New Zealand

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on May 18, 2006. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: Cayman Islands, destination, Jessica Labrencis, New Zealand, Phoenix, Sao Paulo, Thailand, vacation package.

New Zealand

While New Zealand is never considered a cheap getaway, June, July, and August are the most affordable times to visit. Summer in the U.S. is winter in New Zealand, and the cooler temperatures draw fewer visitors. However, the weather remains mild in most regions of New Zealand, with temperatures in the 50s.

July kicks off film festival season in New Zealand, with events in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Wellington, and a handful of others. Winter sports, including skiing, snowboarding, and heli-skiing, are popular in Queenstown and Wanaka. Queenstown also hosts the 10-day Queenstown Winter Festival, with live music, comedy shows, hockey games, a dog barking contest, and a "Frisbee golf" tournament.

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Adventure travel isn't limited to winter sports, as weather in most areas is mild enough for year-round hiking, cycling, and other adventurous pursuits. New Zealand's popular wine trails are also year-round attractions.

Qantas and Air New Zealand are offering New Zealand summer sales. Air New Zealand has increased flexibility in its fares by eliminating minimum-stay requirements and surcharges for weekend travel. It has also introduced a lowest-price guarantee.

We found vacation-package savings of up to $220 by traveling in the summer months.

Package Provider Off-peak rate Peak rate
Airfare from Los Angeles, flights within New Zealand and Australia, and 12 nights' hotel Virgin Vacations $2,069 (July 24 to September 21) $2,289 (September 22 to December 9)
Airfare from Los Angeles, nine nights' hotel, meals, transfers, sightseeing tours Gate1Travel.com $1,999 (August 9 departures) $2,199 (October 11 and November 15 departures)
Airfare from Los Angeles, eight nights' hotel, transportation between cities Go-today.com $1,869 (May 11 to September 30) $1,919 (October 1 to December 9)

Prices do not include taxes and fees.

You can find a wealth of information about planning a trip to New Zealand at 100% Pure New Zealand. Or, visit SmarterTravel.com's New Zealand Travel Guide.

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