New Zealand back to normal as most travel restrictions end
What was once 'Fortress New Zealand' is now back to normality, with most travel restrictions now history.
Face masks are no longer required on flights to, from or within New Zealand with the country now almost back to its pre-pandemic normality.
Case numbers across the country are dropping and coupled with a highly vaccinated population and easy nationwide access to Covid-19 treatment options, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared the end to virtually all restrictions which made the country one of the most tightly controlled throughout the pandemic.
The former traffic light system of restrictions is now fixed to green, with only those who test positive required to isolate for seven days.
“It’s time to safely turn the page on our COVID-19 management, and live without the extraordinary measures we have previously used,” Prime Minister Ardern said.
There are now virtually no travel restrictions on entering New Zealand, with all pre- and post-arrival testing requirements dropped, however all visitors must still complete a travel declaration prior to arriving.
The former vaccination mandate has also ended, however the country will still encourage arrivals to undertake a rapid antigen test on their first day and again on day five or six.
Airline schedules back to normal
With trans-Tasman demand back to normal, along with it come similar flight schedules to meet it.
Qantas and Jetstar are again flying multiple times daily from several Australian capital and major cities direct to Auckland, Wellington, Queenstown, Christchurch and Dunedin.
Air New Zealand is operating a similar schedule, with dozens of weekly flights 'across the ditch' to all state capitals and major regional centres including Cairns, the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.
At present, there's no word on if or when seasonal flights to Newcastle will resume.
Gulf carriers have also re-established trans-Tasman hops between Australia and New Zealand, with Qatar Airways connecting Adelaide and Auckland, while Emirates continues to connect multiple New Zealand cities to Dubai via Australia for now.
Qatar's newest partner, Virgin Australia is continuing to delay its return to the once-popular route, with flights from Brisbane to Queenstown still earmarked to resume in November.
Trans-Tasman is back
Australia and New Zealand have long been each other’s number one travel destination: 2019 saw some 2.6 million residents of each country jetting back and forth across the Tasman, according to Stats NZ.
Over on the ‘land of the long white cloud’, travellers are spoiled for choice on things to see and do, both adventurous and indulgent.
Whether skiing down in Queenstown, sailing among the Bay of Islands, or living the high life at its top luxury hotels, there’s a plethora of amazing opportunities to explore major cities, small towns or to escape into the rural spaces in between.
However, visitors to New Zealand will also be paying slightly more for their tickets, with the country’s Border Processing Levy having risen during the pandemic closure from NZ$20 per airline passenger return trip to NZ$43, with passengers arriving on cruise ships to be charged NZ$36.
The higher charges are expected to be passed on by airlines and cruise companies in the form of increased ticket costs.
Hi Guest, join in the discussion on New Zealand back to normal as most travel restrictions end
08 May 2020
Total posts 83
As much as I congratulate New Zealand in removing the Mask wearing unlike the Australian Gov which continues to grapple with the now reasonable under control pandemic. However for New Zealand I am disappointed that between Australia & New Zealand there is a Monopoly between Qantas & Air New Zealand and I truly hope that Virgin gets up and becomes a participant in offering Flights to and from.
09 May 2020
Total posts 540
The Australian brand for tourists is severely affected by our world famous blanket ban for inward and outgoing travel (whether or not it is the right thing to do I will leave it with the readers) and we are still struggling with getting enough inbound tourists number to get the big spenders (non gambling kind) here, not helped by the mainland Chinese travel restrictions.
I seriously doubt NZ will get international tourist going any better than AU, and any “international” tourists they have largely hail from the east coast of Australia, many with NZ ties
And then we got these ridiculous fares being charged by full service airlines now that many LCC competitors are gone or restructured not to compete directly with their parent full service airline owners. This will become more obvious to Australian context rather than NZ
Sooner or later the economics of domestic tourism meant the Aussies rather spend their dollar overseas (other than NZ) despite the poor exchange rate and high international fares (with QF the main culprit) and many will learn that paying QF or JQ doesn’t guarantee services as a few trapped in Bali and Darwin already found out.