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New Zealand Earthquake: Is it safe to travel after 5.2 quake shakes tourist hotspot?

An earthquake measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale was reported this morning. The quake hit just off the northern coast of New Zealand at 10.47 pm local time (9.47 am UTC) and was felt across the country.

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) the quake hit in tourist hotspot the Bay of Plenty, just off the coast near Tauranga.

The epicentre of the quake was recorded at a depth of 282km or 175 miles.

According to GeoNet, the quake was widely felt, in part due to its depth.

The GeoNet report said: “We’ve received more than 11000 felt reports from all over the country – although most were for weak or light shaking.

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New Zealand Earthquake: Is it safe to travel after 5.2 magnitude quake? (Image: Getty Images / USGS)

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New Zealand earthquake: The epicentre was recorded just off the coast of Tauranga (Image: USGS)

“This [earthquake] was so widely felt because the subducting tectonic plate under the North Island’s East Coast allows seismic waves to travel further.”

With the quake being felt along the coastline concerns of a tsunami are emerging.

However, at the time of writing there is no tsunami warning, watch or advisory in effect from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre.

More than 11,000 people have reportedly felt the quake, with reports stating the quake reached as far as Wellington – 431 km from the epicentre.

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Witnesses in the area have reported feeing tremors on the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC).

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One person in Tauranga said: “Laid in bed in our camper van and felt the van rock.”

However, Genet classified the seismic waves as “weak” and “light”.

There are, so far, no reports of damage or injuries.

Tauranga is a tourist hotspot on New Zealand’s Northern Island (Image: Getty Images)

Is it safe to travel to New Zealand?

Earthquakes are not uncommon in the region with around 150,000 recorded each year.

At the time of writing, the FCO does not have a travel warning in place and no further quakes have been reported.

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The FCO does provide advice relating to Earthquakes on its website.

A statement reads: “New Zealand is located in a seismic zone and is subject to earthquakes.

“There are also a number of active volcanoes in New Zealand. Follow the advice of the local authorities and emergency services in the event of a natural disaster.”

What to do if you experience an Earthquake while on holiday.

If you are planning a trip to New Zealand, or any other region where earthquakes are commonplace, it is best to invest in an all-encompassing travel insurance plan.

With that said, many insurers do not cover specifically for natural disasters.

Firstly, policies never cover “known events”, such as a forecasted storm or hurricane predicted weeks in advance.

However, your travel insurance plan may cover some of the disruptive effects that occur from getting caught up in a natural disaster.

This includes public evacuations, repatriation in an emergency and any changes to flight or hotel reservations.

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