Everything you need to know about the Queensland border reopening


Queensland is Australia’s sunshine state, with epic places to visit like the Daintree Rainforest, the Whitsunday Islands and Fraser Island.

But tourism to the state hasn’t been possible since Covid first touched the country’s shores some 20 months ago. It’s barely even been possible for Queenslanders living elsewhere to come home.

This is set to change, however. In this article, you can read everything you need to know about Queensland’s projected border opening, with predictions on what might happen!

When will the border reopen?

The Queensland border is projected to reopen on the 17th December. Just in time for the tourist high season around Brisbane and the south of the state!

There have been some sources that have said it could be opened even earlier. This is because the vaccination drive has been going quite well, and the border pledged to open when it reaches 80% vaccinated.

Will there be any other restrictions?

People will be able to enter Queensland via road and air. They will need to be fully vaccinated and should have a negative PCR taken within 72 hours of travel. They will not need to quarantine.

When Queensland is 90% vaccinated, unvaccinated people will be able to enter the state. However, they will need to quarantine.

What about Omicron?

Omicron is a new variant of Covid that was first discovered in Southern Africa. There is still a lot we don’t know about this variant, but it does have a lot of mutations compared to the original variant (which vaccines were created for).

This doesn’t mean that vaccines are worthless, but it does mean that they may be less effective. However, we don’t have enough data yet to know this.

Omicron cases have been detected in Australia, but all confirmed cases had travel history to Southern Africa and are isolating.

There are currently no plans to delay the border opening due to Omicron, but of course, as we all know, the pandemic can be unpredictable!

Any plans are subject to change depending on data that we get about Omicron or if there are any other changes to the pandemic.

How are the different destinations reacting?

Destinations are reacting with both excitement and caution.

The Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is close to the Queensland / New South Wales border. In pre covid times, people living in places like Byron Bay and New Brunswick could just hop across the border and enjoy a night out!

The Gold Coast is a popular destination for beaches and partying. Often known as “the Las Vegas of Australia“, it attracts casino and nightlife fans from all over Australia. Since the pandemic, many people living in northern New South Wales have had to play casino games online instead!

Christmas is traditionally the most popular time of the year for Gold Coast tourism, so those in the industry are hoping that Omicron won’t affect the border reopening. However, most people are happy to do what is necessary, with one professional commenting that any restrictions now will help protect the industry in the future.


Cairns is a popular tourist town in tropical north Queensland. Tour operators have suffered a lot with border closures, and many have rejoiced at the border opening news.

Even better news for Cairns is that Australia is looking at opening its international borders to vaccinated working holiday visa holders. This has been temporarily paused due to Omicron, but should be happening relatively soon once more is known about the variant.

Working holiday visa holders are typically backpackers aged 18 to 30 who travel and work temporary jobs. Cairns is a popular place for them to work, and they also do a lot of farm work in the surrounding areas. If they complete 90 days of farm work, they can extend their visa.

K’gari (Fraser Island)

K’gari, or Fraser Island, is a beautiful, more or less uninhabited island off the coast of Queensland. There are hotels on the island, and while the space means it’s a great place for social distancing, those working in the tourism industry here are very conscious of not allowing the virus to spread.

The two main resorts on the island (Kingfisher Bay and Eurong Bay) have said that they will only allow vaccinated travellers.

The Queensland border opening is incredibly exciting. It’s a tense time, especially with Omicron. However, provided vaccines are somewhat effective still, the border opening should see an economic boost and much-needed reunions between friends and family.

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