Travel Alert: Information And Resources

Plan The Catlins
Venture Southland
Southern Scenic Route - The Catlins

Last updated 26 March 2020

New Zealand is currently at COVID-19 Alert Level 4 since 11.59 pm on Wednesday 25 March. This means all non-essential services are closed and everyone must stay at home. Essential businesses such as supermarkets, pharmacies and healthcare will remain open during this time. Further limitations to domestic travel will also apply with flights, ferries, trains and public transport only available to essential workers and cargo.

Air New Zealand has increased its domestic capacity until Friday 27 March to allow people to get to where they need to be within NZ or connect to their international flights. The government has extended its deadline to allow this to happen. Please visit the Air New Zealand website HERE to make a booking.

Invercargill Airport is currently open with the airlines providing essential travel so that Kiwis can get home, and overseas travellers can meet onward connections. The terminal is open only to passengers with confirmed travel who are arriving to board their flight. Please visit their website and facebook page for the latest updates.

To arrange travel back to your home country:

  • Contact a travel agent to talk about your travel requirements, and use airline and airport websites to check flights.
  • Check your home country’s border restrictions. You may need to self-isolate when you get home.
  • You may not be allowed to transit through some countries. Check for border restrictions in any stop-over country and for any transit visa requirements.
  • If you cannot return home, please check your visa. Applications for a further visa will take into account COVID-19 and any relevant travel restrictions. Find out more about visas on the Immigration New Zealand website HERE.

If you are a visitor unable to leave New Zealand and you require assistance, you must contact your embassy, high commission or consular representative. Find information about embassies on the MFAT website HERE.

Note that very few international connections remain available to travellers wishing to leave New Zealand. If you are unable to arrange travel to your home country, you must find accommodation now.

Essential Services

For a full list of essential services that will remain open, please see HERE.

Campgrounds and Hotels/Motels are considered essential services, so are allowed to stay open during alert level 4. The following accommodation providers are open during the lockdown.

If you or a visitor you know who needs to self-isolate for the lockdown period and has not found suitable accommodation, please call temporary accommodation service to register for accommodation support at 0508 754 163

Please be advised that this number only operates between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm.

How do I self-isolate?

Self-isolation is an effective precautionary measure to protect those around you – your fellow travellers and Southland's community– from contracting COVID-19. It means taking simple, common-sense steps to avoid close contact with other people as much as possible. These include:

  • Limit your contact with people other than the family members and/or travel companions
  • Avoid having visitors to your place of isolation
  • It is okay for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food and supplies
  • You can go outside, but you need to limit your contact with others. It’s ok to go for a walk, run or ride your bike, as long as you avoid people who you aren’t self-isolating with.

If you are in accommodation where the others who live with you haven’t travelled or been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, you should:

  • Minimise close contact with them by avoiding situations where you have face-to-face contact closer than 2 metres for more than 15 minutes.
  • Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, pillows or other items with other people in your home. After using these items, you should wash them thoroughly with soap and water, place them in the dishwasher for cleaning or wash them in your washing machine.

For further information and the latest advice, see the New Zealand Ministry of Health’s website

What about visitors in self contained vehicles?

We are aware that there are still a large number of visitors travelling in self-contained vehicles around New Zealand. We are encouraging these visitors to stay at a commercial camping site, if available. A number of camping grounds across Southland have indicated they are open for visitors but request that visitors phone first. Visitors will need to stay at the site for four weeks.  Visitors can self-isolate in their campervan only if it has a fully self-contained shower and toilet, and a kitchen. That means a shower you can stand up in, and toilet you can flush. Stay away from shared spaces where you might come into contact with other people (like public toilets or campgrounds). Visitors cannot self-isolate in a tent. 

What about travellers in non-self-contained vehicles?

We are suggesting that travellers in non-self-contained vehicles book into self-contained accommodation such as motels and unit etc. Please be aware that all DOC campsites are now closed and a number of Councils are closing freedom camping spots. The main point here is that whatever type of accommodation a traveller books into, they will need to stay there for the four week period.