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The long way home: NZ MIQ Experience (Part III)

Updated: May 14, 2021

For this blog post, I'll be sharing my NZ Managed Isolation Quarantine (MIQ) experience. MIQ is a mandatory entry requirement into New Zealand, and every traveller coming into NZ must stay at a MIQ location for 14 days. You can't choose which MIQ facility you go to. It's randomly assigned to you when you arrive at the airport. For MIQ, I was assigned to stay in Naumi Airport Hotel in Mangere, Auckland.

The room & amenities

The room I got was pretty big. I realised my shortfall in not taking a picture of the room when I first arrived. I just felt jetlagged and fell asleep upon arrival and the room didn't look the same after that 😅 Anyway, in the room, I had:

  • two double beds

  • a bathtub in the bathroom

  • a big TV

  • a small fridge

  • Desk for work

  • Round table

  • two accent chairs

  • Big windows

The room was a lot bigger than the dorm room I stayed in at uni during the semester. It was also about three times bigger than the room I was renting in London after the semester ended. The size of the room made me feel like I had been living in a matchbox in London all this time, so obviously, I have no complaints at all about the room size.

Some cleaning cloths, washing up detergent and all-purpose cleaning spray were also provided, as there are no room cleaning services available at the moment. There was also extra toilet paper, tissues and trash bags provided in the room. My room already had 2 toilet rolls in the bathroom, and an additional 6 toilet paper rolls in the closet for a 14-day stay. I thought that was very generous, considering there was a time in the distant past in which there was a toilet paper shortage. Unless people actually use that much toilet paper for a short stay? 😂 Anyway, I didn't get explosive diarrhoea during my stay, so I didn't need all those toilet papers. But nice and thoughtful to provide that many. Moving along...

Throughout my stay, the internet connection was really quick, and I was able to watch all my favourite anime online without any issues. I came with my own HDMI cable and connected my laptop to the huge TV and enjoyed watching Dr Stone and the new My Hero Academia Season 5 on the big screen. It was good. 👌

The food

My family and partner know I was basically living on rice and tinned tuna in London to save money, so MIQ food was an upgrade for me 😂 I enjoyed most of the food, especially the lunches and dinners. I'm not a picky eater, nor do I have any food allergies, so for the most part, I had no problems with the food.

Every mealtime, a staff member would knock and leave a paper bag of food outside your door. Breakfast was usually delivered around 8:30 am, lunch usually around 1:00 pm and dinner around 7:00 pm. This is what it looked like!

I appreciated that the MIQ lunches and dinners were always still warm when it was delivered to the room. I like eating food when it's still warm/hot, even for breakfasts. I personally prefer hot breakfasts, like oatmeal/porridge or hot toast with melted butter with marmite/vegemite or poached eggs. Even a bowl of hot rice in the morning or hot topai is a really nice breakfast for me. When I was living in London, a hot bowl of oatmeal was my favourite morning choice, with honey, dried apricots, chia seeds and nuts.

However, the breakfast choices in MIQ were cold foods which were either a box of cereal and a piece of fruit OR a piece of pastry, yoghurt and fruit. Maybe you can't see it in the video, but the pastry was really small, and they don't tell you what kind of pastry you'd be getting. Some days it was a croissant. Other days, it was a custard tart or a Pain au chocolat. Same with the fruit. Some days it would be a large banana. Other days it would be a small orange or kiwi. They were all tasty either way so it's just a personal thing that I prefer hot breakfasts. Anyway, I came with a bag of instant oats that just need hot water, so that's what you can see also in the video. Other than that, all was great!

Covid testing

Every morning, a staff member fully dressed in PPE would come around our rooms to check our temperatures as part of the routine Covid check. The staff were always cheery and polite, and taking our temperature took less than a minute.

There were mandatory Covid testings as well on Day 0, Day 3 and Day 12 of the quarantine period. Reception rings you up about 5-10 mins before your turn, and you have to go to the testing area masked up and carrying your passport. The test takes about 3 minutes, in which a long cotton bud is stuck inside your nostrils, one at a time, swirled around for a bit, then it's done. The test result will be texted to you afterwards, usually the same day if the test was done in the morning, or early morning the next day if the test was done in the afternoon or evening.

Other services

Laundry: Naumi Hotel offers 2 complimentary laundry services. They provide two small plastic bags, and whatever clothing items you can stuff to fit inside that small bag will be washed for free. I didn't bother to use the laundry services, because I could only fit 2 t-shirts and a hoodie into the bag they provided😂 I bought a Scrubba bag that I had used during uni as well as some washing powder from the Pound shop in London and that's how I did laundry in the room for the 14-day stay.

Walks: You can take a walk around designated areas in the compound, but you have to call reception and book ahead for a slot. I called once to book a slot for the following day, but it was already fully booked, so I never bothered with a walk outside again. I just watched workout videos on Youtube in the room, and that was that. 😂

Additional Food/snacks/drinks: You can extra food and drinks if you want, and the prices are as below. I personally came with my own snacks and tea, so I didn't have any cravings for anything extra. Maybe I'm craving just alcohol if I'm honest, but I'll drink to my heart's content when I'm out of MIQ, so what's 14 days of sobriety? You can also order Ubereats, but I didn't do that either.

Final thoughts

Overall, I really liked the quarantine experience. The room, the food, the internet and the services at Naumi Hotel were exceptional, and I was really satisfied with my MIQ experience here.

Staying put in a hotel for 14 days straight didn't feel any different to staying cooped up in London the last few months. I think my mental state is already far too accustomed to solitary confinement at this point. The last 18 months in London, I've been all alone and had to stay away from people. Having lived in a country with one of the highest numbers of Covid-cases in the world and being constantly cautious and isolated for so long, I'm actually low key anxious at the thought of having to go outside and having to meet people normally again. Maybe that's why I enjoyed MIQ so much is because this will be the last time I'll be alone and I'm actually dreading socialising again. #IntrovertIssues😂 I wonder what the 21 day Tonga quarantine will be like though. Until then.

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