Let’s just say it from the outset. There’s no place quite like New Zealand. Culturally, geographically, and naturally, it’s one of the most breathtaking and awe inspiring destination for any interests. 

It’s also been closed, and for a long time, there was reasonable doubt as to whether the country would ever fully reopen to outside visitors. 

Just over a month ago, New Zealand pulled the curtain back, announcing promising, phased reopening plans, which would eventually include the (vaccinated) world at large. 

And now, as global health situations improve, testing requirements begin to drop and masks disappear, New Zealand is accelerating its reopening.

Here’s everything you need to know about when you’ll be welcomed back to New Zealand, and what you’ll need to tick the entry requirement boxes. 

New Zealand Accelerates Reopening Plans

New Zealand has two key phases for its newly announced, and newly accelerated reopening plans for international travel.

On April 13th, the country will welcome back fully vaccinated Australian residents and shortly thereafter, people from countries previously eligible to visit under the visa waiver program will also be able to visit.

In short, if you were able to visit New Zealand before the pandemic without a pre-authorized visa before departure, you’ll be able to again, with the caveat that you must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 with an approved vaccine.

Most of Europe, the UK, USA, Middle East, Asia and a variety of South American countries can enter under this program. A full list can be found here

Entry Protocols For New Zealand

For now, all visitors must test negative prior to departure, and will also be required to test upon arrival. Visitors must also be fully vaccinated.

Travelers have the choice between a negative PCR test within 48 hours of their first departure toward New Zealand, or a supervised antigen test no more than 24 hours before the first point of departure. 

On arrival, a test is required within the first day of arrival, and after the 5th or 6th day as well. There’s hope that over time these cumbersome and worrying requirements for post arrival testing would be dropped. 

Many travelers simply won’t risk being stranded, or isolated after a long journey. That’s become increasingly true as countries drop isolation requirements, even for positive cases. For better, and worse, countries are now treating Covid-19 like other endemic illnesses and leaving isolation as a personal choice.

Cape Brett lighthouse on the coast of New Zealand during sunset.

Great News For New Zealand Travel

From the jagged mountain tops of Queenstown to the idyllic vineyard of Waiheke, there are endless reasons to visit New Zealand in any season. Much sooner than expected, that’ll soon be possible again.

It may not be as seamless and form free as other countries, including most of Europe, but it’s an opportunity to see the South Pacific again. Australia recently reopened to fully vaccinated foreign visitors and more are sure to follow.

I just may wait to visit New Zealand until post arrival testing is removed.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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