So, you’ve decided that this is the year for that ‘Trip of a Lifetime’ to New Zealand – great news! Now it’s time to get your flights sorted. Getting to New Zealand is really easy. When you look at a map, we may look a bit isolated – that is, after all, part of the attraction – but when it comes to airlines, airports and regular flights, we’re up to play and extremely well-connected with the rest of the world. We’re pretty much only a hop, skip and a plane ride (or two) away from almost any country! Below, we’ve put together some info on the best way of travelling to New Zealand to make it as easy as possible to plan your holiday.
Airlines flying to New Zealand
Our big backyard is a year-round haven for hikers, thrill-seekers, nature-lovers and wander-lusters a-like, making it a fun place to live but also an awesome holiday destination. The best way to travel to New Zealand is by plane, and heaps of major airlines fly to New Zealand. Air New Zealand, our very own airline offers a top-quality flying experience (with plenty of great Kiwi hospitality) and flies direct to New Zealand from a number of countries. We love flying with them because of the friendly crew, yummy food and quirky Kiwi humor – check out their in-flight safety videos to see what we’re talking about!
From North America
Air New Zealand offers direct, non-stop flights from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston and Vancouver. If home is the Mid-West – Chicago, for example – you could fly with Virgin Atlantic to San Francisco, then connect with an Air NZ flight and go non-stop to New Zealand from there. Or, if you’re further south in Miami, fly to Houston with American Airlines where you can connect with the Air New Zealand Houston to Auckland, New Zealand flight.
Living further north on the East Coast? No worries! Fly from New York with United down to LAX in Los Angeles, and then connect with Air New Zealand to travel to Auckland.
A number of other well-known airlines offer other options to New Zealand; check out American Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines or Qantas. Make sure to compare all the options and book nice and early to lock in a good-value fare.
Non-stop flights from the West Coast or Vancouver
Travelling to New Zealand from USA’s West Coast or from Vancouver in Canada takes about 12-14 hours. What’s cool about that is you can do it in one flight – no stopovers! Every evening, a flight departs from Los Angeles and arrives in Auckland, New Zealand 12 hours later. That’s dinner, a movie and maybe a little tipple before bed, and the flight is over before you know it. To put this in perspective, it is actually easier and faster to get to New Zealand from LA than to Ireland or Italy.
What the International Date Line means for North American travellers
Because of we are one of the first places on earth to see the sun, when travelling from North America, you technically have to journey forward in time to get here. Yep, the old International Date Line is a bit hard to get your head around, but let us explain. If you leave LA on a Friday night, you will arrive in New Zealand on a Sunday morning. But don’t worry – you’ll get that ‘lost’ day back when you return home! Say your flight departs Auckland to go back to LA on a Sunday afternoon. You’ll arrive back in North America on the same calendar day, just a little later in the evening. Don’t hesitate to chat to us about this little quirk of NZ travel – we can explain it in more detail; it’s a really common question that we get asked often.
Update: We always get heaps of questions about how long it takes to fly to New Zealand from different cities in the USA, take a look at this blogpost with a handy guide to flight times from all the major ports.
Getting to New Zealand from the UK or Europe
Getting to New Zealand from the UK or Europe
So it takes around 25 hours to get to New Zealand from the UK or Europe, and while that may seem like a long journey, when you work in a relaxing stopover it’s not so bad. Because your plane needs to stop to refuel, you can too!
There are two main routes from London in the UK – fly to Los Angeles, enjoy a fun LA stopover, then continue on to Auckland with Air New Zealand. Or does a few nights in Asia appeal more? Have a look at flying to Singapore or Tokyo from London, then on to Auckland with Air NZ.
Keep in mind that Air New Zealand codeshares with other high-quality airlines, so you may have one flight with an airline like Cathay Pacific or Singapore Airlines.
Other main routes from London to Auckland travel through awesome places like Vancouver, Dubai, Hong Kong and Melbourne. A stopover is such a fun thing to add to your holiday down-under – think of how much fun few days in Japan, Australia or Canada would be.
There are heaps of other airlines to check out, take a look at Emirates, Qantas and Singapore Airlines – they’re some of the most well known. Make sure you weigh up the different flights and book early to nab a good deal.
Travelling to New Zealand from the other side of the globe - Europe
It’s quite a journey to get here from Europe but, we promise, once you make it to ‘Middle Earth’ it will totally be worth it – we dare you to find someone who says otherwise! From most major international airports in Europe, including Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, Madrid, Munich and Stockholm, there will be a flight heading in New Zealand’s direction. Again, it takes about 24-25 hours to fly halfway across the world to us from Europe – when you put it that way it sounds pretty amazing, doesn’t it? So you can expect a stopover or even two. Usually the last stopover is in Australia, so the last flight is a piece of cake at only three or four hours, and you can try and work out the difference between the Aussie and Kiwi accents while you’re there.
Again, because of the International Date Line, if you’re travelling from Europe you’ll have to move forward in time when you arrive, but you’ll get that time back when you return home.
Crossing the ‘ditch’ – flying from Australia
It is super easy and quick to get to New Zealand from Australia, so you can probably figure out where the saying “across the ditch” came from. From the farthest away centers in Aussie, Perth and Darwin, it takes around seven hours to fly direct into Auckland, and from the cities in the South-West, between three and four hours – you could pop over and see us for the weekend - it’s that fast! There are even cruise liners that run between us and our Aussie cousins, so you could kill two birds with one stone and make it to your destination while enjoying a relaxing experience on the Tasman Sea, following in the wake of Abel Tasman, the first European explorer to discover New Zealand.
Airports throughout New Zealand
Auckland International Airport is our biggest and busiest airport, located about 20km South of Auckland city. All of the major international airlines that fly to New Zealand land in Auckland, so it’s your best bet when booking flights. Auckland Airport also has a domestic terminal, from which flights from Jetstar and Air New Zealand can get you to over 20 of our favourite holiday spots in the country – there are heaps of domestic airports around New Zealand, so there’s no excuse for you to miss a thing. Another cool thing about domestic travel in New Zealand is that internal flight times are pretty quick, because we’re such a compact country – you can be touching down in Christchurch after a flight from Auckland City in a short 1 hour 20 minutes.
Planning how to get to New Zealand can get a bit overwhelming, but that’s why we’re here! Give us a call, and we’ll be happy to chat to you about some of the options you might be comparing. While we can’t book flights on behalf, we can definitely give you a hand to get down here – we’re always keen to make it as easy as possible to get on board with one of our awesome Small Group tours.