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How to get to New Zealand

New Zealand is about as far away as it's possible to go, right? A couple of days of travelling time, and you end up somewhere on the far side of Timbuktu, yeah?

Nope! It depends where you're coming from. You might be surprised. If you live on the West Coast of the USA, or Canada, for instance, it's way easier to get to New Zealand than it is to anywhere in Europe, for several reasons:

1. It's the same distance, give or take 30 minutes or so of flight time.
2. The flights leave in the evening, so you can sleep on the way.
3. The time zones are very similar - only a three hour difference between Pacific Time and NZ time. This is a MAJOR benefit, as anyone who's experienced serious jetlag will know.
4 You can fly with Air New Zealand, which, as airlines go, is a VERY good one. Have you seen their awesome collection of safety videos? Check them out here: https://www.youtube.com/user/airnewzealand

So, let's look at the logistics in more detail…

Flying from North America

Air New Zealand

If you're on or near the West Coast, it's easy. Air New Zealand operates several direct flights from Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Houston, each leaving in the evening, taking about 12 hours, (14 from Vancouver) and arriving in New Zealand in the morning. Which means - tada! - you can sleep most of the way. Getting to New Zealand from the West Coast of North America is really not too bad.

American Airlines

We're all for a bit of competition - to keep our beloved Air New Zealand ranked at the top (#1 on AirlineRatings.com) and American Airlines is offering just that. They now offer a direct daily service from Los Angeles to Auckland, and as there are over 200 connecting flights into LAX, this provides improved access from the East Coast as well. So those on a One World Alliance will be chuffed with this service. 

United Airlines

United Airlines, in partner with Air New Zealand (Star Alliance), have made heading down our way much easier with direct flights to Auckland from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston. United Airlines is the world's biggest carrier by the number of cities served with 226 US cities and 136 international destinations on its network.

Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines offers a non-stop service from Honolulu to Auckland three times a week on an A330 aircraft. On these flights you'll get a generous 2 x 32kg per person, though you shouldn't need that much on an adventure tour with us! 

Continental Airlines

Continental Airlines fly direct from Houston, Texas, to Auckland, using the 787 Dreamliner. If it's easier for you to get to Houston than to the West Coast, we recommend this route (even though it's not with Air New Zealand :-)). Alternatively, you'll need to get to Los Angeles or San Francisco on a domestic airline. So, yeah, ok, the flight across the US, or Canada, can be a bit of a mission - cos you're usually awake for it, and the seats are smaller - but the international section of the flight is usually a relative doddle. We can't stress this enough - the flights from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver leave in the evening, so if you time it right and take a few simple precautions, you'll snooze your way over the Pacific and be in New Zealand in no time.

If you'd like to book your flights with a travel agent, we recommend Down Under Answers based in Seattle. They're great at finding decent airfares on account of the large volume of flights they book down here. You can reach them on 1-800-889-1464 and be sure to tell them you've booked with Active!

Flying from Europe

OK, if you're coming from Europe, yes, you have a long way to go. We always recommend Air New Zealand, if possible, for a whole lotta reasons - one of the most important, in this case, being that Air New Zealand has the most direct routes and convenient flight times to and from New Zealand. So, if you're coming from anywhere in Europe on Air NZ, you'll fly out of London, with two flights of around 11 hours each. The cool thing is, those flights are generally in the evening. Which means if you do it right, you can travel in the most comfortable way possible - fast asleep! If you possibly can, we recommend that you break your trip for 24 hours in Hong Kong. Take the modern, fast and convenient airport train into the city, stay in one of the many fabulous hotels in Hong Kong - some of which are located on highrise towers literally overhead the train station - and put your feet up. Get a good night's sleep, sleep in the following day, check out Hong Kong for a few hours, then catch the onward flight to New Zealand. It's always a BIT of a mission, but if you go about it correctly, it's really not too bad. We recommend checking out The Active Guide To Survive And Thrive On A Long Flight.

Flying from Australia

Easy peasy! You guys have NOTHING to worry about - it's a three hour flight, or less, there are direct flights from all major Australian cities, and of course the time zone difference is minimal. The flights are a doddle - it's easier to get to New Zealand from Sydney or Melbourne than it is to get to Perth, which is twice as far away!

Flying from other parts of the world

No matter where you are, you can fly to New Zealand, and the Star Alliance network of airlines means that you can get a round-trip fare to New Zealand from just about anywhere.

So that's the 'how' to get here. Now we better look at the next issue - where do you look to find the best deals?

 

Trip Reviews

  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16212 reviews)

    Rimu - NZ South Island

    Our Rimu trip with Ken and Elder was truly a trip of a lifetime. The two of them were the perfect pair to lead our adventure -kind, warm, funny, and incredibly encouraging (for those of us who weren't quite sure we'd make it up the mountain!) My husband and I were fortunate to have both of our adult boys join us which made for a very memorable experience. New Zealand's South Island offered some of the most breathtaking landscapes we had ever seen. The hiking, kayaking, and biking was challenging and exhilarating. It was hard to say goodbye to the group who became like family. We have stayed in touch with some, and look forward to our next trip with Active.
    Gigi Altaras Review Image
    – Washington, United States
    Rimu, November 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16212 reviews)

    Trip of a Lifetime!

