new zealand trails

COVID-19 Travel Information

Our priority is always the safety of our guests, staff, guides and wider communities, so we will do whatever it takes to operate our trips safely and responsibly whenever we can. New Zealand moved quickly into lockdown back in March 2020 with our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern taking swift action to close our borders. We now have some of the lowest numbers of Covid mortality and infection rates in the world. 

Any questions? Get in touch!

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

Recent updates

13 August 2021: New Zealand Government announces plans to start to reopen borders

The New Zealand Government has released their plans to be able to connect New Zealanders with the world again. We are currently vaccinating our general population and vaccines will be available to all New Zealanders from 1 September 2021. There is a four-stage plan to opening our borders, beginning in October 2021. This is a positive step towards opening our borders and welcoming visitors to New Zealand again.

n18 May 2021: Travel bubble with Cook Islands opens

Quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and the Cook Islands is now open, with the first flight landing in Rarotonga on Tuesday. 

3 May 2021: Cook Islands bubble from 17 May 2021

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a New Zealand-Cook Islands travel bubble to start on 17 May 2021. Travellers will need to complete a travel declaration, provide a health declaration and there will be random health checks at the airports.

19 April 2021: The Trans-Tasman bubble is open!

Quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and Australia has begun and we're thrilled to welcome our Aussie neighbours down here again.

6 April 2021: Trans-Tasman bubble to begin from 19 April 2021

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that New Zealand's borders are finally open to our Aussie mates again. From 19 April 2021 we can travel freely between the two countries without having to quarantine.

22 March 2021: Jacinda Ardern to announce Trans-Tasman travel bubble on 6 April 2021

It was announced today that the government will announce the commencement date of the Trans-Tasman travel bubble on April 6. Work is also still underway to set up a Cook Islands and Niue travel bubble.

10 March 2021: New Zealand's vaccine timeline announced

Today the government announced the vaccination schedule for the country and that every New Zealander will have access to the vaccine by the end of July. There have also been positive discussions this week around the Trans-Tasman bubble between Australia and New Zealand.

17 February 2021: The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines have arrived in New Zealand

The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines arrived in New Zealand this week and we expect to be starting vaccinations this weekend. The government have purchased enough vaccines to cover all New Zealanders with the aim to have enough people vaccinated for herd immunity by the end of 2021. It will be the largest vaccination campaign in our country's history.

30 December 2020: Vaccination programme to go ahead soon and talk of travel bubbles

As the year draws to a close our temporary border restrictions remain in place but there has been talk of creating a travel 'bubble' with the Cook Islands and Australia, meaning travel would be allowed between these nations without quarantine. It's also recently been announced that the New Zealand government signed an agreement with Novavax to purchase 5.36 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and pre-ordered vaccines from three other providers: 750,000 courses from Pfizer, 5m from Janssen, 3.8m from Oxford/AstraZeneca. New Zealand is likely to start its vaccination programme later in 2021.

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.