When Can We Travel To Australia In 2021?
LAST UPDATE: MAY 11, 2021
Disclaimer: This information is collated from official sources but general in nature. Entry requirements are subject to change at any time. Keep checking for the latest advice from your local government, embassy, or consulate to confirm any visa or entry requirements before travel.
Restrictions around the world are gradually starting to ease as the global vaccine rollout gains momentum. While there is no exact date for the resumption of international travel just yet, we at INTRO are monitoring the situation closely. So, can we travel to Australia now? Read on for the latest updates.
AM I ALLOWED TO TRAVEL TO AUSTRALIA?
Currently most governments are advising against all but essential international travel, including to Australia.
From the 17th of May, Australia qualifies on the UK's 'green list' of countries, meaning quarantine is not required on return to the UK. However, Australia's strict entry requirements means it is still closed to British visitors.
Most international travellers are not allowed to enter Australia right now. The only people who can fly into Australia are Australian citizens, permanent residents, immediate family members of Australian citizens, and residents of New Zealand.
Very limited flights are currently available to and from Australia. Travellers can transit through Australia without an exemption if they are transiting for 72 hours or less, but must show a negative covid test taken within 72 hours of departure.
You can only enter Australia if in one of the categories mentioned above, so travellers who would normally enter on tourist or working holiday visas are currently restricted. If in an exempt category, you need an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) before your flight. This is delivered electronically and tied directly to your passport.
NEGATIVE COVID RESULT
Unless travelling on a quarantine-free flight from New Zealand, evidence of a negative covid test taken 72 hours or less before departure must be shown before travelling to Australia.
DO I NEED A VACCINE?
A covid vaccine is not yet mandatory to enter Australia. Nevertheless as more of the global population is vaccinated, and international travel returns to normal levels this will likely be implemented.
PROOF OF INSURANCE
Travel insurance is not necessary for citizens, residents, or immediate family members. However, when global travel resumes it is likely to be mandatory for international arrivals.
Unless travelling within the Australia - New Zealand travel bubble from April 19, all travellers to Australia (including Australian citizens) must quarantine for 14 days at a designated facility in their port of arrival. Travellers may be required to pay for the costs of quarantine depending on the state or territory.
People in Australia are encouraged to download the COVIDSafe app, a tool to help identify people exposed to coronavirus. When entering businesses such as bars, restaurants and shops, it is mandatory to check in with a QR code to record your presence.
RESTRICTIONS & OPEN TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
Lockdowns, contact tracing, and public adherence to the rules crushed cases of community transmission, and the zero tolerance strategy worked. Life in Australia is pretty normal right now, with restaurants, bars, clubs, concerts and domestic travel back in action.
Masks must be worn on all international flights, including in airports. Restrictions on mask wearing and open attractions varies across states, but Australia is pandemic-free!
Temporary visa holders in Australia can depart Australia at any time (i.e. backpackers who've been in Australia since March 2020), but will generally not be permitted to return to Australia.
From the 17th of May Australia qualifies on the UK's 'green list' of countries, meaning quarantine is not required on return to the UK. However, Australia's strict entry requirements means it is still closed to British visitors.
For information relevant to your situation keep up to date with local government announcements.
Australia has strict border measures in place to protect the health of the community, so travelling to Australia for tourism is not possible right now unless you're living in New Zealand.
NOTE: This information is general and restrictions are subject to change, so keep in touch with the latest official advice from your local government and Australian authorities.
WHEN WILL AUSTRALIA FULLY REOPEN TO TOURISM?
Due to the groundbreaking work of scientists around the globe, the distribution of covid vaccines has ramped up at incredible speed. Vaccines will hopefully see a return to 'regular' life sooner rather than later, and it's speculated that Australia will eventually ease restrictions so travellers may enter without quarantining. Like many countries, Australia is considering a vaccine passport system that will allow entry from travellers that have been fully vaccinated. Find out more about vaccine passports from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) here.
Australia's tourism sector relies heavily on international travel. Australia is eager to welcome tourists and working holiday makers back as soon as it is safe, but given the incredible success in eliminating community transmission, Australia will only open borders with extreme care.
We will update this article and our COVID page as official news breaks.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME OF YEAR TO TRAVEL AUSTRALIA?
Massive and diverse, it's always a good time to go backpacking in Australia! It is a whole continent, after all. In the Southern Hemisphere, seasons are reversed from the Northern Hemisphere. This means that English and American winter is Aussie summer, making it the perfect time to being your travel and beat the cold at home!
