COVID-19 has changed all our lives in one way or another and some New Zealanders need to move back to NZ from Australia.

Read below what you need to know about moving back home to New Zealand from Australia:

Flights from Australia to New Zealand amid COVID-19

Flights are available from Australia to New Zealand and as a New Zealand citizen you are able to return home quarantine free. Flight prices and availability have resumed back to normal pre-Coivd-19.

Most airlines are offering flexible flights in-case of a Covid-19 outbreak and border closures on either side of the ditch. However, I do advise that you confirm this before booking.

SafeTravel – official advice for New Zealanders living and traveling overseas

WEBSITE ALERT – COVID-19 Do not travel overseas at this time. Due to the difficulty travellers are experiencing returning home, New Zealanders overseas need to take steps to stay safely where they are and shelter in place.

Countries and territories around the world are imposing strict travel restrictions. Many air routes are no longer viable.

The Government is committed to helping New Zealanders overseas where we can. The international situation is complex and changing quickly and some things are out of their control. Government assisted departure (repatriation) flights should not be relied upon to get home.

We recognise that not all New Zealanders who want to return home are able to do so. New Zealanders who cannot return home for the time being should take steps to stay safely where they are.

Please note that in some cases the ability of the New Zealand Government to provide consular assistance may be limited due to restrictions on movement and other services.

Read more at:

Air New Zealand advice for travelers

Documentation and eligibility to travel ‘quarantine-free’ to New Zealand:

Before you travel to New Zealand, you will need to complete the online New Zealand Travel Declaration.

You will be required to complete a health declaration at check-in. If you have any pre-existing conditions you’ll also need to provide a medical certificate for check-in, to avoid the potential of being denied boarding.

Additional eligibility requirements:

  • You need to spend the 14 days before you depart in either Australia or New Zealand. Note that you are able to visit each country for any length of time and are not required to stay for 14 days.
  • You have not had a positive COVID-19 test in the 14 days before you depart.
  • You are not waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test taken in the past 14 days.
  • You are not experiencing any of the following symptoms with or without a fever:
    • new or worsening cough
    • sore throat
    • shortness of breath
    • runny nose
    • loss of sense of smell
    • fever

For additional information refer to the New Zealand Government official website.

Local immigration requirements still apply.

Before you travel, give yourself extra time when arriving at the airport and have all your required documentation available to assist the check-in screening process.

If you plan to return to Australia, please check you meet all Australian Government requirements for your return journey.

Recommended International travel FAQs:

Global Travel Resources:

Current border measures in New Zealand

Who can enter New Zealand

Only New Zealand residents and citizens (and their children and partners) can enter New Zealand. This includes:

  • New Zealand citizens (including those from the three Countries of the Realm: Tokelau, Niue and the Cook Islands), permanent residents and their immediate family
  • Australian citizens and permanent residents whose primary place of established residence is New Zealand
  • travellers from a quarantine-free travel zone (see Advice for travellers)
  • certain arrivals specifically exempted under the orders, for example, some aircrew.

Who can’t enter New Zealand

If you’re from another country you can’t enter New Zealand. In some cases you can apply for an exemption, eg. as an essential worker or for medical reasons.

Apply to Immigration for an exemption to the border closure.

Managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) requirements in New Zealand

Managed isolation is an important part of our border measures to keep COVID-19 out of New Zealand.

Almost every person who arrives in New Zealand other than from a quarantine-free travel zone (unless directed) must stay in managed isolation for at least 14 days (336 hours). They’ll need to do a health assessment and test negative for COVID-19 before they can enter the community.

In some circumstances a COVID-19 test may not be considered appropriate and a health assessment will be completed instead.

Entering managed isolation

The purpose of managed isolation is to ensure people do not have COVID-19 before they return to our communities. Tens of thousands of people have completed their managed isolation stay safely, and have returned to their loved ones and friends.

Arriving at a facility

You will be met by staff from the managed isolation and quarantine programme at your facility. They will be in regular contact with you and can provide any support you need. You will also get an information pack with more detail about your stay.

Leaving managed isolation

Once you have completed 14 days in managed isolation and returned a negative final COVID-19 test, you will be able to leave managed isolation. You’ll be asked for details about your onward travel plans and where you will be staying. If you need help with accommodation, our team can support you with making arrangements.

You must not leave your facility unless authorised. Find out more about authorised leave from managed isolation.

Transport home

Transport will be provided back to the airport you arrived at, if you wish. Otherwise, travel home on completion of your stay is at your own expense and organised by you. Our onsite support team will work with you to confirm your travel arrangements.

Charges for managed isolation

The Government recovers some of the costs for managed isolation to share the costs in a way that fairly reflects the benefits to both the New Zealand public of having a robust system, and those who leave and enter the country.

$3,100 for the first or only person in the room (whether that is an adult or a child) with $950 for each additional adult and $475 for each additional child (3-17 years old, inclusive) sharing that room, all GST inclusive. There will be no charge for children under the age of 3 if they are staying in a room with another person. If you are liable to pay, you will be charged per room.

Find out more about room configurations and charges.

