Kiwis expected to flock home with NZ travel bubble

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Geoff VivianGeraldton Guardian
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Celine Bellve in the snow at Mt Ruapehu with her brother Leon Buckley.
Camera IconCeline Bellve in the snow at Mt Ruapehu with her brother Leon Buckley. Credit: Celine Bellve/Supplied

With Australia and New Zealand announcing a free “travel bubble” to start on April 19, Celine Bellve is one of Geraldton’s many Kiwi ex-pats who has already booked her fare.

She said she had chosen the July school holidays — which she hopes gives the WA Government plenty of time to get on board with the two-way bubble.

“I don’t want to go too soon because it will be a nightmare, everyone will be going,” she said.

People will be able to travel from Australia to NZ without quarantining on arrival, and may return to any Australian State without quarantining from April 19.

Ms Bellve said she thought the quarantine-on-return requirement should be lifted by July, but would change her plans if she had to quarantine after her holiday.

But I’m going stir crazy, I haven’t been overseas since October 2019 when I last went home

Although she chose to live in Australia 35 years ago, where she has since earned three university degrees and had three of her five children, she still has a special affinity for New Zealand and often visits.

After a morning in the snow Celine Bellve spent the afternoon at the Mangawhai Heads beach.
Camera IconAfter a morning in the snow Celine Bellve spent the afternoon at the Mangawhai Heads beach. Credit: Celine Bellve/Supplied

“When I stop on home ground or even when I hear Maori music I get all tingles, the hairs on my body stand up on end,” she said.

“Not being able to get home is hard when you have got family there, you need to touch the ground.

Geraldton resident and New Zealand expat Celine Bellve with her with her brother Leon Buckley at 'Hobbiton', the set of the movie The Hobbit, during her last visit to New Zealand in 2019.
Camera IconGeraldton resident and New Zealand expat Celine Bellve with her with her brother Leon Buckley at 'Hobbiton', the set of the movie The Hobbit, during her last visit to New Zealand in 2019. Credit: Celine Bellve/Supplied, Celine Bellve

Ms Bellve continued to mused about her strong spiritual connection to her native land as she recalled her last visit.

“I was playing in the snow and then on the beach in one day and it wasn’t cold at the beach,” she said.

“You can smell sulfur all year round — you are driving along the road and you can see the steam vents.

I was taking photos of how green everything was and all the sheep are pure white dots.

Ms Bellve said she never usually thought twice about indemnity when “going home.”

“I imagine travel insurance is going to be massive now,” she said.

“I don’t usually get insurance when I go home, just to other parts of the world.”

The latest 2016 Census figures showed 723 New Zealand-born people lived in the City of Greater Geraldton, accounting for 1.9 per cent of its population.

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