Travel Guides – Explore New Zealand in a Better Way

With the rising Australian dollar, a visit to our most popular overseas destination has never been so good. The proximity to New Zealand, great skiing, spectacular scenery and the generally relaxed lifestyle (in some places almost comatose) make it an ideal place for a vacation or an extended trip. In 2008, nearly 900,000 Australians visited New Zealand. The recent marketing peaks of the New Zealand government have made people come – it’s hard not to get a bit emotional after a bad working week when these announcements arrive … it’s really a great place to relax. So what’s the best way to get there and travel around?

Flights to New Zealand

There are many great offers in New Zealand, with decent competition for your money from different airlines. This has made flights as cheap as they have ever been, but beware, early booking is always essential because cheap seats are sold well in advance, especially during peak times. Direct flights to Queenstown from Australia are always sold out in the winter.

Important tips for booking flights to New Zealand:

New Zealand’s international airports are Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington and Queenstown (limited direct flights from Oz during ski season)

January is a good time of the year to buy tickets. Air New Zealand is currently promoting its promotions and seats will be available immediately later in the year (for the ski season or flights until September).

Splitting your return flight between two airlines is a way to save money – Qantas, Virgin Blue or Air New Zealand may be the cheapest on the way to Auckland, while Emirates is often the cheapest on the return trip (a good chance to travel with a major airline) to fly)). Check one-way costs online instead of returns. A little research saves you money.

In general, you need to budget around $ 450 to $ 500 for the return of Aussie inc. tax for flights to New Zealand. Cheaper than that and it’s a lot.

Direct flights to Queenstown will certainly be closer to $ 600 including taxes if you arrive early

Virgin Blue is the only low-budget airline that flies to the three main airports in Australia

Lan Chile and Aerolineas Argentina can sometimes have cheap seats if they stop here en route to South America (via Auckland)

New Zealand is the most popular international destination for online flight reservations and it is not necessary to use an agent if you would like to book online. Save yourself, commission agents charge costs by booking on the web
Round the World, on the Star Alliance, New Zealand is an easy stopover on the way to the States or the Pacific Islands.

At One World, Qantas of Lan Chile takes you there on the way to the United States or South America. It is part of the Australian region on mainland tickets.

The best time to go in the fall (March to June) or spring (August to November) is the perfect time to visit. The rates are cheap at the moment and there is less tourist traffic around popular places. The colours are fantastic and your holiday will certainly be more relaxed. On the South Island, September – October is an ideal time with the combination of seasonal changes and snow-capped mountains for spectacular walks.

Just like in Australia and around the world, try to avoid local school holidays because the prices will be higher. Try to avoid January, the first week of February, April and the first weeks of July.

Getting Action

Rent a car

The cheapest period to rent a car is in the winter months from June to October. The wide range of rental companies and the strong dollar make it an easy and cheap way to get by any time of the year. $ 40 per day will help you on your way. View the major operators such as Hertz, Easy Rent and Budget, as well as a number of small operators.


Renting a motorhome is one of the most popular ways to visit New Zealand, and not without reason. This gives you complete freedom and works a little cheaper than staying in hotels during your stay. There is a large network of campgrounds to park, or simply walking for the night in the country is much easier than on the east coast of Australia – you will rarely suffer from a ranger at 6 o’clock in the morning and you try $ 300 to pay for parking in a public place. (these rangers, they will have you)

Generally, a motorhome will cost you around $ 100.00 a day with all the trimmings. A good tip is that buying a full travel insurance in Australia will save you money on your car insurance in New Zealand. A decent Australian policy has high coverage for rental cars, so you can choose the cheapest insurance option for the motorhome. The travel insurance pays multiple times.

Discover companies such as Britz, Pacific Horizon, KEA, Apollo and Maui. There is a lot of competition for your dollar.

Make sure you understand the different road conditions in New Zealand – driving on narrow roads with slurry and snow in winter can be very difficult and put a shock absorber on every trip.

For a long stay, buying a car is an option – used cars can be quite cheap and the process of transferring ownership is simple (only a trip to the post office).

