Regional travel

Advice for travelling between different regions of New Zealand.

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 — including on long-distance bus and train journeys, as well as most ferries
  • on domestic flights throughout New Zealand
  • by 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.

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
  • wear face coverings on public transport and domestic flights
  • 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, 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

Travel into, out of or through an Alert Level 3 area is restricted. These Alert Level boundaries are an important way to manage the risk of the virus spreading, so we can keep our loved ones and communities safe. 

Anyone wanting to travel between Alert Level 3 and Alert Level 2 regions needs to check whether they are eligible to travel.

If your reason for travelling is not permitted, you may need to apply for an exemption. Before applying you need to consider whether:

  • your need to travel across an Alert Level boundary is for an urgent, non-delayable reason; or
  • anyone else (who does not need to cross the Alert Level boundary) can attend the event or perform the activity you need to get to.

The Ministry of Health and MBIE have developed online registration systems to support requests for business, service and personal movement across an Alert Level boundary.

Travel within an Alert Level 3 region

At Alert Level 3 you can only travel locally, and for allowed reasons. For example, going to work or school if you must, or for shopping or to get exercise.

Advice for travelling locally

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