The first travelers to take advantage of New Zealand’s one-way travel bubble with New South Wales have arrived in Sydney.
International passengers are the first in more than six months to leave the airport freely without facing a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Auckland airport authorities have established a “safe travel zone” to separate passengers from those traveling to other destinations.
The more than 300 arrivals that landed at Sydney Airport were also segregated from other arrivals heading for the hotel’s quarantine.
As seen in the video above, there was an emotional reunion as some reconciled with their families for the first time since the pandemic struck.
Sydney’s wife, Stacey Brown, flew to New Zealand to be with her dying mother who died on day three of her isolation.
Being able to return home to his family without being forced into quarantine again has been a saving grace after such a difficult loss.
Others arrived just in time for the big events.
A couple landed hours before their son’s wedding.
For others, the holidays were not happy.
Juliet Robertson has returned home to see her sister, who is terminally ill.
“She is dying of cancer… it was a miracle when they opened the borders here,” she said.
The travel bubble remains one-sided at this point, Australian travelers – and New Zealand residents – still need to self-isolate upon arrival across the divide.
But New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian hopes the New Zealand Prime Minister will return the favor by Christmas.
Only five new cases were recorded in New South Wales on Friday, four of which were from travelers in hotel quarantine.
The fifth is linked to the Lakemba GP cluster.
These numbers, Berejiklian hopes, are good news for Sydneysiders’ New Zealand travel prospects.