Travel within New Zealand

Advice for travelling within New Zealand.

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Travel at Alert Level 2

You can travel between regions at Alert Level 2, but make sure you do it in a safe way.

Guidelines for travelling around the country:

  • Keep records of what travel services you use.
  • Keep track of who you have been in contact with.
  • Keep your distance from groups of people you don’t know.
  • Minimise the number of places you stop on the way to your destination.

You must not travel to events which do not meet the requirements for gatherings at Alert Level 2.

Tips for minimising risk while travelling:

  • Try to limit taking public transport or use at off-peak times.
  • Avoid sitting or standing next to someone you don’t know.
  • If you’re flying or taking other forms of transport that involve bookings, follow the physical distancing instructions from your transport operators.
  • You must not travel if you  have symptoms of COVID-19, are awaiting a test, or if you need to self-isolate.

Taking a domestic flight at Alert Level 2

You can take a domestic flight for recreation and tourism. Follow guidance to stay safe and track your journey.

Follow all the guidance from transport operators and crew including:

  • on-board guidance around maintaining physical distance
  • sitting in your allocated seat on board the aircraft

You can fly a small aircraft or glider for recreation if you can do it safely.  Keep a record of your journey. 

Using Cook Strait ferries at Alert Level 2

You can use the Cook Strait ferries for recreation and tourism. Follow guidance to stay safe, track your journey and follow these tips:

  • Follow the instructions and guidance from crew and transport operators.
  • Follow the on-board guidance around maintaining physical distancing.
  • Comply with any temporary barriers and seat signage telling you where you’re allowed to sit.
  • Maintain good hygiene all the time – wash your hands regularly, sneeze or cough into your elbow.

Travel at Alert Level 3

Travel within your region

You're only allowed to travel in your local area if it’s for an essential reason. Essential reasons include travel to:

  • access local services and businesses that are allowed to be open
  • going to work and school
  • take part in low-risk recreation
  • visit people in your extended bubble
  • travel to permitted gatherings.

If you’re travelling by public transport you should avoid peak times unless you're travelling for work or school.

Travel between regions

While we're at Alert Level 3 you can only travel between regions if you’re:

  • a worker travelling for essential work
  • going to work or school only if it's in a neighbouring region
  • travelling for medical reasons
  • travelling for compassionate reasons and have permission to do so
  • living with a shared bubble arrangement
  • relocating a home or business
  • returning home, after being stuck when the Alert Level restrictions came into place
  • a foreign national leaving New Zealand except on Cook Strait ferries
  • a New Zealander living in the Cook Islands, Niue, or Tokelau who is connecting to an international flight to one of these islands
  • a New Zealander returning home after 14 days isolation or quarantine at your port of arrival
  • going to a funeral or tangihanga.

Regions map [PDF, 6 MB]

If you were in the wrong place when the restrictions came into place, and need to get home, you can now move throughout New Zealand to do so. You can only move once and in one direction. 

You're not allowed to travel between regions for any other reason.

Information on inter-regional travel from the Ministry of Transport (external link)

Prohibited travel

You must not travel if you:

  • have been required to self-isolate/quarantine
  • are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19
  • are awaiting a result from a COVID-19 test
  • are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19.

Advice about staying at home and self-isolating

Travel at Alert Level 4

At Alert Level 4 travel is severely limited. You’re only allowed to travel locally if it's for an essential reason. Otherwise, you must stay at home and within your bubble.

You can only travel within, or between, regions if you’re:

  • a worker travelling to do essential work
  • travelling for medical reasons
  • travelling for compassionate reasons and have permission to do so
  • a foreign national leaving New Zealand except on Cook Strait ferries
  • a New Zealander living in the Cook Islands, Niue, or Tokelau who is connecting to an international flight to one of these islands
  • a New Zealander returning home after 14 days’ isolation or quarantine at your port of arrival.

No other regional travel is allowed.

Transport providers will ensure physical distancing is enforced during travel.

Exemption for foreign nationals connecting to international flights at Alert Levels 3 and 4

Foreign nationals in New Zealand can travel domestically in order to connect with international flights to their home country.

Acceptable transport options

To travel to an international airport you can:

  • self-drive including a rental car
  • be driven by a member of your current household group
  • use a taxi or ride-sharing service
  • take a chartered vehicle service
  • use land-based public transport.

You must travel by the most direct route, and comply with physical distancing requirements throughout your journey.

Criteria for travel

There are several criteria that foreign nationals must meet in order to travel to an international airport:

  • You must hold a ticket for an international flight.
  • If you’re taking a domestic flight, you must have a ticket booked for an international flight leaving Auckland or Christchurch. You can arrive in the city of your departure from New Zealand up to 24 hour hours before your international flight departs.
  • You must have the right to transit through all countries on your itinerary.
  • You must be able to drive, take public or private land transport, or a taxi or ride-share service.
  • You must travel by the most direct route possible.

You must also meet the following public health criteria, and will be questioned before travelling. You must meet all these requirements:

  • You're not diagnosed with COVID-19 or have been declared as recovered by a medical doctor.
  • You don't have symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
  • You're not awaiting results for COVID19 testing.
  • You're not a close contact of a suspected, probable or confirmed case of COVID-19.
  • You have not travelled internationally within the last 14 days.

Any foreign national who does not meet those criteria should continue to shelter in place in their current location.

If you fail to meet these criteria you won't be able to take your international flight and may have to go into quarantine or managed self-isolation.

Foreign nationals who require more information or support should contact their country’s embassy or consulate. Chartered flights will be organised and ticketed through foreign missions.

Information about embassies in New Zealand (external link)

Rental vehicles

You should make every effort to return your rental vehicle to a representative of the company you hired from. If you’re unable to return the rented vehicle:

  1. leave your vehicle parked and secured in a safe area.
  2. Return the keys to airport staff.

Check-in procedure

If arriving by domestic flight:

  1. Immediately collect your baggage if not checked through.
  2. Proceed to the international terminal.

You’ll be required to present your ticket and passport before you can enter the international terminal. You must immediately self-isolate in accordance with Alert Level 4 restrictions if:

  • your international flight isn't within 24 hours of your domestic flight, and
  • you arrive at an international airport. You'll be refused entry to the international airport.

You must check-in for your flight as soon as it's open, and immediately proceed through security and immigration.

Exemption for travel in New Zealand at Alert Levels 3 and 4

If you need to support someone who is in an urgent or exceptional medical condition you can apply for an exemption to travel in New Zealand.

Requests to travel on compassionate grounds can only be considered for a limited number of reasons. You must also provide evidence to support your application.

How to apply for an exemption

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