Travel Around New Zealand

Find out what you need to know about travelling within New Zealand under the traffic lights. 

Travelling across traffic light settings 

You can travel anywhere in New Zealand for any reason at all traffic light settings.  

If you’re travelling to an area that is at a different colour setting, you will need to follow the rules for that area. For example, if you travel from Orange to Red, you will need to follow the rules for a Red region.  

Generally, you do not need a Vaccine Pass or negative test to travel. However: 

  • People leaving Auckland will need a Vaccine Pass or negative test until 17th January 2022. 
  • Some transport operators (e.g. airlines or Cook Straight ferries) may require you to provide a Vaccine Pass or a negative COVID-19 test. You do not need to have a Vaccine Pass or negative test when using public transport. 

You must not travel if you’ve been told to self-isolate, or if you are waiting for the results of a test. 

Crossing the Auckland boundary 

Make a plan before you travel  

Before you travel, you should prepare for what you need to do if you get COVID-19 while travelling. Your plan should include 

  • how you would get home 
  • how you would get fuel (you should only stop at contactless petrol stations)
  • supplies you would need to reduce the number of stops you make 

Download a COVID-19 Readiness checklist 

If you get COVID-19 symptoms while travelling 

Get tested 

If you become unwell or have been exposed to COVID-19 while you’re away from home, you should: 

  • call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice on testing 
  • isolate at your accommodation if you’re symptomatic, until you get your test result. 
  • call 111 if you need urgent medical help or are having difficulties breathing. Tell them you have COVID-19. 

If you test positive, a health professional will be in touch. You will be able to discuss what you need to do and whether it is safe for you to travel home. You will not be able to fly home, drive a long distance that requires an overnight stay or take public transport.  


You can return home to self-isolate only if it is possible to do so safely. Remember to keep track of where you go, wear a face covering and maintain physical distancing. 

If you’re unable to return home safely, you must remain where you are. You will still have support available to isolate as part of the Care in the Community programme. 

You will need to tell the owner/operator of your accommodation whether you’re a contact of a case or if you have tested positive.  

What to expect when self-isolating 

Face coverings while travelling 

When you’re travelling, you must wear a face covering: 

  • on flights 
  • on Cook Straight ferries 
  • at arrival and departure points (e.g. airports) 
  • on public transport 
  • in ride-share cars 

Face coverings are also encouraged whenever you leave the house.  

Depending on the traffic light settings, face coverings are mandatory in certain places. Make sure you know the requirements before you travel. 

Keep track of where you have been 

To stop any future spread of COVID-19, we need to trace the contacts of anyone who has had exposure to COVID-19 and break the chain of transmission. Recording people’s movements helps us to do this quickly and efficiently.  

Keep track of where you have been by downloading the NZ COVID Tracer app on the App Store or Google Play, or by using a NZ COVID Tracer booklet.  

Download an NZ COVID Tracer booklet 

Find out more about contact tracing 

Keep protecting each other 

Even though New Zealand is a highly vaccinated country, COVID-19 can still spread in the community. 

To slow the spread of the virus, and continue to help protect you, your family, and your community, it is important to keep up healthy habits: 

  • Regularly wash and thoroughly dry your hands or use hand sanitiser. 
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow. 
  • Keep your distance from people you do not know. 
  • Clean or disinfect shared surfaces often. 
  • If you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms, stay home and get a test. 
  • Emergency services will operate under all traffic light settings. In an emergency, call 111. 
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