New Zealand expects to open a travel bubble with Australia from March next year, the NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed today.

This means that quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand maybe introduced by the end of March 2021, provided the rate of COVID-19 infections remains low in both countries.

In a press conference in NZ, Ms Ardern said the travel bubble between the two countries would open in the first quarter of the 2021.

The exact date will be announced after more arrangements have been made.

“It is our intention to name a date… in the New Year, once remaining details are locked down,” she said.

New Zealanders are desperate for a “much-need summer break,” she added.

Quarantine-free travel will also require Australian government approval, which the Health Minister Greg Hunt said was very likely.

“This is very simple because we already have committed toi the principle of a two-way bubble,” Mr Hunt said in response to Ms Ardern’s announcement.

New Zealand is one of Australia’s top cruise destinations, with many lines keen to trial cruises between the two countries once the ban on overseas ships ends in March, 2021