Excited travellers are gathering at Christchurch Airport ready to embark on the first quarantine-free international flights from the city in more than a year.
Six return flights to Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney follow the transtasman bubble opening at 11.59 last night.
Departures from Christchurch were due to take off at about 10am, and arrivals are expected to land just before 2.30pm.
Chief aeronautical officer Justin Watson said it is a return to travel as it used to be - with a few extra checks.
He said loved ones reuniting with each other over the next few weeks, will be followed by business and tourist travel.
For the past year there's only been freight travel and three flights a week from Singapore.
The first travellers from Australia will land in Christchurch this afternoon.
Aussie arrivals will go through a green lane - with a separated red lane reserved for quarantine travellers.
Mother of five Lynne Olden is flying out to visit her children and said it has been a long-awaited reunion.
"It's been a very long time coming and I'm extremely excited. Five children in another country that I haven't seen in a year now.
"If there are any tears shed it'll be tears of joy, it'll just be an amazing thing to finally be there."
Olden said she doesn't usually feel the distance but knowing she can't reach them has been tough.
"You feel absolutely cut off. There's been many, many constant messages but it's not the same."
Marko Puni is planning to surprise his mother in Melbourne.
"I'm off to see my parents and my younger siblings, I haven't seen them in a year. My mum doesn't know we're coming.
"I am looking forward to it. It's very exciting, it's been way too long."
Today 2000 New Zealanders would head offshore and 3000 would arrive in the country.
From July to September, New Zealand was expecting an influx of Aussies arriving in the South Island for skiing and expected Australian tourism to be back to 80 per cent by the beginning of 2022.
While New Zealand was still focused on opening up quarantine travel to the Cook Islands in May, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said there were ways to mitigate any concerns New Zealand had if for example Australia opened up its bubble to Singapore.
A date for the Cook Islands travel bubble had yet to be set and the Cook Islands was currently setting up and training staff around its PCR testing as this was needed before it commenced, she said.