Visiting New Zealand in a post Covid world
This article is for people considering visiting New Zealand once travel restrictions are lifted in their own country and here in New Zealand.
Covid-19 has changed the way we travel but now we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccinations are rolling out across the globe and some border restrictions are slowly being lifted. While it's still early days, many people are starting to think about overseas travel and New Zealand is going to be back on many bucket lists again.
Primarily this article is for travellers from North America, Western Europe, the United Kingdom and Australia - the places most people come from to join our New Zealand small group tours.
In this article we cover the most common questions about travelling to New Zealand in our post Covid-19 world.
Can I travel to New Zealand now?
A "Trans Tasman Travel Bubble" between New Zealand and Australia was established in April 2021 to allow citizens and residents of both countries to travel without isolation upon arrival.
As with everything related to international travel this is subject to change, but while the “bubble” is in place Australians can travel to New Zealand and join one of our small group tours.
See the current status “Trans Tasman Bubble” here.
At present citizens and residents of the USA, Canada, the UK and EU cannot travel to New Zealand for a holiday.
This may also change over time so visit this page on the New Zealand Government Covid-19 website to keep up to date.
What is a Travel Bubble?
This refers to quarantine free travel for citizens and residents of certain countries. If New Zealand has a quarantine free travel arrangement with your country it means you don’t have to go into isolation when you arrive and you can travel freely and join one of our tours.
What is the current Covid-19 situation in New Zealand?
Visit the New Zealand government official Covid-19 website to see the current Covid alert level in New Zealand, it's right at the top of every page on the site.
If you’re planning a trip to New Zealand you should be familiar with our alert levels and be prepared if these levels change while you’re here.
We have a four tier alert system, which moves from the lowest Level 1 (prepare), Level 2 (reduce), Level 3 (restrict) to Level 4 (lockdown).
See more information about New Zealand’s Covid-19 alert system here.
Under New Zealand government regulations we are able to operate our tours under Levels 1 & 2.
Is it safe to travel to New Zealand now?
You must make your own decision about whether you undertake travel at this time. Here are a couple of resources that will help you.
Here you will find the current Covid-19 alert level and the most up to date New Zealand government travel advisories and information.
Ultimately whatever we can or can’t do on our small group tours is dictated by the law here in New Zealand and this website is probably the most important single resource for all of us.
You must consider the government advice from your own country regarding travel to New Zealand. It’s important to know how visiting New Zealand could affect your return home.
The good news is that Covid-19 in New Zealand has been handled very well and outbreaks have been relatively minor and well contained which makes us one of the safest countries in the world to visit post Covid.
See the below official government travel advisories for New Zealand:
When travel to New Zealand from my country is permitted, what do I need to do?
For eligibility and pre-departure information for travellers coming to New Zealand from countries with quarantine free travel see this page of the New Zealand Government Covid-19 website.
There are some important conditions you need to meet and you must complete a pre departure health declaration.
Do I need a Covid-19 test to travel to New Zealand?
Travellers from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands do not need to have a pre-departure Covid-19 test to visit New Zealand.
Travellers from all other countries are required to have a negative Covid-19 test before the scheduled departure of your first international flight.
Do I need a Covid-19 vaccination to travel to New Zealand?
If your country has a quarantine free travel arrangement with New Zealand then you do not need a Covid-19 vaccination to visit New Zealand.
This requirement may change over time, refer to this section on the NZ Govt Covid-19 website for the latest.
How will flying be different in the post Covid-19 world?
You will have to follow requirements and regulations when travelling to New Zealand, such as wearing a mask, social distancing and hand hygiene.
Most restrictions will apply during your flights and travel through airports. Once you arrive in New Zealand you will not be subject to the same restrictions.
Please be aware that if you have any symptoms of Covid-19 you may be not be able to travel.
If you have any pre-existing medical conditions which have similar symptoms to Covid-19 you will need to bring a medical certificate showing this. Make sure you do this as you won’t be able to travel with Covid-19 symptoms.
What do I have to do once I’m in New Zealand?
Once you’re cleared to come, it’s really important that you do a few things:
1. Download the New Zealand Covid Tracer App and enable bluetooth on your phone.
If you’re travelling on one of our tours your guide will check in on behalf of the group to places we visit as part of the itinerary. You should check yourself in to any other venues you visit during the tour.
2. Carry a face mask and wear it if required.
Face coverings are required to travel on all forms of public transport in New Zealand.
Guests on our small group tours are not required to wear face masks as they are private tours.
3. Carry hand sanitizer, practice good hand hygiene and cough into your elbow.
4. Let your MoaTrek Kiwi guide know if you’re not feeling well during your tour. Follow their instructions.
Travelling within New Zealand during Covid-19
Once you’re here, you’ll find that life in New Zealand is mostly unchanged, with a few exceptions.
At Alert Levels 1 & 2 we are allowed to operate our tours and life in New Zealand continues in a fairly normal way, with a few exceptions.
Your Kiwi Guide will be the person responsible for letting you know what you can and can’t do and is the first person you should contact if you’re not sure of anything.
During the entire period which international travellers have not been coming to New Zealand, we have continued to operate our tours, with New Zealanders exploring their own country as our guests. So our safe tour operating procedures have been honed and practiced many times, unlike companies who have been in hibernation.
What happens if the Covid-19 alert levels change while you’re in New Zealand?
In these uncertain times travellers must be prepared for a change in alert levels when they travel.
You should have travel insurance for your trip to New Zealand. Talk to your insurer to understand if you are covered for any Covid-19 related disruptions or costs.
We’re here to help
We have been operating small group tours in New Zealand since 1971 and over the years have dealt with more than a few disruptions to travel.
One of the advantages of travelling with us is that we are right here in New Zealand and can help you with information before you travel and are here to help if anything changes while you’re here.
These are unprecedented times for all of us, but what we have learnt over the past year is that with a few sensible precautions travel can be safely enjoyed.
We look forward to welcoming you to New Zealand soon.