Trans-Tasman bubble

Old Apr 6th, 2021, 02:40 PM
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Trans-Tasman bubble

Like many other would-be Trans-Tasman travelers in NZ, I'm cautiously optimistic, but questions remain regarding travel insurance cover. More info here:
https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/news/...s-need-to-know
https://www.sbs.com.au/news/the-aust...w-it-will-work
https://www.odt.co.nz/star-news/star...cover-expenses

Western Australia, unlike other states, has refused to let New Zealanders into the state "unless they have spent 14 days elsewhere in the country or undergo a quarantine period."
https://www.watoday.com.au/national/...06-p57gyq.html
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Old Apr 7th, 2021, 12:57 AM
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Not being able to get travel insurance medical coverage for COVID is a real worry. Any time spent in hospital overseas, especially somewhere like intensive care, would be horribly expensive. There is also the strong possibility of last minute border closures or unexpected (costly) hotel quarantine. I hope Australians and New Zealanders can enjoy the so-called bubble but too many issues from my point of view.
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Old Apr 7th, 2021, 04:41 PM
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NZ and Australia have reciprocal limited health agreements. Under these agreements, "A citizen or permanent resident of Australia, including the territories of Coco (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island, is covered by the New Zealand/Australia Reciprocal Health Agreement if they are on a temporary visit (up to two years long) to New Zealand and in the opinion of the provider of medical treatment, need immediately necessary medical treatment while in New Zealand."

More of a worry are costs related to quarantine, if the travel bubble is temporarily suspended due to an outbreak.

I think both countries were strongly motivated to remove barriers so that family and friends spread across both countries could finally re-unite without worries about having to spend time in NZ quarantine. NZ is also hoping to revive its struggling tourism industry. Domestic tourism has been going strong, but places and businesses that were heavily dependent on tourists from abroad, such as Queenstown or Waitomo, have not been able to make up for the loss of international tourists. According to Tourism New Zealand, "Prior to COVID-19, Australia was New Zealand’s largest international visitor market, accounting for almost half of all international visitor arrivals and spent $2.7b in 2019." This travel bubble goes into effect just in advance of ski season. After the travel bubble announcement, several thousand Australians booked Queenstown getaways.
https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/trave...reg-foran.html

Of course, this is also good for the airlines. Since the announcement, Air New Zealand flights to Australia have almost sold out, even though many more flights have been added and new routes have been established (such as Auckland to Hobart).
https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/trave...-sold-out.html

I'll wait until I've been vaccinated before I consider booking a flight to Australia or the South Pacific.
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Old Apr 8th, 2021, 05:26 AM
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Diamantina - Good to see you here, it's been awhile.

I'm curious as to the vaccination progress in NZ. Spouse and I are getting our second jab today here in Colorado and can't wait to travel internationally again. Looks like it could still be some time though, so we've booked a couple of short getaways here in our backyard.

Interesting that WA won't allow NZ visitors in without quarantine. NZ has done a better job with COVID than any other country as far as I can tell.

Just yesterday I was telling Bill that I was jealous of Kiwis having their own country back. While some businesses are no doubt suffering, it must be wonderful to have the run of the country without tourists, a real opportunity for one to see one's own backyard.

I'd have loved having CO back for a year - but that just didn't happen - probably logistically impossible. Instead we've been overrun with visitors from other parts of the country wanting to get out of their states and head for the hills. People who've never hiked, skied, camped or taken an interest in the outdoors suddenly decided they must come here. And because so many of them have come from states with lax COVID restrictions, they've brought their COVID with them.
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Old Apr 9th, 2021, 10:14 PM
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Hello, Melnq! That's good news that you've been vaccinated!

I'm hoping I haven't accidentally posted this twice.

To answer your question: to date, only 19,273 NZ residents have been fully vaccinated.
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/covid-...UN6MRMCOQKO2U/

The NZ govt. started vaccinating border and quarantine/managed isolation workers in February. People in their households are also eligible to receive the vaccine. To the best of my knowledge, about 90% of border and quarantine/managed isolation workers have been vaccinated. A security guard at a Auckland managed isolation hotel, who missed his vaccination appts. for "personal reasons", was responsible for the most recent community outbreak. The govt. has now decided to move non-vaccinated border and quarantine/managed isolation workers into less high-risk jobs.

In March, frontline healthcare workers started getting vaccinated. My husband got his first vaccination this past week as part of this group. People who live in high-risk areas, such long-term residential care homes and care-home employees, elderly Māori and Pacific people cared for by their whānau and their carers, and vulnerable people who live in the Manakau area (where many of Auckland's border operations and MIQ facilities are located) are also included in the second group.

The third priority group will begin to be vaccinated in May and will include "people aged 65 or older, disabled people, pregnant people (any trimester), have a relevant underlying health condition, people living in custodial settings." I fall into this 65+ group. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines provide immunity for about 6 months. As I feel at very low risk of catching Covid here In Dunedin (knock on wood) and have no immediate plans to travel abroad, I'm in no rush to get vaccinated. I want to be vaccinated but can wait.