Put your car/camper/person on the ferry between the islands

Moving between the two islands with your car or alone is easy and reasonable. Ferries depart 5 times a day between Wellington in the north and Picton in the south. Search for offers on these sites:

-Inter Islander
– Blue bridge

Expect to pay around 50 New Zealand dollars for a one-way trip without a car.

Backpacker bus

New Zealand is by far one of the easiest countries to make ends meet. An almost perfect network of hostels is served by excellent public buses or, the easiest choice, backpackers such as the Kiwi Experience. The latter is a hop-on-hop-off bus that takes you around the islands at your own pace and easily stops at all major tourist spots and in front of selected hostels. If you can tolerate the strange white shoe that carries the British father’s money, this can be a great way to see the islands, with many choices of adventurous activities along the way. Also, check the “Magic Bus” and “Stray Travel” websites for similar services.


There are some great scenic train journeys in New Zealand at a reasonable price and a good way to dump the rental car for a few days. On the North Island, you can travel between Auckland and Wellington, or on the South Island, the Christchurch-Picton train is still popular. The latter takes in the range of Kaikoura on one side and the Pacific coast on the other. The journey takes approximately five hours, takes 22 tunnels and is highly recommended.

Domestic flights

Currently, Zuji or Air New Zealand are two sites that allow you to book and pay for your domestic flights in New Zealand online. The prices are quite cheap; budget around 90 $ TTC one way from Auckland to Wellington for example.


As with flights, booking in advance is the key to a reasonable price for accommodation. If you only book one night and rent a car, keep in mind that the accommodation options for the ski season and school holidays in New Zealand become clearer very quickly. Moreover, there can be a huge price difference between agents and different websites. Make sure you take the time to check at least a few options before you book.


Affordable rates and packages, as well as decent snow, make a ski trip to New Zealand an easy choice rather than expensive and inconvenient trips to Australia. A week in New Zealand can really be cheaper than staying at home.

The main difference between Australia and many other destinations is that you cannot stay alone in the snow (with the exception of Cardona, above Wanaka, and these apartments are booked months in advance). You stay in nearby towns, but this is not a drama because transfers to the mountains are cheap and spending the night in Queenstown during the ski season is not a bad thing.

Early booking is the key, especially for large groups. Try to book flights and packages in January – there are always a large number of offers available. Don’t forget to book at the end of the season – from August to October. The snow is fairly reliable and you will avoid price spikes.

Main regions


The capital of New Zealand for skiing and adventure activities, Queenstown has never lost its appeal. You can ski up to 5 areas, including nearby Wanaka. There is the most luxurious excavation accommodation for a number of backpacker-style options that we generally miss in the seaside resorts of Oz. Queenstown is also great in the summer, with lots to keep the mountains occupied.


Wanaka is about 70 km from Queenstown, a large resort town, although less crowded and hedonistic than Queenstown. It is a cheaper choice than Queenstown, but has less landscape value and has little of the village atmosphere that you get from the more flashy neighbour.

Mt Hutt

Mount Hutt enjoys the longest ski season on the South Island because of its status as one of the highest ski resorts in the southern hemisphere. It is just a 1.5-hour drive from Christchurch. The accommodation choices are Methvan or Mt Hutt and range from simple, inexpensive motels to luxury resort-style.

Mt Ruapehu

Mount Ruapehu is located on the North Island and is little known to people outside of New Zealand. For residents, this area represents constant snow and the most developed ski resorts in the country. Tour operators virtually ignore this region, although it is the first choice of many New Zealanders in the winter. Heli-skiing is best served on the South Island, as well as other adventure activities.

Heliskiing There are many choices for heli-ski tours or sightseeing flights over parts of the two islands. Be sure to check the safety record of the operator you choose.

Some other useful tips Stay longer than the average of five days of most Australians – a month of travelling here should ask you what the hurry is

Don’t buy road maps – the Value Tours brochure, from every agent in Aus, has a full overview of accommodation options and a free and reliable map. Something like an NRMA guide. Otherwise, the free tourist cards on arrival are just as good.

Always check the offers in January for the ski season. Also, consider skiing on the North Island for something else

If you liked this article, view my Aussie Travel Advice. It is a free, independent site with more than 140 pages of travel tips and links, as well as our travel blog. It is written by a former travel agency, doctor and journalist and contains the best travel advice for Australians abroad.

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