Milford Sound, New Zealand
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Milford Sound, New Zealand

© Gerrit Siesling

New Zealand Travel Guide

Key Facts

270,534 sq km (104,454 sq miles).


4,565,185 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density

16.4 per sq km.




Constitutional monarchy.

Head of state

Queen Elizabeth II since 1952, represented locally by Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro since 2021.

Head of government

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern since 2017.


230 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs have three angled flat pins. Most hotels provide 110-volt AC sockets (rated at 20 watts) for electric razors only.

Widely held to be one of the most breathtaking countries on the planet, New Zealand is a phenomenal travel destination. The rugged mountains and remote valleys that thrust the destination into the world’s spotlight through The Lord of the Rings trilogy tell only part of the story – you’ll also find beaches, fjords, lakes and gorgeous swathes of forest, not to mention age-old Maori culture, forward-looking cities and, famously, a world-class array of outdoor activities. Not only does it pack a punch as hard as an All Black tackle, but it's also incredibly easy to travel around. What’s not to love?

Split into two main landmasses – the North and South Islands –New Zealand is a deceptively diverse and complicated destination that rewards both first-time and repeat visitors. The North Island is less visually dramatic than its southern counterpart, but it is home to around two thirds of the country’s inhabitants. The majority of the major urban centres are here, including the capital, Wellington, and the increasingly dynamic city of Auckland. But nature is still a major player, thanks to volcanoes, thermal regions and the magnificent Bay of Islands.

The South Island is home to far fewer people, but boasts the country’s most spectacular scenery. Empty beaches, soaring mountain ranges, glaciers, fjords, wide-open expanses – they’re all here. Outdoor enthusiasts can take their pick from tramping (hiking), cycling, climbing, white-water rafting, caving, zorbing, sky-diving, bungee jumping and more. Christchurch, a city bouncing back with extraordinary creativity from earthquake damage, is also here.

New Zealand has also developed into one of the cleanest and greenest countries in the world. There are 14 national parks throughout the country and almost a quarter of New Zealand is protected land. What else? There’s wildlife, wine and a cultural resurgence that’s seeing local films, literature and art gaining more and more attention.

A blend of Maori and European culture, coupled with breathtaking landscapes, provides New Zealand with a truly unique character. 

Travel Advice

COVID-19 restrictions in New Zealand are subject to change at short notice and can apply regionally or nationally. You can find detailed information on current COVID-19 levels and the restriction measures that are being enforced on the New Zealand Government website.

At 11:59pm (NZT) on 2 December 2021 New Zealand moved into the new COVID-19 Protection Framework, a traffic light system of Green, Orange, and Red. More information is available on the New Zealand Government COVID-19 website. At all levels, record keeping and scanning is mandatory, and evidence of vaccination is incentivised for business and public venues and events. Localised lockdowns may still be used as part of New Zealand’s public health response, so you should plan for disruption.

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for New Zealand on the TravelHealthPro website

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Check the current New Zealand COVID-19 restrictions and requirements.

Entry and borders

New Zealand’s border restrictions remain in place and entry to New Zealand is strictly controlled to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If you are granted a visa to travel by the Government of New Zealand, you will also need to meet the vaccination requirements for non-New Zealand citizens.

The planned phased border re-opening has been postponed until the end of February 2022.

Public health measures remain in place under the COVID-19 Protection Framework (wash hands and high-touch surfaces regularly, physical distancing, stay home if sick, and get tested if symptomatic).

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in New Zealand.

Returning to the UK

Travelling from and returning to the UK

Check what you must do to travel abroad and return to England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

If you plan to pass through another country to return to the UK, check the travel advice for the country you’re transiting. If you will pass through a red list country, book your hotel quarantine package before travelling to the UK.

You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements. You should contact a GP or visit the Healthpoint website for further information on accessing pre-departure COVID-19 tests in New Zealand. More details can be found on the New Zealand government website.

Private testing facilities are also available.

The British High Commission in Wellington and Consulate General in Auckland are unable to offer certification or a negative test result.

Check if you need to take a pre-departure test when travelling to the UK and/or on arrival.

On 17 November 2021, the New Zealand Government launched its International Travel Vaccination Certificate, for people aged 12 years and over who have had a vaccine dose administered in New Zealand. If you have been vaccinated in New Zealand, you may request a digital vaccination certificate from the New Zealand Ministry of Health, which will be accepted at the UK border. If you previously received a vaccination confirmation letter from the New Zealand Ministry of Health this will be accepted during this transitional period. Please see the New Zealand Government COVID-19 website for further information.

