New Zealand Opens Borders After Two Years of Travel Restrictions

New Zealand maintained some of the lowest COVID rates seen worldwide, due mostly to taking extreme precautions with lockdowns, travel restrictions, and repatriation. For a society that thrives on tourism (for good reason — the pockets of beauty throughout this country are too good to hide away) that meant making a pretty serious sacrifice without any real guarantees.

But their hard work has actually paid off now as New Zealand finally begins to peek out from behind the curtains, and the government has just announced that borders will reopen to global traffic starting in May. Travel is expected to boom during the country’s peak tourism season with new visitors and plenty of rescheduled trips from the shutdown. So it’s worth it to consider a visit during other times of year when crowds and costs are lower.

Active Adventures, a guiding service based in Queenstown, runs small group adventures all across both islands of New Zealand.

They’re gearing up for the huge travel wave in September, but they’ll be ready to launch again just as soon as May rolls around so there’s no need to wait and get bogged down in the funnel of visitors.

There’s more to New Zealand than traditional summer trips, especially because the country doesn’t really see crazy temperatures in either direction throughout the seasons. Their winter from May through August still boasts comfortable temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s and reliable sunshine, perfect for long hikes, rides, and paddles in the warmest areas along the coast. If you’re still craving more cold air after the weather changes in the Northern Hemisphere, you can head up closer to the alpine for a second taste of winter.

Trip options range from full-on adventure mode to family-style cruising. Four different trips with starting dates from May to August take you through headlining places like Milford Sound and Aoraki Mt Cook National Park on the South Island or the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in the North, as well as hidden gems in between. Look for “comfort-focused”, “family” or “activity” tags on each option as well as intensity ratings from 1-5 to match whatever you’re needing coming out of your own COVID hideaway.

“To echo our Prime Minister’s words, we’re ready to welcome the world,” says Active Adventures CEO Wendy van Lieshout. “But most importantly, we’re ready to explore and experience the joy of adventure New Zealand has to offer with guests from around the globe.”