Returning Australians have been reunited with family and friends in emotional scenes at Sydney Airport as NSW opens up to international and regional travel.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet hailed it “a very important milestone” in learning to live with coronavirus after the state exited lockdown three weeks ago.

“It’s the start of a new journey as we open up and we won’t go backwards,” he told reporters in Dubbo in the state’s west on Monday.

“We’ll start to rejoin the world.”