Christmas, Covid and Interstate travelling
The planning that is needed for the Christmas 2021 holidays is a little different from previous Christmas breaks. Whether it’s travelling to catch up with friends and family or you’re simply off on an adventure, we are all eager to travel interstate this Christmas. The holiday season is set to be a joyous one if a little conditional, as the vaccination numbers reach an all-time high and most domestic travel looks set to be resuming, and international travel is back to all NSW residents.
However, before the gifts are wrapped and the bags get packed, it is best to be aware of any restrictions or specific information required for the state you are hoping to travel to.
So, here’s an overview of what we need to know before travelling, let’s start with interstate travel.
Travelling to New South Wales
Starting with our home state, all fully vaccinated Australian holidaymakers can travel to NSW. Anyone who has visited a ‘place of high concern’ in the previous 14 days of entering NSW must receive a negative Covid-19 test before arrival. Visit the NSW health website to check the up to date concern notice. It is important to note that if you are unvaccinated there are stricter measurements. Residents from Victoria that are unvaccinated are not permitted to travel to NSW for holidays or recreation.
Once fully vaccinated, you are free to travel across NSW. It is worth remembering that mask-wearing is required in shops and on all NSW public transport, which is expected to be scrapped by December 15th. You must also check-in before entering any public premises.
Travelling to Victoria
Similar to NSW, there are no restrictions for interstate travel into Victoria. Home quarantine or Covid-19 testing are not required. You no longer need a travel permit to enter Victoria, regardless of vaccination status.
You are free to travel throughout Victoria, masks must be worn in all Victorian airports and public transport. They must also be worn in all indoor retail settings.
Travelling to Australian Capital Territory
You can travel to ACT from any state, provided you are fully vaccinated and have not been to a high-risk area in the previous 14 days of travelling. There are no requirements for fully vaccinated travellers to ACT. Unvaccinated travellers however are required to complete an exemption form and receive a negative Covid-19 test within 48 hours of travelling to ACT along with completing 14 days of quarantine.
It is important to note that face masks are required in airports and on flights to and from ACT.
Travelling to Queensland
The 13th of December is set to be the date of Queensland’s restrictions easing for interstate travellers who are fully vaccinated.
To enter Queensland from this date, interstate travellers will be required to complete a Queensland entry pass and provide proof of a negative Covid-19. The negative test must have been taken within 72 hours of crossing the Queensland border by either air or road. Once the above criteria are met, you are free to travel around Queensland without quarantine restrictions.
Please note, face masks must be worn in all airports and throughout your flight.
Travelling to the Northern Territory
From the 20th of December, fully-vaccinated arrivals to the Northern Territory will not be required to home quarantine. However, all travellers entering NT will be required to have a Covid-19 Rapid Antigen Test upon arrival. A testing regime will also remain in place for arrivals from declared red zones.
It is worth noting that face masks must be worn in all airports and for the duration of all flights.
Travelling to South Australia
Fully vaccinated travellers from all states can enter South Australia. An Entry Check SA application must be submitted regardless of the state you are travelling from. Those travelling from a moderate to a high-risk area must return a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of entering the state and then provide a further negative test within 24 hours in SA.
Unvaccinated travellers who have received permission to enter South Australia must complete 14 days of quarantine.
It is important to note face masks must be worn in all indoor venues, including the airports, throughout the flight and on public transport in South Australia.
Travelling to Tasmania
From the 15th of December, Tasmania is set to open its borders to fully vaccinated interstate travellers. From this date, travellers will be allowed to enter without quarantine.
Travellers who have been in high-risk areas 14 days before their entry are required to return a negative Covid-10 test within 72 hours of their arrival to the state.
Travellers entering Tasmania must register their travel via the Tas e-Travel system. All travellers to Tasmania, including returning residents, need to provide their contact and travel details before entering the state. Tasmania’s border entry conditions depend on where each traveller has spent time before their day of arrival.
Unvaccinated travellers entering Tasmania are required to test and also quarantine at a government-designated quarantine facility at the cost of the traveller.
To note, masks are mandatory at airports, planes, public transport and high-risk indoor settings.
Travelling to Western Australia
Western Australia has a controlled interstate border arrangement. The WA Government classifies areas as either very low, low-, medium-, high or extreme-risk jurisdictions- depending on the risk of COVID-19 in those areas. The restrictions that you must follow is depending on where you are travelling from and what risk is classified. WA is predicted to open its borders to fully vaccinated domestic travellers without quarantine in late January or early February 2022. A specific date has not been set as it will be determined by the vaccination rate within the state.
Are there any additional costs to consider when travelling interstate this Christmas?
As some states require travellers to have a Covid-19 test and provide proof of a negative result, you may need to go to a private pathologist and pay for this test. The tests can cost between $50 – $150.
It is also important to note what is accepted by the state you are travelling to as proof of a negative test. For some states a text message is sufficient however for others an official certificate is required.
What if I am travelling Internationally?
International travel is now open to most Australian citizens and permanent residents, including those who are fully vaccinated residing in NSW. You will have to provide evidence of your vaccination status when you check-in at the airport. It’s your responsibility to check ahead of time what documentation and requirements are needed for overseas travel, including:
- Any Covid-19 testing required
- A valid passport
- A digital vaccination passport
- A visa
- Any compulsory insurance, and proof of vaccination
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*Please use this article as a guide to booking your travel over the Christmas holiday season, and always check directly with the relevant state or territory government websites, airlines as close to your travel dates as possible, as border rules can change at short notice.