April dates earmarked for Australian and NZ holidaymakers

By Melissa Coade

March 16, 2022

Greg Hunt
Health minister Greg Hunt. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

Australia will lift its ban on international cruise ships docking at Australian ports on April 17, a few days after New Zealand will welcome vaccinated Aussie tourists into the country without any requirement to quarantine for COVID-19. 

Health minister Greg Hunt announced the existing cruise ship ban, made under the Biosecurity Act 2015 on the basis of medical advice, would not be renewed.

The national cabinet had agreed that Australia’s eastern states made positive progress to develop appropriate health protocols and common guidelines to welcome back large international cruise vessels. Ships arriving and departing from Australia would however remain subject to the laws of respective state and territory governments, the minister said. 

“Lifting the cruise ban is consistent with the reopening of Australia’s international border and shows that we have successfully navigated Australia’s emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hunt said.

Before the COVID pandemic more than 600,000 tourists and crew arrived in Australia in 2019 aboard almost 350 vessels.

Home affairs minister Karen Andrews said she looked forward to seeing this important contributor to Australian tourism recover.

“I can’t wait to see our cruise terminals once again filled with arriving international passengers, getting this important industry ship-shape and back out on the water once more,” Andrews said in a statement. 

The minister for trade, tourism and investment Dan tehan said lifting the ban would help the cruise industry, tourism, the broader economy ‘step forward’ from COVID-19.

“We look forward to welcoming cruise ships and passengers back to Australian waters,” Tehan said. 

Meanwhile, New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Adern announced on Wednesday morning travellers from Australia could visit across the ditch from April 12 without the need to quarantine if they were fully vaccinated. Other tourists traveling from countries with visa waiver agreements with NZ can enter the country without needing to quarantine from the start of May.

“I look forward to welcoming back our trans-Tasman travellers, who have historically made up 40%of our international arrivals,” Ardern said.

“They will be able to arrive in time for the Australian school holidays and provide a particular boost for our coming winter ski season.”

In Australia, over 94% of people over 16 years have had two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and more than 12 million of those people have had a booster shot.


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