Regional travel

Advice for travelling between different regions of New Zealand.

Face coverings on public transport in Auckland and on all domestic flights

Face coverings legally must be worn:

  • on all public transport to, from and through Auckland — including on long-distance bus and train journeys, as well as Auckland ferries
  • on domestic flights throughout New Zealand
  • by Auckland taxi and ride-share drivers — while it’s not compulsory for passengers to wear them, we strongly encourage you to.

Wear a face covering

Travel between regions at Alert Level 1

If you’re living at Alert Level 1, you can travel anywhere in New Zealand that is at Alert Level 1 or 2. If you travel to a region that is at Alert Level 2, make sure you follow the restrictions and advice for that region.

Keep track of where you've been

Use the NZ COVID Tracer app to keep track of where you've been while travelling or on holiday, as you may not recall all the places you've visited.

Wear face coverings

Face coverings legally must be worn:

  • on all public transport to, from and through Auckland — including on long-distance bus and train journeys, as well as Auckland ferries
  • on domestic flights throughout New Zealand
  • by Auckland taxi and ride-share drivers — while it’s not compulsory for passengers to wear them, we strongly encourage you to.

There are exemptions for some people.

Even when it is not a legal requirement, we encourage you to wear face coverings on public transport.

Wear a face covering

Do not travel if you're sick

If you're sick, stay home and do not travel. If you become unwell while on holiday or travelling away from home, call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or your GP or Nurse Practitioner to find out if you should get a test.

If you're advised to get a test, do so from wherever you are in the country. Do not wait until you get home to get a test.

Stay home if you're sick

Stay safe at Alert Level 1

At Alert Level 1, we still need to play it safe. We all need to be ready in case COVID-19 comes back into the community.

To be ready at Alert Level 1:

  • practise good hygiene
  • stay home if you’re sick
  • get tested if you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms
  • keep track of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen.

Get more advice on living at Alert Level 1, including keeping your distance, wearing face coverings and contact tracing for businesses

Travel between regions at Alert Level 2

If you’re living at Alert Level 2, you can travel anywhere in New Zealand that is at Alert Level 1 or 2, but make sure you do it in a safe way.

You legally must wear a face covering when travelling to, from or through an Alert Level 2 region on public transport, including flights.

If you travel to a region that is at Alert Level 1, we encourage you to act as if you are carrying your Alert Level with you. Consider avoiding large gatherings, unless you’re going to a funeral or tangihanga. If you’re sick, please don’t travel at all — stay home and get tested. 

Guidelines for travelling around the country

  • You legally must wear a face covering on public transport and aircraft. There are exceptions.
    Face coverings
  • 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, where possible.

Do not travel:

  • if you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms, are awaiting a test or if you need to self-isolate
  • to events which do not meet the requirements for gatherings at Alert Level 2.

Taking a domestic flight at Alert Level 2

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

Follow all the guidance from transport operators and crew. Sit only in your allocated seat onboard the aircraft. Maintain physical distancing where you can.

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.
  • Maintain physical distancing where you can.
  • 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 between regions at Alert Level 3

In the event of a COVID-19 resurgence, a regional Alert Level boundary could be put in place to ring-fence a certain area where there is a higher risk of transmission — for example to separate an area at Alert Level 3 from other areas at Alert Level 2, as in Auckland in August 2020. 

Movement across any Alert Level 3 boundary would be strictly limited to manage the risk of the virus spreading. Permissions to travel across any Alert Level 3 boundary fall into three categories:

  • Category 1 – movement that would be permitted under all circumstances, for example border services and emergency services
  • Category 2 – movement likely to be permitted, but for which an assessment would be required, for example primary industries
  • Category 3 – all other movement would be unlikely to be permitted, unless through a specific exemption issued by the Director-General of Health.

Online registration

The Ministry of Health and MBIE have developed an online registration system that could be activated for both businesses and services, and personal, movement across an Alert Level boundary.

The system would enable businesses and services to register before any Alert Level increase came into effect, and automatically generate standardised, verifiable documentation to support police enforcement and facilitate efficient movement through checkpoints.

The system is ready to be activated in the event of an Alert Level 3 boundary, at which time more information will be published on the website of the approval agency:

Last updated: