Ask Finder: Do I need a visa to visit New Zealand?
The NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority) explained.
Good news up front: while New Zealand is introducing an electronic travel authority, you still won't need that if you're an Australian citizen, as the official NZ Immigration site confirms. "You do not need an NZeTA if you are an Australian citizen travelling on an Australian passport," it says. So the existing arrangements allowing open travel between the two countries for citizens will continue.
However, from 1 October 2019, travellers from other countries will be required to apply for the NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority) prior to visiting New Zealand. In effect, this is a visa waiver scheme, similar to the ESTA scheme for visitors to the US. (Anyone who has Australian permanent residency but doesn't have citizenship will need to apply for an NZeTA).
As is the case with most modern travel permits, this is electronically associated with your passport. There's no actual stamp or document placed in it. On the upside, this means you don't have to send your passport off. On the downside, you'll have to keep track yourself of when the authority expires. The NZeTA lasts for two years from approval.
NZ Immigration recommends applying at least 72 hours before you travel, though in practice approval can take as little as 10 minutes.
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