Auckland turned on an emotional welcome for families and friends arriving today at Auckland International Airport, with a choir singing Dave Dobbyn’s Welcome Home/Nau Mai Rā in both te reo Māori and English at the arrivals hall.

The opening of the New Zealand – Australia border is a major step forward, offering opportunities to Auckland businesses that have been under huge pressure since the COVID-19 pandemic began more than a year ago.

Auckland Unlimited has worked closely with Auckland Airport and local tourism operators to ensure a warm welcome, with local tourism and hospitality operators taking the opportunity to extend special offers to travellers to reconnect with their family and friends by experiencing what the region has to offer.

The choir singing Welcome Home/Nau Mai Rā featured incredibly talented singers including Nate Dousand, Silika Isaia, Harry Pualau, Ema Barton, Molee Tauo, and Sam Allen.

Auckland Unlimited’s General Manager Destination Steve Armitage says: “We are encouraged by the initial response to the resumption of trans-Tasman travel. The accommodation sector is already seeing spikes in interest and bookings from Australia and this should continue to build as confidence in the travel arrangements solidifies.

“As part of our welcome, we want to remind everyone of the experiences Auckland has to offer. A number of operators have jumped at the opportunity to be involved, and we hope that travellers will seize the initiative.”

More than 20 deals are now live on the page ranging from ziplining, sailing adventures, sky diving, the All Blacks Experience, and tours.

Tourism operators have been quick to take up the opportunity to share a welcome offer. One of those, Ben Thornton, Managing Director of Bush and Beach, says:

“I am thrilled that we will be welcoming our Australian cousins.  Australian travel agents see Auckland in the same light as interstate travel, and we are already seeing an upsurge in tour bookings from Australian agents.”

Auckland Unlimited is planning partnerships with key travel trade partners in Australia to attract visitors and is also working closely with Tourism New Zealand to complement its marketing activity.

Auckland offers a range of experiences. Just a three-hour flight from Australia’s eastern seaboard, Auckland is the perfect short-break destination, and this has been a focus area for Auckland Unlimited in recent years.

Auckland is an urban oasis, with beaches, vineyards, and islands all within easy reach of the city centre.

Whether you’re after a relaxing holiday on Waiheke Island where you’re able to enjoy pristine beaches, vineyards and walking tracks, an off-the-grid experience on Great Barrier Island – the world’s first island to receive the dark sky sanctuary status, or you’d like an urban experience – visiting our art galleries, museums and sampling our diverse food and beverage offering, there is something for everyone.