As borders come down, where can you travel across Australia?

With domestic travel restrictions being wound back, here's where you can fly (or drive) from every state and territory.

By Chris C., November 27 2020
As borders come down, where can you travel across Australia?

Australia's domestic borders continue to open up, making it possible for almost anybody to escape cabin fever and travel out of their home state or territory.

Exactly where you can fly (or drive) depends on both the rules of your home jurisdiction, as well as the places you plan to visit.

In many cases, an electronic border pass may also be required.

Be mindful, however, that visiting multiple states or territories may reduce your ability to travel elsewhere within the 14 days that follow: if you're planning to dart across the country, check the restrictions as apply to each destination.

For example, Queenslanders can visit Western Australia without needing to quarantine or isolate: but if they've also visited New South Wales, Victoria or South Australia in the 14 days prior to their WA arrival, that waiver doesn't apply.

Here's a summary of where you can currently travel, assuming you've stayed put in your home state or territory over recent weeks.

Where can you travel from New South Wales?

Residents of New South Wales can currently travel to the following destinations without mandatory quarantine:

  • Lord Howe Island: Although part of New South Wales, movement restrictions had been in place between Lord Howe Island and the mainland since earlier this year. These were removed on October 2, permitting free travel to and from Lord Howe Island.
  • Victoria: No travel restrictions and no border pass required.
  • Queensland: Requires a Queensland Border Declaration Pass. QLD's border is currently open to most of NSW, except 'Greater Sydney': a restriction that will be removed from 1am December 1, permitting free travel from the Greater Sydney area to Brisbane and all of Queensland.
  • ACT: Travel permitted between NSW and the ACT, with no border passes required.
  • South Australia: NSW residents can travel to SA, but must complete a South Australian Cross-Border Travel Registration, and a NSW entry declaration form ahead of their return. Self-isolation is only required in NSW if a specific SA 'area of concern' has been visited at a specified time.
  • Tasmania: Travel permitted after a journey has been registered and approved via Tasmania's Tas e-Travel system.
  • Northern Territory: After completing the NT's Border Entry Form, you're free to pack your bags and fly.
  • Norfolk Island: As an Australian External Territory, Norfolk Island is open to NSW residents – you'll just need to request a Norfolk Island Entry Pass online.

At the time of writing, mandatory isolation or quarantine requirements put Western Australia, Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands off-limits to general travellers from NSW.

Where can you travel from Victoria?

With Victoria getting the 'second wave' of its coronavirus outbreak under control, here's where Victorians are again welcome:

  • New South Wales (incl. Lord Howe Island): No border passes required, and no travel restrictions.
  • Queensland: Victorians can enter Queensland from 1am on December 1, when QLD's current quarantine requirement is removed. Travel requires a Queensland Border Declaration Pass.
  • ACT: You're free to roam, with no travel restrictions or border passes needed.
  • South Australia: SA's border to Victoria is set to re-open on December 1, removing the need to quarantine. As with visitors from other states, a South Australian Cross-Border Travel Registration is required, with Victoria also requiring a COVID-19 Border Entry Permit from those visiting SA.
  • Tasmania: From Friday November 27, Tasmania will welcome back Victorians without requiring quarantine. Travel authorisation must be obtained via the Tas e-Travel system.
  • Northern Territory: While the NT still considers the Greater Melbourne area a COVID-19 hotspot requiring quarantine in NT (although this may change soon), the NT is otherwise open to Victorians from other areas, including Geelong. Completing an NT Border Entry Form is required.
  • Norfolk Island: As of November 23, the Norfolk Island welcomes back travellers from Victoria, with no need to quarantine or isolate. A Norfolk Island Entry Pass is required.

Just like New South Wales, quarantine-free travel is not currently possible from Victoria to Western Australia, Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

Where can you travel from Queensland?

Queenslanders are once again free to explore most of Australia, although a Queensland Border Declaration Pass is required for everybody entering Queensland from interstate, including returning residents.

Here's where you can visit from Queensland, without quarantine at either end:

  • New South Wales (incl. Lord Howe Island): Queensland is already open to most of NSW, and will re-open to Greater Sydney from 1am on December 1.
  • Victoria: As with Greater Sydney, Queensland's travel restrictions for Victoria come down at 1am on December 1.
  • ACT: Travel is permitted between QLD and the ACT.
  • South Australia: Queenslanders visiting the Greater Adelaide area are currently required to quarantine on return to Queensland, but those visiting elsewhere in SA are clear to travel quarantine-free, even if transiting Adelaide Airport. That restriction will be reviewed on December 7. In any case, a South Australian Cross-Border Travel Registration is needed.
  • Tasmania: Enjoy quarantine-free travel between all of Queensland and all of Tasmania, after registering via the Tas e-Travel system.
  • Northern Territory: With an NT Border Entry Form completed, you're good to go.
  • Western Australia: Unlike those from NSW and VIC, Queenslanders can enter WA with no need to isolate. A Western Australia G2G Pass is required.
  • Norfolk Island: Get yourself a Norfolk Island Entry Pass, and you're all set.
  • Christmas & Cocos (Keeling) Islands: Australia's Indian Ocean Territories are once again open to Queenslanders. An IOT Traveller Request Form must be submitted, and as journeys between QLD and IOT route via WA, a G2G Pass may also be required.

