New Zealand’s borders were opened to Australians and nationals of 60 countries, including Singapore, the United States, and the United Kingdom, earlier this year.
New Zealand in 2021 had some of the harshest pandemic restrictions in the world, with lockdowns triggered by a single Covid case, intensive testing, and other public health laws.
Auckland, the nation’s largest metropolis, was quarantined for 107 days, from August to December 2021, due to outbreaks of the extremely contagious delta strain.
Many restrictions have been eliminated, but New Zealand’s entry criteria remain severe. Here’s what you should know before visiting.
According to the government’s Covid web page, travellers are required to present proof of vaccination with the exception of New Zealand nationals and Australian residents.
Acceptable are both electronic and paper immunisation certificates.
According to New Zealand’s Ministry of Health, travellers must undergo a quick antigen test on their arrival date, although it is not required upon arrival at the airport, and a second one on the fifth or sixth day of their vacation.
Masks are required indoors, such as in museums, supermarkets, and pharmacies, but not outdoors.
Most affordable time to visit
Despite New Zealand’s inflation reaching a 32-year high of 7.3% earlier this month, Navigate Travel reports that pricing for tours, activities, and accommodations are the same, if not lower than before the pandemic.
″(A holiday in) New Zealand’s very cheap at the moment … Other than air travel, there’s never been a cheaper time to come,” said Daniel Painter, the travel agency’s managing director.
Since it was announced in May that the country’s borders would fully reopen at the end of July, Tourism New Zealand has reported a surge in passenger interest.
“Online searches for international flights to New Zealand (are) up 39% since the announcement was made, compared to pre-Covid searches,” said Gregg Wafelbakker, the tourism body’s general manager for Asia. He stated that more than 60% of this interest comes from Australia.
However, according to Painter, the demand for travel from Asia remains low, with the majority of travellers coming from Singapore.
Chan Brothers Travel, a travel service based in Singapore, suggested a lack of available flights may be to blame.
“Travel demand to New Zealand has been healthy ever since the borders [reopened] to Singaporeans in May. However, due to flight availability, we do observe demand outstripping supply,” said Jeremiah Wong, the agency’s senior marketing communications manager.
Larger spends, longer travels
After years of being barred from entering New Zealand, travellers indicate they are willing to pay more to stay for longer durations, according to Wong.
“An eight-day New Zealand tour was a popular choice before the pandemic, but we are currently seeing more interest and bookings for our 11-day tour that allows travelers to take in the sights at a more relaxed pace,” Wong said.
Similar feelings were expressed by Navigate Travel’s Painter, who stated that passengers “want the ability to be able to relax and not have to worry about things, but they also want to be able to get lots of bang for their buck.”
Painter said that tourists should not miss walks in the country’s national parks, a magnificent helicopter flight over Franz Josef Glacier, and whale viewing near the town of Kaikoura on New Zealand’s South Island.
Lew Moe Kien, 60, and her husband, 62, spent 12 days in New Zealand in May, barely two weeks after the country’s borders reopened to Singaporeans.
They reported that residents were thrilled to see tourists return to the country and that they were greeted with open arms at restaurants and other businesses.
“The places we visited in New Zealand were not crowded at all,” said Lew. “For many of the places of interest, it was only the two of us there.”
Lew and her husband travelled to the North and South Islands of New Zealand, where they visited Hobbiton, a favourite destination for “Lord of the Rings” enthusiasts, the glow worm caverns in Waitomo, and the pancake-shaped rock formations and blowholes at Punakaiki.
In December, Shirleen Tan, 46, a Singaporean human resources expert, is arranging a trip to New Zealand with her family.
“We were looking for somewhere with warm weather, and New Zealand is one of the few warm countries in December,” said Tan.
She stated that she is looking forward to visiting wineries for wine tastings, eating fresh oysters at oyster farms, and “enjoying the beautiful scenery that New Zealand is famous for.”
As a reminder, please ensure you have contacted your respective travel agency and checked the requirements of the nation from which you are departing, as well as your travel insurance. Additionally, remember to enjoy your first trip to New Zealand following the lockdown.