There's excitement at Auckland Airport as people get their first chance for quarantine-free travel to Australia since the outbreak of Covid 19 in March.
From today, New South Wales and the Northern Territory are allowing New Zealanders in without needing to quarantine. But those returning to New Zealand will still need to go through quarantine.
Newstalk ZB's Khalia Strong is at Auckland Airport, where passengers have arrived for the first flight to Sydney later this morning.
She says there is a flurry of activity at the international terminal, and people excited to be returning home or seeing family for the first time in many months.
Airport staff are also remarking to each other about how good it is to see people back in the international terminal.
Travellers will still face 14 days' quarantine upon return to New Zealand, at a cost of $3200.
Nearly all of those booked on the first flight due to leave mid-morning have one-way tickets. Around 200 people are expected to board this morning.
Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran said in order for the airline to continue to carry passengers safely and identify passengers with travel not originating in New Zealand, it had introduced "quarantine" and "quarantine-free" flights.
"The quarantine-free flights will be for travellers originating from New Zealand who are flying from Auckland to Sydney and are not required to quarantine on arrival in Australia.''
Quarantine flights would be open to passengers who do not meet the Safe Travel Zone criteria and would be required to quarantine on arrival in Australia.
Flight NZ103 will depart Auckland at 10.40am and will be a quarantine-free flight.
Air New Zealand is currently operating eight return flights between Auckland and Sydney per week and will look to operate two quarantine flights per week, while the remaining flights will be quarantine-free.
Passengers are being warned if they want to interstate beyond New South Wales they will need to ensure they have checked state and territory travel restrictions and have the appropriate exemptions or approvals to travel as these continue to change.
The New Zealand government is working on setting up a two-way quarantine-free system but has said it will only do so when safe