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Air New Zealand

OK, so it's true, the image above is not an Air New Zealand plane! Though it is way cooler, it's the scenic flight you'd take if you were joining us on our 8-day 'Tui' trip in the South Island. The bad news? New Zealand is kind of a long way from most of the rest of the world, so you'll need a slightly bigger plane. depending on how you look at it though, that's a good thing too, as it means we still have plenty of wilderness - like Siberia Valley photo above. 

The good news? It’s closer than you might think. For instance, it’s before Australia, in fact it’s three hours less flight time if you’re flying from North America.

To get to New Zealand, you jump on a 12 hour overnight flight from Los Angeles or San Francisco. It’s no worse than flying to Europe from the west coast of the US, and as a matter of practice, it’s way easier because you’re asleep! And not only that, but in the New Zealand summer, it’s only a three hour time difference, so you’ll be free of the dreaded jetlag and fresh and ready for your adventures.

And the great news? Our national airline, Air New Zealand, is, by the standards of modern airlines, a hassle free, relaxed and comfortable way to get here.

Air New Zealand is a small airline amongst giants, and a very successful one at that. It was named 'Airline of the Year' in the Global Airline Awards 2012, after previously winning in 2010. In other words, an industry body rated it as the very best airline in the world! Can’t argue with that! There are plenty of reasons for the accolades:

  • Most importantly, Air New Zealand often has pretty good airfares. Like all airlines, they’ve been hit by rising fuel prices and so on, but rates from the UK can be as low as ₤600. Flights from the US tend to start at around US$1000, round trip. Obviously these rates can vary, but if you shop ahead and look for bargains, you can get some very good deals.
  • The flights from North America all leave at night and arrive in the morning, so everyone falls asleep. It’s the best way to travel – and when you wake up, you’re on final approach for Auckland International Airport, not long till you get your boots on New Zealand soil!
  • The Air New Zealand website is easy to use, and totally reliable.
  • Air New Zealand has a first class safety record, as you’d expect.
  • The aircraft fleet is extremely modern. On international routes it flies Boeing 747 and 777 aircraft, and is one of the scheduled launch customers for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
  • It takes comfort and service very, very seriously. Active Adventures staff frequently fly internationally, for business and pleasure, and we know a good airline from a bad one. This one’s a good one! Air New Zealand concierges have been known to call its travellers the day before they fly, and see if there’s anything they can do to make your flight more comfortable. Try asking them for a Crunchie bar – one of the most fabulous chocolate bars. They taste even better at 40,000 feet!
  • Air New Zealand has pioneered an extraordinary innovation for long haul economy class travel – the 'Skycouch' fare. The airline has designed and developed a new sort of seat, which basically means that two people can have a row of three economy seats to themselves, and after the dinner service, the economy seat converts to a couch, and both people can lie down properly and sleep their way to New Zealand. It’s a fabulous new way to fly! You can read more about the Skycouch here.
  • Air New Zealand also offers good rates on its extremely comfortable 'Premium Economy' service, and, if you have the bucks or the airpoints, its’ Business Class', which is really 'First Class' by another name, is second to none. If you’re lucky enough to fly international in Air New Zealand 'Business Class', you get a huge range of perks. Awesome meals (of course), access to really nice lounges, complete with hot showers, top notch service on board, a proper monitor for watching movies, and, the best bit – a seat pod, with loads of privacy, which converts to a full, lie flat seven foot bed.

If we sound a little over the top about Air New Zealand, it’s because we are really proud of our national airline. Many of our clients over the years have commented that they were intimidated by the prospect of a long flight to New Zealand, but they didn’t realise that the evening flight schedule meant they could sleep the whole way, and that they were really impressed with the comfort and amenities on board. And, Air New Zealand’s cabin crew are chosen very carefully, trained to the highest standards, and are experts in making your flight as relaxed as possible.

You can read more about Air New Zealand here, or check out their fares here.

And of course, there are other airlines flying to New Zealand too. You can fly with Qantas from Los Angeles, or if you're looking for an American carrier try Hawaiian AirlinesUnited Airlines or American Airlines.

See you in New Zealand!

Trip Reviews

  •   4.44 out of 5 (from 908 reviews)

    South Island Sampling

    Despite starting the trip with a little rattle and shake (earthquake) the trip was a wonderful experience. We saw so much of the South Island and were able to enjoy the beauty of a sunny day as well as a cloudy one. Greg and Clara were amazing guides and took great care of us.
    Beth Wilson Review Image
    – Georgia, United States
    Manuka, December 2016
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4983 reviews)

    Rimu - NZ South Island

    Our Rimu trip with Ken and Elder was truly a trip of a lifetime. The two of them were the perfect pair to lead our adventure -kind, warm, funny, and incredibly encouraging (for those of us who weren't quite sure we'd make it up the mountain!) My husband and I were fortunate to have both of our adult boys join us which made for a very memorable experience. New Zealand's South Island offered some of the most breathtaking landscapes we had ever seen. The hiking, kayaking, and biking was challenging and exhilarating. It was hard to say goodbye to the group who became like family. We have stayed in touch with some, and look forward to our next trip with Active.
    Gigi Altaras Review Image
    – Washington, United States
    Rimu, November 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4983 reviews)

    Rimu nov. 27 - dec. 10 '17

    This trip was unsurpassed by any other I've ever been a part of! Ben and Emma seemed like family to us with their wonderful cooking, extreme knowledge of the island and extraordinary skill as guides made every step of every hike better than the last!
    I have not stopped singing the praises of Active Adventures to my like minded friends since returning!
    You really 'knocked this one out of the park'!
    Bob Anderson Review Image
    – Georgia, United States
    Rimu, January 2018
  •   4.60 out of 5 (from 1887 reviews)

    Tui experience

    This trip provided a good balance of activities with the necessary travel time to access the different parts of the South Island. The trip was well organized, and the guides were super. They accommodated our individual desires and capabilities, as well as being good cooks, leaders, and knowledgeable guides. Our group quickly melded into collegial and interesting companions, and that make the experience that much better. The itinerary provides a taste all that the South Island offers. I'm happy to have chosen this company to tour with.
    Gary Ezzell Review Image
    – Arizona, United States
    Tui, February 2017
  •   4.60 out of 5 (from 1887 reviews)

    Awesome Tui Trip!

    My husband and I traveled to New Zealand for a late honeymoon and our adventure started with the Tui Trip which couldn't have been better! Between the amazing places we visited along the South Island from our unbelievable guides who quickly became friends, the trip definitely exceeded our expectations! We quickly learned how kiwis truly cherish and appreciate what their beautiful country has to offer and are so thankful to have had such a wonderful experience. New Zealand will always hold a special place in our hearts, along with our memories of hiking, biking, cheers-ing, and chatting with new friends. Thank you Koru and Liana, for making our trip so unforgettable!
    Lauren Hussey Review Image
    – New Hampshire, United States
    Tui, December 2016

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Approx NZ flight times

Why travel with Active Adventures?

Above all, we aim to be amazing hosts. We're proud of our kiwi roots, and our professional, warm and relaxed style of running trips around the world is unforgettable.

We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.

As soon as you get off the plane, we've got all the details of your vacation covered – top notch meals, comfortable transport & accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

Whether you’re new to adventure travel, or you’ve never travelled in a group before, you’ll find yourself arriving home positively different from when you left.

With our small groups (no more than 14), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like.

It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.

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