One of the great cities in this part of the world has achieved a milestone no one would want it to have.
Melbourne in Victoria has overtaken Buenos Aires in Argentina as the world's most locked-down city, with its five million residents having spent a total of 246 days indoors during the pandemic.
On Sunday the state recorded 1220 new Covid-19 cases and three deaths. There were 11,785 active cases and 476 people in hospital.
Royal Melbourne Hospital ICU manager Michelle Spence told media: "One of the saddest things I've seen over the last few weeks is people wanting the vaccination just before we put them on a life-support machine. That is the absolute truth, I've seen it myself."
Some Kiwis may have been looking enviously across the Tasman at the faster progress Australia appears to be making towards reopening.
Australia's approach to reconnecting with the world and "living with Covid" has been more strident and definitive than New Zealand's with clear vaccine targets and steps to be taken, regardless of coronavirus case numbers.
The positive promises - such as some overseas travel for those fully jabbed within weeks - gloss over the reality of continued high case rates and health-system pressures. Not all states are on board with the federal blueprint.
Essentially, both countries are on a path towards preparing for a new stage of the pandemic based on vaccination security. The national carriers, Air New Zealand and Qantas, have now both said they plan a vaccination requirement for adult international flyers.
The difference is timing and pace: Australia is pushing hard now, under pressure from a huge volume of Covid cases, whereas New Zealand is mainly gearing up for changes in the first quarter of next year. Even so, a digital pass and vaccine mandates for arriving non-citizens are set to be introduced here from next month.
For medical experts here, Australia remains a warning of where we could still go wrong.
When the transtasman neighbours' weekly rolling case numbers are compared on a graph at Ourworldindata.org, New Zealand's Delta outbreak looks like a clump of turf compared to Australia's climb up Aoraki in the past few months.
For the pandemic as a whole, Australia has 52 deaths and 4384 cases per million people compared to New Zealand's 5 and 876.
New South Wales, under lockdown for more than three months, is now seeing a decrease in cases, with 813 on Saturday, 667 on Sunday and 20 deaths at the weekend. In total there have been more than 58,000 cases during the outbreak. There have been more than 430 deaths and 65,500 cases in the state from Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.
But NSW is now showing the power of vaccination and the importance of nailing those high jab rates.
Yesterday's 623 new case number is less than half what it was a fortnight ago - 1331 on September 18. In that time the percentage of people aged 16 and over who are partially vaccinated has risen from 81.2 to 88.4. The second dose rate has jumped from 50.6 to 67.1.
In Victoria the partially vaccinated level is 83 per cent. Overall, 79 per cent of Australian adults have had at least one shot. Here 79 per cent of people 12 and over are partially inoculated and that figure is about 83 per cent for Auckland.
Looking ahead, the chief executive of BioNTech, which partnered with Pfizer to make the vaccine used here, has said that it will likely need to be reworked by the middle of next year as the virus mutates.
Ugur Sahin predicted that mutations would eventually emerge capable of sidestepping immune defences. He told the Financial Times: "This year [a different vaccine] is completely unneeded. But by mid next year, it could be a different situation".
He said booster shots seem able to tackle the main variants including Delta. At some stage a new strain would emerge that would require a specific version of the vaccine.
"We have no reason to assume that the next generation virus will be easier to handle for the immune system than the existing generation. This is a continuous evolution, and that evolution has just started."
In this ongoing battle, Delta has been a challenge for both New Zealand and Australia.
A key point is level 4 bought Auckland time to get vaccination rates to similar one-dose levels to Australia's hard-hit states, but without the high caseloads.
Of the two countries, New Zealand currently still has scope to be more deliberate and cautious despite Delta's twisting tail.