Please see GOV.UK coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance if travelling to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Please be mindful of the requirements of any airline or transit points, who may still require pre-departure tests regardless of your final destination.

Other specific country and airline restrictions

Travel restrictions may be imposed by other transit hubs. We advise you to check with your airline before travelling in case of any related disruption to airline schedules caused by the new restrictions.

Some airlines have mandatory pre-departure PCR COVID-19 testing requirements, even for transit passengers. You should contact your individual airline for further information. The British High Commission in Wellington and Consulate General in Auckland are unable to offer certification or a negative test result. Those requiring testing should contact their GP or visit the Healthpoint website for further information on accessing medical services.

Face-coverings are required by legislation on all New Zealand domestic flights and Air New Zealand requires all passengers to wear a face-covering on international flights.

From 1 February 2022, Air New Zealand will require customers aged 18 or older travelling anywhere on its international network to be fully vaccinated.

Air New Zealand also requires all travellers aged 12 years and 3 months or older on domestic flights between 14 December 2021 and 31 March 2022 to provide proof of full vaccination or a negative pre-departure test.

The InterIslander Cook Strait ferry services between the North and South Islands of New Zealand also require proof of full vaccination or a negative pre-departure test.

Please see the Air New Zealand website and the InterIslander website for further information.


If you’re unable to leave New Zealand and your visa is nearing expiry, you should contact the New Zealand authorities as soon as possible. See New Zealand government and New Zealand Immigration websites for the latest information.

The New Zealand Government have made an additional extension to some visas.

You can confirm your visa expiry date by checking the Visa Verification Service on the Immigration New Zealand website. Please do not call the Immigration Contact Centre as they will not be able to confirm your visa status until the records have been fully updated.

You should consult the Immigration New Zealand COVID-19 website for up-to-date information.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Travel in New Zealand

Wearing a face mask on all public transport and domestic flights in New Zealand is legally required. For domestic flights within New Zealand from , you must either be fully vaccinated, or have a negative COVID-19 test result from a test administered no more than 72 hours before your flight.

Physical distancing is recommended in public places. The Government also requires people to keep track of their movements and who they have seen to help with contact tracing. The NZ COVID-19 Tracer app is available to download for this purpose with all shops and businesses displaying their QR codes for scanning. Detailed information on face coverings is available from the New Zealand government.

Range of measures that can be applied locally or nationally

COVID-19 public health measures and restrictions may be applied at a town, city, territorial local authority, regional or national level.

You can monitor levels, and whether New Zealand or the area you are visiting within New Zealand is at Green, Orange, or Red on the COVID-19 Protection Framework, by reviewing the New Zealand Government COVID-19 website for the latest information where you are. You can also check restrictions and health updates on the New Zealand Ministry of Health website.

You may require evidence of vaccination for entry into business and premises in New Zealand. If you are over 12 years old and have had one or more doses of vaccine in New Zealand you can apply for the domestic ‘My Vaccine Pass’. You may apply to have some COVID-19 vaccinations administered overseas entered into My Vaccine Pass, further information is available on the New Zealand Ministry of Health website.

Under the COVID-19 Protection Framework, the fully vaccinated can expect greater freedoms in New Zealand, but public health measures may still include:

  • Mandatory record keeping
  • Restrictions on the numbers of people at non-work gatherings, in shops, cafes, restaurants and other places of public gathering, and on visitors to private residences, both indoors and outdoors. (Numbers and settings may depend on the use of vaccination certificates.)
  • Physical distancing of 2 metres from people you do not know when out in public or in retail stores and 1 metre physical distancing in controlled environments like workplaces, where practicable
  • Restrictions on domestic transport, inter regional travel and use of public transport
  • Restrictions on schools, business, and recreational activities
  • Face masks on public transport and in high risk, crowded areas

Healthcare in New Zealand

If you’re concerned that you may have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, you can get health advice and information by calling Healthline (free) on 0800 358 5453. Coronavirus (COVID-19) tests and treatment are provided free of charge.

Eligibility for healthcare in New Zealand under the reciprocal health agreement applies to British nationals who have had to extend their temporary stay in New Zealand due to COVID-19. View ‘Local medical care’ for further detail on the conditions.

View Health for further details on healthcare in New Zealand.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in New Zealand

Wherever possible British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in the country where they live.

The New Zealand national vaccination programme started in February 2021 and is using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. British nationals resident in New Zealand are eligible for vaccination, regardless of their visa or citizenship status. This includes any temporary visa holders who are in New Zealand, and any information collected will not be used for immigration purposes. COVID-19 vaccination is free in New Zealand.

