Regional travel

Advice for travelling between different regions of New Zealand.

Regional travel at Alert Level 1

If you are 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 have been

Use the NZ COVID Tracer app to keep track of where you have been while travelling or on holiday, as you may not recall all the places you have 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 is 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 are sick

If you are 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 doctor to find out if you should get a test.

If you are 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

Regional travel at Alert Level 2

If you are living at Alert Level 2, you can travel anywhere in New Zealand that is at Alert Level 1 or 2 for any reason, 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 are sick, please do not 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 flights. There are exceptions for some people and services.
    Who needs to wear a face covering
  • 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 do not 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.

Travel across Alert Level boundaries

Travel across Alert Level boundaries is strictly limited.

Anyone wanting to travel across Alert Level boundaries needs to check whether they are permitted to do so.

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 flight. Maintain physical distancing where you can.

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

Travel into and out of Northland

Travelling into and out of Northland is a little more difficult while it shares a boundary with Auckland.

Find out more about travelling into and out of Northland

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.
  • You legally must wear a face covering on the Cook Strait ferry. There are exceptions for some people and services.
    Who needs to wear a face covering
  • Maintain physical distancing where you can.
  • Comply with any temporary barriers and seat signage telling you where you are allowed to sit.
  • Maintain good hygiene all the time — wash your hands regularly, sneeze or cough into your elbow.

Regional travel 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 across an Alert Level boundary needs to check whether they are eligible to travel.

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.

Travelling on public transport

Travelling in a private vehicle

Regional travel at Alert Level 4

At Alert Level 4, travel is strictly limited.

Air travel will be used only to transport:

  • people travelling home in the first 48 hours after the move to Alert Level 4
  • people undertaking Alert Level 4 services
  • freight, or
  • for other permitted reasons.

Other permitted reasons include:

  • to do necessary work as defined in the Public Health Response Order
  • to pick someone up from an airport
  • to pick someone up from managed isolation or quarantine (MIQ) — to pick someone up, you must have a formal letter from MIQ
  • to leave New Zealand
  • to provide urgent care for a child or a person in a critical or terminally ill condition
  • to attend a Court, tribunal, New Zealand Parole Board hearing or another judicial institution.

Permitted movement at Alert Level 4

Do not travel if you:

  • have been requested to self-isolate
  • have symptoms of COVID-19
  • are awaiting a COVID-19 test result. 

Even if you have been vaccinated, you still need to follow the rules to keep everyone safe.

Travelling over Alert Level boundaries

Non-essential travel

Non-essential travel, like travel to a second home or holiday home, is not allowed.

If you travelled to a second home or bach, you will not be told to return home, however you must stay where you are until restrictions on travel have lifted. The safest place for whānau to be is at home.

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