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Travel Advisory

Your well-being is our first priority

At Great Walks of New Zealand, your safety is our main concern. 

We frequently review all aspects of our walks to ensure we are providing you with the safest possible travel experience. With respect to COVID-19, our experienced staff, in conjunction with our medical advisor Dr Ross Anderson, will continually evolve our operating protocols to build in additional measures that add to our existing safety and risk mitigation strategies. 

Learn more about our COVID-19 safety measures.

CURRENT UPDATES

08 April 2022

New Zealand remains at the Red Traffic Light setting. This will be reviewed on 14 April 2022.

At the RED setting, the following applies:

  • There are no limits for outdoor activities, such as gatherings and events, and food and drink businesses.
  • There is a 200-person limit for indoor gatherings and events.
  • There is no requirement to use My Vaccine Pass.
  • You do not need to wear a face mask outdoors.
  • Other face mask rules remain unchanged — face masks are still required in most indoor settings.
  • There is no requirement to scan in or for a business to display a QR code poster or have mandatory record keeping.

Some important dates regarding international travel to New Zealand are imminent:

  • From 11:59pm 12 April 2022, vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents can enter New Zealand and self-test on arrival.
  • From 11:59pm 1 May 2022, vaccinated visitors from visa waiver countries, and visitors from other countries who already hold a valid visitor visa can enter New Zealand and self-test on arrival.

 Eligible travellers arriving in New Zealand must provide a negative covid-19 pre-departure test, meet vaccination requirements (unless you are a New Zealand citizen) and take 2 Rapid Antigen Tests on arrival (on Days 1 and 5). Check this link for pre-departure and arrival requirements: Travel to New Zealand with self-testing on arrival

It is expected that all visa categories will re-open from October 2022 for travellers meeting vaccination requirements. Check covid19.govt.nz for more information.

All Great Walks of New Zealand trips are operational (with the exception of the Heaphy Track, which remains closed to through walkers while major storm damage is repaired) and we are looking forward to assisting with your travel plans.

 

24 February 2022

Due to recent storm events there has been extensive damage to three bridges on the Heaphy Track between Heaphy Hut and James Mackay Hut. As a result the track has been closed between these two huts and is unlikely to re-open in the near future. Through walks on the Heaphy Track will not be possible until further notice. However, “out and back” walks are possible from the Golden Bay/Nelson end of the track between Brown Hut and James Mackay Hut as this part of the track is in good condition. We are working on a modified 4 night itinerary which will be available for booking shortly.

 

08 February 2022

The Heaphy Track remains closed until 13 February while assessment and repairs of storm damage are carried out. None of our travelers are currently affected by this.

The Old Ghost Road is open, with walkers advised to proceed with caution as a result of windfall and slippage on the track in many places.

 

4 February 2022

Rain damage on the Queen Charlotte Track.

Due to large amounts of recent rain in the area, the track has many slumps on it and sections of the track have become very narrow, especially in the area south of The Pines in Endeavour Inlet.

You need to exercise caution and be prepared for wet, slippery conditions and the track to be narrower than usual in some areas.  There may also be machinery operating and work materials on the side of the track that should be avoided.  Follow instructions from staff where they are working.

2 February 2022

Due to extremely strong winds and heavy rain forecast for the west and north west regions of the South Island of New Zealand  over the next few days, and resultant severe weather warnings issued by MetService NZ together with advice from West Coast Civil Defence, the following track closures are in place:

  • Heaphy Track: temporarily closed from midnight Tuesday 1 February to 8am Saturday 5 February 
  • Old Ghost Road: temporarily closed from midnight Tuesday 1 February to midnight Friday 4 February

Travellers with forward bookings on the Old Ghost Road are being contacted with advice to await further information on track status once the track is re-opened.

Abel Tasman Track, Nydia Track and Queen Charlotte Track remain open. Walkers are advised to exercise caution and be prepared for wet, slippery surfaces, slumps that may cause the track to be narrower in places and stream crossings that may have higher volume and flow. 


24 January 2022

 

The whole of New Zealand is operating under the RED Traffic Light category until further notice, to help protect vulnerable communities and our health system from the spread of Covid variants in the community. At Red Level, if you are fully vaccinated:

  • Accommodation can open. There are no capacity limits.
  • DOC huts, campgrounds, toilets and visitor centres can open 
  • You can travel around New Zealand
  • Hospitality venues, such as cafes, bars, restaurants and nightclubs can open, with My Vaccine Pass and restrictions such as physical distancing and capacity limits. 
  • Mask wearing in public venues, on flights and public transport, in taxis, and in retail stores is compulsory
  • QR Code scanning applies

For more information visit https://covid19.govt.nz/traffic-lights/life-at-red/

All Great Walks of New Zealand trips are operational at Red Level, given all our staff and those of our local partners, and our travellers, are required to be fully vaccinated.