The general population will start to be offered vaccines in July. I think it'll be slow-going getting everyone vaccinated. These are the details of NZ's vaccine rollout plan.
https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/...an-get-vaccine

I can only speak to how the border closing has affected Dunedin, as I haven't been traveling out of town due to some unexpected major expenses (though I certainly wanted to travel domestically).. I'd say it's been different having the country closed to international tourists. My impression is many Kiwis finally got around to seeing parts of their own country, and Dunedin was surely on many a "tick-off" list. Campervans and tour buses still roll through, though fewer than before. Our local Otago Farmers Market is as busy as ever. Through the summer, our most popular local beach, St. Clair, buzzed with surfers and swimmers; restaurants on its Esplanade were full; dozens of people still lined up for Patti's & Cream Ice Cream truck. The weather's been relatively mild over the past year, so people have been out and about, enjoying themselves. A lot of Kiwis expats have returned to NZ since March 2020, and NZ has also welcomed many new foreign workers (veterinarians, doctors, nurses and other health care workers, horticulture workers, mariners, entertainers, actors and film crews, and so on). This could be contributing reasons as to why our city feels almost as busy as before.

One interesting reveal: while Kiwis are fond of blaming international for road accidents, there have been just as many road accidents since the border closed:
https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/123...order-closures

I never minded much having tourists around, that is, the well behaved ones. Though I definitely don't miss these kind of folks.
https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/g...french-embassy
Or tourists who harassed wildlife, though Kiwis and their dogs have proven themselves capable of this as well.
Cruise ships days could also be pretty intense, particularly when there were two mega-ships in town. I tried to avoid going downtown on these days. It's been particularly tough for local tour operators who depended on cruise ship passengers. Some hotels that mostly catered to large tour groups have also had to close..

Apart from the badly behaved, I kind of miss the international tourists.

I'm originally from San Francisco, so I grew up interacting with tourists, answering questions like:. "How do I get to Chinatown?" or "How do I get to Fisherman's Wharf?" or "How do I get to the Golden Gate Bridge?" I enjoyed answering these questions, they made me feel like I was an expert at something.. I also lived briefly in Santa Fe, Rio de Janeiro and Waikiki, so I'm quite used to being around tourists. I first came to NZ as a tourist. I've traveled the world as a tourist and have appreciated being welcomed by kindness and hospitality and how locals have answered my many questions.

I'm sorry you weren't able to enjoy a visitor-free Colorado. I can only imagine how crowded it must have gotten as people fled large cities and headed to what they perceived as mountain towns little affected by Covid. I've read that residents of California's Lake Tahoe were similarly overwhelmed by outsiders.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...rus-california

I also read many Hawaii residents were thrilled at having their state closed for a short while:
https://apnews.com/article/travel-pa...7ae8e3d248738c
But that peace is apparently gone for now:
https://www.sfgate.com/hawaii/articl...y-16056414.php

Last edited by Diamantina; Apr 9th, 2021 at 10:25 PM.
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Old Apr 10th, 2021, 06:13 AM
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OMG, so glad that despicable French woman was caught in the act. All the more upsetting since NZ is so well set up for travelers, with a free loo in even the tiniest towns. Once in Las Vegas I saw a woman crouch down on a walkway and do her business in broad daylight. I was so shocked I couldn't even react.

Many out-of-staters seemed to think that CO locals got the ski slopes back this year, but that wasn't even remotely true. Bill sat out the whole season due to the onslaught of out-of-state visitors and the COVID restrictions. Some ski areas made it very unattractive for locals - they closed the changing rooms and forced those bringing their lunch to eat in their cars. So locals who drove up for a day of skiing had to change in the parking lot or wear their ski clothes in the car, which in our case would be two hours each way. Necessary, but unappealing. Lots of visitors complained about, or refused to wear masks, and more seemed interested in getting around the rules than simply complying, putting ski resort staff at risk.

The National Parks had record breaking visitor numbers last year, despite timed entry and limited admission, and I'm afraid it's going to be even worse this year. We live in a mountain town and pre-Covid there was already a steady stream of campervans, motorcycle and cars on the highway through town in the summer. Last summer was mind-boggling. I'll probably be sticking pretty close to home this summer for that reason alone.
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Old Apr 11th, 2021, 04:38 PM
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Melnq8, that sounds awful, "badly behaved tourists" doesn't begin to describe the rule-breaking, maskless vacationers who, in their selfish quest for a holiday, put others' lives at risk. The behavior of a French backpacker caught defecating on a Dunedin street just a couple of minutes walk from a public toilet pales in comparison.

Every day I feel gratitude for the swift action taken by the NZ govt. to quickly control the spread of Covid, but this could only have happened because New Zealand residents by and large followed the rules and restrictions laid out for us by medical experts working with the NZ govt. Now we enjoy the freedom of living normally, which is something few of us take for granted.

Last edited by Diamantina; Apr 11th, 2021 at 04:42 PM.
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