Australia Updates Travel Advisory For New Zealand

Smart Traveller has issued the following advisory for residents intending to travel to New Zealand, dated Tuesday 7 September 2010.

Besides the usual warnings about crime, travel, hazardous road conditions, rail crossings, negligent adventure tourism operators and the inherent risks of those types of activities, the site has been updated to include information about natural disasters including the 7.1 Christchurch quake:

“This advice has been reviewed and reissued. It includes new information in the Summary and under Natural Disasters, Climate and Severe Weather (Defer non-essential travel to Christchurch). The overall level of the advice has not changed.

Summary

  • We advise you to be alert to your own security in New Zealand.
  • Following a magnitude 7.1 earthquake on 4 September 2010, local authorities are advising people to avoid non-essential travel to Christchurch, with the exception of the airport. A state of emergency is currently in place. Some essential services such as power and water are still being restored, and local authorities advise to boil all drinking water. The airport in Christchurch is operating normally, including for transit flights. A 24 hour New Zealand Government hotline is 0011 64 0800 779 997.
  • Exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia.
  • Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 has spread throughout the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides useful information for individuals and travellers on its website. For further information and advice to Australians, including on possible quarantine measures overseas, see our travel bulletin on Pandemic (H1N1) 2009.

Safety and Security

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General Advice to Australian Travellers.

Crime

Theft is not uncommon, especially in tourist areas. Avoid leaving valuables unattended in hotel rooms or vehicles.

Local Travel

Australians are strongly advised to take care when travelling by road during the winter months due to hazardous road conditions caused by ‘black ice’, snow, fog and high winds. Roads are often narrow and winding. Not all railway crossings have barriers, particularly in country areas. For further advice, see our bulletin on Overseas Road Safety.

Many tourists safely undertake adventure activities in New Zealand. However, many adventure tourism activities have inherent risks, and there have been a number of serious accidents involving Australians and other tourists, some resulting in deaths. Some operators have been found to be negligent.

Travellers need to make their own judgements about the risks involved in individual or group activities and safety standards of individual operators. We strongly recommend travellers inquire with individual operators about the safety standards adhered to, whether these standards are applied across the industry and the risks involved in the activity. We recommend travellers hold travel insurance and complementary accident or income protection insurance and understand what circumstances and activities are not covered by the policies. You should be aware that safety standards in New Zealand’s adventure tourism industry may differ between individual operators and may differ from those in Australia.

Airline Safety

Please refer to our Aviation Safety and Security travel bulletin for information.

Natural Disasters, Severe Weather and Climate

New Zealand is subject to earthquakes. Following a magnitude 7.1 earthquake on 4 September 2010, local authorities are advising people to avoid non-essential travel to Christchurch, with the exception of the airport. A state of emergency is currently in place. Some essential services such as power and water are still being restored, and local authorities advise to boil all drinking water. The airport in Christchurch is operating normally, including for transit flights. A 24 hour New Zealand Government hotline is 0011 64 0800 779 997.

Information on natural disasters can be obtained from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.

In New Zealand, weather conditions can change quickly and severe weather is sometimes experienced. Weather conditions and warnings can be monitored at www.metservice.co.nz.

Travellers participating in outdoor adventure activities, particularly in remote areas, have been stranded and/or injured due to rapid weather changes. Particular care should be taken to avoid creeks and rivers that may be subject to flash flooding after heavy rains. If you are planning to participate in outdoor activities, make sure you register your details with a Visitor Information Centre and/or advise your family and friends of your plans.

All oceanic regions of the world can experience tsunamis, but in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, there is a more frequent occurrence of large, destructive tsunamis because of the many large earthquakes along major tectonic plate boundaries and ocean trenches. See the Tsunami Awareness brochure.

The full page of advice may be found HERE

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