Further information about the national vaccination programme is available on the New Zealand Ministry of Health website.

Find out more, including about vaccines that are authorised in the UK or approved by the World Health Organisation, on the COVID-19 vaccines if you live abroad.

You should be aware that currently some vaccinations administered overseas, including in New Zealand, are not able to be entered into your NHS COVID Pass record.

If you’re a British national living in New Zealand, you should seek medical advice from your local healthcare provider. Information about COVID-19 vaccines used in the national programme where you live, including regulatory status, should be available from local authorities.


For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Further information

Further information on these and the wider situation in New Zealand is available from the New Zealand government and New Zealand Ministry of Health websites.


Crime levels are generally low, but street crime occurs in major towns and cities. Thefts from unattended vehicles, especially hire cars and camper vans in major tourist areas (the Coromandel Peninsula, Rotorua and Queenstown) have increased. There has also been an increase in the number of thefts from hotel rooms in some tourist areas. Do not leave possessions in unattended vehicles even if out of sight in a locked boot. Do not leave valuables in hotel rooms. Use the hotel safe if possible. Keep passports, travellers’ cheques, credit cards, etc. separate.

Local travel

There have been a number of tragic accidents involving British visitors, including during extreme sports activities. If you’re taking part in extreme sports check that the company is well established in the industry and that your insurance covers you. If you’re visiting remote areas, check with local tourist authorities for advice before setting out. Make sure you register your details with a visitor information centre or leave details with family or friends. Weather conditions can quickly become treacherous in some areas. Keep yourself informed of regional weather forecasts.

Road travel  

You can use a UK driving licence to drive in New Zealand for up to a maximum of 12 months.

Although road conditions are generally good in New Zealand, it takes a while to get used to local driving conditions. Even the main highways can be narrow, winding and hilly. Read a copy of the Road Code - the official guide to traffic rules and traffic safety - before driving. Car rental companies should provide you with information about Whats Different About Driving in New Zealand.

You should take out private motor vehicle insurance. Accident victims do not have a legal right to sue a third party in the event of an accident in New Zealand. Instead the Accident Compensation Commission (ACC) helps pay for your care if you’re injured as a result of an accident. However, the ACC only covers the cost of treatment in New Zealand and delayed travel or loss of income in a third country isn’t covered. You should therefore make sure you have adequate travel and accident insurance.

The November 2016 earthquake caused significant damage to roads and rail in the Canterbury region between Christchurch and Picton, making some areas inaccessible. For the latest information on road closures, see the New Zealand Transport Agency website.

In 2019 there were 353 road deaths in New Zealand (source: Department for Transport). This equates to 7.2 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.6 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2019.

Terrorist attacks in New Zealand cannot be ruled out.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be in public places including those visited by foreigners.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in New Zealand set and enforce entry rules. For further information contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to. You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Entry to New Zealand

The New Zealand border is currently closed to almost all arrivals.

You may be able to travel to New Zealand while the border is closed if you are considered to have a critical purpose to travel. Please see the Immigration New Zealand website for criteria. The website also includes information on how to submit a request for travel to New Zealand.

On 21 December 2021 the New Zealand Government announced a postponement to the gradual easing of border closures as part of measures to help contain the spread of Omicron for as long as possible. The phased easing of borders will be revisited by end of February 2022.

COVID-19 vaccination requirements

From 1 November 2021 all non-citizens aged 17-years and over arriving into New Zealand, including New Zealand permanent residents and temporary visa holders, must be fully vaccinated. This means travellers need to have had a full course of any of the 28 COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved by a foreign government or approval authority, and which are accepted by New Zealand. You need to have had the last dose at least 14 days before you arrive in New Zealand. From 7 January 2022, even if you are fully vaccinated, you still need to have a negative PCR or RT-PCRtest result in the 48 hours prior to departure and spend time in Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ), unless you are exempt under New Zealand rules.

See the latest advice on pre departure tests that will be accepted by the New Zealand Government

Quarantine free travel

Border rules and quarantine-free travel ‘bubbles’, including eligibility criteria, can change quickly. Travellers must check the status of quarantine–free travel bubbles and be prepared for disruption to their plans if these travel bubbles are paused or suspended.

For New Zealand, quarantine-free travel is available on commercial aircraft only. There are agreements in place with each state in Australia (see ‘travel between New Zealand and Australia’) and the Cook Islands only. Quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and the Cook Islands does not include those travelling from Australia to New Zealand.

