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best to fly into auckland, then go from there?

Los Angeles...
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best to fly into auckland, then go from there?

hi all!

i'm planning a honeymoon for new zealand in early november, and before delving into all the specific research of putting together an itinerary, i thought it might be wise to secure well-priced airfare, and then sort of "work backwards" and plan my trip from there. i'm looking to spend approximately 12 days in new zealand and strike a nice balance between moderate outdoors activities and quiet "honeymoon" time.

i'm certain i'll be spending more time in these forums as i begin to plan my trip, but for now i just have one question: is auckland the best city to fly into? that is, should i just go ahead and a buy a round-trip ticket from los angeles to auckland?

i'm asking because we're considering starting our trip on the south island, and eventually making our way up north and flying out from there. however, there only seem to be direct flights from LA to auckland, and none to queenstown.

thanks, all!

New Zealand
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1. Re: best to fly into auckland, then go from there?

Welcome to the forum and congratulations on your honeymoon :)

Fly into Auckland then a connecting flight to Q'town, fly out of Auckland all on the one ticket.

Just be aware that while NZ appears small on a world map, it does take considerably longer to drive from place to place than many anticipate. While 12 days may seem a good amount of time, it won't allow more than a passing glimpse at a few of the main spots. It takes a minimum of 3 weeks for more than a basic tour of both islands.

Happy planning :)

Los Angeles...
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2. Re: best to fly into auckland, then go from there?

thank you for the prompt reply!

so are you saying i should buy a round-trip ticket into auckland, and then buy a separate ticket - perhaps from a different airline - from auckland to queenstown?

we haven't decided how we want to divvy up our time, between the north and south islands, or whether we want to spend all of our time on the south island.

New Zealand
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3. Re: best to fly into auckland, then go from there?

No, my suggestion is to get your flights on ONE ticket. It is possible to get several flights, even with different airlines, on ONE ticket.

ONE ticket means if one sector of your trip is held up, delayed, cancelled, re-routed for whatever reason, the airline is still charged with getting you to your final destination. That doesn't happen on separate tickets. Say for example you fly to NZ on one ticket and you hold a separate ticket for a connecting flight to Q'town. If the first flight is delayed due to an ash cloud or whatever, your second flight will leave without you, as you will be a noshow - money lost. However if all your flights are on ONE ticket, the second flight will know about the delay and they will put you on the next available flight to your final destination.

Another point to consider. From the US, you have a generous two bag luggage allowance. Internal flights in NZ (and in the US) have a measly one bag 23kg limit. However if you have ONE ticket with a connecting flight to Q'town then the international baggage allowance continues to your final destination. If you spend a night in Auckland on arrival and fly to Queenstown the following day you have the lower, domestic allowance.

Los Angeles...
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4. Re: best to fly into auckland, then go from there?

i see. well, i was hoping to be able to buy my plane tickets first, and then decide how to spend my time in new zealand, such as how much time to spend on the north and south islands respectively, and which island to visit first. but i suppose i will have to make these decisions, in order to determine whether to start in queenstown and work my north, do exactly the opposite, or just stay on the south island altogether.

now, i don't have much experiencing booking multi-city itineraries, but i've been using kayak.com for my airfare search. i noticed i can do my first leg from LAX to queenstown (with a stopover in sydney), and then do my second leg from auckland back to LAX - assuming, of course, that i want to spend the second portion of my trip on the north island, and that i find a way to actually get up from queenstown to auckland. if we start in queenstown, we would probably rent a car and drive north to visit places, then maybe eventually take a short flight to make it back auckland.

does that make sense? i can't really think of another way to do it right now...

New Zealand
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5. Re: best to fly into auckland, then go from there?

You could very easily get separate tickets, however you then need to take into account the possibility of delays, luggage fees and so on.

And I think your plan to fly south, travel north good. You will be exhausted on arrival in NZ anyway so spending a little extra time at the airport to arrive in Q'town on day one makes sense. You could loop around the South Island and fly back to A'land, or drive all the way back.

for example, you could

1 arrive Auckland, fly to Q'town

2 explore

3 bus to Milford Sound, cruise, fly or heli back to Q'town - stunning

4 drive to Wanaka - Time/Life top ten romantic destination in the world

5 drive Lindis Pass to Aoraki/Mt Cook

6 explore http://www.glacierexplorers.com/ drive to Chch

7 drive to Picton, wine tour

8 ferry to Wellington, explore

9 drive to Taupo

10 drive to Rotorua

11 explore

12 drive to Auckland, fly home

Hope this helps :)

Singapore
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6. Re: best to fly into auckland, then go from there?

Hi limsilas,

I'll be going to NZ for my honeymoon in early Nov as well!

Let me share with you my experience of airline ticket bOoking. I initially bOoked Jetstar from Singapore direct to Auckland and a domestic flight (5 hour gap) from Auckland to Queenstown via Air NZ. However Jetstar cancelled my flight and I was stuck with the domestic tickets which were non-refundable.

Anyway to cut the long story short, it's better to purchase your tickets in one single ticket so that if one flight is cancelled or rescheduled, the airline is obligated to remap the journey for you. In the end I booked Qantas (flying into Queenstown, exit Auckland) and wasted NZD 400+ on my Air NZ tickets :(

Christchurch, New...
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7. Re: best to fly into auckland, then go from there?

There are two main gateways into New Zealand. Most airlines arrive in Auckland, but Singapore Airlines and Air Asia X fly into Christchurch from Singapore and KL respectivly. Emirates also fly into Christchurch but via Oz. The only international flights into Queenstown are in the ski season and will be from Australia.

Within NZ their are two airlines, Air NZ and Jet Star with Air NZ having a much bigger network and Jet Star only flying to a limited number of destinations. If you have a single ticket your bags etc are taken care of and the airline will make sure your connections work.

WL's suggestions are good. There are direct jet flights from Auckland to Queenstown. If you have to wait for the connection in Auckland there are some excelent airport hotels where you could shake off the jet lag.

Los Angeles...
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8. Re: best to fly into auckland, then go from there?

thank you guys for all the suggestions, and especially for the sample itinerary!

now, i've begun talking to some folks who've travelled to new zealand, and i'm beginning to hear a persnickety rumor that i should spend all my time on the south island, and not even bother with the north! is that completely out of line??

Christchurch, New...
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9. Re: best to fly into auckland, then go from there?

The two Islands are quite different with each having features the other doesn't so it all depends on what you are hoping to see and do. The North has the geothermal wonderland and the South a mountain range, waterfalls. The North is far more populated. Both have lakes (more in SI) and wild country. Each to their own. What are your expectations?

Los Angeles...
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10. Re: best to fly into auckland, then go from there?

yeah, i think i would like to visit both islands...we don't have many expectations, except to have our breath taken away. ;) and see a fairly good representation of the country - which means NOT skipping one of the two main islands!