It's Fall in New Zealand and soon it will be winter, which means lower prices for world travelers. If you act fast, you can get some decent airfares there and some low-priced package tours and self-driving expeditions to one of the comeliest countries on the planet.
Air New Zealand (tel. 800/262-1234; www.airnewzealand.com), the official carrier of New Zealand, has low-priced air specials. If you hurry and purchase your ticket today, June 20, you can lock into a Web-only special good for travel from August 1-31, 2005, for roundtrips from San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Honolulu to Auckland for $835; $927 to Christchurch and Wellington; and $1,027 to Wellington. For offline booking for trips with travel good within the next month, a round-trip ticket to Auckland will cost approximately $1,263 from Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Honolulu. Travel is good from June 28 to July 15, 2005. Round-trip from the same places to Christchurch and Wellington will cost you $1,327; to Queenstown $1,427. Security fees and departure taxes are not included in the price of the fare, but are relatively low coming in under $50.
It's packing arm, Air New Zealand Vacations, has some well-priced vacation specials available. A five-night air and hotel package called "Ski and See" can be yours for $1,667 per person. Travel must be booked by July 1, 2005 for departures through August 26, 2005. Just about everything from ski passes, some special New Zealand BBQs and airport transfers and ski shuttles are included in this trip. Ski resorts included in the trip include Coronet peak, the Remarkables, Cadrona and Treble Cone. This trip leaves out of Los Angeles and San Francisco and flies in and out of Queenstown.
For some extra-low airfares to New Zealand, if you act now, as in today, Qantas (tel. 800/227-4500; www.qantasusa.com/webDeals/30), Australia's national carrier, has roundtrip Web-only specials to New Zealand starting at $838. If you purchase by today, a roundtrip fare from Los Angeles to Auckland with a July 16 to July 24 departure goes for $1,098; from July 25 to September 30 it costs $848; and from October 1 to November 30 it'll run you $948. Expect fares to Christchurch and Queenstown to run around $100 more. Tickets must be issued within 72 hours of reservation confirmation at least 3 days prior to departure, but no later than June 17, 2005. One free stopover in L.A. or Auckland is permitted in either direction. Maximum stay is a month. Minimum stay is one week.
Brendan Vacations (tel. 800/257-4199; www.brendanvacations.com) has a seven-night special to New Zealand with air and accommodations included starting from $1,199. The self-drive tour includes round-trip airfare from Los Angeles to Auckland, a seven-night Go Kiwi Hotel Pass that allows you to choose from a bevy of hotels, and a seven-day Hertz compact car. Set your own pace and pick your own routes as you explore the country at your own will. See all their New Zealand and Australia deals at www.brendanvacations.com/pacific.asp?id=4.
If you're looking for a vehicle with a little more heft than a compact car, Newmans South Pacific Vacations (tel. 800/342-1956; www.newmansvacations.com) has a motorhome vacation that includes round-trip airfare to New Zealand from Los Angeles (fly in to Christchurch, return out of Auckland). Your vehicle, (and your house for five nights, for that matter), is a four Berth Maui Motorhome. This trip departs on Sundays through October 30, 2005. For travel through the end of August, this trip will cost you only $1,299 per person based on double occupancy not including air and security taxes.
For a slightly different view of New Zealand, you can become a Wwoof (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) and experience the country like a local farmer would. Similar to the Kibbutz system in Israel where volunteers can live on a Kibbutz for free if they help out, Wwoofers is an organization in the U.K. and New Zealand where members can get a book of farms or co-ops and apply directly to a host family to volunteer and live on their farm. See www.wwoof.co.nz for all the details and to join. Upon becoming a member, you get a Wwoofer Book that lists all the farms in the country. You have to contact the host farm yourself, and it's advisable to give them a few weeks to respond. Stays range between a few days to a few weeks, and sometimes those first days are a trial period to see if you fit the farm or the farm fits you. The success of Wwoof, according to their site, depends on "mutual cooperation." Members are expected to join in the work and family activities and become an active part of the farm's organization and output. Airfare is on you. But one's thing certain, you'll get as close to the New Zealand terrain as a New Zealand lamb. You have to be at least 16 to Wwoof, and beware, fall and winter New Zealand Wwoofing can be on the strenuous side. May to September jobs include spreading composts, planting trees, building raised beds and maintenance. Bring a good pair of boots and a warm coat. Membership fees are $30 for two years.
Talk with fellow Frommer's Travelers on our New Zealand Message Boards today.