Almost two months since Queensland shut down travel from the national capital, borders were reopened once again to the sunshine state.
Just hours after border restrictions relaxed between the two jurisdictions at 1am on Friday, Canberrans were packing flights in search of warmer climes.
While the airport was still quieter than a regular pre-pandemic day, the extra flights to Brisbane and the Gold Coast led to one of the busiest days for Canberra Airport in weeks.
Among the many travellers looking to head to Queensland was Gwynn Bridge, who was booked in on a Virgin flight heading to the Gold Coast just after 10am.
Ms Bridge had been stuck in Canberra for three weeks, unable to return home to the Gold Coast due to the border situation.
“I could fly down to Canberra but I couldn’t fly back in,” she said.
“It has been frustrating because it had been a matter of waiting for the borders to reopen because there was no way I was going into hotel quarantine.”
I’m pretty happy now because at least we can now travel back and forth.
Ms Bridge owns a childcare business in Canberra and regularly travels between the ACT and Queensland for her job.
When the announcement of Queensland reopening again to Canberra, Ms Bridge wasted no time in booking a plane ticket.
“We were pretty on the ball as soon as we heard the news,” she said.
“People were worried in case the ACT got a new case of coronavirus and the reopening wouldn’t happen.
“I’m pretty happy now because at least we can now travel back and forth.”
Travel between the two jurisdictions is only possible via plane, due to NSW being declared a coronavirus hotspot by the Queensland government.
Those who want to head north have to stay in the ACT for 14 days before their travel and cannot go over the border to NSW.
Seven fights departed Canberra bound for either Brisbane and Gold Coast on Friday, with an increase in flights expected in coming days.
For many of the travellers heading to Queensland, it was the chance to see family after months of disruption due to coronavirus.
Kingston residents Sam Clarke and Kate Lowth were travelling to visit family on the Gold Coast, after not being able to see them for 10 months.
“I only moved here in January, so this would be the first time I’d be home since,” Ms Lowth said.
“We booked flights within 15 minutes of the border announcement being made, so we’re pretty overjoyed, to be honest,” Mr Clarke said.
The pair said they were also using the opportunity to visit Queensland to catch up with friends they had not seen for several months, after the pandemic scuppered plans for an interstate visit.
“We had plans for a few friends coming down, and then it would get called off because of the border,” Ms Lowth said.
“We ended up getting excited, only to have the trip cancelled.”
Family reunions were also on the cards for Chelsea Mitchell and Harri Dahl, who were also travelling on the same flight to the Gold Coast.
“All my family are up on the Gold Coast, so we’re going to see my new nieces who are just seven-months-old, and we’ve been only able to see them once this year since they were born,” Ms Mitchell said.
“I was stoked and over the moon when I found out about the reopening because there was no indication of when it would reopen.”