    I am still basking in the glow from this remarkable trip! I admit that I was a bit nervous at first as I was the oldest person in our group and not as fit (for hiking) as some in the group, so I worried about 'keeping up' on the hikes - especially the steeper climbs. Ben and Lauren were very reassuring and encouraging and I felt that I was able to 'hold my own'. In fact, while the hiking was probably the most challenging I've done in at least 7 years, it was the most rewarding/exhilarating part for me. I loved our group - a very positive, health-conscious and fun group of people from all walks of life. It was also wonderful that we were only 12 people - it helped to create a much more intimate and personal atmosphere. I felt we bonded together well - again, thanks to Ben and Lauren's great skills with ice-breaking, fun games, and ability to set and maintain a positive atmosphere from the beginning.
    From the moment we set off from the airport to the emotional farewells back at the airport at the end of the trip, this was a top notch adventure. Our transportation was comfortable, our accommodations were always different and unique and very comfortable - I loved that they weren't all in your standard hotel and that some of them were really off the beaten track. The food was amazing - from the snack basket in the van, loaded fresh every day with fruit and other snacks, to the amazing meals that Lauren and Ben created and the breakfasts and dinners that we had at various restaurants - there was a lot of variety, special dietary considerations were accounted for and there was lots of it!
    I did the kayak option and it was outstanding. The B&B and our hosts were wonderful (the hot tub at the end of the day was most appealing!) and our kayak guide, Nick was terrific - very accommodating, skilled and he made it all very interesting and fun!
    I cannot say enough about our incredible guides - Ben and Lauren - they truly moved the bar for me from a great trip to one that will go down in history for me as the trip of a lifetime. They were so knowledgeable about the island - I loved listening to the legends/folklore and learning more about the vegetation, birds, etc. Ben was a terrific driver - I always felt safe. Lauren was terrific with her cooking and meal presentations - meals looked fantastic and tasted even better! Both Ben and Lauren added those special touches from decorating the bus for the Christmas season, organizing our Secret Santa, making a fantastic Christmas morning breakfast, complete with Christmas crackers and special hats, managing extra logistics like re-booking the paragliding for us, setting up the helicopter tour, taking the time and effort to help reconnect people with items they had left behind either in our accommodations or on a hike/kayak. They even had the perfect music for when we went through the Homer Tunnel and down into Milford Sound - the combination of the music and the scenery was so moving it had several of us in tears! They really ensured that they got to know each person and took a genuine interest in each person. Their positive energy and enthusiasm was infectious. They took kindness and customer service to a new level! The scenery was breathtaking everywhere we went. It would be hard for me to say what the favourite part was or favourite view as the South Island is simply spectacular. I felt that the trip was organized in such a way that I really got a good feel and appreciation for the South Island. Truly New Zealand is one of the most beautiful places (both 'inside and out') that I have ever visited (and I've visited over 20 other countries around the world). I really loved the more laid-back way of life and the local people we met were so welcoming and kind. I would love to come back again and see the North Island but also re-visit the South Island!
    I highly recommend this trip and have already suggested it to a number of my friends. It really was transformational for me on so many levels! My heartfelt thanks to Ben and Lauren and everyone at Active Adventures!
    Sue Hazell Review Image
    – Ontario, Canada
    Rimu, January 2018
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16212 reviews)

    Exceeded my Expectations. A Trip to Treasure.

    Active adventures provided an outstanding New Zealand experience. Our guides (Tory and Jordie) went above and beyond during our South Island Rimu trip. Their passion for the outdoors as well as the traditions and culture of NZ enhanced the two week journey. As guides, I was most impressed by their attention to detail and safety. I appreciated the warm smiles, gems of knowledge and yummy meals on even the challenging hike days. For my birthday, during the three day hike at Nelson Lakes National Park, Tory and Jordie surprised me with two delicious cakes to share with my new hiking family. A moment I will treasure, enhanced by the breath taking views of the alpine lake at Angelus Hut.

    The beauty of the country surpassed my expectations, particularly sites like Milford Sound and Mt. Cook. Such a diverse, lush landscape, each hike offered a unique perspective of the stunning views. Combined with the kayaking and biking options, allowed for an exciting and interesting mix. The highlight of my two weeks was my heli-hike on the Tasman Glacier, such an unforgettable experience.

    I'm looking forward to future Active Adventure trips, but will definitely keep a little piece of NZ in my heart. A truly bucket list destination.


    Gigi (from The Bahamas)
    Gigi Smith Review Image
    – West Virginia, United States
    Rimu, July 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16212 reviews)

    An Unbelievable Experience

    The Rimu trip was beyond phenomenal! The sights we saw were breathtaking and the small group size allowed us all to bond and truly enjoy our time together exploring this magnificent country. Our guides were fantastic and provided lots of information and fun facts, along with a large amount of encouragement as we tackled some of our adventures! I'm still searching for words to describe just how great a trip it was!
    McKayla Anderson Review Image
    – Nebraska, United States of America
    Rimu, January 2018
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16212 reviews)

    Amazing Honeymoon Experience

    We decided to travel around NZ with Active Adventures for our honeymoon. What an incredible decision! All the logistics were taken care of for us, so we didn't have to worry about any of it while we were focusing on planning the wedding. The staff were terrific....excellent tour guides and went above and beyond for us. New Zealand itself is such a gorgeous place and was a great place to kick off married life. Active Adventures really does it right and the group sizes (max 14) are perfect. We had an amazing experience and plan to travel with Active Adventures again on our next adventure!
    Crista Cohen Review Image
    – Colorado, United States
    Tui, January 2017

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Approx NZ flight times

Why travel with Active Adventures?

Above all, we aim to be amazing hosts. We're proud of our kiwi roots, and our professional, warm and relaxed style of running trips around the world is unforgettable.

We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.

As soon as you get off the plane, we've got all the details of your vacation covered – top notch meals, comfortable transport & accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

Whether you’re new to adventure travel, or you’ve never travelled in a group before, you’ll find yourself arriving home positively different from when you left.

With our small groups (no more than 14), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like.

It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.

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