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The cost of getting to New Zealand is likely to be your single biggest cash outlay, so it makes sense to shop around. Remember to check out those recommended agents and hot travel offers listed for your country of origin on the Tourism New Zealand website, www.newzealand.com. Also go to Air New Zealand's website at www.airnewzealand.com for special deals.

By Plane

From the West Coast of the United States, you can fly to New Zealand nonstop overnight; a direct flight from Singapore takes 10 hours; and a flight from eastern Australia is around 3 hours. Auckland (AKL), Wellington (WLG), and Christchurch (CHC) are all serviced by major domestic and international terminals. There are also much smaller international terminals at Hamilton (HLZ) and Dunedin (DUD); and most cities have domestic terminals. Auckland Airport is the major hub for most airlines coming in to New Zealand, followed by Christchurch and then Wellington. If you intend to spend most of your time in the South Island, it makes sense to fly into Christchurch, but depending on your airline, you may have to fly into Auckland and then transfer to domestic flights to Christchurch, Dunedin, or Queenstown.

At least 20 foreign airlines fly into Auckland. The main ones providing service from the United States are Air New Zealand, Qantas, and British Airways.

Canada is serviced primarily by Air New Zealand and Air Pacific, while Europe and the United Kingdom are serviced by Air New Zealand, British Airways, and Qantas. For travel from Asia, options include Singapore Airlines, Korean Air, Japan Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and Thai Airways. Dubai-based Emirates Airline now flies into New Zealand as well. There are also code-sharing arrangements with Lufthansa, American Airlines, United Airlines, and several others.

The timing of your trip can have a tremendous impact on your airline costs. New Zealand's peak season is December through February; the shoulder season includes March and September through November; and the low season begins in April and runs through August.

By Boat

About a hundred cruises a year visit New Zealand and while the global economic downturn has impacted these numbers, New Zealand remains a popular cruise destination with over one-third of passengers coming from the United States.

Most cruises coming to New Zealand also visit Australia and are typically 12 to 16 days in duration. New Zealand cruise ports include Auckland, Tauranga, Napier, Wellington, Lyttelton (near Christchurch), Dunedin, and Milford Sound. You can fly to Australia or New Zealand to join a cruise, or you can take a segment on a world cruise that includes New Zealand.

At least a dozen international cruise lines include New Zealand on their itineraries. Among the main ones are Cunard (tel. 800/7-CUNARD [7-286273]; www.cunard.com), Silversea (tel. 877/276-6816; www.silversea.com), Holland America Line (tel. 877/932-4259; www.hollandamerica.com), Crystal Cruises (tel. 888/722-0021; www.crystalcruises.com), Regent Seven Sea Cruises (tel. 877/505-5370; www.rssc.com), Princess Cruises (tel. 800/PRINCESS [774-6237]; www.princess.com), P&O Cruises (tel. 0845/678-0014; www.pocruises.com), Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines (tel. 44/01473-746175; www.fredolsencruises.com), and Oceania Cruises (tel. 800/531-5619; www.oceaniacruises.com).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.