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Hope on the horizon for overseas walkers dreaming of Te Araroa
Our Te Araroa trial is a walk of a lifetime. Stretching over 3,000km of beautiful landscapes, it’s a hike that people from around the world come to New Zealand to experience.
Sadly, this was brought to a sudden halt last year due to the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic. Restrictions on travel to New Zealand were put in place and these remain for all countries except the Cook Islands. That means travelling to New Zealand to walk the trail is not currently possible for most international walkers.
Up until now, we’ve been in the dark about how or when the borders might reopen. Yesterday, that changed, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern outlining the long-awaited plan.
If all goes well, a ramped-up vaccination roll-out will be followed by a phased reopening of our borders, starting early in 2022. People will be allowed into New Zealand based on a number of factors, including traveller health declarations, vaccination status, and whether people are coming from low-, medium-, or high-risk countries.
However, as always with the constantly developing Covid-19 situation, we must tread carefully and prepare for every eventuality. I must stress that it is still extremely unlikely that anyone from overseas will be able to walk the trail this summer.
The government was careful to avoid giving specific dates or magic numbers of when certain milestones could happen. We do not yet know who will be let in or when, and it will start with only a few very low-risk countries no earlier than the beginning of next year. We will keep a close eye on the situation over the coming months, providing updates whenever we can.
But overall, this is positive news. After what has seemed like a never-ending dilemma, we are now tantalizingly close to getting some sense of normality back and welcoming people to our shores once more. There is hope on the horizon.
The best thing you can do now is keep your Te Araroa dream alive and keep checking back for updates. We have all our fingers crossed.
Executive Director, Te Araroa Trust