With New Zealand borders set to reopen and Air New Zealand about to relaunch 24 international routes, the stars finally seem to be aligning for those eager to travel overseas.
Here we take a look at the entry requirements for five of the most popular destinations for Kiwi travellers now open to visitors from this corner of the world.
The archetypal Pacific Island paradise, Fiji, was New Zealand’s most popular island destination in 2019. And no wonder. With waters so blue it’s hard to believe they haven’t been put through an Instagram filter, coral reefs teeming with equally colourful characters, tangled tropical rainforest ripe for adventure, and accommodation to suit everyone from backpackers to billionaires, the archipelago guarantees a dreamy (and ultra-relaxed) break.
Fiji reopened its borders to international tourists in December 2021, offering quarantine-free travel to fully vaccinated visitors and accompanying minors from a fairly lengthy list of “travel partner countries” with high vaccination rates, including New Zealand.
To visit, you will need an International Travel Vaccine Certificate to prove your vaccination status, and to return a negative Covid-19 test before you board your flight. The quickest way to get an International Vaccine Certificate is online through the My Covid Record website, but you can also call the Ministry of Health on 0800 222 478 or request one at a participating pharmacy. In terms of pre-departure tests, both polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and rapid antigen tests (RATs) are accepted.
With PCR tests, travellers aged 12 and over need to produce a test result taken within two days of their flight’s departure. They must be taken by a travel test provider such as a doctor, lab or hospital.
In the case of RATs, travellers aged 12 and over need to produce a test result taken within 24 hours of their flight’s departure. Serology (antibody) tests are not accepted.
If you have tested positive for Covid-19 within 30 days of travel and recovered, you will need to provide either proof of your isolation period, or a “fit to fly” certificate or letter from a medical practitioner. The certificate or letter should include the date your symptoms started, when you tested positive and your symptoms ceased, and the date you were released from isolation. This will exempt you from testing requirements both before you arrive and on day two of your stay.
All overseas visitors must stay in accommodation certified by the Care Fiji Commitment (CFC), a World Health Organisation (WHO)-approved standard of Covid-related health and safety measures for travel. Most hotels and tour operators in Fiji are following CFC protocols. To enter Fiji, you will need proof of a confirmed three-night stay in a CFC hotel and a CFC transfer from the airport to your hotel. You can find a link to a list of all CFC businesses on the Tourism Fiji website.
You will need to take a RAT test at your hotel two days after you arrive in the country (your day of arrival is considered day zero). Your hotel can organise this, but you will need to pay for it.
You can use the facilities at your hotel in these first two days as well as transit to a hotel on another island, or book a day tour – as long as you use CFC operators.
If you test positive for Covid-19 in Fiji, you will have to isolate in a room at your hotel or “overflow facility” for seven days. Negative close contacts can either join the positive Covid case in isolation or stay in their hotel room.
While in Fiji, you are asked to wear a mask in crowded indoor and outdoor spaces, maintain physical distancing of at least two metres if possible, and wash your hands often. Visitors are also asked to avoid “low vaccination zones”, which can be found here.
Air New Zealand already flies from Auckland to Fiji and is set to resume services from Wellington and Christchurch from July 5. Fiji Airways will restart flights between Nadi and Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch from March 14.
Australia was by far the most popular destination for New Zealanders in 2019, with almost 1.3 million of us returning from a trip across the ditch that year, according to Statistics New Zealand data.
Many of us have friends and family there we enjoy visiting, while others look on it as a sweet – and super easy – spot for a sunny break. Whether you’re after a tropical escape, cosmopolitan city break, or true blue outback adventure, Straya’s got you sorted.
Fully vaccinated New Zealand passport holders and other eligible travellers from Aotearoa, including unvaccinated children under 12 and those medically exempt from Covid-19 vaccination, can already travel quarantine-free to most states and territories in Australia. The country opens up to fully vaccinated visa holders from around the world from February 21. Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated 12- to 17-year-olds can visit when travelling with a fully vaccinated adult.
Before booking your flight to Australia, you should check the entry requirements for the states and/or territories you plan to visit on the Australian Government website as they do vary.
At present, overseas travellers to New South Wales need to take a RAT within 24 hours of arriving in the state and self-isolate until they get a negative result. They’ll need to take another test on day six of their stay. Overseas travellers to Queensland also need to take a Covid-19 test within 24 hours of arrival and self-isolate until they get a negative result.
You will need to present your International Travel Vaccine Certificate when you check in for your flight, and complete the Australia Travel Declaration (ATD) at least 72 hours before departure. This collects your contact details in Australia, flight details, quarantine requirements (if any), and health status. You will need to state whether you have been to any locations of interest in New Zealand at the times specified on the New Zealand Ministry of Health website.
A negative pre-departure Covid-19 test is also required. You will need to show either a negative PCR or other Nucleic Acid Amplification (NAA) test result within three days of your flight’s departure to Australia, or a medical certificate showing you returned a negative Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) no more than 24 hours before your flight departs.
