Northlanders are crossing their fingers and toes that the transtasman travel bubble will take off smoothly on April 19.
But while many families are gearing up for long-awaited reunions with loved ones they haven't seen since Covid-19 took hold over a year ago, businesses are expecting a trickle rather than a flood of visitors heading north to holiday.
Onerahi couple Patrick and Pandora Tetai can't wait to see their two sons and eight grandchildren who live in Sydney and surrounds.
They booked their two-week trip through House of Travel Whangārei this week and fly out with their whāngai daughter on May 5.
The whānau last saw each other just before lockdown; Patrick and Pandora were there for the birth of their moko, who recently turned 1.
"We are so looking forward to it," Patrick said.
"I'm a bit nervous, my fear is all about Covid and how it changes all the time.
"My wife isn't, she's over it, she just wants to get there and see her mokos."
Val Rufus-Ellis from Whangārei is equally excited about her son's three-week visit from Sydney which starts on April 26.
She last saw Brandon at the end of 2019, and she has been communicating with him and her two young granddaughters via FaceTime.
"My husband and I, we can't wait to see him."
Rufus-Ellis said she hasn't made any big plans just in case the situation changes due to the pandemic. They'll mostly hang out at home, and go out for the odd meal, she said.
She admits being "excited, but apprehensive" about his visit.
"Every now and then you hear of people in managed isolation getting Covid, and it's really quite disconcerting.
"In the back of our minds, we're wondering if it will last. We don't want to make arrangements, just in case it falls apart before he gets here."
Northland tourism operators have reported a slow trickle of bookings since Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand could go ahead.
Clive Raines, who owns and manages two properties at Tapeka Point near Russell, said his two bookings were "really positive".
"It's really good, it's showing they're interested in coming over during the off-peak.
"We're very excited and happy to welcome them back again.
"We haven't had a flood of inquiries and bookings but it's definitely starting to happen. As time goes on people will get more confident - it's going to ramp up really quickly."
Sarah Greener, owner of The Rock Adventure Cruise in the Bay of Islands, said she hasn't had any bookings yet.
There was usually a three-to-six-month lead time for people planning overseas holidays, she said.
Travellers had to plan, apply for leave and organise their lives before getting on a plane.
She expects to get busier by the Australian school holidays which run from July to September.
"Yes, we've turned on our advertising for Australia, but I'm not expecting them to travel here and to have people on my boat on April 21.
"It's not just 'let's open the bubble and they will come. It's open the bubble and they'll start thinking about coming, and looking at their options."
But there would be "plenty of people" from both sides of the ditch visiting friends and relatives, which would require less planning as usually, they would stay with their loved ones, she said.
Greener's sister in Auckland had booked tickets to visit another sister in Sydney by 4.09pm on April 6, just minutes after the Government announcement.
Ara Roa Villa and Boutique Lodgings owner Paul Olsen said he's had two bookings from New South Wales so far.
"It will be nice having a few internationals back."
Olsen said the last year has been "fine" for bookings at his collection of secluded boutique accommodation retreats dotted along the Whangārei Heads.
This is largely thanks to their proximity to Auckland which "helped keep us going", he said.
"I'm sure we'll pick up some business, but it's not like we're going into summer where 20 per cent of our bookings would be Australian.
"If the bubble stays open we would be looking at more Aussies coming over, but they'll be watching to see if it's stable.
"It's always a gamble. If there's another lockdown things could change again."
However, Waitangi Treaty Grounds chief executive Greg McManus said the travel bubble won't benefit the Bay of Islands because we are going into winter.
"Most Australians will go to the South Island for skiing, we won't see them till next summer.
"The risk for Northland domestic travel is that people coming north will think about going to Australia. It's great we're opening up the bubble, but it's not going to be an instant fix to the issue.
"It won't be till next summer till we see benefit from a bubble, if there is one."
Phantom Yacht Charters owner Rick Blomfield, who is based in Russell, said he's had one booking from Australia so far; a family of four who are visiting early May.
"I think there will be quite a few people who are reuniting with family and quite a few who won't want to get on a plane, myself included.
"You've got to understand we're on the B list. Australians usually want to go to the South Island. Most fly into Auckland, do Waitomo caves, go to Rotorua, Hobbiton, Queenstown and Wanaka – that's the A list.
"We do get them, but I'm not sure what will happen this time, we'll have to see what happens."