PLEASE NOTE: if you contract the virus or need to self-isolate immediately prior to travel or while you are travelling, you will not be allowed on the trip.  Our regular Terms and Conditions apply in those instances as we do not cover cancellation due to contracting covid or needing to self-isolate. We do strongly recommend travel insurance, including domestic travel insurance for those living in New Zealand.

Strict entry requirements still apply to international visitors entering New Zealand, including full vaccination, negative COVID-19 tests and managed isolation in quarantine facilities. It is expected that fully vaccinated foreign nationals, including Australians, will have access to New Zealand after 30 April 2022, without any quarantine requirements on arrival but this is subject to review. For more information visit  Travel to New Zealand. Travellers with bookings prior to this date can transfer their trip to a later date (some date restrictions and penalties may apply).


01 December 2021

From the 1 December 2021, travellers joining a Great Walks of New Zealand trip who are over the age of 12 are required to provide proof of a current and valid COVID-19 vaccination, with the final dose administered no later than two weeks prior to departure.

For more information please visit the Covid Information Hub page on our website.

From 3 December 2021 the whole of New Zealand changes from the current Alert Level system (elimination strategy) to the Protection Framework (or Traffic Light) system (living with covid in the community). Regional restrictions will be either at Red, Orange or Green with businesses and services able to operate at varying capacity according to Covid vaccination status of staff and clients. For more information visit New Zealand Covid 19 Traffic Light System.

Given all travelers will be fully vaccinated, Great Walks of New Zealand trips will be able to operate at Orange and Green levels with capacity at some of our supplier venues and services restricted if a region is at Red level. Auckland will be at Red level immediately. Travellers will be advised accordingly prior to departure if any changes to their trip are required. The Traffic Light system is an evolving process and we will endeavor to keep any affected travellers informed to the best of our knowledge. 

Strict entry requirements still apply to international visitors entering New Zealand, including full vaccination, negative COVID-19 tests and managed isolation in quarantine facilities. It is expected that fully vaccinated foreign nationals, including Australians, will have access to New Zealand after 30 April 2022, without any quarantine requirements on arrival. For more information visit Reconnecting New Zealand - the next steps. Travellers with bookings prior to this date will be able to transfer their trip to a later date.

 

3 November 2021

Kaiuma Bay Road providing access to the southern end of the Nydia Track is now open, with traffic controls in place. All trips accessing the Nydia Track from this end are fully operational as normal. Walkers should note that a bridge 3.5km (about 1 hr walk) from this trail head is closed due to erosion damage. The creek must be crossed on foot and walkers should expect to get their feet wet.

COVID Alert Level 3 remains in place for Auckland and the Waikato regions, with some restrictions eased in the Waikato. For further information please visit https://covid19.govt.nz/alert-levels-and-updates/current-alert-level/. Waiheke Island trips remain inoperable.

Strict entry requirements apply to international visitors entering New Zealand, including full vaccination, negative COVID-19 tests and managed isolation in quarantine facilities. More information can be found here https://covid19.govt.nz/travel/international-travel-and-transit/


6 October 2021

Until further notice, the Auckland region and North West Waikato (including Hamilton and Raglan) remain at COVID Alert Level 3, while the rest of New Zealand remains at Alert Level 2. Relevant travel restrictions for the Auckland and North West Waikato region apply.

Waiheke Island trips are not operational whilever Auckland remains at Alert Level 3. All other Great Walks of New Zealand trips are operational at Alert Level 2, with additional COVID measures in place.

For information on Alert Level 2 & 3 guidelines, please visit https://covid19.govt.nz/alert-levels-and-updates/

The Queen Charlotte Track is now open, with ongoing maintenance and repairs in progress. Caution may be required in some sections where slips, windfall and bridges are still being repaired. Walkers should follow the advice of any track workers and signage at these sites.

Work is being done on the Kaiuma Bay Road to allow access for residents and the Nydia Track trailhead. Inclement weather has slowed these operations with intermittent road closures still in place. Travellers doing Nydia Track Self-Guided Walk or Nydia and Remote Pelorus Guided Walk should expect delays accessing this trailhead and may need to either take a water taxi or plan on walking in and out via the Duncan Bay trailhead. Any affected travellers will be advised closer to their departure date. This does not affect Nydia Walk and Cruise clients.

 

22 September 2021

Travel advice posted on 14 September remains current, noting that the greater Auckland region is now at Alert Level 3 (no longer Level 4) until further notice.

14 September

Until further notice, all of New Zealand except the greater Auckland region is at COVID Alert Level 2, while Auckland remains at Alert Level 4. Relevant travel restrictions for the Auckland region remain in place.

All Great Walks of New Zealand trips, with the exception of Waiheke Island trips, are operational at Alert Level 2, with additional COVID measures in place and some accommodation operating at reduced capacity.

