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Trans-Tasman travel bubble opens: In photos

A passenger on the first quarantine-free flight into Auckland embraces with a loved one Photo: RNZ/ Dan Cook.

It was hugs and tears all round today as family and friends reunited on the first day of the trans-Tasman bubble.

Thousands of people flew into New Zealand today from Australia on quarantine-free flights.

RNZ photographers and reporters were at Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown airports capturing the emotional reunions on camera.

Reporter Tess Brunton and camera operator Simon Rogers - both Australians - were on the first flight leaving Auckland this morning, heading to Sydney.

Passengers leaving Auckland on first day of trans-Tasman bubble Photo: RNZ/ Simon Rogers.

By 9.30am, 10 flights had departed Auckland for Australia and Brunton and Rogers had almost arrived in Australia. They were welcomed at Sydney Airport by drag queens and Kylie Minogue's Can't Get You Out Of My Head blaring over the loud speaker.

Drag queens welcome visitors to Australia on the first day of the trans-Tasman bubble Photo: RNZ/ Tess Brunton.

Meanwhile, in Auckland, people were starting to gather to welcome loved ones arriving from Australia.

A boy holds a 'welcome home' sign as families wait for people on board the first flight from Sydney to Auckland under the trans-Tasman bubble arrangement. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook.

Air New Zealand estimated roughly three-quarters of passengers crossing the ditch today would be family and friends reuniting after months apart.

Auckland Airport's 'welcome back' sign Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook.

The first commercial flight to arrive from Australia was from Sydney. It arrived in Auckland about 12.30pm, an hour after it was due.

A passenger gives a thumbs-up as he walks into the arrivals hall after flying from Sydney to Auckland Airport Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook.
An emotional reunion after the first flight from Australia arrives in Auckland Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook.
So many happy moments Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook.
So many smiles Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook.

Lily was at the airport waiting for her best friend Lilli. She said the two of them cried on the phone when she booked her flight.

Lily awaiting her best friend Lilli. She says the two of them cried on the phone when she booked her flight. Photo: RNZ/ Kate Gregan.

Finally, Lilli arrived.

Photo: RNZ/ Dan Cook.

Wellington Airport had not received any international passengers through its terminal in more than a year - until today.

Workers created a big black 'welcome whānau' sign yesterday, just in time for the trans-Tasman bubble flights.

Wellington Airport's 'welcome whānau' sign Photo: Supplied / Wellington Airport.
A passenger is reunited with loved ones after the first quarantine-free Wellington flight from Australia disembarks. Photo: Samuel Rillstone.
A passenger is reunited with loved ones after the first quarantine-free Wellington flight from Auckland disembarks. Photo: Samuel Rillstone.

Christchurch also welcomed its first quarantine-free flight this afternoon.

A soft touch and kiss as loved ones reunite at Christchurch Airport Photo: RNZ/ Nate McKinnon.
Loved ones embrace at Christchurch Airport Photo: RNZ/ Nate McKinnon.

Queenstown Airport had a band, face painters and stilt performers ready to welcome people arriving from Australia.

Stilt performers stand by to welcome visitors to Queenstown. Photo: RNZ / Belinda McCammon.

After touching down, the first quarantine-free flight into Queenstown went through the water arch - a salute to welcome the special visitors.

Photo: RNZ/ Belinda McCammon.

Passengers onboard Qantas Flight 121 were welcomed by cheers from the ground crew.

People prepare to welcome loved ones from across the ditch Photo: RNZ/ Belinda McCammon.

About 100 passengers were onboard the flight, the first into the town in 387 days.

An emotional reunion as loved ones greet each other at Queenstown Airport Photo: RNZ/ Belinda McCammon

This Canberra couple were on the first flight into Queenstown. They've never been to the resort town before, but made the special trip for their honeymoon.

Photo: RNZ/ Belinda McCammon.
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bubble

Posted on 20-04-2021 09:06 | By dumbkof2

make the most of it because the borders will be closed again very soon. it will only take one person to test positive