When entering New Zealand from a quarantine free travel zone, normal visa conditions remain. If you are a temporary visa holder in New Zealand, you should be aware that you need to meet New Zealand immigration requirements in order to return to New Zealand. This means you need to have a ‘multiple entry’ visa that gives permission to leave New Zealand and return, provided all entry requirements are met.

Check the COVID-19 government website for the latest information, including to the status of quarantine-free travel.

Between New Zealand and Australia

The quarantine free travel agreements between New Zealand and individual states in Australia may be fully or partially suspended at short notice.

You should check the New Zealand government COVID-19 quarantine free travel requirements before you travel and during your stay in Australia. If your travel plans are disrupted, you should contact your airline.

To enter New Zealand from a safe zone in Australia travellers must hold a visa or NZeTA, normal immigration rules apply, please see INZ for criteria information.

Between New Zealand and the Cook Islands

The quarantine free travel agreements between New Zealand and the Cook Islands may be fully or partially paused at any time.

You should check the New Zealand government COVID-19 website for details. If your travel plans are disrupted, you should contact your airline.

You need to spend 14 full days before your date of departure in either New Zealand or the Cook Islands. See the New Zealand government COVID-19 website for details. You must hold a visa or NZeTA to travel from the Cook Islands to New Zealand, please see INZ for criteria information.

Most travellers to New Zealand will be required to have confirmation of a negative COVID-19 test result in the 72 hours prior to departure. If you have received a COVID-19 vaccination, you will still need to take a test. Some people are exempt from pre-departure testing including travellers from certain locations.

For more information please visit the New Zealand Government COVID-19 website.

You may be able to travel to New Zealand while the border is closed if you are considered to have a critical purpose to travel. Please see the INZ website for criteria. The website also includes information on how to submit a request for travel to New Zealand.

For more information on COVID-19 in New Zealand visit the government COVID-19 website.

Quarantine requirements

Anyone entering New Zealand (except from within a quarantine-free travel bubbles) needs to undergo quarantine or managed isolation in an approved facility. You will need to declare you have been vaccinated when you book your place in managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ). Arrivals must then test negative for COVID-19 before entering the community.

From 24 December 2021 you must spend 10 days in MIQ with no self-isolation component.

Anyone travelling to New Zealand (except travel from within a quarantine-free travel bubble) will be required to have a COVID-19 test on ‘day zero’, i.e. within 24 hours of arrival in a managed isolation and quarantine facility. Arrivals must remain in their managed isolation or quarantine facility room until the results of the test is known. You will then undergo further testing in line with New Zealand’s policy on isolation and quarantine.

Travellers to New Zealand are legally required to have a voucher confirming their place in managed isolation (MIQ) before flying to New Zealand. Before you book your flights, you need to hold a confirmed voucher for managed isolation. There is a 4-step process to get a managed isolation allocation voucher using a virtual lobby process. For the step by step process see Secure your place in managed isolation.

Provision of a voucher for managed isolation does not guarantee entry into New Zealand. You must first ensure you qualify to enter the country under New Zealand’s border restrictions.
The emergency allocation requests exists for limited situations that require urgent travel to New Zealand within the next 14 days. To submit a request for an emergency allocation you must be legally entitled to enter New Zealand under the current border settings. See the Emergency Allocation Requests information on the Managed Isolation and Quarantine website.

There are a few exceptional circumstances in which people can apply for an exemption from managed isolation. Visit the New Zealand Ministry of Health website for more information.

You will be liable for a managed isolation charge if you’re currently overseas and return to New Zealand for a period of less than 90 days; or you leave New Zealand after the regulations came into effect (12:01am on 11 August 2020) and return at a later date.

Transit via New Zealand

From 20 June 2020, transit visa waiver and visa waiver nationalities, people transiting to or from Australia and people departing a Pacific country or territory to return home, do not need a transit visa as long as they have a confirmed flight out of New Zealand within 24 hours to a port which will accept them.

In most cases, transit passengers must hold an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) or transit ETA before travel. These are applied for online. See Information about NZeTA for further detail.

If the passport holder is not from a visa-waiver or transit visa-waiver country or territory, or covered by one of the situations listed above, then they will need to apply for a transit visa. Due to COVID-19, Immigration New Zealand is not currently accepting paper applications for transit visas so have put a temporary process in place for submitting applications by email.

The process for applying for a transit visa via email is available on the Immigration New Zealand website - transits.

If you are staying airside while transiting through New Zealand you do not need to provide a negative COVID-19 pre-departure test (but you may need to be tested as per the requirements of your destination country).

