When Can We Travel To New Zealand In 2021?
LAST UPDATE: SEPTEMBER 22, 2021
Disclaimer: This information is collated from official sources but general in nature. Entry requirements are subject to change at any time. Keep checking for the latest advice from your local government, embassy, or consulate to confirm any visa or entry requirements before travel.
Things around the world are gradually returning to normal as the global vaccine rollout gains momentum. We are monitoring the situation closely and will keep this article updated with any new info. So, can we travel to New Zealand in 2021? Read on for the latest updates.
AM I ALLOWED TO TRAVEL TO NEW ZEALAND?
ENTERING NEW ZEALAND
Most international travellers are not allowed to enter New Zealand right now to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The only people who can travel to New Zealand are citizens along with partners, dependent children and family of New Zealand visa holders, health workers, essential workers, students and travellers already holding resident visas. These people must request to travel prior to entry.
Limited flights are available to and from New Zealand. Travellers can transit through Auckland international airport with restrictions and must show a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours of departure.
For additional details, as well as any exemptions to these restrictions, view the official government source here.
You need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) for New Zealand. You must get an eTA before your flight. This is delivered electronically and tied directly to your passport. It can be obtained online before travelling to New Zealand.
Under normal circumstances you do not need a visa to visit New Zealand short term if you are:
- A NZ or Australian citizen or resident
- A UK citizen (you can stay up to six months as a tourist)
- A citizen of a country which has a visa waiver agreement with New Zealand (you can stay up to three months).
If you don’t meet the above, then you’ll need a visitor visa, which allows you to travel in New Zealand for up to 9 months. Find out more here.
NEGATIVE COVID RESULT
Travellers must present a negative Covid test taken 72 hours before departing to New Zealand. Travellers from high-risk countries such as India, Brazil, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea will only be accepted if their test was taken in a government-approved laboratory. This also applies to passengers in transit.
DO I NEED A VACCINE?
A Covid vaccine is not mandatory to enter New Zealand. However, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that New Zealand will gradually open borders from early 2022, starting with fully vaccinated travellers from low-risk countries.
PROOF OF INSURANCE
Travel insurance is highly recommended but not mandatory for arrivals in New Zealand.
Those going to New Zealand must register on the Managed Isolation Allocation System as the first step to securing their place in a managed isolation facility before booking flights. All travellers (except within quarantine-free travel zones i.e. Australia, the Cook Islands) are required to undergo medical screening on arrival and quarantine for 14 days on arrival at a designated facility. They will also need to undergo regular Covid tests during their stay. Find out more about the official New Zealand isolation system here.
People in New Zealand are encouraged to download the NZ Covid Tracer App, a tool to help identify people exposed to coronavirus. When entering businesses such as bars, restaurants and shops, you can check in with a QR code that records your presence to stop virus spread.
RESTRICTIONS & OPEN TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
Swift lockdowns, contact tracing, and public adherence to the rules crushed initial cases of community transmission in New Zealand in 2020, and the zero-tolerance strategy has remained successful. Apart from Auckland, which is currently in a snap lockdown, life in New Zealand is fairly normal. Masks must be worn on flights, including in airports, and on public transport. Masks are also recommended indoors and in busy places. Restrictions vary across the region, but New Zealand is mostly pandemic-free.
Each country has different restrictions for travellers arriving from abroad. For information relevant to your situation, keep up to date with local government announcements.
In the UK international travel restrictions apply under a simplified two-tier system from October 4 2021. Countries are listed as 'red' (must quarantine on arrival in the UK for 10 days regardless of vaccination status) or 'green' (good to travel). Good news is New Zealand is green-listed, so once the country opens to tourism we will be ready to run our group tours! Find out more about UK travel restrictions here.
New Zealand has strict border measures in place to protect the community, so travelling to New Zealand as a tourist is not possible yet. But the future is looking brighter every day, and we've got our fingers crossed we'll be soaking up the the wonders of New Zealand from early 2022. Travelling New Zealand is an epic adventure, and joining one of our group tours in New Zealand is the best way to experience it! Whether you're on a short holiday, travelling on a gap year or anything in between, on our New Zealand trips we'll show you the best of this extraordinary country with a new bunch of friends.
We will update this article and our COVID page as official news breaks and when we can begin our tours in New Zealand.
NOTE: This information is general and restrictions are subject to change, so keep in touch with the latest official advice from your local government and New Zealand authorities.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME OF YEAR TO TRAVEL TO NEW ZEALAND?
The rugged beauty and varied landscapes that make up New Zealand mean it's always a good time to go backpacking in this incredible country! Keep in mind that New Zealand's seasons are flipped from the Northern Hemisphere, so Summer is December - February, Autumn is March - May, Winter is June - August, and Spring is September - November.
