What is it like to travel in New Zealand now?

Hi everyone. It’s Shannon, and I have just returned from a trip to New Zealand. While travel has not returned to exactly the same as before COVID, it is easy and very safe to travel to New Zealand. The weather was stunning. Consider November for your trip.

Here are some tips:

  • Immigration/Customs. New Zealand has dropped its COVID testing and vaccination proof requirements for entry into the country. I flew on American Airlines direct from Dallas to Auckland. Upon arrival, there were no lines. I used the SmartGate and was through in under 10 minutes.
  • Masks. Masks are not required in the airport, on the plane, or in any public places that I observed. Similar to the US, you will still see people wearing masks, and of course, it is completely up to your comfort level if you want to wear one or not.
  • Staffing Levels. Just like many of you have experienced in America and other places around the world, hotels, restaurants, and touring companies are not fully staffed, so wait times can be longer. Some tours will change with little warning. So you just need some patience and grace.

Here is what is amazing about traveling now:

  • Kiwi Hospitality. The locals are so happy to have you traveling back to their country. They are wonderfully warm and welcoming.
  • More Focus on Sustainability and Conservation. The overarching theme/message I received there was that Kiwis are MORE focused on conservation than ever before. There is a goal of returning to only endemic plants and animals in the entire country in the next ten years: less plastic, more recycled materials, and less stress on the environment.
  • No crowds. As New Zealand enters its peak season (the first time being open since late 2019), normally, you would expect to see crowds and sold-out hotels. But I didn’t see any of that. So in places like Milford Sound and other very popular places, you will see fewer people.

Demand for New Zealand is very high, which means that future dates for hotels and tours are very booked. So we are recommending booking your dream New Zealand vacation for May 2023 and beyond. I would love to tell you more. So give me a call or email me at sbradley@downunderendeavours.com.