For information on Alert Level 2 & 4 guidelines, please visit https://covid19.govt.nz/alert-levels-and-updates/

Note that the Queen Charlotte Track is temporarily closed due to storm damage, with an update on repairs scheduled for 24 September. There are no forward bookings until 3 Dec 2021 and these travellers will be advised of contingency plans closer to the time if required.

The Nydia Track is open but has significant windfall across the track in many places. Travellers should allow extra time to negotiate these. There is no road access to the Kaiuma Bay trailhead due to road closure from storm damage. Travellers doing Nydia Track Self-Guided Walk or Nydia and Remote Pelorus Guided Walk will need to either take a water taxi to this trailhead or plan on walking in and out via the Duncan Bay trailhead in the short term. Updates will be provided in due course. This does not affect Nydia Walk and Cruise clients.

 

8 September 2021

All of New Zealand except the greater Auckland region is currently at COVID Alert Level 2. 

Auckland remains at Alert Level 4 until midnight on Tuesday 14 September. Relevant travel restrictions for the Auckland region remain in place.

All Great Walks of New Zealand trips, with the exception of Waiheke Island trips, are operational at Alert Level 2, with additional COVID measures in place such as appropriate social distancing, strict hygiene measures and mask wearing.  We ask that you follow the instructions of our local partners as some facilities may be operating at reduced capacity due to social distancing requirements and maximum 50 person limits in indoor public venues.

Travellers are required to follow the Ministry of Health COVID-19 guidelines and we ask that before you join a trip:

  • If you’re sick or unwell, stay at home
  • If you have cold or flu symptoms, call your doctor or Healthline and follow their testing advice
  • If you are advised by health authorities to self-isolate, you must do so immediately

While travelling, please use the NZ COVID tracer App and enable Bluetooth tracing

 

3 September 2021

All of New Zealand north and south of the greater Auckland region (which includes part of the North Island and all of the South Island) is currently at COVID Alert Level 3. Relevant travel restrictions remain in place.

Auckland remains at Alert Level 4 until midnight on Tuesday 14 September.

The status of Great Walks of New Zealand trips as posted on 27 August remains current.

For information on Alert Level 3 & 4 guidelines, please visit https://covid19.govt.nz/alert-levels-and-updates/alert-level-4/

 

27 August 2021

All of New Zealand remains at COVID-19 Alert Level 4 until midnight on Tuesday 31 August. After this time, all of New Zealand south of the greater Auckland region (which includes part of the North Island and all of the South Island) will move to Alert Level 3. Auckland and Northland will remain at Alert Level 4 with an update on the intended duration of this to be provided by the NZ government on Monday 30 August. Travellers residing in the latter regions of New Zealand should be prepared for another possible two weeks at Alert Level 4.

At Alert Level 3, all Great Walks of New Zealand trips remain unoperational, in accordance with the New Zealand government’s  COVID-19 response to stop the spread of the virus and keep people safe.

We are eagerly awaiting the move to Alert Level 2, when most trips will become operational, and continue to work from home. During our usual  office hours (Mon – Thu, 9:00am – 5:30pm) we are here to help with any questions you may have regarding forward bookings and future travel plans. We currently have no travellers scheduled to depart until 1 October 2021, by which time further updates will be provided.

For information on Alert Level 3 & 4 guidelines, please visit https://covid19.govt.nz/alert-levels-and-updates/alert-level-4/

 

23 August 2021

All of New Zealand remains at COVID-19 Alert Level 4 until midnight on Friday 27 August, with an update on this status to be provided by the NZ government on Friday afternoon. Further to this, Auckland remains at Alert Level 4 until midnight on Tuesday 31 August, with an update on this status to be provided the day prior.

For information on Alert Level 4 guidelines, please visit https://covid19.govt.nz/alert-levels-and-updates/alert-level-4/

20 August 2021

All of New Zealand is in COVID-19 Alert Level 4 until midnight on Tuesday 24 August.

No Great Walks of New Zealand trips are operational under Alert Level 4. However, we are working from home during our usual  office hours (Mon – Thu, 9:00am – 5:30pm) and can help with any questions you may have regarding forward bookings and future travel plans. We currently have no travellers scheduled to depart until 1 October 2021, by which time further updates will be provided.

Track warnings for Queen Charlotte and Nydia Tracks, per below advice on 9 August, remain current. All other tracks will be open and fully accessible once COVID-19 Alert Level restrictions permit, with caution required in accordance with track signage at relevant locations where surfaces may be loose, unstable or affected by high tides.

