2 stops (47h40m)
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New Zealand has many international and domestic airports. Auckland Airport (AKL) serves the largest number of international arrivals and departures, but Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Palmerton and Queenstown are also served by international flights. From the UK there are a number of airlines offering New Zealand plane tickets Air New Zealand, British Airways, Qantas and Virgin Atlantic.
By far the cheapest way to reach New Zealand from the UK is to fly into Australia and catch a low cost flight to New Zealand for the second half of the journey with budget options like Jetstar and Pacific Blue.
Weather, which can be changeable, plays a huge part in when to book tickets to New Zealand. Even between the two islands it can change a lot from one season to another.
Expect flights to New Zealand to take at least 29h from London to Wellington, with one or two stopovers in Sydney, Singapore or Bangkok.
New Zealand is a relatively young country, undiscovered by Europeans until the mid-1600s. Today more than 2 million foreigners from far and wide spend their holidays in New Zealand. What's the draw? Let's just say the stunning landscapes, impressively preserved indigenous cultures and outdoor tourism are just the beginning.
New Zealanders love sports, actually one-third of the children, and one-fifth of the adults are members of sports clubs so you can be sure that there are plenty of opportunities to get outdoors and take advantage of the wildlife and wilderness.
Auckland: Known as the City of Sails, if you head out to Waitemata Harbour you'll see why. This is where locals practice their jibb as they island-hop all summer long. Another plus, there are more than 100 beaches within an hour's drive. Take a sailing course, soak in the quaint café culture, perfect your golf swing and laze about some of the world's most beautiful beaches.
Napier: Did you know NZ is also heralded for its wine? Hawkes Bay is the place to try a syrah or just enjoy the architecture. This city has a taste for fine fashions and good wines.
Southern Scenic Route: Enjoy the most spectacular views in NZ and the unique ‘off the beaten path’ experience with a New Zealand car hire. View wildlife in its natural environment like dolphins, hooker sea lions, yellow-eyed penguins, fur seals and others. Don’t miss the Curio Bay Petrified Forest, one of the two Jurassic forests in the world.
Coromandel: Some volcanoes have really huge underground supplies of superheated water. Time to time, this water comes to the surface — cooling down on the way. There are two crevices at Hot Water Beach, each of them giving 15 litres of hot water (64ºC /147ºF) per minute. You can rent a spade at the beach store for $5 and dig yourself a spa. Be sure to get there an hour before low tide, so that you have a good spot and time to dig your hole.
Fox & Franz Joseph Glaciers: Like many smaller ones on the West Coast of the South Island, these glaciers are among the most accessible to visit, you can easily walk up to the foot of the glaciers and admire the enormity of these moving ice masses.
Find more information on newzealand.com.
What makes New Zealand so special when it comes to hotels is that there are more family-run places than not. Bed & breakfasts, inns, guesthouses and cabins are the usual here, each with their own charm and allure. Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, being the biggest cities on the islands, have enough hotels to cater to the many business travellers, not to fret.
Staying at a B&B has many perks, the first of which is (free) parking, a god-send in any city centre. Most owners are chatty Kiwis who are more than eager to offer insider information on where to go and where to avoid, even booking special excursions and other travel details for you. While B&Bs are generally pricier than motels and inns, they're worth every penny.