As a reminder, regardless of the interstate destination being visited, a Queensland Border Declaration Pass must also be completed for your re-entry into Queensland. 

Where can you travel from the Australian Capital Territory?

With the ACT currently imposing no border restrictions of its own, where Territorians can travel purely depends on the requirements imposed by other states and territories.

The ACT doesn't have a border pass of its own, so you'll only need to complete one if you're visiting a state or territory that requires this, as above.

Where can you travel from South Australia?

Given the recent coronavirus outbreak in Adelaide, travel to and from South Australia is a little trickier than before, but not impossible – your quarantine-free options are below.

  • New South Wales (incl. Lord Howe Island): You'll need to lodge a NSW Entry Declaration Form, although most travellers remain welcome, provided they hadn't visited any specific businesses or areas of concern during the outbreak period.
  • Queensland: The state remains open to those from outside the Greater Adelaide area, including those who transit Adelaide Airport (those from Adelaide are instead quarantined, a requirement to be next reviewed on December 7). Travel requires a Queensland Border Declaration Pass.
  • Victoria: South Australia is reopening its border to Victoria from December 1, and Victoria welcomes most South Australians including those from Adelaide, except who have visited a 'red zone' hotspot. A Victorian Border Crossing Permit is needed.
  • ACT: No current restrictions apply between the ACT and SA.
  • Northern Territory: With the NT withdrawing its 'hotspot' declaration for Adelaide, travel is again permitted between SA and the NT, with an NT Border Entry Form in-hand.
  • Christmas & Cocos (Keeling) Islands: Australia's Indian Ocean Territories are technically open to South Australians, but with travel required via WA (where quarantine is required), it may be difficult to obtain a G2G Pass, although you can certainly try. An IOT Traveller Request Form would also need to be lodged.

At the time of writing, Tasmania and Western Australia maintained compulsory quarantine or self-isolation requirements for those arriving from South Australia, with Norfolk Island also closed to SA residents: a restriction next up for review on December 3.

As well, all those entering South Australia from interstate need to lodge an SA Cross-Border Travel Registration, including returning residents.

Where can you travel from Tasmania?

Tasmanians are once again free to travel to most parts of Australia, but must register their journey via the the Tas e-Travel. Here are your quarantine-free options:

  • New South Wales (incl. Lord Howe Island): No NSW border pass required.
  • Victoria: From November 27, Tasmania's current quarantine requirement for travellers arriving from Victoria will be lifted.
  • Queensland: A Queensland Border Declaration Pass is needed, but you're free to travel.
  • ACT: No restrictions on travel, and there's no ACT border pass to apply for.
  • Northern Territory: Just complete an NT Border Entry Form, and you're in the clear.
  • Western Australia: Tasmanians can visit WA with no need to isolate, although a Western Australian G2G Pass is needed.
  • Norfolk Island: Obtain a Norfolk Island Entry Pass, and you're all set – but if connecting via Brisbane, a Queensland Border Declaration Pass may also be needed.
  • Christmas & Cocos (Keeling) Islands: Flights route via WA, so you may need a G2G Pass, as well as to submit an IOT Traveller Request Form to visit these Indian Ocean Territories.

Tasmania currently requires quarantine or isolation for those arriving from South Australia.

Where can you travel from the Northern Territory?

Residents of the Northern Territory currently enjoy some of the freest travel options of any state or territory – just note, an NT Border Entry Form is required for everybody entering the NT from interstate.

Here's where you can venture without having to quarantine or self-isolate:

  • New South Wales (incl. Lord Howe Island): No NSW border pass required.
  • Victoria: The NT still considers Greater Melbourne to be a COVID-19 hotspot (requiring NT quarantine), but all other parts of Victoria are clear.
  • Queensland: Visiting QLD requires a Queensland Border Declaration Pass, but you're otherwise clear to travel.
  • ACT: Come and go as you please, with no ACT border pass required.
  • South Australia: As the NT no longer considers Adelaide as a hotspot, you can visit the capital and all of the state, provided you lodge a South Australian Cross-Border Travel Registration.
  • Tasmania: Record your trip via the Tas e-Travel system, and enjoy the journey.
  • Western Australia: Although you'll need a WA G2G Pass, you're clear to travel without quarantine or isolation.
  • Norfolk Island: The Island is open to NT residents who request a Norfolk Island Entry Pass – but if connecting between flights in Brisbane, a Queensland Border Declaration Pass may also be needed.
  • Christmas & Cocos (Keeling) Islands: The Indian Ocean Territories are open to you, but you'll need to lodge an IOT Traveller Request Form, and with flights running via WA, may also require a G2G Pass.

Other than the Greater Melbourne Area, Tasmania does not currently have any other hotspot areas declared, which means compulsory quarantine or isolation is not necessary for those who haven't visited this area.

Where can you travel from Western Australia?

