Grounded Air New Zealand planes parked at Auckland Airport
Grounded Air New Zealand planes parked at Auckland Airport. Photo: Matt Graham.

New Zealand will start to reopen to international visitors after 30 April 2022 under the plan to “reconnect New Zealand” announced by the New Zealand government today.

Under the new plan, fully vaccinated New Zealand citizens and residents will be allowed to return to the country from Australia from 17 January 2022. New Zealanders will be required to get a pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test, tests on days 1 & 7 after arriving in New Zealand, and self-isolate at home for 7 days after returning.

From 14 February 2022, New Zealand will then reopen its border to citizens and residents from “all but very high risk countries”. But the country will not reopen to foreign nationals until after 30 April 2022 – and even then, the reopening could be staged by visa category.

Sadly, this means Australians with holidays booked to New Zealand over the summer will now need to cancel or rebook from May next year.

Currently, New Zealanders returning from overseas are required to book a space in Managed Isolation & Quarantine (MIQ), where they stay for 7 days after arrival before isolating at home for a further 3 days. But given the very limited MIQ capacity, many thousands of New Zealanders remain stranded overseas as they haven’t been able to make an MIQ booking.

The New Zealand government says that MIQ will still have a role in New Zealand for some time and will continue to be used for travellers from high-risk countries and unvaccinated New Zealanders. Since 1 November 2021, foreign visitors must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of entry to New Zealand.

Auckland is currently in lockdown with Aucklanders unable to leave the city without an exemption, although the boundary around New Zealand’s largest city will start to be lifted from the middle of December.

The New Zealand government has not yet indicated whether international visitors will still need to isolate for 7 days and get multiple COVID-19 tests when the border reopens to tourists from May 2022.

New Zealand “paused” the quarantine-free trans-Tasman bubble in July 2021, initially for 8 weeks. It now appears this will not return.

New Zealand flight cancellations

Earlier this week, Air New Zealand cancelled most of its trans-Tasman flights scheduled for December 2021. The airline will likely now extend these cancellations until 17 January 2022.

Air New Zealand does not provide refunds to customers with cancelled flights, only providing a travel credit instead which is valid for 12 months.

Qantas is currently scheduling the resumption of trans-Tasman flights from 3 January 2022, but will almost certainly cancel more flights over the coming days and weeks. Qantas offers the choice of a refund or credit for cancelled flights.

Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: NZ Border locked to non-residents/NZ citizens until April 30 2022

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]