‘Forbidden kingdom’ reopens: New Zealand sets dates for welcoming travellers in 2022!

DestinationAkaroa in Canterbury, by Graeme Murray
Listen to ‘Forbidden kingdom’ reopens: New Zealand sets dates for welcoming travellers in 2022!

In a long-awaited announcement, New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced the country will be opening to free travel for Australian travellers by July. This potentially marks the country’s proper reopening since it clamped down on all travel in almost two years. In a recent press conference, Ardern announced New Zealand’s reopening dates which would take place in a five-step, phased manner.

The reopening of New Zealand will allow, albeit slowly, the free entry of its citizens and international travellers into the country. From July 2022, Australian holidaymakers can fly to Australia like… pre-2020. Droll humour aside, yes – normal Aussie holiday plans in New Zealand can resume as early as that. For international travellers, the magic date is from October onwards. It was earlier set to be tentatively at the end of March, 2022, but the Kiwi government has pushed back the dates to ensure maximum vaccination of its populace.

Hiking in Karangahake Gorge in Coromandel. Pic: Graeme Murray/Tourism NZ.

What are New Zealand’s Five Stages of Opening Borders?

Stage 1: As early as February 2022, Kiwi citizens stuck in Australia can get back to their families and loved ones.

Stage 2: Kiwis and some other eligible visa holders can travel back to the country from March 13.

Stage 3: Other visa holders and critical service sector workers will be allowed back into the country by April 12.

Stage 4: (That’s us!) Australian travellers can book a holiday, flight tix and zip on in from July.

Stage 5: October onwards, pretty much anybody with a travel visa can fly in.

But that’s not the complete picture, and not the Big News.

As evening falls on Mt Hikurangi on the East Cape – utterly beautiful. Matt Crawford/Tourism NZ.

What’s the Big Hoopla About New Zealand’s Opening Borders?

No MIQ. That’s the big thing. New Zealand, for almost two years now, has had in place a rigid Managed Institutional Quarantine (MIQ) system managed by its military. Even as of now (Feb 2, 2022), it is mandatory for the few eligible travellers to fly in straight into a MIQ and stay anywhere between a week to two. This is in addition to RT-PCR tests conducted pre-flight, during and post MIQ. And if this sounds daunting, the reality is that there is a massive queue for MIQ slots – to the tune of 50 applicants per room.

Now, the government is replacing the above rule with simpler home quarantine for 7-10 days. Plus, travellers will have to self-test with the much more affordable Rapid Antigen Tests. If in case travellers find themselves COVID-positive, only then they will have to undergo a more thorough RT-PCR test after a mandatory quarantine period.

Slewing ribbons down the mountains after it’s freshly snowed. Pic: Miles_Holden/Tourism NZ.

New Zealand Post-Lockdown Holidays? Yes, please!

It is a fact that Australia and the world has been waiting for New Zealand to open its borders with bated breath. And now that we have the NZ government announcing a definite plan of reopening, it’s time to start planning and booking. If you want more information on the border opening and exact details, you can read up this nice Stuff article on it.

Need to do some New Zealand travel research beforehand? No worries, we got you covered. Check out our travel blogs on New Zealand, you’ll find some great food for thought!

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