 

9 August 2021

As a result of recent major weather events that have affected the West Coast and Marlborough regions of the South Island, a number of walking tracks have incurred damage from slips, windfall, stream flooding, scourges and cracks on the trail. Most Great Walks of New Zealand trips in the affected regions are not ordinarily operational over winter and no travellers have been inconvenienced. Work is being done by relevant authorities as fast as possible to have the trails open for the start of the summer season in October. We are monitoring the situation in conjunction with our local partners and the Department of Conservation and will provide further updates as information comes to hand.

No trip amendments are required at this stage, however, the following warnings are in place until further notice:

Queen Charlotte Track – the Track is temporarily closed for an extended period while storm damage is assessed and repairs carried out. Multiple slips have rendered some sections impassable, namely Meretoto/ Ship Cove to Camp Bay (northern end) and Te Mahia to Anakiwa (southern end). Work crews are moving as quickly as possible to reopen the Track. We anticipate this will happen by October and will provide updates on progress as these come to hand. Contingency plans may be possible should the need arise. 

Abel Tasman Track – the Track is open and fully functional. In addition to existing tidal crossings, a stream has diverted across the beach north of Onetahuti camp site (between Awaroa and Torrent Bay), creating a new tidal crossing. This should only be crossed within 4 hrs either side of low tide as the depth is 1.5m or more at high tide. Details will be provided with trip documents.

Nydia Track – the Track is open for walkers only. There are many significant windfalls with vegetation across the track. Allow extra time to negotiate these. The access road to Kaiuma Bay (southern trailhead) is currently closed due to a slip. There is no road access to this end of the trail. We anticipate the road will be open in time for commencement of the summer season in mid-October for our Nydia Track Self-Guided Walk. Nydia Walk and Cruise trips are not affected by the road closure as boat access is still possible. Progress updates will be provided as they come to hand.

Heaphy Track – the Track is open and fully functional. The coastal section between the old Lewis Hut site and the Kohaihai (western) trailhead has suffered storm damage in various places and extra care is required in those places. Follow all track warning signs.

Paparoa Track – the Track is closed between Ces Clark Hut and Pororari River Hut (ie. the middle sections) due to extreme weather conditions (ice, snow, wind, rain, sub-zero temperatures). It is expected these sections will re-open on 11 August, weather permitting. This will not affect Paparoa Track Self-Guided Hike as the trip is not ordinarily operational until early October. Ongoing maintenance of scoured and rutted places on the track due to recent high rainfall is expected to improve the track surface by October. 

Old Ghost Road – the Track is open and fully functional.


 

30 March 2021

All of New Zealand is currently at alert Level 1, which means business as usual for the whole country, observing border closures to international travellers and Covid-19 safety measures per the Ministry of Health. It is a legal requirement to wear a face mask on all public transport and flights throughout New Zealand.

Great Walks of New Zealand and our local partners are fully operational at Alert Level 1. 

05 October 2020

From midnight on Wednesday 7th October, Auckland will join the rest of the country at alert Level 1.  Under alert Level 1 & 2, we are fully operational.

22nd September 2020

From midnight on Wednesday 23rd September, Auckland will be at alert Level 2.  The rest of New Zealand is now at alert Level 1.  Under Level 1 & 2, we are fully operational.

14th September 2020

Auckland is now at alert level 2.5 and the rest of New Zealand is at alert level 2. Under Levels 1 and 2, we are fully operational.

 

COVID T&C's:


PLEASE NOTE: if you contract the virus or need to self-isolate immediately prior to travel or while you are travelling, you will not be allowed on the trip.  Our regular Terms and Conditions apply in those instances as we do not cover cancellation due to contracting covid or needing to self-isolate. We do strongly recommend travel insurance, including domestic travel insurance for those living in New Zealand.

Strict entry requirements still apply to international visitors entering New Zealand, including full vaccination, negative COVID-19 tests and managed isolation in quarantine facilities. It is expected that fully vaccinated foreign nationals, including Australians, will have access to New Zealand after 30 April 2022, without any quarantine requirements on arrival but this is subject to review. For more information visit  Travel to New ZealandTravellers with bookings prior to this date can transfer their trip to a later date (some date restrictions and penalties may apply).

Should you be in a region where there is a known lockdown in place when your trip is due to commence, please get in touch with us ASAP prior to your travel commencement to discuss your options.  

 

Please direct any questions to our team at [email protected] or call 0800 496 369. They will be happy to assist.

In most instances, New Zealanders and Australians confirmed to travel and unable to do so due to government restrictions or trips being made inoperable, we will be able to transfer you to a new departure (on the same trip), or offer you a credit towards future travel (less any non-recoverable deposits/payments/expenses incurred).  Should you choose to cancel your trip, you will be doing so under our regular T&C's.  

Please note that many of our local teams/lodges will not allow us to book international passengers unless the borders have been opened to that country.  We are able to take and confirm your booking, but please note that it is at your own risk and that the regular T&C's will apply should you cancel within 70 days prior to trip departure date due to being unable to travel with us as borders have not re-opened.


 

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