New Zealand border reopening: A guide for Australian travellers

New Zealand

Danny Baggs

Posted April 05, 2022

On 13 April 2022, New Zealand will reopen its borders to vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents arriving from anywhere in the world. Here’s everything you need to know about the change.

Australia and New Zealand have always shared a special relationship, with both Aussies and Kiwis often travelling across the Tasman Strait for work, study or travel.

But COVID-19 has seen New Zealand seal off their borders for two years to protect its residents from the virus. Except for a short-lived travel bubble with Australia, only New Zealand citizens have been allowed in and out of the country since March 2020.

Happily, with case numbers down and vaccination rates up in Australia, New Zealand has declared their borders open to vaccinated Australians from 13 April.

New Zealand prime minister announces plans to open borders

“We’re ready to welcome the world back,” New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced with a smile on 16 March at a highly publicised press conference.

“In particular, I look forward to welcoming back our trans-Tasman travellers, who have historically made up 40% of our international arrivals: around 1.5 million Australians.”

Ardern noted that the timing would allow Australians to travel during our school holidays in time for New Zealand’s winter ski season.

Stuart Nash, the New Zealand tourism minister, added that New Zealand was “ready to roll out the green and gold carpet for our Australian neighbours... We have missed you.”

Visitors from the United States, the UK, Germany, Canada, Japan, Singapore, and other visa waiver countries will also be able to enter New Zealand from 2 May 2022.

Adventure time: kayaking in New Zealand's Lake District. Image: Camilla Rutherford
Hobbiton in Waikato is a popular tourist destination. Image: Matt Crawford
Enjoy fresh oysters at Bluff in the Southland region. Image: Miles Holden
A trip to New Zealand isn't complete without spotting a cute kiwi. Credit: Miles Holden

Health requirements to travel to New Zealand

Although Australians are allowed to travel to New Zealand from 13 April without isolating, there are still some rules.

You must:

  • Be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 before entering New Zealand. Learn more about vaccination requirements, including exemptions, approved vaccines and doses, and proof of vaccination, here.

  • Complete the New Zealand Traveller Declaration in order to receive a New Zealand Traveller Pass. You will need to display this pass when you check in at the airport, and to Customs when you arrive in New Zealand. 

  • Apply for a My Vaccine Pass, which is required for entry into many events and businesses. This pass can take two weeks to process if you were vaccinated outside of New Zealand, so start your application early.

  • Receive a negative COVID-19 pre-departure test: either a PCR test, a supervised RAT test, or a supervised LAMP test. Bring the appropriate documentation with you to the airport to show to officials when requested.

  • Take a RAT test on Day 0/1 and Day 5/6. These RAT kits will be given to you for free upon arrival at Biosecurity once you have gone through Customs. You must report both RAT results, whether negative or positive, via the link you will be emailed by the New Zealand Ministry of Health after you complete your traveller declaration.

  • Be prepared to isolate for 7 days if you return a positive RAT result. You will also need to get a PCR test in this event. “New Zealand has a gold standard regime for caring for people with COVID at home,” Ms Ardern said. “Stay in one place if you’re sick.” 

  • Keep track of where you go by downloading the NZ COVID Tracer app and keeping Bluetooth tracing turned on in the app. If you test positive, you can then help keep New Zealand safe by sharing details of any high-risk locations you visited (like an aged care home) and your close contacts’ contact details so that they can test for COVID too.

If you’re worried about COVID# affecting your travel plans, RACV Travel Insurance can help protect you when travelling overseas.


traditional Maori carving

Whakairo (Māori carvings) depicting Māui and his whānau (family) dot Maunga Hikurangi (Mount Hikurangi). Image: Eric Hanson

Best travel destinations and tours in New Zealand

Get ready to partake in awe-inspiring adventures once you land in New Zealand. RACV Members get access to exclusive benefits on everything from tours, cruises and accommodation to unique attractions and experiences.

New Zealand’s North Island is renowned for its Hobbiton movie set, glow worm caves and wellness hotspots, plus an epic road trip from Auckland to Wellington. Meanwhile, the South Island boasts abundant wildlife, the breathtaking Milford Sound and adrenaline-packed Queenstown. There are also plenty of family-friendly activities on both islands.

Mr Nash described Australia as “the nation that travels the most for skiing.” With the border reopening in time for New Zealand’s ski season, many Australians will be hitting the slopes in Queenstown and Mt Hutt. Discover tailor-made ski holidays so you can focus on carving powder.

Travelling to New Zealand? Pack your insurance too!
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The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit RACV Travel Insurance issued by Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd ABN 80 000 438 291 AFSL 246 548. Terms & conditions apply, refer to the PDS. Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) Ltd AR 001243563 is an authorised representative of the issuer and receives commission for each policy sold or renewed.

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