The coastal areas of NSW, Victoria, South Australia, and the southern part of Western Australia have temperate climates that make summer the perfect time to experience Australia’s lovely warm weather. Even if you travel Australia in winter, most regions don't experience very cold temperatures. It rarely gets below 0°C unless you are at the snow.
Queensland, Northern Australia, and the northern part of Western Australia are home to tropical climates that experience a rainy and dry season, much like Asia. The dry season runs during the winter from May to October. But don't let “winter” fool you, these climates remain fairly warm year round. Read more about visiting Australia in the off season here!
The outback of Australia is a desert climate that has hot days and cool nights. To make the most of Aussie weather, consider starting your journey in an area that is in peak season (i.e. Sydney or Melbourne in summer), then travelling around as the seasons change.
WHY VISIT AUSTRALIA?
It may be a long haul flight away, but experiencing the beauty, diversity and laid-back lifestyle that Australia is known for is 100% worth the journey. From fabulous sightseeing to unique wildlife encounters, there's nothing you can't do when backpacking in Australia.
Famous for its Harbour Bridge, Opera House and dazzling beaches, Australia's biggest city needs months to explore fully. Whatever your Australia travel itinerary, make sure Sydney is on it for at LEAST a few days. Grab an early morning coffee in Bondi before a yoga class, catch the iconic ferry to Manly for some beach time and fish n' chips, road trip to the Blue Mountains for epic views, indulge in the best multicultural cuisine in Chinatown, learn to surf like a local, drink craft beer in the trendy inner-west, end your night at a rooftop bar in the city centre.... the list of things to do is remarkably long in this shimmering harbour city.
EXPERIENCE WONDERS OF NATURE
A country so big has to include plenty of natural marvels, right? Right. From the magnificent Great Barrier Reef to the harsh beauty of the outback, there are countless sights worth seeing at least once in your lifetime. Apart from the usual highlights, some other spots to put on your Australia travel bucket list include the Bungle Bungles in West Australia, Cradle Mountain in Tasmania, Kakadu in the Northern Territory, Ningaloo Reef in West Australia, the Snowy Mountains in NSW, and the Great Ocean Road in Victoria.
ADOPT THE ULTIMATE LAID-BACK LIFESTYLE
Australians are welcoming, culturally diverse, and embrace the relaxed lifestyle that living near a coastline with fantastic weather provides, so it's an easy bet that you'll fall in love with the Aussie way of life. Imagine getting up for a morning swim, commuting amongst sunshine and clean air, working for good wage, and having abundant choices of venues and places to finish off the day with a schooner (beer). Work/life balance is key to physical and mental health, so it's no wonder that so many people choose to move to Australia on a Working Holiday Visa. Check out our Australia work and travel packages here to start planning your own adventure!
MEET FURRY LOCALS
From whale watching to cuddling koalas, there are plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with Australia's iconic wildlife. Most Aussie animals are endemic - meaning they're found nowhere else on earth - and an animal encounter is guaranteed to be a highlight of your visit. Ethical sanctuaries and wild animal spotting experiences can be found all over the country, some of our favourites include watching the penguin parade at Phillip Island and meeting the quokkas on Rottnest Island.
MELBOURNE'S PRETTY GREAT, TOO
Sydney steals a lot of attention, but if travelling around Australia we absolutely recommend visiting Melbourne. Australia's second biggest urban hub has a European flair, unbeatable coffee culture, and a booming arts and culture scene that spans from graffiti artists to symphony orchestras. Travel to Melbourne and you'll see why it's been voted the world's most liveable city, and don't forget to munch on some avocado toast. Read more about things to do in Melbourne on our blog here!
Although we can’t travel to Australia just yet, things are looking optimistic for the future. Travel restrictions are beginning to ease and tourism will return with a surge in demand, so now is the time to get planning, especially if you want to travel Australia on a gap year or working holiday!
If the Land Down Under sounds like your kind of adventure, click through to check out our Australia small group tours and working holiday packages here. With expertly crafted itineraries, the guidance of a knowledgable group leader, full end-to-end support, and a new group of friends to make memories with, our trips are the ultimate way to discover a new country! Oh, and did we mention that all of the activities on our itineraries are included? You heard right - everything we mention is included in the tour - no extra payments required. Travel with a group and enjoy the best of Australia, stress free.
With flexible booking policies and complete support during this uncertain time, you can be confident when booking with INTRO. Get ready to say G'day.