This week's Smart Deal promises 10 nights split between Auckland and Queenstown (tel. 800/262-1234; www.airnewzealand.com) from $1,579 with round-trip airfare.
Concerned about traveling to New Zealand in light of the Christchurch earthquake in February? Realize that though Queenstown did experience a mild tremor, there was no damage and travelers were not affected. Auckland, on the North Island, was not affected at all. In fact, the country is getting a lot of attention right now because contestants on the Biggest Loser reality show are currently facing challenges in New Zealand.
The trip starts in Auckland, known as "the city of sails" due to its connection to the America's Cup and for its strong sailing culture. You'll spend five nights at the four-star Rydges Harbourview Auckland, close to the retail district. Rooms have either views of the city or the inner harbor. When you are in Queenstown, you'll be at the Rydges Lakeland Resort, on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. It's a two-minute walk to the town center, where you can dine alfresco, peruse art galleries, and people watch.
Queenstown is known as the "adventure capital of the world." Bungee jumping, rock climbing and hang gliding are par for the course, but you can also engage in calmer activities such as hiking and wine tasting.
What are the savings? A multi-stop itinerary (with a departure from San Francisco to Auckland on the first day of the promotion, a flight from Auckland to Queenstown five days later, and then a return flight to San Francisco) starts from $1,458 with fuel surcharges and taxes. Staying at the Rydges in Auckland, according to its online rates, start at NZ$141 per night (about $111 per night, or $555 for two people for a five-night stay). Rates for the Rydges Lakeland Queenstown start from NZ$189 per night (about $149, or $745 for two for a five-night stay). This means two travelers would expect to pay about $1,300 for 10 nights' hotel, or $650 each.
Booking airfare and hotel independently comes to about $2,108 per person -- which means this package (from $1,669 after factoring in government taxes and fees) would save you about $439 for our sample travel dates.
What the Quoted Price Gets You: Airfare from San Francisco or Los Angeles to Auckland, an onward flight to Queenstown (returning to San Francisco or Los Angeles via Auckland); 10 nights' hotel (five in Auckland, five in Queenstown); and airline fuel surcharges.
What Else You'll Have to Pay: Government taxes and fees of up to $90 per person.
When: Daily departures May 5-31
Book By: April 30
Other Gateways: New York (add $200), Seattle (add $215), Denver (add $260), Chicago (add $300)
Other Details: You can add tours and excursions, such as a hop-on/hop-off bus pass in Auckland (from $23 per person), a full-day Waiheke wine tour (from $91 per person), bungee jumping from the Auckland Harbour Bridge (from $91 per person), or a Milford Sound nature cruise (from $182 per person), among others.
All prices are per person and, if lodging is a component of the package, based upon two people traveling together (unless otherwise noted). The prices listed are general starting rates; see "What Else You'll Have to Pay" for details about associated taxes and fees. Base-prices, taxes, and fees can vary based on point of departure and time of travel. Blackout dates may apply. Trip add-ons like sightseeing tours and meal plans may also increase the price. Check with the tour operator for additional gateways and any single supplements, which is the extra cost that a solo traveler would pay to book the deal.