new zealand trails

COVID-19 Travel Information

New Zealand has led the world in moving assertively to stop the spread of COVID-19. Jacinda Adern, our Prime Minister, summed it up clearly with “We must go hard, and we must go early”. Kiwi to a T. We did - and it has worked!

Our national response has been changed to an Alert Level 1 and life within New Zealand has largely returned to normal. Border restrictions are still in place at the moment, with lots of talk about when and how that’ll change.

The move to Alert Level 1 means our trips can run without restrictions, provided any given guest is in New Zealand to start their trip. As for getting into New Zealand, we don’t know when and how the government will relax the border restrictions currently in place. Our best guess - and it’s only a guess - is that people from some countries will be able to come to New Zealand freely sometime later this year, that others may need a mandatory 14-day government-supervised quarantine stay in Auckland first…and, of course, it’s possible some guests can’t yet come to New Zealand at all, until a bit later on. These are government decisions, not ours, and New Zealand government policy is changing rapidly as the Covid-19 pandemic evolves, so we are monitoring everything closely.

Our priority is always the safety of our guests, staff, guides and wider communities, so we will always do whatever it takes to operate safely and responsibly.

Any questions? Get in touch!

Jodi, Nigel and the rest of the New Zealand Trails team

Recent updates

12 October 2020: Borders remain closed, but an update is imminent.

While the borders remain closed for now, we are hopeful that there will be a government update very soon. We may then be able to welcome some visitors back to our shores. New Zealand remains on an alert Level 1 with no new cases reported today and just 45 country-wide. While we know you may not want (or be able to) travel right away, many people are looking towards next year from October 2021 onwards, when hopefully this will be behind us all. We are all here running full steam ahead and looking forward to hearing from you with any brochure requests, questions or just for a chat about your future plans.

8 June 2020: New Zealand has successfully eliminated COVID-19

The Ministry of Health announced today that the one remaining active case of COVID-19 has now recovered. It has been 17 days since the last new case was reported and New Zealand is now COVID-free. With this announcement came the exciting news that, after months of restrictions, we will finally be moving back to Alert Level 1.

At Alert Level 1 border controls still exist but life within New Zealand largely returns to normal. It is now safe to remove the social distancing requirements that have been in place since March. Restaurants, cafes and bars can open at full capacity. Domestic travel restrictions have been lifted and our second domestic airline, Jetstar, is resuming flights. Large gatherings like concerts and weddings can safely take place.

2 June 2020 - Only one active COVID-19 case in New Zealand

Today marks the eleventh consecutive day with no new COVID-19 cases. There is only one active case in the country and none in the South Island.

The government has announced that we can expect the country to move to Alert Level 1 by 22 June.

14 May 2020 – New Zealand returns to Level 2

Today marks the third consecutive day with no new COVID-19 cases and 95% of all cases have now recovered. New Zealand has contained the spread of COVID-19 and life is starting to return to normal as we move to Level 2 today.

Social distancing is still in place but we can now safely visit our friends and family, go out to cafes and restaurants, and venture further afield for hikes and bike rides. Domestic travel is allowed under Level 2 which is great news for tourism and we are all looking forward to spending more time exploring our own backyard.
The New Zealand Trails team is now back in the Queenstown office and we are busy preparing for the summer hiking season.

6 May 2020 - Two days with zero new COVID-19 cases in New Zealand

The number of new cases are continuing to decrease day by day with May 4 and May 5 the first consecutive days with zero cases. These results are extremely promising for our country!

The country’s successful management of COVID-19 has prompted talks between Australia and New Zealand to allow trans-Tasman travel when both countries are comfortable that this will be safe.

There are also discussions around lifting border restrictions for other countries with similarly well-managed COVID-19 situations.

27 April 2020 - New Zealand goes into Level 3

Today we have entered Alert Level 3. The main change for New Zealand is that some non-essential businesses are allowed to begin operating again with strict new requirements in place around social distancing. The country will remain at Level 3 until at least May 11.

The New Zealand Trails team is back in action and we are busy planning future seasons from our home offices across Queenstown. We’re also allowed to get out for day hikes and bike rides around our region, and pick up our “socially distanced” flat white from our favourite cafes.

20 April 2020 - Jacinda Ardern announces “We’ve cut community transmission”

Our Prime Minister made the announcement today that the chain of transmission has been broken. There is no more undetected community transmission of COVID-19 and the country’s efforts in Level 4 have been successful.

New Zealand has successfully flattened the curve and the country can now look at lifting restrictions slightly.

25 March 2020 - New Zealand goes into Level 4

The New Zealand Government has announced that at midnight on the 27 March the country will enter Level 4 as the risk of the spread of COVID-19 throughout communities is too high. This decision has been made to prevent outbreaks within the country of the scale that has been seen overseas. The country has been given two days’ notice to prepare for the Level 4 lockdown.

As a non-essential business our Queenstown head office is now temporarily closed for the duration of Level 4 and New Zealand Trails staff are staying home in their “bubbles” and playing their part in slowing the spread of COVID-19.

21 March 2020 - New Zealand’s COVID-19 Alert Level system

In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the New Zealand Government has implemented a 4-level alert system. The COVID-19 Alert Level System provides us with clear guidelines around the measures to be taken by the country to combat the threat posed by the global pandemic. Below is a brief summary of each alert level. A detailed explanation of the alert system is available here:

Level 1

Objective: Keep COVID-19 out of the country. Ensure the public is vigilant.
Measures: Border restrictions are in place however there are no other restrictions within the country. The country is prepared at any time to move up into higher levels.

Level 2

Objective: Physical distancing restrictions in place for leisure or social activities. Measures designed to manage sporadic or clusters of COVID-19 cases present.
Measures: There are increased restrictions within the country. Social distancing is required and there are limits on gatherings indoors and outdoors. Businesses remain open with these restrictions in place.

Level 3

Objective: Further restrictions implemented to address a high risk of community transmission within the country.
Measures: Some businesses are closed. The public is required to remain at home unless they are exercising, getting groceries or must travel to work and are unable to work from home. They are able to extend their interactions with a close family member or friend however social distancing rules apply.

Level 4

Objective: Strong restrictions to prevent movement of people and further spread of community transmissions and outbreaks.
Measures: All non-essential businesses are closed. The public must remain at home unless exercising (from home) or getting groceries. Social distancing is in place at all times outside of the home. No interactions with those outside your home is permitted.