a set of rules for new arrivals. Photo/Getty Images
Australia has opened its borders to vaccinated tourists from around the world.
With new home isolation options taking effect from one minute to midnight on Sunday, many Kiwis could be planning their first trip across the divide in more than six months.
However, the grand reopening is not as consistent as one might think. Western Australia lags behind the rest, not officially opening its borders to travel until one minute past midnight on Thursday morning March 3.
The Australian Department of the Interior says it is the responsibility of travelers to be aware of the state border requirements which are set by the territorial governments. Some are fairly straightforward, but others require additional testing, booster shots or additional permits such as Western Australia’s G2G pass.
“If you wish to travel to another state or territory, you may not be permitted entry or be subject to a quarantine period,” advises the DHA.
If you’re planning to cross state lines or stay a little further afield, here’s what you need to know.
Entry into Australia
Currently, all arrivals into the country will already need to meet the requirements of having an international Covid-19 vaccination certificate and complete a digital passenger declaration, at least 72 hours before departure.
You will also need to provide proof of a recent negative Covid-19 test before boarding your flight. This must take place within 72 hours of travel for a PCR or NAAT test.
It is possible to do a RAT within 24 hours, but it must be done under supervision, with a medical certificate as proof.
In addition to this, you must have the normal entry visas that you would normally require to travel to Australia.
Currently, Australia welcomes all visitors considered “vaccinated for the purpose of international travel”. Currently, you can travel if your international certificate shows two doses of a TGA-approved vaccine taken 14 days apart.
However, some states now require a third “booster” dose to enter. Unboosted travelers may find their travel options are limited as to where they go and how they travel in Australia.
This could also change at a later date, if reminders are needed.
Perth is once again welcoming quarantine-free travel from New Zealand on March 3.
Those arriving on a direct or connecting flight from New Zealand will need to have a G2G Pass (Good to Go Pass) registered in their name.
You must also perform a rapid antigen test within 12 hours of arriving in the state and report any positive results.
Over the next two weeks, all arrivals will receive a rapid antigen test to help meet these interim testing requirements.
Direct flights from New Zealand are currently only weekly, but Air NZ intends to increase its schedule to three times a week by April.
Currently, you only need two registered doses to arrive by air as an international traveler.
It gets a bit trickier for those hoping to cross state lines into WA, who must be “triple vaccinated” and still take a RAT within 12 hours of entering the state.
For more information: www.wa.gov.au/government
New South Wales
A popular entry point for New Zealanders, and likely to continue to see visitors from across Tasmania, New South Wales lifted hotel quarantine for vaccinated travelers on February 21. It also reduced the quarantine for unvaccinated arrivals to just 7 days.
Passengers arriving in New South Wales should proceed directly to their accommodation and pick up a RAT within 24 hours. They must isolate themselves there until they return a negative test.
NSW says it is “recommended to travel in a private vehicle, taxi or carpool”.
You should not visit public areas until you have returned that first negative RAT result.
You can stay with your family or loved ones in New South Wales, but should not share the same room during this period of isolation.
A second RAT is required after 6 days.
Those arriving across the border or on a domestic flight have a much easier time. There are no longer restrictions on interstate travel to NSW.
Travelers are still advised to monitor themselves for symptoms of Covid-19 and practice good hygiene.
For more information: nsw.gov.au/covid-19/travel-restrictions
Travelers to Victoria must show proof that they are at least ‘double vaccinated’ against Covid-19.
International arrivals must go directly to their accommodation and take a RAT or arrange a PCR test within 24 hours of arrival. It is advisable to opt for the RAT, as you will have to isolate yourself until you get a negative result.
Victoria requires travelers to carry your negative result and an ID with them for seven days after arriving in Australia.
Interstate arrivals do not require testing to cross a state border or on a domestic flight.
You are no longer required to have a border entry permit if you have arrived in Australia or have been abroad in the last 14 days.
For more information: coronavirus.vic.gov.au/information-overseas-travellers
Fully vaccinated international arrivals can enter Queensland without quarantine if they take a Covid-19 test within 24 hours of arrival and self-isolate until they test negative.
Again, RAT or PCR testing is offered as an option, keeping in mind the expectation of a negative result.
Queensland specifically says international arrivals “must not use public transport” to get to their accommodation.
Taxis, rental cars or other private vehicles are acceptable – Brisbane International Airport has a list of approved transport providers.
Besides Australia, you can enter Queensland from another Australian state without restrictions.
There is a provision: if you have been to a country not considered part of the “safe travel zone” in the past 14 days, you may be subject to testing and isolation.
For more information: qld.gov.au/internationalarrivalstoqld
South Australia considers international travelers over the age of 12 fully immunized if they have proof of two injections of an ATAGI-approved vaccine.
Unvaccinated children between the ages of 12 and 17 can also enter South Australia, provided they are traveling with a vaccinated parent or guardian.
The tests are slightly different, as there is currently no provision for RAT results.
International travelers must take a PCR test within 24 hours of arriving in South Australia.
You must self-isolate until you have passed this test and not enter “High-Risk Settings” for 7 days after arrival. High-risk places, including nursing homes, prisons or hospitals – other public places are suitable.
Travelers are free to enter South Australia from another state without restrictions.
However, arrivals must manually contact the trace or use the specific “COVID SAfe Check-In” application.
Inexplicably, this is different from the national COVIDSafe app.
For more information: covid-19.sa.gov.au/travel
The NT no longer has additional entry restrictions or testing requirements for international arrivals, regardless of vaccination status.
Certain parts of the Territory do however have additional Covid-19 requirements. Leisure travelers should not enter areas designated as “excluded communities” due to low vaccination rates.
The current map of NT communities by region can be found here.
For more information: coronavirus.nt.gov.au/travel
The island state of Tasmania, Australia+, had a relatively isolated pandemic. It is preparing to remove all entry requirements for travellers, regardless of their vaccination status.
From midnight after midnight on Saturday morning February 26 you
This streamlines ground travel requirements for interstate arrivals – however, in practice, international travelers at Hobart Airport will still need to meet Australian Commonwealth requirements to arrive without an exemption. (Full vaccination as defined by DHA, plus digital passenger declaration and Covid-19 testing before departure.)
If traveling further afield to the islands of Tasmania, visitors to Flinders and King Island will be able to arrive on the islands without additional requirements. If you are required to quarantine or self-isolate, you will not be able to travel to any of the Furneaux Islands without prior approval from the Assistant State Comptroller.
For more information: wa.gov.au/government/covid-19-coronavirus
Australian Capital Territory
Canberra and the Capital Territory are currently not served by any international flights.
The only way to access the ACT is through another state, after completing all isolation and testing requirements there.
Vaccinated travelers who have been in the country for less than 7 days intending to visit the ACT will be required to pass a RAT within 24 hours of arrival. It can be self-assessed.
Any traveler over 12 and 2 months wishing to visit ACT must be fully vaccinated or face a quarantine period.
For more information: covid19.act.gov.au/travel