Who will have to pay

If you are a NZ citizen or resident you will be liable for a charge if:

  • You are currently overseas and return to NZ for a period of less than 90 days; or
  • You leave NZ after the regulations came into effect (12.01am on 11 August 2020) and return at a later date.

The term ‘New Zealand citizen or resident’ means NZ citizens (including those in the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau) and residence class visa holders. It also includes Australian citizens and permanent residents who are ordinarily resident in NZ.

Who will not have to pay

New Zealanders who left New Zealand before 12:01am on 11 August 2020, will not have to pay if they return to stay in New Zealand for 90 days or longer. Temporary visa holders who left New Zealand on or before 19 March 2020, and were ordinarily resident in New Zealand as of 19 March 2020 will not have to pay (unless they are entering under a critical worker border exception).

Read more about charges who has to pay and people who are exempt.

See below flowchart for liability for managed isolation and quarantine charges:

managed isolation and quarantine charges




If you have COVID-19, or if there is reason to believe you might have COVID-19, then you will need to stay in a quarantine facility for at least 14 days.

People in a quarantine facility are those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone with suspected, probable or confirmed COVID-19 in the past 14 days. Otherwise, you will stay in a managed isolation facility, which is for people who are well but have a risk of having COVID-19, for example, after having arrived from overseas.

Both types of facilities are located within hotels, separate from each other. Quarantine facilities have increased health, safety, and cleaning measures, and additional restrictions on your movements.

For more information on managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) requirements in New Zealand please visit the NZ government site:

Moving your household goods from Australia to New Zealand

Australia moving companies

At present, moving services are still operating in Australia with transport being classified as an essential service and as such international furniture removals as well.

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting all Australian states and territories. Each state has their own borders and rules.

All Australia moving companies have had to establish enhanced COVID-19 safe operating procedures and restricted services as required under the state of emergency regulations applicable to their sector. They are continuing to closely monitor the situation in all Australian jurisdictions and be guided by the advice provided from state and national governments.

Most companies have developed detailed and comprehensive COVID-19 safe operating plans for staff, which are designed to mitigate the risk of infection to staff, customers and suppliers. These plans include:

  1. Physical distancing measures to be in place, with services to be contact free wherever possible.
  2. Personal protection: face masks, gloves and frequent use of hand sanitizer.
  3. Increased frequency of cleaning with a focus on high touch communal items such as handles, doorknobs, handrails and work surfaces.
  4. Sharing of working equipment is no longer permitted.
  5. Limitation on the number of people per vehicle with maximum physical distancing adhered to.
  6. Any staff member experiencing flu-like symptoms are required to stay at home.
  7. Temperature checks permitted to be undertaken on staff if concern is reported.

New Zealand moving companies

New Zealand at present (September 2020) is in level 2, with Auckland at level 2.5 and moving companies are operating as normal, with COVID-19 safe operating plans in place (as above).

If the level changes and we go into lockdown again, including stopping of all removal services, the ports will still operate so your goods can be collected from the port, unloaded into depots in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Tauranga and Dunedin. Your goods cannot be delivered, but because they aren’t sitting at the port they will not incur heavy port storage fees and they will be in a safe environment. When the lockdown is lifted, your goods will be quarantine cleared, customs cleared and then delivered. It would only be at Level 4 that moving companies would go in to a complete shutdown again.

Book in now while you can!

The only recommendation I have for you is make sure you are in touch with a moving company, because once the borders open it will be all on. The demand for their services will increase and you want to make sure your goods will be moved when you need them to. 

Transferring your money from Australia to New Zealand

As I said above, don’t give your money to the banks, bring more of it home with smart money transfers.

Whether you are bringing back only the money in your account or selling a house and transferring thousands from Australia to New Zealand, be money smart and read up on money transfers/foreign exchange.

You will save a lot of money by using an online foreign exchange company to exchange your AUD into NZD, then deposit them in your New Zealand bank account. Banks will charge you a great deal to convert and transfer your money.

Read my post on foreign exchange/money transfers and find out how to get the best exchange rate on every money transfer:

Or register now with XE Money Transfers or OFX and start getting your head round what is a great, good, average and bad money transfer rate, so when it’s time to bring your money home, you know how to make a smart money transfer. Easiest money you’ll ever make and keep out of the banks pockets.

Government support

The Government is committed to helping New Zealanders overseas where we can. I do honestly believe they are doing their best. They have helped us with subsidy’s when we have been in lockdown and unable to work. And they are continuing to work hard and help where they can.

Because of COVID-19, financial pressure will be a reality for many.

The government are ensuring their is help for those under financial stress with help with money for essential costs, budgeting and guidance, wage subsidy and leave schemes, redundancy support, protection for renters and tenants and mortgage repayment deferral scheme.

Work and Income can help with urgent costs like:

  • Food
  • Accommodation costs, for example rent or mortgage, board, emergency housing, moving house
  • Repairs or replacing appliances
  • Emergency dental treatment
  • Emergency medical treatment
  • Water tank refill

Financial support, eligibility criteria and how to apply at the Work at Income website. You can also call Work and Income on 0800 559 009.

