a green hills with a body of water and a small island
Scenic panorama of Cape Brett lighthouse on the coast of New Zealand during sunset. Located in Bay of Islands, popular tourist destination for its natural beauty.

After two years of laudable effort, New Zealand is abandoning its zero covid-19 strategy and beginning to reopen its borders. Before you get too excited, unless you’ve got a Kiwi passport, there’s still going to be a wait.

New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, laid out what “Reconnect New Zealand” looks like, as the country shifts from keeping everyone out to cautiously letting groups back in, and for the first time, plans now include foreign visitors. Here’s what to expect in the months to come.

Spoiler alert: tourist visitors can start thinking about planning trips from mid 2022.

New Zealand Lays Framework For Reopening Travel

The first big headline is that New Zealand is dropping mandatory hotel quarantine for people eligible to enter the country. The second big headline is that there’s a potential date now set, from which foreign tourist visitors may be eligible to join the fun, too!

  • Starting January 16th, all fully vaccinated New Zealanders, as well as eligible vaccinated visitors from Australia can enter the Pacific nation without length and expensive hotel quarantine. Note: that date is only for people coming from Australia.
  • From February 13th, New Zealand citizens and residence holders can then enter the country without quarantine from pretty much the rest of the world.
  • Potentially from April 30th, 2022, foreign visitors would be welcomed again without hotel quarantine, though 7 day home or hotel isolation would be requested, as would two covid-19 tests.
a body of water with trees and mountains in the background

For New Zealand families, it’s fantastic to see “set in stone”, or at least as close to it as possible during a pandemic dates, where families can reconnect and enter the country.

For visitors, it’s exciting to see that although New Zealand hasn’t quite committed to firming this April 30th date, a clear aim to open by the end of April does in fact exist.

It’s possible, if situations evolve for the better, that entry rules, such as 7 days of home or hotel isolation could be quashed ahead of that April date. Over the counter pills and other remedies are changing the status quo for the better right now and will soon hit communities worldwide.

New Zealand Minister, Chris Hipkins, laid out the new entry protocols on the official New Zealand Government website, stating…

“We have a clear, simple and safe plan, including a mandatory period of self-isolation. The border will open in three steps and all travellers not required to go into MIQ (managed quarantine) will still require:

– a negative pre-departure test

– proof of being fully vaccinated

– a passenger declaration about travel history

– a day 0/1 test on arrival

– a requirement to self-isolate for seven days, and

– a final negative test before entering the communityNew Zealand Government

With this helpful road map, potential visitors can now rule out early 2022 and hold onto some level of optimism that by mid-2022, travel to these incredible islands may be possible again.

In GSTP’s mind, you really can’t say you’ve been to new Zealand until you’ve been to both the North and South Island, since each offers wonderfully different terrain and attractions, equally worth exploring.

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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  1. Test before arrival
    Be fully vaccinated (definition to change)
    Test within 1 day of arrival
    Self-isolate for 7 days
    3rd test before being released out of isolation

    Lots of hoops to jump through. Prolly too many for most people. When does this ever end?? Gotta stop testing. We have never done this for any other condition.

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