New Zealand Travel Alerts and Warnings

Is it safe to go to New Zealand right now? Find out about COVID-19 travel restrictions, lockdown and potential disruptions to your travel plans.


Photo © Getty Images/georgeclerk

Travel restrictions due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – 23 March, 2020

New Zealand will be going into lockdown within 48 hours, and this will last for up to four weeks. People will be instructed to stay home, education facilities will be closed, only essential services will remain open (such as supermarkets, pharmacies and clinics), travel will be severely limited, and there will be a major reprioritisation of healthcare services.

The New Zealand authorities have stopped all visitors, except for returning New Zealanders, from boarding a plane to New Zealand from 11:59pm local time on March 19. Their partners, legal guardians or any dependent children traveling with them may also return. Returning residents and citizens are required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. Get more information here.

Stay up to date with the media and always follow the advice of your government.

Wondering how your travel insurance might be affected by the COVID-19 outbreak? Find answers to some of our common questions about COVID-19.

Floods in the Southland region of New Zealand – February 2020

Flash floods and torrential rain on New Zealand's South Island have left several hundred tourists stranded, and forced residents in the area to evacuate their homes.

Authorities have warned of more floods in the region due to rising water levels in the Mataura River. Many roads were blocked, and power supplies were disrupted in the affected areas, which included the popular travel destinations Milford Sound and Te Anau.

Keep an eye on weather reports and monitor local news closely if you are in the region, or if you are visiting the Southland region soon, contact your travel provider to see how this may change your plans.

Jetstar industrial action – December 2019

Jetstar staff will be conducting a series of strikes on beginning on 13, 14 and 15 December 2019. If you're an Australian or New Zealand resident with a travel insurance policy from World Nomads, find out how this may affect your coverage.

Volcanic eruption on White Island – December 9, 2019

Whakaari/White Island is New Zealand's most active cone volcano, and erupted without warning on Monday, 9 December 2019. 

The island lies 29mi (48km) off the east coast of the North Island, in the Bay of Plenty. It last erupted in 2001.

At the time of the eruption, 47 people were on or near the island. Six people have been confirmed dead, eight people are missing, and 31 are in hospital.

If you are on the North Island near the Bay of Plenty, police have advised that volcanic ash could pose a major health hazard.

Stay up to date with local media on the situation, and be aware your plans to visit White Island may be disrupted. Contact your travel provider for more information.

Hear from a volcanologist

Professor Richard Arculus from The Australian National University is a volcanologist, and discusses with Kim and Phil from the World Nomads Podcast what caused the eruption of the volcano – not once but twice – on New Zealand's White Island.

West coast wild weather – March 2019

A state of emergency has been declared for the west coast of New Zealand's South Island due to a severe storm system which have battered the coast since last Sunday night, resulting in heavy rain, flooding and landslides. One person has died and hundreds of people are displaced as the system moves north along the coast. There are power disruptions in several locations.

Many roads and highways have been completely cut off or significantly damaged due to extreme flooding. State Highway 73, between Arthurs Pass and Jacksons, is currently impacted due to two landslides and the Franz Josef-Fox Glacier Highway has been cut off due to the raging Wahio River taking out the WahioBridge, leaving people stranded in Franz Josef unable to travel south towards Fox Glacier and Wanaka. There have also been numerous landslides on the highway between Fox Glacier and Franz Josef. Currently, the only route north along the west coast is via the Lewis Pass. For more information, check out the New Zealand Transport Agency website.

Government authorities have indicated it will take days or weeks to assess and repair roads depending on the severity of damage in affected locations.

Travelers are strongly advised to obey all official signage and warnings from emergency personnel. Do not attempt to drive or walk through floodwaters or closed areas for your own safety. Motorists are also advised to take caution while driving due to road conditions, debris and work crews cleaning up.

Nelson-Tasman bushfire - February 2019

An out of control bushfire is currently burning in the Nelson-Tasman region of New Zealand's South Island. The fast-moving fire started in Pigeon Valley (18.6 mi/30km south of Nelson) on February 5th and has doubled in size overnight, burning 7.22 sq. mi (18.7 with a perimeter of 12.4 miles (20km). Over 170 homes have been evacuated as ground crews and water-bombing aircraft fight to get the blaze under control. There are road closures in place.

A state of emergency has been declared by the Tasman and Nelson district mayors. Authorities have ordered people to evacuate if they feel unsafe and if located in the immediate fire zone to make sure they have access to radio and other media for further updates.

Christchurch earthquake - November 2016

Just a week after a severe earthquake struck near Christchurch another strong tremor has been detected off the lower part of the North Island.

The quake measured at magnitude 6.3 hit off the coast of Palmerston North.

Check local media for updates on the quake and reports of the extent of damage.

New Zealand earthquake - November 2016

The north-east of New Zealand’s South Island has been struck by a series of earthquakes, the largest measuring magnitude 7.5. At this time 2 people are confirmed dead.

The major quake struck just after midnight local time on November 14, and has been followed by dozens of smaller tremors measuring up to 6.3 magnitude.

Travelers are warned that many roads in the area north of Christchurch are impassable due to upheaval or landslide. Local authorities are warning people to avoid all but essential travel to the area at this time. Ferry services to the South Island out of Wellington have been canceled until further notice. Check with ferry operators and local media for updates.

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1 Comment

  • Tori said

    I am planning a trip to New Zealand. Thanks for sharing. Useful article.


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