New Zealand had one of the World’s Toughest Covid Restrictions. Now its Borders are open to Everyone


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Finally, after over two years, New Zealand will reopen its borders and welcome all international travelers home.

The country reopened on July 31, three months earlier than what was initially said.

Just this year, New Zealand opened its borders to Australian citizens and those from 60 other countries without visas, including Singapore, the US, and the UK.

A single Covid case triggered lockdowns and extensive testing in New Zealand in 2021, making New Zealand one of the world’s most severely restricted countries in the event of a pandemic outbreak.

The largest city, Auckland, was under a state of emergency for 107 days, from August to December 2021, due to multiple cases of the delta variant.

Many restrictions have been lifted, but entry requirements remain strict. Here’s what you need to know before you go.


  1. According to the Covid information page, visitors, with the exception of New Zealand citizens and Australians living in the country, are required to show proof of vaccination before entering.
  2. Both electronic and paper vaccination certificates are accepted.
  3. Travellers need to do a rapid antigen test upon their arrival date — and a second one five or six days into their trip, according to New Zealand’s Ministry of Health.
  4. Masks are not required outdoors, but they are required indoors, such as in museums, supermarkets, and pharmacies.

When is the Cheapest time to Visit

Even though inflation in New Zealand hit a 32-year high earlier this month, Navigate Travel said prices of tours, activities, and accommodations are the same, if not cheaper, than what they were before the pandemic.

(A holiday in) New Zealand is very cheap at the moment … It’s never been cheaper to travel there, according to Daniel Painter, the agency’s managing director.

Since May, when it was announced that full border closures would end by the end of July, there has been strong interest from travellers to visit, said Tourism New Zealand.

gregg Wafelbakker, the tourism body’s general manager for Asia, says searches for international flights to New Zealand have increased by 39% since the announcement. He says more than 60% of these searches come from Australia.

Painter said though that travel demand from Asia remains low, with most of the region’s visitors coming from Singapore.

The Singapore-based Chan Brothers Travel says that there are not enough flights.

“Travel demand to New Zealand has been healthy since the borders reopened to Singaporeans in May.

However, due to flight availability, demand does outstrip supply,” said Jeremiah Wong, the agency’s senior marketing communications manager.

Larger Spends, Longer Trips

Due to years of isolation, many travelers to New Zealand say they’re willing to spend more money and travel for longer periods after being permitted access.

In general, trips to New Zealand last eight days, but tour companies are reporting that eleven days are better because they will give travelers more time to see the sights.

Like travel guru Ryan Painter, who has commented on his latest findings that travelers want the opportunity to relax and not worry but also want to get a lot of bang for their buck.

Painter also added national park hikes, scenic helicopter rides over the Franz Josef Glacier, and whale watching near the town of Kaikoura to New Zealand’s South Island to the list of things tourists shouldn’t miss.

Lew Moe Kien, 60, and her husband, 62, visited New Zealand for 12 days in May – just two weeks after Singapore’s borders were reopened to its citizens.

Locals are elated that tourists are back in the country, and the newly visitors are being welcomed with open arms at establishments such as restaurants and hotels.

lew’s favorite part of New Zealand was that at most of the attractions we visited, there were only the two of us.

In their stay in New Zealand, Lew and her husband visited both the North and South Islands of the country, visiting Hobbiton — a popular destination for Lord of the Rings fans — the glow worm caves in Waitomo, and the pancake-shaped rock formations and blowholes at Punakaiki.
Human resources professional Shirleen Tan, 46, plans to travel to New Zealand with her family in December.

“We were looking for a warm country in December, and New Zealand is one of the few.” said Tan.

She said she looks forward to visiting vineyards for wine tastings, fresh oysters at oyster farms, and admiring the country’s famous natural beauty.


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