The sleepy towns of New Zealand contrast against one of the most dramatic landscapes on earth – plunging fjords, towering mountains and volcanic stacks shaped by the turbulent action of the Pacific Ring of Fire, New Zealand’s volcanic plateau. No surprise, then, that it became Middle Earth in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. On the North Island, the geothermal area of Rotorua draws visitors to its mud baths and hot springs. On the South Island, Mount Cook, the Franz Josef and Fox glaciers and the beautiful Milford Sound are the main attractions. Add to that every imaginable adrenalin-pumping adventure and some spectacularly fine wines, and you have a place which suits just about anyone. Start your journey with a flight to New Zealand on Qantas, offering a full international service to all passengers across the Tasman.
Flights to NZ
Flights to New Zealand
New Zealand has 27 separate regions that stretch more than 1600 kilometres across two islands. There are four significant tourist cities – the financial centre of Auckland and capital city Wellington on the North Island, and Christchurch and Queenstown on the South Island.
North Island might have three times the population, but most of the big tourist drawcards are located on the South Island – Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, the Queenstown ski fields and Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers to name a few. You can book flights to Queenstown or Christchurch on the South Island and set off with your own car or a tour.
To the southwest of the island, most easily accessed with a flight to Queenstown, you’ll find the magnificent Fiordland National Park, featuring the Milford Track and Kepler and Routeburn Tracks.
Southland located on an impressive coastline at the most southern point of South Island is the place to see fur seals, sea lions and other marine life. To the west are the alpine landscapes and pinot noir vineyards of Central Otago and scenic Coastal Otago.
At the top of the South Island, you’ll find the world famous Marlborough vineyards with over 40 cellar doors offering its signature Sauvignon Blanc and the vibrant Christchurch, currently in a state of transformation after a series of earthquakes.
Volcanic landscapes, lazy lake houses, empty beaches and the beautiful Maori culture – the North Island has attractions such as Lake Taupo, contemporary Auckland, Rotorua, Bay of Islands and Waikato (also known as Hobbiton).
Book your flight to Auckland and hire a car to take you to the boiling mud pools of Rotorua and afterwards stay in Lake Taupo, actually the crater of one of the world's biggest volcanoes. Natural geysers, boiling mud pools, volcanoes, lakes and ancient caves, fine dining and sailing and stunning beaches can all be found within relatively close proximity.
You can’t go to New Zealand without embracing the extraordinary natural surroundings and the Kiwis have figured out plenty of ways to do just that – bungy jumping, jet boating, skiing, black-water rafting, sky diving and zorbing (rolling down a hill in a giant clear ball) mountaineering and tramping are just a small selection of hair raising activities on offer. There’s also plenty of city action - cosmopolitan Auckland, cool Wellington, inspiring ‘pop-up’ Christchurch and action packed Queenstown.
- Cruise, sea kayak or tramp through fiordland from Te Anau to Milford Sound
- Visit Whangarei for Maori and maritime history and the beaches of Bay of Plenty
- Learn about Maori culture and see the kapa haka at Whakarewarewa in Roturua
- Take on an adrenalin pumping extreme adventure in Queenstown
- Ski an active volcano at Mount Ruapehu
- Shop the boutiques of Ponsonby
- Take the 100-year-old ‘cream trip’ from Paihia in the Bay of Islands
- The pristine beaches and native forests of the Coromandel Peninsula
- Maori rock carvings at Mine Bay from the waters of the ‘inland sea’ Lake Taupo
- The Jurassic-era petrified forest at Curio Bay in the Catlins
- The Hobbiton movie set at Matamata
- Te Papa museum in the waterfront district of Wellington
- The alpine tarns of Mount Cook in summer when the lupins are flowering and wild herbs are underfoot
DRINK and EAT
- Après ski in the pumping Queenstown nightlife scene
- At the laneway and basement bars of Britomart in Auckland
- Inside one of Christchurch’s ‘pop-up’ shipping container bars
- With a peppery Pinotage of Northland, the vibrant Sauvignon Blancs of Marlborough and the crisp Rieslings of Central Otago to accompany your meal
Bestselling tours in New Zealand at qantas.com right now…
- 3-Day Waitomo Caves, Rotorua and Taupo Trip from Auckland
- Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise from Te Anau
- 5-Day South Island Tour from Christchurch
- Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise
- Milford Sound Mariner Overnight Cruise
Check out our huge selection of tours, activities and things to do in New Zealand, you'll enjoy a Price Promise and 1 point per AU$1 spent if you are a Qantas Frequent Flyer.
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You’ll arrive on your flight to New Zealand into one of the main international airports (Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland and Queenstown), from which Qantas offer easy access arrival transfers if you are not planning to hire your own car.
While petrol prices are high, car is often the best way to get around the country. InterCity buses operate on both the North Island and South Island. Inter-island ferries are a scenic option for travel between the South Island and North Island, which can be booked with Qantas.
Five great driving holidays in New Zealand:
- Head off from Auckland on the Twin Coast Highway along white sand beaches and lazy seaside towns and then back along the wilder West Coast.
- See the sweeping beauty of South New Zealand on the Southern Scenic Route, taking in Queenstown, Fiordland, Te Anau and the iconic Milford Road to Dunedin.
- Venture into subtropical Northland on Twin Coast Highway and you can see the giant trees of Waipoua forest, dive the Poor Knights Islands and cruise the Bay of Islands.
- Take the Thermal Explorer Highway to see awe-inspiring geothermal activity, experience Maori culture and visit the set location of The Hobbit along the way.
- The Pacific Coast Highway leads you to picturesque Coromandel beaches, untouched Eastland forest and some of the country's best wineries.
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Impossible to see any other way, New Zealand offers some of the world’s most spectacular driving itineraries. Take off on one of New Zealand’s themed highways - glaciers and geysers off the Thermal Explorer Highway or vineyards on the Pacific Coast Highway and plenty more. Qantas Frequent Flyers earn points with Avis and Budget.^Book
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