Travel

Changing how we get around

We are asking everyone to limit your movement around the country to help us help us track and slow any spread of COVID-19. This means cutting non-essential domestic travel.

On public transport, including domestic flights, keep as much space between you and others as possible. Try to stay at least 1 metre away from other passengers, and leave the seat next to you empty if you can. Where possible, sit in a window seat in a row by yourself.

Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Wash and dry your hands before and after your journey.

Find more advice for travellers

Air New Zealand

As an essential service, Air New Zealand will continue to operate while we are on Alert Level 4.

For all travel, you will need to check that you qualify to travel under the essential services list before you book your ticket or head to the airport. 

View the essential services list

Domestic air and interisland ferry travel

We’re now at Alert Level 4. This means we have restrictions in place for domestic flights. Travel on these services is for essential business and personnel only. Please do not to go the airport or ferry terminal, or try to purchase a ticket, if your travel does not qualify as essential personnel on essential business.

Public transport such as buses and trains

Public transport such and buses and trains are available for people who do not have other options for essential travel, including going to the supermarket and pharmacy.

Further advice on public transport is available on the COVID-19 website

Remember, stay at home. This is the best thing we can all do to stop the spread of COVID-19. This will save lives.

International travel

The New Zealand Government has made further travel restrictions to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. New Zealand's borders are being closed to almost all travellers from 23:59 on Thursday 19 March 2020.

All affected travellers must have checked in for their flight to New Zealand by this time.

Exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis by Immigration New Zealand for:

  • humanitarian reasons
  • health and other essential workers
  • citizens of Samoa and Tonga for essential travel to New Zealand
  • the holder of a visitor visa who is the partner or dependent of a temporary work or student visa holder, and who normally lives in New Zealand and is currently in New Zealand.

No other foreign traveller can now enter New Zealand. For New Zealand citizens and residents entering New Zealand:

  • It is already a requirement for all people entering New Zealand to self-isolate for 14 days from arrival; however, every passenger entering New Zealand will now be screened on arrival, to stop the spread of COVID-19
  • There will be people available as soon as you disembark the plane or ship to discuss your self-isolation and transport arrangements to your place of self-isolation, and to answer any questions and provide assistance 
  • You will not be allowed onto any connecting domestic flight. However, airport staff can supply guidance on the best course of action
  • If you have any symptoms on arrival, you will be tested and placed in an approved facility/accommodation for 14 days
  • If you don’t have any symptoms on arrival, you will still need to self-isolate, and will need to outline your plan for self-isolation and your transport arrangements to that place. You can expect to be checked-on by Police within 72 hours to ensure you are in self-isolation
  • If you have arrived in New Zealand by sea travel from any country, the 14 days starts from your date of departure from your last international port
  • If you have a suitable plan for self-isolation, but you do not have transport arranged, don’t worry – officials will arrange transport within the local area. If transport is not possible, approved local accommodation will be supplied for your self-isolation, for 14 days. We’ll keep in touch. Further information about what will happen after this time will be provided, including what to do if you had planned any transport through domestic flights.

The Ministry of Health website has information for travellers arriving in New Zealand(external link)

Regional flights for returning citizens and residents

We are working to start regional flights to take healthy arrivals with a self-isolation plan to some regional destination. These flights have not started yet, but are expected within the next few days.

Once people have completed their 14-day managed self-isolation at the provided facility we will work with them to get them home.

The All of Government Response is paying for the cost of the provided accommodation facilities for those requiring managed self-isolation or quarantine.

Taxi and ride-sharing services

If you have any COVID-19 related concerns call Healthline (0800 358 5453) for advice before you travel.

To limit the spread of any virus, people who are unwell should stay at home. If you’re unwell and must travel, you must use private transport. If that’s not possible, call Healthline for guidance first.

If you do not have COVID-19 related concerns you can use taxis and ride-sharing services, but only for essential purposes.

  • Essential and emergency workers can continue to use taxis and ride-sharing services whilst carrying out essential services, such as getting to and from work.
  • Everyone else can only use taxis and ride-sharing services for essential purposes. These include getting to the supermarket, pharmacy or vet, and to access routine medical services (not related to COVID-19) or for facilitating shared custody.

Taxi and ride-sharing specific practices to prevent the spread of the virus

In addition to general hygiene guidance, there are some specific requirements while travelling in a taxi or ride-share. Please also follow any requests from the driver.

  • Personal hygiene: Where possible, use hand sanitiser before and after you enter or exit a vehicle. When you get home you should also wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with water and soap and dry them thoroughly.
  • Physical distancing: Physical distancing between the driver and passengers is important, even in smaller vehicles. Passengers must sit in the rear passenger seats only – you must not sit in the front passenger seat next to the driver. Sit as far as possible from the driver. If you are the sole passenger, sit in the rear left-hand side passenger seat, diagonally opposite the driver. The maximum number of passengers is the number of passenger seats in the back of the vehicle (in most cars there are typically 3 rear passenger seats).
  • Who you can travel with: Apart from the driver, you must only travel in the same vehicle as people from the same isolation group (household unit or ‘bubble’).
  • Contact tracing: Please follow any requests for providing contact tracing information (if not already provided, for example electronically through an app or booking system).

The Ministry of Transport has more details about transport restrictions on its website(external link)

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