Your NZ Questions Answered
When it comes to New Zealand holiday queries, let the experts (that's us!) show the way
Q. I'm travelling to the North Island with my wife. What's the best way of getting around?
A. The North Island is so beautiful and hiring a camper van is definitely the best way to travel around and see the sights. During peak times (July and Dec-Jan) it’s always highly recommended to pre-book into the holiday parks to avoid disappointment. I'd recommend about two weeks to see all the island has to offer, but if you had at least ten days you can certainly cover the highlights.
There are so many natural beauties to check out, as well as shows and culture to enjoy. If you're just passing through it would be a shame to miss out, so to avoid disappointment, pre-book what you can.
- Renee Tapa, Travel Consultant, Flight Centre Brookside, Qld
Q. If I only have 24 hours in Auckland what are your three must-do activities?
A. Auckland is a great city for a 24-hour transit. I'd recommend taking the Auckland Airport bus straight to Britomart for some retail therapy. Britomart is right by the harbour and offers a great mix of restaurants, cafes and chic designer boutiques. Next, since you're already right by the ferry building, set sail on a harbour cruise to see Auckland city and get a glimpse of Rangitoto Island. Finally, when back on land, I would head to the sky tower for breathtaking views over all of Auckland.
- Josh Stent, Travel Consultant, Flight Centre Ivanhoe, NSW
Q. I'm going on a ski trip to Queenstown with my mates. Where are the best slopes to check out?
A. Queenstown has lots to offer when it comes to skiing and snowboarding. If it’s your first time hitting the slopes I would recommend starting off at Coronet Peak as it has great beginner slopes and a ‘magic carpet’ to get you up the hill. It’s also a great place to get set up for your week of skiing with a large hire shop and helpful staff.
After that I would recommend trying out The Remarkables for steeper slopes and a few jumps. My personal favourite slope to ski at would have to be Cardrona as it’s a great all-rounder offering lots of different runs, a terrain park and it’s not usually over-crowded. A must-do to finish off your ski day is to head down to Fergburger in the town centre of Queenstown for the best burgers you will ever taste!
- Amy Hiles, Manager, Flight Centre Earlville, Qld
Q. My family (two adults and two kids under five) are visiting Wellington for three nights.What are your top tips for family-friendly things to see and do?
A. Wellington is a great choice for families! If your kids love animals, Wellington Zoo is a great place to start – especially if the kids are fans of The WotWots because the cartoon is set in this zoo. Similarly, Staglands Wildlife Reserve just out of Upper Hutt is a great family-friendly place with lots of animals to get up close and personal with.
I would also definitely recommend you take a cable car ride up to the Botanic Gardens and let the kids explore and play in the playground. After all that, have a 'fluffy' (babycino) in the cafe.
Weta Wokshop is a huge drawcard where you can see the props of the Middle Earth movies, although coming face-to-face with an Orc might be a bit daunting for some littlies!
- Annie Lindsay, Travel Consultant, Flight Centre Tuggeranong, ACT
Q. My boyfriend and I love off-the-beaten track experiences. What are you top lesser-known recommendations for travelling New Zealand?
A. Avoid the bigger (by New Zealand standards) cities and go regional. I recommend travelling to the smaller cities and towns for beautiful wineries, the freshest produce and friendly locals.
Hawke’s Bay is a massively under-rated area of New Zealand and my hometown of Havelock North is a tiny picturesque village where you can go on biking or horseback tours of world-renowned wineries with the sweeping Te Mata Peak as your backdrop.
Hastings has amazingly extensive markets with a Thursday night market in summer and the Farmers’ Market every Sunday morning where local farmers and small shop owners gather to sell their goods - nothing is better than bringing a blanket and having a picnic (all you’ll need to bring is cutlery!).
Also drop by Aunty’s Garden at Waipatu Marae, a community garden with seasonal vegetables available all year around to the public, in return for a small donation. Then take all your food out to Waimarama Beach for a night’s camping, complete with bonfires.
- Jasmine Zerjal, Travel Consultant, Flight Centre Albert Park, Vic
Q. I want to hire a car and road trip the North and South Island. Do you have any tips on the best hire car companies?
A. There are a couple of different car hire options in New Zealand depending whether you are more budget or convenience driven. The most cost effective when it comes to the rate per day is Ezi Car Rental. They are older vehicles than some of their competitors (three to six years) but this means that they can deliver a cheaper price.
Ezi Car Rental has a $230 NZD fee for travelling one-way across the islands. You will need to pay to take the car on the Interislander ferry at your own expense and it's also worth noting their car depots are not located at the airport so a shuttle will pick you up and take you to your car.
If you are after a newer car and more convenience, car rentals such as Thrifty will make your trip hassle free. Their depots are at the airport and there is no one-way fee as long as you are hiring the car for a minimum of three days per island.
There is no need to pay for the car to go across on the Interislander ferry as there are convenient depots at the ports where you can leave and pick up your car at no extra expense.
No matter which rental you choose, you are guaranteed to have a wonderful experience driving through the beautiful landscape that New Zealand has to offer.
- Dana Wissemann, Travel Consultant, Flight Centre Beenleigh, Qld