RATs must be taken by or under the supervision of a medical practitioner such as a pharmacist, general practitioner, nurse, pathologist, pathology collector, or personnel at airport testing stations.
If your flight is delayed you will not need to take a new test, but you will do if it is cancelled or rescheduled and you no longer meet the testing timeframe requirements.
Pre-Covid, plenty of Kiwis were living out their American travel dreams – the USA was our second most visited country that year, with more than 200,000 of us returning from a trip there.
It’s little wonder then that Air New Zealand is keen to resume flying Stateside – the national carrier is set to relaunch flights from Auckland to San Francisco on April 14, to Honolulu on July 4, Houston in July, and Chicago on September 30. The airline already flies to Los Angeles.
All foreign national air travellers to the US must provide evidence of being fully vaccinated against Covid-19, but kids under 18 are exempt.
Travellers aged two and older must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within a day of departure. Those who have recovered from Covid-19 within 90 days of departure can show documentation that proves they are no longer infectious – that is to say a positive test result and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider saying they have been cleared to travel. NAATs such as PCR tests are accepted, as are antigen tests.
Before flying out, you will also need to complete a passenger disclosure and attestation form.
As in Australia, entry requirements can vary depending on where you’re going. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website can point you in the direction of the various health department websites.
If you’re headed to LA, you’ll need to fill out a Los Angeles Traveler form, and get a Covid-19 test three to five days after you arrive. Monitor yourself for Covid-19 symptoms and isolate if you develop any. More information on isolation can be found on the CDC website.
US Federal law requires you to wear a mask on board your flight and at the airport.
Long the go-to destination for young Kiwis on their OE, the UK was the fifth most popular destination with New Zealanders in 2019, with close to 130,000 returning from a trip there.
Travel agencies have reported strong bookings to the UK in the wake of the border reopening announcement, no doubt partly because so many of us have family and friends there.
From February 11, 2022, fully vaccinated travellers and under 18s no longer need either a pre- or post-arrival Covid-19 test. Unvaccinated travellers must take a pre-arrival test and book a post-arrival test for day two. Neither vaccinated nor unvaccinated travellers need to self-isolate.
All travellers must complete a passenger locator form before they arrive in the UK.
Synonymous with romance and other French specialities, French Polynesia reopened its borders to overseas travellers in May 2021.
The islands of French Polynesia have been legendary since European ships first landed there and the sailors fell in love with the mountain-backed lagoons, the laidback way of life – and the women.
While not as untouched as they were then, they’re still lovely, particularly if you head to the more secluded stretches of Tahiti or lesser-visited islands. With its luxe overwater bungalows, Bora Bora is a longtime favourite with those willing and able to spare no expense on a holiday with their beloved, but nearby Mo’orea is just as alluring.
Tiputa Pass in Rangiora is a dream brought to life for divers and snorkellers with its astonishing assortment of sea life, while tiny Tikehau, with pink and white sand beaches leading to an archetypal tropical blue lagoon, is arguably one of the loveliest atolls on Earth. On Tahiti, chase waterfalls through jungle-clad mountains, surf world-famous breaks, or shop for pareu (sarongs) and black pearls at the market in Pape’ete.
All travellers to the region aged 12 and over must prove they are fully vaccinated. Those aged 18 and over must have had a booster shot if they had their second dose more than nine months ago. Unvaccinated children under 12 can visit when travelling with vaccinated adults.
Unvaccinated travellers aged 12 and over can only visit if they provide a compelling reason which is approved by the High Commissioner of French Polynesia. Unvaccinated visitors must spend seven days in quarantine.
Travellers aged 12 and over also need to present a negative Covid-19 pre-departure test (PCR, RT-PCR and antigen tests are all accepted) within 24 hours of departure. A medical certificate confirming a negative result must be presented to airline staff at check-in.
Visitors aged six and over must take an RT-PCR test upon arrival. If you test positive, you’ll need to spend seven days in quarantine at your own expense.
Visitors must also register on the Electronic Travel Information System Formalities (ETIS) platform within 30 days of departure. Visitors need to pay a “health surveillance fee” when completing this form. This is 5000 CFP Francs (NZ$70) for vaccinated travellers six and over and unvaccinated children aged six to 18, and 12,000 CFP Francs for unvaccinated travellers six and over.
Air New Zealand is set to resume flights to Tahiti in July.
More than 83,000 Kiwis made trips to Indonesia in 2019, making it another of our most popular destinations for the year.
Bali reopened to fully vaccinated international travellers this February, despite rising infections.
Visitors will have to spend five days in quarantine, either in one of 28 “bubble hotels”, where you are able to access certain resort facilities, and 33 in-room hotels and resorts. Bubble hotels include popular luxury resorts such as Six Senses Uluwatu, Mulia Resort and The St Regis Bali Resort.
Visitors need to return a negative PCR test within 24 hours of departure, and take two other PCR tests – one upon arrival at Bali International Airport and another on day four or six of quarantine.
Air New Zealand does not fly to Bali, but Qantas does, so you could transit in Australia.