COVID-19: The activities you'll be allowed to do at coronavirus alert level 3

Kiwis will soon be allowed to hike, surf and mountain bike, after the Prime Minister announced a raft of sweeping changes to the activities allowed when New Zealand downgrades its coronavirus response to alert level 3.

The changes, which Jacinda Ardern announced during a press conference from the Beehive on Thursday, could come into effect at 11:59pm next Wednesday - though this is pending a decision on Monday about whether to extend the lockdown.

It's great news for Kiwis, who have only been allowed out of their household 'bubbles' during alert level 4 to exercise, access essential services or attend essential work.

The Prime Minister's new rules under alert level 3 are simple: keep it alone or in your bubble, keep it low-risk, and keep it un-motorised.

"There are activities that you can undertake by yourself or within your bubble that we will be permitting: you can swim, you can surf, you can fish from the shore," Ardern explained.

"However I do want to add a word of caution here: now is not the time to take up a new activity that you have never done before - it is too risky. The whole point of this level is to continue to really reduce down your contact with others.

"That means we are still excluding things like boating and jet-skis. That's simply because we know from the statistics that these are still prone to accidents or breakdowns that can lead you to have contact with others."

Hunting, yachting and team sports are also not allowed.

Among the activities that will soon be permitted is tramping, which is "okay for day walks on easy trails", and mountain biking "if you are experienced and know the trail", the Government's COVID-19 website says.

"You can do activities that are local, which you can do safely, and which do not involve interacting with other people, or equipment touched by other people," it adds.

As for travelling to undertake an activity, the Government advises Kiwis to "drive as short a distance as you can".

"You can drive to a nearby area to go for a walk or run - for example a beach 45 minutes away," the COVID-19 website reads.

"This could mean travelling outside your region if the nearest beach or park is still within a close distance to your home - for example travelling from Porirua to Paraparaumu."

However the activity must either be done alone or only with those in your 'bubble' - and the Prime Minister promises to make changes if people are exploiting the new rules to congregate.

"If there is any sign of congregation, we will not hesitate to review these changes," she said. "So please, do not rush to places where others may congregate as well, and treat it as a reunion with your long-lost swimming buddies."