After almost 600 days of being shut off from the world, Australia is finally opening up to international visitors.
Australians — and intrepid travellers around the world — rejoiced in the good news as the first group of tourists touched down at Sydney Airport on November 1st.
Although the initial list of nationals that can travel to Australia will start off with only a few countries, it is expected to be expanded as Australia moves away from a zero-COVID policy.
Those who want to visit Australia in the future can find out further information about its visa policies, and keep an eye out for new developments and reopenings, the majority of which are planned for 2022.
Who Can Travel To Australia?
After hitting the milestone of vaccinating 80 per cent of the population, Australia has finally loosened entry restrictions.
During the G-20 summit in Italy, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison met with several leaders to discuss the reopening of his country’s borders.
After finalizing Australia’s reopening plan, Morrison noted, “Australia is open. Australians are travelling again… Australia’s opening up to Singapore, opening up to New Zealand.”
The first group of citizens permitted into Australia are those from neighbouring New Zealand, who are already allowed to enter.
The next set of foreigners in Australia’s reopening plan are Singaporeans. Starting on November 21st, travellers from Singapore will be able to enjoy quarantine-free travel as long as they are fully vaccinated and meet the entry requirements.
At the moment, only two states in Australia — New South Wales and Victoria — are open to foreign guests. However, this is bound to change soon as the country expands its reopening plan.
Travellers who are on Australia’s ‘approved list’ will need to be fully vaccinated and test negative twice before departure. Upon arrival, these travellers will not need to undergo self-isolation or quarantine if they visit NSW or Victoria. However, other states, such as Western Australia, may have different requirements.
Australia currently has 8 vaccines that received approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), These include Pfizer–BioNTech, Vaxzevria (also known as AstraZeneca), Covisheld, Moderna, Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), CoronaVac, Sinopharm, and Covaxin.
However, this list is not exhaustive, and the TGA may approve vaccines that can be used for inbound travel to Australia in the near future.
Where To Go In Australia
Although a complete reopening is still months away, it can’t hurt to dream about all of the fantastic places to add to your bucket list.
Australia covers an entire continent, and, not surprisingly, has plenty of amazing attractions to explore.
From the dozens of national parks and wildlife reserves to its world-famous beaches and islands (including the Great Barrier Reef!), sprawling deserts, UNESCO-listed attractions, and bustling cities, there’s something for everyone.
Although it’s widely known that the kangaroo is a symbol of Australia, not many have heard of its namesake: Kangaroo Island!
Indeed, there is an entire island “dedicated” to these cute creatures — the third-largest island off the coast of mainland Australia! — that travellers can see for themselves. Kangaroo Island features more than 60,000 kangaroo residents, as well as koalas, wallabies, echidna, and dozens of different bird species.
Ayers Rock, which is also better known as Uluru, is one of the most recognizable rock formations in Australia and the country’s main natural tourist attraction.
This iconic attraction is one of the best testaments to the power of nature: although it stands at a height of nearly 350 meters high and a circumference of 9.4 km, perhaps the most shocking fact is that Uluru is half a billion years old!
Over the course of the day, this mystical rock is capable of changing colours: at dawn the monolith is the lightest shade, then turns a reddish purple during the day, before fading into a rusty orange in the evening.
One of the best ways to see the rock is to take a guided walk — such as the Uluru base walk — to fully connect with its power.
If Mount Uluru is considered to be the country’s main natural attraction, then Sydney is its megapolis counterpart.
No matter where you look, Sydney has an air of peaceful juxtaposition. From the lush green parks that merge with the busy Central Business District, to the historical museums coexisting next to huge shopping centres, this city has achieved perfect harmony.
However, perhaps the biggest landmark in Sydney is none other than the world-famous Sydney Opera House. Known for its unusual design, the Opera House hosts hundreds of events a year, from comedy tours to dramas, dance performances, and more.
Last but not least, the SS Ayrfield is a hidden gem that not many Sydneysiders know about! Located in Homebush Bay, the SS Ayrfield is a steam collier ship that originally transported coal between Newcastle and Sydney during the 1900s.
After being partially dismantled, work ceased and the ship was effectively abandoned. In recent years, local photographers and alternative tourists have resurrected the ship’s popularity thanks to its unique feature: a fully-fledged mangrove forest growing onboard!