Emotional reunions have been seen at Perth Airport as Western Australia finally reopened its borders after being closed to most of the country for 696 long days.
The first flight to touch down after midnight was a Qantas plane from Sydney.
There were tears of joy as travellers reunited with loved ones after months and years apart.
About 5,000 people are expected to arrive in WA today, with 28,000 set to flood in over the next few days.
“I have goosebumps down my whole body,” a woman told a news channel as she embraced her family.
“I can’t even put into words how it feels to be back in my home after three years of trying to make this moment happen.”
Since April 5, 2020, WA has been closed to much of the rest of the nation after Premier Mark McGowan created hard border restrictions because of COVID-19.
Triple-vaccinated Australians with a completed G2G border pass can go to WA after the gates were thrown open at midnight (3am AEDT).
They must take a rapid test on arrival.
Vaccinated people flying in from overseas can now also land in Perth without having to do hotel quarantine. McGowan admitted in a Facebook post the harsh border closure “was not without cost”.
“I personally am aware of that impact, as my mum and dad live in New South Wales,” he said.
“I understand what it means to be disconnected from family, I know how hard it can be.
“Just as the Commonwealth shut Australia’s international borders, WA became the island within an island.
“And it worked. By only allowing travel with jurisdictions that were free from COVID-19, we could remain COVID-free ourselves.
“We avoided long, debilitating lockdowns and we achieved some of the best health and economic results in the world.”
“We avoided needless deaths.”