Unlocking the World

Travel to New Zealand during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

CNN StaffUpdated 4th November 2021
Editor's Note — Coronavirus cases are in flux across the globe. Health officials caution that staying home is the best way to stem transmission until you're fully vaccinated. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on November 4.
(CNN) — If you're planning to travel to New Zealand, here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics

New Zealand has been a poster child for how to deal with Covid-19. Its early lockdown and strict border measures meant it suppressed the virus to an astonishing degree.
All this came at a price, however. Its zero-Covid strategy made it one of the world's most closed-off nations, but this is starting to change as the country moves to a new policy focused on vaccination efforts and living with the virus.
"It's time we reopened to the world. We can't remain shut behind the walls of Fortress New Zealand," Chris Hipkins, minister in charge of New Zealand's Covid-19 response, said at a news conference on October 29.

What's on offer

New Zealand's landscape is the stuff of legend. Arthur's Pass National Park, with its soaring peaks and deep valleys is ripe for "tramping," the locals' term for a good, long hike. Cape Reinga and Ninety Mile Beach offer vast sea views from the tip of North Island. Meanwhile, indigenous Maori culture permeates every aspect of the country. Pick up an RV and it's easy to find an empty corner of this magical country to explore.

Who can go

The rules are simple. Other than a few exceptions for partners, dependents and critical workers, only New Zealand residents and citizens are allowed into the country without first requesting to travel.
Any other travel into the country must be for a critical purpose and admission must be obtained first. You can find out more about border entry requirements here.
Starting November 1, all foreign nationals entering New Zealand need to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
Air New Zealand, the country's flag carrier airline, has announced that from February 1, 2022, passengers on its international flights will also need to be fully vaccinated.
The country's two-way travel bubble with Australia is currently suspended, but quarantine-free travel for vaccinated passengers from New Zealand to Australia resumed at the start of November.
From November 8, vaccinated travelers from Samoa, Tonga, Tokelau and Vanuatu will no longer have to quarantine on arrival in New Zealand. This one-way bubble is already in place for travelers from the Cook Islands and from the Pacific island of Niue.

Entry requirements

All arrivals, including New Zealand citizens, must be fully vaccinated and undertake 14 days of mandatory quarantine and test negative for Covid-19 at the end of this period before entering the community.
From November 14, the 14-day hotel quarantine period will be shortened to seven days for fully vaccinated travelers from abroad, with a plan to move to a system of home isolation for fully vaccinated arrivals later in 2022.
All arrivals must book their place in a managed isolation and quarantine facility prior to travel, and a voucher confirming that a space has been booked must be presented before boarding. Places are currently very limited.

US CDC Travel Advisory:

Level 1: Low. You should be fully vaccinated before traveling.

Useful links

Our recent coverage

Two men with a car trunk "full of KFC" takeout were arrested while trying to enter locked-down Auckland in September.
The same month, New Zealand's Māori Party launched a petition to change the official name of the country to Aotearoa, its name in the te reo Māori language.
Kiwi singer Lorde also recently recorded five songs of her new album "Solar Power" in te reo Māori.