See the below link to the COVID-19 financial support tool or visit the government Unite against COVID-19 website to find out more about the above financial support available:

COVID-19 financial support tool

The government have created a COVID-19 financial support tool where you can find out what financial support you can access:

Finding Employment

The government have put together the most up to information for those kiwi’s returning home who need employment. Check out their employment page and find out:

  • How to find a job – advice on how to search for jobs
  • In-demand industries – information on the jobs available in the food and fiber, horticulture, dairy and forestry industries.
  • Careers advice – practical advice to help you look for a new job on return


What life is like in NZ at the moment

Life in New Zealand at the moment is close to normal as we are at Covid-19 alert level 1.

The governments strategy to protect New Zealand against COVID-19 is based on our border protections, testing, contact tracing and other public health measures, like washing hands and physical distancing. Face coverings are an extra protective physical barrier to help keep people safe.

As a parent, I am pleased my kids can go to school again and I’m allowed to enter the school again. I’m not currently wearing a mask, but this can change at any moment and has with each lockdown.

If anyone is sick at all they must stay home from school, work and everywhere.

We can exercise again and we can go out to dinner with no social distancing. Takeaways are open and we are encouraged to support local because we all know that people in our community are struggling, especially the hospitality industry.

There is no limit on the number of people who can attend a social gathering or event or enter a public facility at Alert Level 1.

I feel a closeness and a compassion to my neighbors and community because we have been brought closer, uniting against COVID-19 and we all know the struggles are real. There is a lot more call outs for food bank items. People who never used to need help, need it now.

I am blessed to still have a job (thank you for reading this) and so does my husband. Some of my close family and friends have lost their jobs. Some have found new ones, others are being helped by the government until they can find work and some are working in different industries while they need to.

To read more about guidance on everyday activities, including life at home and going to events visit:

Protect yourself and others from COVID-19:

  • Stay at home if you’re sick
  • Wear a face covering
  • Keep track of where you’ve been
  • Wash your hands
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow
  • Clean surfaces
  • Maintain physical distancing

Face masks

Face coverings are compulsory on public transport and aircraft. You need to wear a face covering on public transport.

Wearing a face covering helps keep you and others safe. A face covering helps stop droplets spreading when someone speaks, laughs, coughs or sneezes. This includes someone who has COVID-19 but feels well or has no obvious symptoms.

Face coverings are particularly useful when physical distancing is not possible.

Check out how to make a face covering:

Still got questions?

If there is anything else you would like to know about, please ask me a question using the below comment system and I will do my best to find the information you need.


  1. Harriet

    March 18, 2022 at 12:17 am

    Hi, I have previously ( about a month ago) lived in NZ but had to return to Australia for work, I am an Australian citizen. I am now trying to return to NZ next week, I am just wondering what proof of established residency is needed? as I only have bank and phone bills. Thank you!

  2. Adam

    March 16, 2022 at 2:27 am

    Hi there, I am currently living in Australia but have to move back to New Zealand soon to full time care for my mother who is unwell and needs care. I am an nz born citizen. I have to leave my job here in Australia to move home to care for my mother. Do you know if I would be eligible for any support/benefits from work and income while I am caring for my mother and until I can find a suitable part time job, also is there a wait time?

  3. Shruthikaa

    November 2, 2020 at 10:25 pm

    Dear JJ
    I am a doctor planning to move to Australia with family from UK.
    But due to the covid situation, I was told by locum agencies to move to Newzealand then later to Australia.
    Are NZ considered equivalent to Aussie when it comes to job opportunities?
    Can I know what made you move from NZ to Australia?
    We are fed up with uk weather and want to live in a tropical weather.

    • JJ Smith

      November 3, 2020 at 10:31 pm

      Hi Shruthikaa,
      Thank you for your enquiry. It does not surprise me you are feed up with the weather.
      Australia is a lot bigger than NZ, so there are more jobs.
      NZ is often used as a backdoor to Australia. Both countries are similar, but Australia is much larger and warmer year round, where in NZ there are four distinct seasons.
      My husband and I moved to Australia for a job opportunity and to live in the sunshine. However, since then my family have moved back to NZ to be closer to our families. It’s nice to have family support when bringing up young kids.
      Personally I recommend if you want to live in Australia, then try move their first and if it is not possible, then move to NZ and Australia at a later date.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

  4. Michal Henderson

    September 10, 2020 at 6:49 am

    You beauty! Thank you so much for all of this info, we have to move back home to nz with our newborn after job loss, and working this all out by ourselves while sleep deprived has been very hard. Thanks so very much for all of the effort and resources, and the perfect timing. You’re a saint! X

  5. Louise

    September 10, 2020 at 5:32 am

    Hi there, How about some info on New New Zealanders moving to Aus and what is required.
    We had a year long plan to move to Sydney Dec 2020 and our house settlement is 8th. We are applying for our Exemption tomorrow through the Aus Govt site. Fingers crossed we will be successful. Have son in Sydney been there 9.5 yrs and daughter and grandsons living in Brisbane 9 months. We are going to Sydney. Opened Aus bank account in March and bern sending funds over.

    Any info or help would be great



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