Australia is often named the number-one dream destination by international travelers, yet according to recent research, few actually make the trip. While the New Zealanders welcome you with a traditional Maori Kia Ora, trust the Australians to come up with a new tourism campaign that asks "Where the Bloody Hell Are You?" There's nothing like a colorful adjective to inspire you to head down under.
The folks down in Australia and New Zealand are always thinking of ways to entice you to visit, but nothing speaks louder than your wallet so these new round of super low airfares will surely get you thinking that a 14-plus-hour flight time really isn't so bad. For a particularly good deal, travel during the southern hemisphere fall or winter.
Book a round-trip flight to New Zealand on Air New Zealand (tel. 800/262-1234; www.airnewzealand.com) by March 12, 2006 will not only get a round-trip airfare from $798 (a savings of over 50 percent off regular price), but included in that price is a free add-on flight to Australia.Â¿The deal applies to flights from Los Angeles or San Francisco to Auckland and includes a free flight to Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne or Cairns. The web special airfare is only available online and requires a five- day minimum stay. The price includes a $110 fuel surcharge, but excludes government fees and taxes of up to $123. This downright awesome deal is valid for travel from April 1 to July 1 and from August 7 to September 30. All travel must be completed by November 30 and certain blackout dates and restrictions apply.
Air Tahiti Nui (tel. 877/824-4846; www.airtahitinui.com) is also keen to get you to Australia and New Zealand, but not before it tempts you with a tropical stopover in exotic Tahiti. Their Toru airfares (Toru, the Tahitian word for the number three) offer you the best of three worlds with a round-trip flight from Los Angeles to Sydney starting from $1,108 with free stops in Auckland and Tahiti. You may travel directly to Auckland or Sydney or make a stopover in either direction in Tahiti to break the journey. The Toru fare from New York is only $120 more, and that includes fuel surcharges. Yes there are some surcharges for flying during particular periods (December is peak season so fly between December 9 and 31 and incur a $400 surcharge from Los Angeles and a hefty $500 from New York), but basically travel from April 1 to May 31 and the low fares listed above can be all yours (there's also a $100 surcharge for the month of March or from June 1 to December 8 for flights from New York). From 12/09/06 to 12/31/06, add $400.
Once you are in New Zealand or Australia, you may travel domestically with special add on fares arranged with Qantas, in Australia and New Zealand, and also Air New Zealand in New Zealand. These are available at an additional cost. The Toru fares are available for sale until March 31, 2006. Taxes of approximately $123 and a 9/11 security fee of $2.50 are additional. Book a round-trip flight to Sydney, travel returning before June 10, 2006 and enjoy two-nights' free accommodation at the Sofitel Maeva Beach Hotel in Tahiti.
Air Tahiti Nui also offers a number of airfare and accommodation package in Australia and New Zealand. Their seven-day Brendan Worldwide Vacations "Discover Auckland" package includes round-trip airfare from Los Angeles, five-nights accommodation at Copthorne Anzac Ave Hotel, arrival and departure transfers, all local taxes and a free stopover in Tahiti. Ask for special offer TNNZ-5NTS when booking.
Although it isn't new, the Qantas (tel. 800/227 4603; www.qantas.com) Aussie AirPass is still available and a great way to travel to and around Australia if you'd like to visit a few cities. For those of you not familiar with the AirPass, from $999, you can fly from Los Angeles or Honolulu to Australia's south east (Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane) and get three free domestic flights within particular zones. The $999 fare includes these cities - Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Gold Coast, Kangaroo Island, Hobart and Launceston. Valid for travel from 1 May to 8 June 2006 and 26 July to 21 September, 2006, and from San Francisco only between 29 March and 30 April, 2006. The AirPass is available throughout the year for prices ranging up to $1299 for Zone 1, $1499 for Zone 2 (Cairns, Hamilton Island, Port Lincoln, Townsville, Alice Springs, Ayers Rock (Uluru) and Darwin) and $1699 for Zone 3 (Perth, Hayman Island and Broome) for other dates until December 7, 2006. Add $300 from New York; Washington, D.C.; Miami or Boston.
Qantas.com is currently featuring a Webfare to New Zealand from $798, which gives you round-trip airfare from Los Angeles to Auckland, Christchurch, Rotorua, Queenstown or Wellington. For the best deals start your travel between April 1 and June 8 or August 7 and September 30, 2006. This deal expires March 12, 2006. Sample fares include:
- Boston to Wellington: $1,396
- Phoenix to Queenstown: $1,225
- Seattle to Christchurch: $1,248
- San Francisco to Rotorua: $1,172
- Las Vegas to Auckland: $933
With the introduction of one (Virgin Blue) and possibly two (Air Canada) new entrants into the Pacific US to Australia non-stop route in the next year, prices are likely to remain competitive so stay tuned for more specials.