Walking Te Araroa under the new COVID-19 Protection Framework

The Government has transitioned New Zealand to a new COVID-19 Protection Framework to control the spread of the virus in our country’s communities.

This framework introduces three traffic light levels – Red, Orange and Green – with different rules at each. It is applied regionally, with settings for each region changing based on vaccination rates, case numbers and other risk factors in that area.

It’s important that people walking Te Araroa  understand the COVID-19 Protection Framework and what the traffic light settings are for the regions they are passing through.

The Government’s COVID-19 Traffic Light Map provides up to date information on traffic light settings in each region of New Zealand.

Is the full length of the trail walkable under the new framework? 

The new COVID-19 Protection Framework is expected to create more certainty for Te Araroa walkers.

While the Government hasn’t ruled out the use of regional border restrictions if New Zealand’s healthcare system comes under strain, the expectation is that they will be used sparingly and only in rare cases. 

Auckland border restrictions remain in place until 15 December as our largest city transitions to the new framework. After that date, walkers will once again be able to walk the Auckland section of the trail, so long as they hold a valid Vaccine Pass to show they are fully vaccinated before leaving the region, or can demonstrate that they have had a negative test within 72 hours of their departure from the region.

These additional requirements have been introduced by the Government for travel across the Auckland border for the core summer period of 15 December 2021 until 17 January 2022.

Once Auckland’s border restrictions are lifted on 15 December, the full length of the trail will be fully accessible.

Vaccination required to stay at DOC huts and campsites 

The Department of Conservation (DOC) manages huts and campsites on public conservation land. 

DOC has announced that the huts, campsites and visitor centres it operates will be open at all of the traffic light settings, including Red and Orange. However, from 15 December, any eligible person aged 12 and over wishing to stay at a DOC-managed hut or campsite will be required to hold a current Vaccine Pass.

DOC’s vaccine policy can be viewed here.

International walkers

Ongoing international travel restrictions mean the majority of walkers on Te Araroa trail this summer will once again be New Zealanders.

The Government has announced a plan to gradually re-open New Zealand’s borders in 2022.

Information about this plan, including a summary of what each phase of the re-opening entails, can be found at this link.

COVID-19 safety

Last, but not least, make sure you continue to do your bit to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Keep a record of where you have been – scan QR codes and turn on Bluetooth tracing
  • Wear a face mask
  • Maintain good hygiene
  • Get vaccinated
  • Maintain physical distancing.

Please also take a moment to register on our Te Araroa trail registration page before starting your journey.

Page last updated: Dec 3, 2021, 9:51 AM