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Many came dragging heavy snow gear or ran into the arms of loved-ones, having been kept apart, due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Alannah Aylward (19), said all the seats were booked up for the first flight from Melbourne to Queenstown after the travel bubble was resumed.
She was there to join her boyfriend on a ski holiday, but feared her flight would be cancelled.
She has never visited New Zealand before or seen snow and was elated to be out of Australia while cases soar in other states.
People from three Australian states and the ACT are able to travel to New Zealand quarantine-free again from today, with the partial reopening of the transtasman travel bubble.
Those in Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and ACT can travel here with evidence of a negative pre-departure test within 72 hours of boarding.