New Zealand reopens: Travel rules explained + getting there
Kia ora, New Zealand is back on the itinerary this week.
After much anticipation New Zealand is finally opening its borders to Australians for tourism this week from 11:59pm on 12 April 2022.
New Zealand's Prime Minister Ardern said: "Closing our border was one of the first actions we took to stop COVID-19 two years ago. It did the job we needed. But now that we're highly vaccinated and predicted to be off our Omicron peak, it's now safe to open up… today's announcement means we're ready to go, so haere mai welcome back."
12 April was already established as the date that international students and temporary visa holders would be allowed to return.
There are still some entry conditions in place when travelling to New Zealand:
- Vaccinated travellers must have a pre-departure test (PCR, rapid antigen or loop-medicated isothermal amplication test) and 2 more rapid antigen tests on days 0-1 and 5-6. The PCR must be taken no more than 48 hours prior to your flight departure and RAT or LAMP no more than 24 hours prior to departure.
- There will be no need to isolate on arrival.
- Non-vaccinated travellers will still need to stay in managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ).
Keep in mind some airlines including Air New Zealand, Qantas and Jetstar currently require all passengers to be vaccinated.
All air travellers must complete a New Zealand Traveller Declaration before they depart Australia. Once complete, you'll be provided with a New Zealand Traveller Pass which you must show at the airport when you arrive in New Zealand.
Qantas and Jetstar have announced plans to ramp up their trans-Tasman flights from mid-April with an initial 30 flights weekly. Every trans-Tasman flight operating in May is also a "Points Plane".
Currently, we've only seen seats available for booking with Virgin Australia resuming from Brisbane in November.
Here are the cheapest return flights we've seen in May:
Prices retrieved from Skyscanner on 11 April 2022.
You'll need to consider your travel plans and book soon, we expect most of the cheapest seats will sell out quickly. Keep your eyes out for flight sales. We'll cover the best deals as they come.
The Australian federal government is lifting its ban on cruises on 17 April. Cruises can now be booked with some cruise lines for later in the year. This includes a few select cruisings from Australia to New Zealand.
This isn't the first time in the past 2 years that Australians have been able to travel to New Zealand (remember the travel bubble?) but you might want a refresher on some of the top things to do.
New Zealand has something for everyone whether that be exploring nature, experiencing culture or adventure sports.
Some of our favourite activities include:
- Experience Maori culture in Whakarewarewa. Learn about Maori culture with a tour of New Zealand's only geothermal Maori village, stories and dance.
- Cruising through Milford Sound. Get right up close to the UNESCO-listed national park surrounded by stunning mountains and waterfalls.
- White River Rafting in Rotorua. Ride the rapids of the Kaituna River through rainforests, past and over waterfalls. You can even go cliff diving while you're there.
- Tour the Hobbiton movie set in Waikato. Fans of The Lord of the Rings would be remiss if they didn't pop down to Hobbiton to see the film sets Peter Jackson used during the making of the films.
- Canyon Swinging in Queenstown. Free-fall solo or do a tandem jump with a friend. Definitely not for the faint-hearted.
- Visit Hell's Gate Geothermal Park. See New Zealand's largest active mud volcano up close along with the largest hot water falls in the Southern Hemisphere.
- Dine with 360-degree views at SKYCITY Auckland. Tuck into a set-menu at the Sky Tower brasserie while taking in panoramic views of the city.
Don't forget to look out for deals. Everything New Zealand is offering up to 50% off activities.
On top of that, tour companies are offering discounts on their New Zealand adventures. For example, Trafalgar is offering up to 5% off on New Zealand trips, including its 17-day New Zealand Uncovered trip. Trafalgar is also offering flexible bookings with free cancellations within 30 days of booking and free changes until 60 days before your trip.
While the New Zealand border reopening is good news it doesn't mean that COVID-19 has magically disappeared overnight. Before you book it's still important to consider travel insurance and healthcare options.
Finder travel insurance expert Gary Hunter explains: "While Australia has a reciprocal health agreement with New Zealand, which generally covers you for necessary medical treatment, it's still worth getting travel insurance.
"It can help out if you need to cancel or rearrange your trip because you or someone you're travelling with catches the virus. It can also cover costs if you're unexpectedly forced into quarantine during your trip.
"Not all travel insurance policies cover COVID though. So far, there are around 20 brands in Australia that offer some protection."
We've listed the 8 travel insurance partners on Finder that can cover you for COVID-19-related costs.
|Brand||Covers some COVID-19-related expenses?||Apply|