Queensland drops domestic border rules - but there's no change to international travel policy

Young backpacker woman packing bags into the back of a 4x4 while on 75 Mile Beach on Fraser Island, Australia.
Queensland is throwing its doors open to domestic travelers ©Getty Images

Queensland will drop domestic border restrictions on Saturday, January 15. This means that people traveling from another Australian state or territory no longer have to quarantine, test negative, show proof of vaccination or apply for an entry pass to visit or pass through.

Queensland's premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has opened the state's borders a week earlier than expected as it moves closer towards the 90% vaccination target. Currently 88% of eligible Queenslanders have received their second jab, while 52% have received their booster dose.

"Now is the time for the barricades to come down, and for the police to come home, to continue on their normal operational duties on the front lines," Ms Palaszczuk said. "The time is now right as we head towards hitting that 90% next week."

Couple exploring in the lush Lamington National Park, Queensland
Australians can now visit Queensland's scenic spots like Lamington National Park © zstockphotos / Getty Images

Queensland began rolling back restrictions in December, opening up its borders to returning vaccinated Australians living overseas and permitting vaccinated residents and citizens to travel abroad. It also allowed for quarantine-free travel with states such as New South Wales, but restrictions remained in place for anyone traveling from what is considered a COVID-19 hotspot in Australia.

What are Queensland's domestic border changes?

Starting tomorrow, Queensland joins states such as New South Wales, South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria in permitting interstate travel without restrictions. People won't need to apply for an entry pass, and they won't have to test negative for COVID-19 or quarantine. However, while people don't need to be vaccinated to enter Queensland, they will need to show vaccination passes to visit certain venues in the state if they are over the age of 16, as Omicron cases continue to break records.

With domestic borders wide open, Australians can now enjoy Queensland's brilliant beaches, cities, islands and rainforests. They'll also have the chance to explore Queensland's Scenic Rim, which Lonely Planet editors named as one of the top 10 best regions to visit in 2022.  Unfortunately for international tourists, they'll have to wait a little while longer to see what the fuss is about.

Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef: from the reef to the rainforest

What are Queensland's rules for international travel?

International travel rules remain unchanged for now, but are likely to be relaxed when Queensland reaches its 90% vaccination target in the week starting January 17. Currently, international arrivals are restricted to returning Australians living overseas, as well as certain visa holders and visitors from approved countries. All arrivals must be vaccinated and test negative for COVID-19.

Queensland also requires all arrivals to quarantine for 14 days, but returning citizens and their family members are permitted to quarantine at home if they are fully vaccinated and produce a negative PCR test.

Borders are still closed to all other international arrivals, in line with the rest of Australia.

This article was first published on October 18, 2021 and updated on January 14, 2022

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