By the time I got round to visiting again in 2001, passports were necessary.
If you read my blog, you know I hope to be living in Dunedin before the end of this year. I tell my sister it is only a 2 hour flight and it is over 2 hours by train between my home here in the Blue Mountains and her home in the Northern suburbs of Sydney. However there is the hassle of passports and customs.
Now it has been announced by the Prime Ministers of New Zealand and Australia that there will be a common border within a year.
The Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, and his New Zealand counterpart, John Key, agreed at a bilateral meeting earlier this month to make the creation of a common border between the countries a priority.
The airlines say the move will cut operating costs on the Tasman - and therefore fares - by at least 30 per cent and will lead to an explosion in the number of new routes being flown.
The deal was discussed in talks between the prime ministers at Kirribilli House in Sydney earlier this month.
"It's one of those things we've decided to see if we can get an agreement within the year," Rudd says. "We've decided rather than just have it languish in never-never land, to bring it into decision-making territory."
The chief executive of Australasia's biggest low-cost carrier, Jetstar said
"It just changes the whole psyche of the trip. You know the hassle of going to an international airport and all the crap you've got to go through to get through. But this would be a domestic terminal, 30-minute close-out, rock straight through and you're on your aircraft."Great news indeed.