Onward travel to the Cook Islands

See FCDO travel advice for the Cook Islands, Tokelau and Niue

Regular entry requirements


You do not need a visa to enter New Zealand as a visitor for up to 6 months, but you will need to get a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) before you travel. The New Zealand government has, however, introduced a temporary border closure at this time.

The NZeTA costs NZD $9 if applying via the dedicated mobile app, or NZD $12 if completed online. You will also need to pay an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) of NZD $35 when you apply. Once issued, the NZeTA is valid for up to two years. The New Zealand immigration authorities recommend that applicants allow up to 72 hours for processing.

On arrival in New Zealand, you will also need to satisfy the Immigration Officer that you meet the criteria for visa-free entry, which includes having an onward ticket and sufficient funds to support you during your stay. You can check the full criteria on the New Zealand Immigration website. The New Zealand government has though introduced a temporary border closure at this time.

New Zealand’s immigration rules are strict, particularly regarding employment. Visitors cannot work in New Zealand.

For more information about visas, visit the New Zealand Immigration website or contact the nearest New Zealand High Commission.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of three months from the date of exit from New Zealand.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are valid for entry into New Zealand when accompanied by a permanent residence, work or study visa. ETDs are accepted for holidaymakers as long as New Zealand is not the final destination. ETDs are also accepted for airside transit and exit from New Zealand.

Quarantine and bio security

New Zealand has very strict bio-security regulations. It is illegal to import most foodstuffs (meat and meat products, honey, fruit, dairy produce) and strict penalties are handed out to those breaking these rules. Take care when importing wood products, golf clubs, footwear, tents, fishing equipment and items made from animal skin. The immigration arrivals card has full details. If in doubt, declare items to a Ministry of Agriculture official or dump them in one of the bins available at the airport. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in a heavy fine of up to $100,000 or imprisonment.


There are some restrictions on bringing medication into New Zealand. Visit the New Zealand Customs website for more information. If you arrive in New Zealand with any prescription medicines, you must declare it on your passenger arrival card.

All codeine-containing products are classified as prescription only medication (a controlled drug). Codeine is found in many pain relieving medications. You can import controlled drugs for personal use, subject to declaring them on arrival into New Zealand to the Customs Service and demonstrating they have been lawfully supplied for the treatment of yourself or someone under your care. More details on these requirements can be found on the New Zealand Customs website

Importing illegal drugs is punishable by up to 8 - 12 years imprisonment.

New Zealand has an established tradition of tolerance towards homosexuality, but there are still isolated incidents of homophobic related crimes. LGBT travellers should be aware of local sensitivities, particularly when visiting rural areas. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for New Zealand on the TravelHealthPro website

See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in New Zealand.

Preparing for travel

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).


Research has shown that asthma sufferers may be more at risk of an attack in New Zealand and sufferers should be suitably prepared.

Local medical care

Under a reciprocal health agreement, UK nationals who live in the UK and who are on a short-term visit to New Zealand are eligible for immediately necessary healthcare under the health system on the same terms as citizens of New Zealand. This extends, unusually, to pre-hospital care including air or road ambulance transportation. You should show your UK passport when requested.

Despite this reciprocal agreement and the Accident Compensation Commission you should make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 111 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

British nationals with the need of a repeat prescription will need to see a New Zealand prescriber (usually a GP) to get a new prescription. An appointment can be done virtually or potentially on the phone. There will be a charge. For more information on where GP services/medical centres are please visit:

New Zealand is located in a seismic zone and is subject to earthquakes. Tsunamis may occur along the coastlines. There are also a number of active volcanoes in New Zealand. Flooding and landslides can occur, resulting in road closures and infrastructure damage. Follow the advice of the local authorities and emergency services in the event of a natural disaster.

As part of your own contingency plans, you should make sure you have easy access to your passport and other important documents such as nationality documents and birth and marriage certificates, as well as any essential medication. You can read our crisis overseas page for further information and advice, including sections on what you can do to prepare effectively, what you should do in the event of a crisis abroad, and how we can help you. You can also find specific information on how to prepare for and react to a natural disaster. To learn more see the National Emergency Management Agency and Get Ready websites.

Earthquakes and tsunamis

As New Zealand is in a major earthquake zone you should familiarise yourself with safety procedures in the event of an earthquake or tsunami, and take note of instructions in hotel rooms, public areas and on your local emergency services social media pages. Information on earthquakes and any impact on towns and cities in New Zealand, including tsunami warnings are published by the Civil Defence, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

To learn more about what to do before, during and after an earthquake, see the Get Ready Get Thru website. Local Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups have tsunami evacuation zone maps and advice. Make sure you know where to go, whether you are at home, at work or out and about.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or cannot offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you cannot find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.