The season you travel to New Zealand will hugely affect your trip. If you're after long sunny days, beaches and hiking, Summer's the time for you. If you're more of a snow bunny who doesn't mind the cold and wants to hit the slopes, Winter is clearly your season. For fewer crowds and milder weather, the shoulder seasons provide plenty of opportunity. Autumn brings marvellous colours as the foliage changes, and spring brings plenty of flowers and baby lambs everywhere!
From exploring the World's Most Liveable City to cruising Milford Sound, the best time of year to travel to New Zealand is truly whatever season suits your interests. There is so much to see and do that one trip might not cut it, so why not extend your adventure with a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa? Spending a year working and travelling in New Zealand is the ultimate way to ensure you see the most of this beautiful corner of the world! Find out more about work and travel in New Zealand here.
WHY VISIT NEW ZEALAND?
Picture long stretches of beach full of epic surf breaks, snow-capped mountain ranges pulled straight from a fantasy epic, and magical forests full of ancient redwoods waiting to get lost in. That's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Aotearoa's beauty. As well as boasting stunning scenery, travelling New Zealand will have you coming across sea lions and penguins, whales and kiwis (the bird, though there will be plenty of local people too), dolphins, and endless fields of fluffy sheep. There's delicious food to be tasted, roads to trip, bungys to jump, and nights out to be had in this all-natural wonderland.
Feeling cooped up? Plan a trip to NZ to get the ultimate booster shot of Mother Nature. There are so many amazing walks and hikes for people of all fitness levels, and well-maintained pathways and signage make for easy trekking, even for those less experienced in the outdoors. Grab your boots, some snacks and your buddies for great views of glaciers, native forests and rivers on two feet. You will be spoiled for choice with thousands of kilometres of trails to be explored. Read more about great hikes on our New Zealand travel blog here.
FOLLOW FRODO'S FOOTSTEPS AT HOBBITON
A trip to New Zealand wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Hobbiton, the village pulled straight out of Tolkien's imagination. Fans of the epic Lord of the Rings trilogy can geek out when exploring one of the most iconic movie sets of all time and immerse themselves in the intricate details this enchanting place has to offer. Even if you are not a big fan of the Hobbit or LoTR you will still find appreciation for the details and beauty of The Shire's landscape. And there's no better way to top off your time in Middle Earth by kicking back with an ale at the Green Dragon Inn.
WHIZ THROUGH CANYONS VIA JETBOAT
Who doesn’t love being on a boat? How about a VERY fast one? New Zealanders take adrenaline seriously, and jet boating (plus bungy jumping) was actually invented in NZ! There's scenery to boot, so why not up the pace a notch by jumping on jet powered boat and whizzing through some very tight canyons. Views and speed - now you've really got the adrenaline pumping.
MARVEL AT THE WONDERS OF MILFORD SOUND
Considered one of the world's top natural sights, this famous fiord has been called the Eighth Wonder of the World by writer Rudyard Kipling. Featuring two permanent waterfalls cascading over steep towering peaks, Milford Sound comes alive when it rains as the temporary waterfalls join together, making for a remarkable sight. Specifically designed boats allow you to get up close to the falls as you cruise, and standing at the front of the boat for a fresh (read: icy) shower is said to take years off your age... so sign us up! Milford Sound also plays host to a variety of wildlife to spot along the calm waters. Keep a keen eye out for seals, dolphins, and if you are lucky, one of New Zealand’s rarest species of penguin.
CHECK OUT THE GLOWWORM CAVES
Head to Waitomo in New Zealand's North Island and take a trip underground to the home of the glowworm. Entering the eerie darkness, you will find thousands of ‘stars’ as you look up at the ceiling. You wouldn’t be a fool for thinking you are looking up at the night sky, but what you are witnessing is one of nature's most phenomenal occurrences.
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN MAORI CULTURE
You can’t travel to New Zealand and not learn about the proud history and traditions of the Maori, the indigenous people of this southern land. Maori stories and cultures are very much alive as you travel around, so to get a better understanding of the land you are in, take part in an interactive evening to learn about Maori culture in a fun and interactive way. Expect dances, history, and a ton laughter as locals share their culture and customs with you with a splash of Kiwi humour. INTRO's 8 day North Island small group tour includes a full Maori village experience in the itinerary, find out more about the trip here!
If travelling in New Zealand is sounding like your kinda escape, check out our our New Zealand small group tours here! With expertly crafted itineraries, the guidance of a knowledgable group leader, full end-to-end support, and a new group of friends to make memories with, our trips are the ultimate way to discover a new country. Oh, and did we mention that all of the activities on our itineraries are included? You heard right - everything we mention is included in the tour - no extra payments required. Travel with a group and enjoy the best of New Zealand, stress-free.
With flexible booking policies and complete support during this uncertain time, you can be confident when booking with INTRO. So... see you in Hobbiton?