So much frustration for most of the year trying to get to Australia, but I did it! I got here in the end, and looking back it was rather easy.
Before I left there were so many questions, the most important of course was, will the plane fly? Putting that question aside, there are also many other questions to think about. I spent hours trolling the Australian government web sites and Government State websites for information on what was expected before departure and on arrival. I had already come to the conclusion that I would have to fly into New South Wales instead of Queensland as the QLD border was still shut. The information I was getting was very conflicting at times, I felt I was going in circles. Omicron is showing herself everywhere now and border controls are changing daily. I was questioned daily by friends and family, do you think you will get to go? Do you have to isolate? I really don’t know! I was getting totally confused and didn’t know whether I was coming or going. At this point I had left my job and had tenants coming into my house in a few weeks, so really, I HAD to go.
In the end this is how is worked:
I got a COVID test 3 days before take off at the local Pathology Lab at a cost of $200. The result was in my in box within 36 hours.-tick
I registered with the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs. I had to give them full details of my immunisations. They wanted to know the dates for each shot and the brand of the drug. They also needed my Australian address and phone number, and was I going to travel inter-state once I arrived. As I understood things, I was able to land in New South Wales quarantine free as I was a NZ passport holder reuniting with immediate family who normally reside in Australia. On arrival I was to self isolate until I had a negative covid test which need to be taken within 24 hours of arrival. tick
So off I go to Tauranga airport with copies of my vaccination certificate, Australian Department of Home Affairs acceptance and proof of my negative covid test. How hard can this be. Checked in, bags checked all the way to Sydney – surely they cant stop me now!! A very sad good bye to Leigh-Ann, I found it hard to let go of that last hug and they called – “would the remaining passenger Donna Bennett, please board your aircraft at gate 4” Oh crap! Don’t go without me!
Into Auckland no problem, 5 hour wait for my flight to Sydney. Tauranga airport was fairly busy but Auckland International Airport was so quiet. Only 9 flights for the whole day. Therefore limited shops open, only 1 place to get a coffee and only cabinet food, no kitchens open. Even McDonalds was closed.
We get called to board, this could really be happening! With all the changes to my flights and credits on and off throughout the year, this flight ended up being premium economy. Now this is the way to travel! The seats were huge, so much space and a 3 course meal, a proper pillow and the BEST pour of Sav in a beautiful stemless wine glass LOL. I was wishing the flight was longer than the 3 hours! My section had 35 seats, there were 5 of us, and I was the only one on the port side so I felt I was already isolating.
Arriving in Sydney. The announcement on the plane was for arriving passengers to take a Rapid Antigen Test on arrival and isolate until a negative result. Really? Don’t those tests give a result in 15 minutes? And how do these tests get monitored? How would they know I have done it and done it right? Do I just go to a chemist and buy one? OK, that’s not what I expected. Chris had researched and had found that there was a PCR (nose swab) testing station at the airport for arriving passengers, so with this announcement and the signs at the baggage carousel, I was feeling a bit confused – again! I felt I should get a full PCR test as advised by the government web site, so I rock up to the car park-come-testing station and ask the question …… YES, they said, get a test here, now – ok will do. So I registered there and got my test. I am now self-isolating.
I found Chris and am just so overwhelmed to see him!! It has been a long 6 months! We are now isolating together. This is New Years Eve, last day of this retched 2021. I received message from Service NSW at 0130 1/1/22, your results are NEGATIVE!
So let the adventures begin!! We did it!!
Funny thing is though, there were no questions on arrival, no checks and balances, automatic passport control, I spoke to no one except for one person who was taking statistics of how many vaccinations I had had, he didn’t even ask my name, I was a tick in the column for 3 vaccinations. I could have walked right out of that airport, full of COVID, right into the community………………