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Milford Sound, New Zealand, south island
Photograph: Shutterstock/Blue Planet Studio

New Zealand’s borders are officially reopening... in 2022

Coronavirus has pretty much been stamped out in the Land of the Kiwi – but vaccine rates are low

Written by
Sophie Dickinson

If there’s one country that’s widely regarded has having ridden out the pandemic, it’s New Zealand. After nearly 18 months of self-imposed isolation, the country is finally planning to reopen its borders to vaccinated visitors. For people looking for a Pacific getaway – or to finally reunite with relatives – travel is suddenly a lot more likely.

Jacinda Ardern, the country’s prime minister, announced that quarantine-free entry will be introduced from next year for fully-vaccinated travellers. 

Covid has largely passed New Zealand by because of its closed-border policy. There have only been around 2,500 cases (and 26 deaths) – though, controversially, only 21 percent of the population have received a single jab so far. To maintain their virus-free status, the PM is keen to stress that they aren’t in a position to reopen yet. ‘When we move we will be careful and deliberate, because we want to move with confidence and with as much certainty as possible,’ she said.

It’s slightly more complicated than a full reopening, too. People from low-risk countries won’t have to quarantine, but visitors from medium-risk places will have to self-isolate. If you’re travelling from a high-risk country, there will still be a 14-day quarantine period. 

Arriving from Australia, in particular, won’t get any easier for a while. Cases of the Delta variant have soared in New Zealand’s antipodean neighbour – meaning that the previous quarantine-free travel arrangement between the two countries has been suspended. And who knows when that might come back into play.

Already planning a trip? Here are the 22 best things to do in New Zealand according to us.

Plus: you could stay in one of these amazing hotels.

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