Planning a trip to New Zealand from the USA? One of the first things you need to know is how to get here, and you probably think that "Down Under" is a long flight? The good news is that it may not take as long as you think, and airlines (especially our mates at Air New Zealand) are working really hard to make your flight super comfortable and fun.
Updated 2018 for the new Air New Zealand flights to Chicago:
Starting at the end of November 2018 Air New Zealand will commence non-stop flights from Chicago to Auckland, adding to their existing services to New Zealand from the North American ports of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver and Houston.
Here's a quick guide for our American friends, answering the question "How long is the flight to New Zealand from the USA", including a really handy table so you can compare how long the flight to New Zealand is from the major North American airports.
You may think it's a long way to New Zealand, and we know it's longer than flying inside North America, but when you compare it to other main holidays spots around, flying to New Zealand stacks up pretty well. Which is longer, the flight to New Zealand or the flights to Paris, London, Tokyo, Shanghai or Bangkok? That's all here too.
Lots of people make the flight from the USA for our tours every summer and they all tell us is that it's definitely worth it, one sleep on a plane and you're in New Zealand! If that's not a great trade then we don't know what is!
Kiwis are great travellers and it’s really not surprising. When you look at an atlas, you’ll see that New Zealand is isolated. It is surrounded in fact, by over 2500 kilometres (1500 miles) of ocean to the nearest land mass and that’s just in one direction towards Australia. If you're flying to New Zealand from North America, it is many more miles in your direction. Fortunately, New Zealand is very well-connected for folks in USA and Canada.
How long is the flight to New Zealand?
From the USA, flying to New Zealand is fairly easy. From Los Angeles and San Francisco the flight times to Auckland are just over 13 hours. There are no refuelling stops or plane changes. Flights are direct and non-stop so there is a minimum of fuss and bother.
An added advantage is that flights from West Coast USA leave in the evening. This makes a lovely start to your vacation, so that you can wind-down with a relaxing evening, get a good night’s sleep, and wake up refreshed close to New Zealand (and your adventure).
From East Coast locations in USA like New York and Washington take a little longer, at around a total of 21 hours and there will be one stop. Flight times from Southern USA like Houston and Miami take 14 ½ and 19 ½ hours respectively, also with one stop if you're coming from Miami but non-stop and direct from Houston. Flights cross the USA and touch down generally in San Francisco or Los Angeles, and then travel the last 13 hours to Auckland, New Zealand.
Air New Zealand's latest service makes it super easy for midwest folks to come and visit, with direct non-stop flights from Chicago to Auckland commencing services in November 2018. The flight time will be just over 16 hours, a little longer than the west coast flights but much shorter than if you have to change planes.
Flight times to New Zealand from the major North American cities
|Flying to New Zealand from:||Flight time to Auckland, New Zealand|
|Los Angeles||13 hours direct|
|San Francisco||13 hours direct|
|Vancouver||14 hours direct|
|Honolulu||9 hours direct|
|New York||21.5 hours (two flights)|
|Washington||21 hours (two flights)|
|Houston||14.5 hours direct|
|Chicago||16 hours direct|
|Miami||19.5 hours (two flights)|
Why fly all the way to New Zealand? To visit places like this, the Hokianga Harbour
Is it longer to fly to New Zealand or popular destinations in Europe or Asia?
If you are thinking this seems a long time to be sitting down, think of kiwi travellers. Some of our destinations are completely around the world – 24 hours with two stops…Yuck.
Interestingly for USA travellers, some flights to European destinations have similar to flight times than to New Zealand. Compare the flight times below. You will find that, when travelling from the West Coast of the USA or Canada, it is as easy for you to get to New Zealand as anywhere in Europe. Eastern locations are a good deal further for you.
And just consider what is at the end of it. The trip of a lifetime! Don’t forget New Zealand is one of the first places on earth to see the sun each day – an excellent point to brag about to your whanau (faa-no: Maori for wider family including friends).
Compare flight times from the USA to New Zealand vs Europe
|Departing from||Auckland, NZ||Paris||London|
|Los Angeles||13 hours||11 hours||10 hours|
|San Francisco||13 hours||11 hours||7 hours|
|Vancouver||14 hours||12 hours||9 hours|
|Honolulu||9 hours||22 hours||17 hours|
|New York||21.5 hours||7 hours||8 hours|
|Washington||21 hours||8 hours||7 hours|
|Houston||14.5 hours||9.5 hours||9 hours|
|Chicago||16 hours||8 hours||8 hours|
|Miami||18.5 hours||8.5 hours||8 hours|
Compare flight times from the USA to New Zealand vs Asia
|Los Angeles||13 hours||12 hours||14 hours||19 hours|
|San Francisco||13 hours||10.5 hours||13.5 hours||19 hours|
|Vancouver||14 hours||10 hours||11 hours||18 hours|
|Honolulu||9 hours||8 hours||12.5 hours||16 hours|
|New York||21.5 hours||17 hours||18 hours||19 hours|
|Washington||21 hours||16 hours||18 hours||20 hours|
|Houston||14.5 hours||10 hours||18.5 hours||22.5 hours|
|Chicago||16 hours||13 hours||14.5 hours||20 hours|
|Miami||18.5 hours||19 hours||20 hours||21 hours|
What to expect when you get here?
When you arrive in New Zealand there will be a few things you notice straight away:
- Our weather will be different to yours at home. Our seasons are the opposite from the northern hemisphere, so if you left in winter it will be summer here (which you'll love). For more info, read about our weather and climate here so that you pack the right gear (clothing).
- The pace of life is a bit slower here. There is no hurry; we will have time to get to know you well.
- If you're booked on one of our tours, one of the friendly team will be waiting for you at the airport.
Why come all the way to New Zealand?
Sure, it's a beautiful country, everyone knows that. But what you'll notice right away is something different, a connection with people and a real sense of caring. It's hard to explain, you'll just have to come down and find out for yourself. We have a wonderful country and great people, and we want to show you all our favourite spots. We can’t say more than that!
We hope you've found this travel guide helpful for your trip. We're MoaTrek, and we've been running small group tours here in New Zealand since the early 1970s, and we love nothing more than sharing all our favourite spots with visitors. There are more handy travel tips here or drop us a line, we'd love to hear all about your "Dream Trip to New Zealand".