Western Australia currently has Australia's toughest border restrictions, which make interstate travel opportunities more limited than for those living elsewhere.

After obtaining a WA G2G Pass for your return home, here's where you can venture without quarantine or isolation at either end of the journey:

When it comes to Norfolk Island, the local authorities there advise that "at this point, there is no government advice suggesting you will need to quarantine when you return home from Norfolk, assuming you have not entered a government-defined ‘hot spot’ in the last 14 days."

However, Western Australia does not appear to have formally declared Norfolk Island as a 'very low risk' area.

That's normally what's required to avoid WA quarantine or isolation – so check with WA authorities before planning your trip.

Also be mindful that even if returning passengers from Norfolk Island are permitted by WA, transiting via the likes of Sydney or Melbourne could present issues, so consider planning the journey via Brisbane to be on the safe side.

At the time of writing, WA had mandatory quarantine or self-isolation requirements in place for arrivals from NSW, VIC, and South Australia.

Where can you travel from Norfolk Island?

Although flights to and from Norfolk Island operate via 'international' terminals, this Australian external territory is still considered a 'domestic' destination.

Those living on Norfolk Island can currently travel to the following areas:

  • New South Wales (incl. Lord Howe Island): No NSW border pass required.
  • Victoria: As of November 23, free movement is again possible between Victoria and Norfolk Island.
  • Queensland: Other than completing a Queensland Border Declaration Pass, you're good to go.
  • ACT: No ACT border pass required, although a Queensland Border Declaration Pass may be needed if changing flights in Brisbane.
  • Northern Territory: Complete an NT Border Entry Form, and any paperwork needed of your transit point (e.g. Queensland).
  • Tasmania: Journeys need to be recorded in the Tas e-Travel system, but there's no quarantine.

As well, you'll need to request a Norfolk Island Entry Pass between 24 and 72 hours prior to your expected return to Norfolk Island.

Note, travel from South Australia to Norfolk Island is currently prohibited (to be next reviewed on December 3). As well, the Indian Ocean Territories haven't listed Norfolk Island as a "very low risk state" for the purposes of avoiding quarantine.

Western Australia is also absent from the list above, having not similarly declared Norfolk Island a "very low risk" area, but check with WA authorities if you plan to travel, as this may still be possible.

Where can you travel from Christmas Island, and Cocos (Keeling) Islands?

Residents of Australia's Indian Ocean Territories (IOT) can travel to the following jurisdictions without a need to quarantine:

  • Western Australia: Whether WA is your final destination or you'll be transiting onward to one of the following places, a G2G Pass will get you started.
  • Queensland: Travel permitted with a Queensland Border Declaration Pass.
  • South Australia: Despite recent events, SA remains a "very low risk state" in the eyes of the IOT, with only a South Australian Cross-Border Travel Registration required.
  • ACT: No ACT border pass required.
  • Northern Territory: With an NT Border Entry Form, you'll be in the Top End in no time.
  • Tasmania: Another "very low risk state", you'll just need to record your journey via the Tas e-Travel system.

Currently, there's a requirement to quarantine if entering an Indian Ocean Territory within 14 days of a traveller being present in New South Wales or Victoria.

As well, Norfolk Island hasn't been listed by IOT authorities as a "very low risk state", so if you're planning to travel from one external territory to another, check with the authorities in both areas to avoid having to quarantine unexpectedly.

Check the latest restrictions before you travel

Although every effort has been made to provide up-to-date information above as at the time of publishing, restrictions and travel policies can change at short notice, and may have changed since this article was published.

This could include entry requirements for various states and territories, compulsory quarantine, changes to declared 'hotspots', and more.

Before you travel, you should independently confirm the border crossing policies of both your home jurisdiction, and of any state or territory you plan to visit.

You can find the latest travel information from local authorities via these links:

Also read: As Queensland opens, the 'Golden Triangle' is back in business

Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Feb 2015

Total posts 150

I was looking forward to being able to travel again but to be honest, after reading this article I actually feel a bit shattered,  I mean, is this still one country or not? We are all Australians after all and should be treated the same. Chris did a great job here summarising all the travel rules based on state and even included our island territories (which most mainstream media don't), because they are Australians too!

I understand we need safety and precaution and I'm all for it. But the confusion on different rules, restrictions, what you need to do to travel to each state, not to mention trying to understand different Covid restrictions once you're there (e.g. different rules on mask wearing depending on which state you're in, different capacity restrictions at venues, whether one can 'drink vertically'...etc). We need to have a national approach to this, especially now that the whole country is doing pretty well in general (even SA despite the recent scare). One country, one set of rules, we are all Australians!

10 Apr 2020

Total posts 9

i agree, it’s interesting how politicians and health officials claim the virus knows no boundaries yet politicians use borders for their own benefit and not to control the virus. Heaven forbid we went to war what would happen then?

07 May 2020

Total posts 151

What a jungle of regulations? And it will change by tomorrow anyway so how can anybody make any sense of it. The federal government has made itself redundant other than being the ATM for the various states.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 640

Calling Scott Morrison, where are you?

07 May 2020

Total posts 151

Boeing-Tragic....restocking the ATM.

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