Summing up travel in 2021 with just one word is either “confusing” or “complex”. It seems that the fewer places there are to travel to, the more complicated a fiasco travel has become.

Don’t let the drama hold you back though.

Kiwi’s can now travel to Australia and Cook Islands quarantine-free, and with this quick reference tool, you can prepare for your next international sojourn.


Quarantine-free travel: New Zealand to Cook Islands

From May 17th 2021 anyone in New Zealand can travel quarantine-free to Cook Islands, as long as they meet eligibility and immigrations requirements. Here is a breakdown:

  • You must spend 14days in either New Zealand or Cook Islands, before travelling on a quarantine-free flight between the two countries.
  • You cannot fly from another country, into New Zealand and then head over to the Cook Islands quarantine-free. You’ll need to wait 14 days first (you can travel from day 15 onwards).
  • You mustn’t be awaiting the results of a covid-19 test taken in the past 14 days, nor can you have had a positive test result taken within the previous 14 days before departure.
  • Normal immigration rules apply, so if you normally need a visa to enter Cook Islands, you’ll still need one for quarantine-free travel (New Zealand citizens don’t need a visa to travel to Cook Islands, (we can happily check your visa requirements if you are unsure).
  • You don’t need a pre-departure covid-19 test for quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and Cook Islands.

At the Airport, on the Plane, and while you’re in the Cook Islands

  • You’re asked to wear a face covering while on your flight and at airports (either your own or one provided by your airline). Remember there might be extra health screening (such as temperature checks), so factor extra time into your airport plans.
  • If you have covid-19 symptoms at the airport, you won’t be allowed to travel, so if your symptoms are due to an unrelated condition, remember to bring a medical certificate with you (hay fever, for example).
  • If you feel unwell on your flight you might be isolated from others, and need a health assessment on arrival. You should be financially prepared in case you quarantine or hospital care.
  • The Cook Islands request travellers to physical distance as much as possible, avoid hugging, kissing or shaking hands, practice good hygiene and sanitise hands regularly.

Cook Island’s Tracking & Alerts

The Cooks Islands use a different tracking system to New Zealand. On arrival you’ll need to register for your unique CookSafe QR Card (a physical card to use for scanning when you enter public venues). CookSafe stations will be set up at most locations. Register for your QR Card at Rarotonga International Airport or the Tourism Visitor Information Centre in town. You should also download the CookSafe+ app and turn on Bluetooth. If you don’t use a smartphone while overseas, record your activity on a pen and paper.

It’s a good idea to get to know the alert level system which the Cook Islands have adopted, so you can be best placed for any changes that occur.

Head to the official Covid-19 website for full travel bubble criteria, and talk to us when you are ready to book your next trip.


Quarantine-free travel: New Zealand to Australia

New Zealand is quarantine-free for travellers arriving from Australia and, at time of writing this, all states and territories in Australia are participating in quarantine-free travel with New Zealand.

What does that mean, you ask? Travellers can fly between Australia and New Zealand without having to quarantine. But they must meet the following eligibility criteria, and normal immigration and biosecurity requirements.

  • Normal immigration rules apply, so if you usually need a visa, then you will need one to fly quarantine-free to Australia.
  • If you’re outside New Zealand, you can fly quarantine-free to Australia after you have met New Zealand’s managed isolation and quarantine requirements.
  • If you’re travelling from a country that has a quarantine-free arrangement with New Zealand (for example the Cook Islands), you must stay in New Zealand for 14 days first.
  • If you plan to travel to Australia, then return to New Zealand, you’ll need to meet visa and entry requirements for Australia before you travel, and have a valid New Zealand visa or NZeTA to return to New Zealand.
  • If you’re a temporary visa holder in New Zealand, you’ll need to meet New Zealand immigration requirements, to be able to return to New Zealand. This means you’ll need a ‘multiple entry’ visa that gives permission to leave New Zealand and return, provided all entry requirements are met.
  • You can only travel quarantine free to Australia if you have spent 14days in New Zealand first (you can travel from day 15 onwards).
  • Within 72hours of departure to Australia, you need to complete the Australia Travel Declaration.
  • You may also need to complete a travel declaration or apply for a travel permit for the state or territory you’re travelling to.
  • You don’t need a negative COVID-19 pre-departure test to travel to Australia on a quarantine-free flight. (Australia has sometimes introduced requirements for testing on arrival for people travelling from New Zealand).
  • Some states and territories require you to apply for a travel permit or complete a travel declaration (in addition to the Australia Travel Declaration).
  • We recommend registering at Safe Travel

Travel requirements can change fast, and we are always happy to answer your questions. To stay up to date with Australia travel restrictions, visit Department of Home Affairs . For the full travel bubble guidelines, visit Covid-19.