New Zealand experiences a relatively mild temperate climate, with distinct seasons that range from cold, snowy winters to warm, sunny summers. December through to February is generally considered the peak tourist season across both the North and South Islands, with both domestic and Australian holiday makers on their long annual break. The long daylight hours are perfect for exploring New Zealand’s many outdoor pursuits and hiking permits get booked out well in advance as visitors descend on the national parks. If you are visiting during this period you should expect inflated hotel and flight ticket prices across the country.
New Zealand’s ski resorts experience their peak tourist season between July and August when snow blankets the landscape. Bookings should be made well in advance if you are planning a ski vacation, with an increased demand for both flight tickets and lodge rooms at popular ski destinations.
The mild autumn and spring months are ideal for trekking if you want quieter trails and cooler temperatures, provided you don’t visit during the short school holiday breaks. With far fewer tourists across the country, there are some good accommodation deals to be found, and the landscape offers beautiful changing colours during both seasons.
Provided you aren’t travelling to the ski resorts and can handle the chilly temperatures, winter is another quiet time to visit New Zealand, with snow-capped mountainous landscapes all around. Many hotels reduce their prices during this season and you will have many of the national parks largely to yourself.
For the best deals on flights to New Zealand, try and book as far in advance of your travel dates as possible, particularly if you are planning to fly during the school holiday periods. Some airlines offer cheaper flight tickets during mid-week, so if you have a flexible schedule and want to get the best deals, then try and avoid flying on the weekends.
Flights from Auckland to Christchurch – 1 hours 25 minutes.
Flights from Christcuhrch to Wellington – 55 minutes.
Flights from Dunedin to Auckland – 1 hours 45 minutes.
Flights from Nelson to Dunedin – 1 hours 35 minutes.
Flights from Queenstown to Wellington – 1 hours 40 minutes.
Air New Zealand is the main airline for flights to New Zealand, servicing almost all destinations across both the South and North Islands. Many of the major routes are also serviced by Jetstar, a low-cost carrier which operates some of the cheapest flights to New Zealand as part of the Australian airline, Qantas.
Flight tickets for some of the more regional routes can also be found with Sounds Air, a smaller airline which flies Wellington to Nelson and Blenheim to Napier, while Kiwi Regional Airlines also services smaller towns and cities across the country, including Hamilton, Nelson, Tauranga and Dunedin. If you are looking for flight tickets between Wellington, Nelson and Palmerston North, Originair is another small operator that offers some good flight deals.
Most New Zealand airports offer a range of both private and public ground transportation services to get you from the airport to the city centre, with the private services tending to be slightly faster, but more expensive.
Some public bus routes travel via the airports, dropping off and picking up passengers before returning to the city centre. Alternatively, many New Zealand airports also offer private shuttle bus services which will travel express into the city, then either drop passengers at designated points or provide door-to-door transport.
Usually the fastest means of travelling from New Zealand’s airports into the city centre is with a metered taxi which wait in designated ranks outside the airport terminal. While this is the most expensive ground transportation option, it will get you to where you want to go with little hassle.
Almost all of New Zealand’s airports offer rental car services for those who are planning to self-drive, with bookings best made prior to arrival if you want to get the best deals.
(prices quotes are from London)