Tourism Australia It's Our Best Shot Campaign
Tourism Australia It's Our Best Shot Campaign

Arrival Revival: 7 reasons why a trip to New Zealand this winter is a must

June in the Southern Hemisphere heralds the beginning of winter and the chance to experience an abundance of cooler clime adventures across the ditch. Given none of us in Australia were allowed to travel trans-Tasman in 2020, this winter season is already shaping up to be a firecracker. So what are you waiting for?

June in the Southern Hemisphere heralds the beginning of winter and the chance to experience an abundance of cooler clime adventures across the ditch. Given none of us in Australia were allowed to travel trans-Tasman in 2020, this winter season is already shaping up to be a firecracker. So what are you waiting for?

“Time to stop dreaming about New Zealand and go”, as the recent Tourism New Zealand campaign says and embark on a trip to a different kind of winter wonderland. Now, where’s my beanie?

Still not convinced? Here’s our 7 prime reasons, but seriously, we could have easily added a hundred more.

1. Flying Trans-Tasman has never been easier, and safer

Trans-Tasman
New Zealand Arrivals. Pic: Wellington Airport

It’s been 8 weeks since the trans-Tasman bubble began (who could forget those beautiful first flight reunion images?). Aside from a couple of brief pauses for NSW and VIC travellers due to safeguarding against the spread of COVID, the reciprocal arrangement has been a tremendous success and an exceptional example of collaboration.

Having flown to New Zealand and back twice since the bubble began, I can tell you first hand that the experience feels smoother than it did pre-pandemic with fewer queues and fellow passengers onboard and an overall quieter, quicker and more hygienic airport experience due to new safety protocols and a lack of other international flights and travellers.

Aside from wearing a face mask in the airport and on the flight and some minor extra documentation to organise before you leave, the journey feels no different.

Air-New-Zealand
Ahh Queenstown…

Air New Zealand, Qantas and Jetstar have all resumed frequent schedules out of Sydney, Brisbane, The Gold Coast, Hobart, Melbourne and Perth with great value return prices and last minute availability. Direct flights into Queenstown have also begun from some cities for those wanting to head straight to the mountains.

You can also book with confidence and flexibility in mind, knowing that if your plans change for any reason, you can make changes to your flight bookings with no change fees for international flights*. Some airlines such as Air New Zealand offer insurance as an extra option to the airfare.

*Check with each airline for their specific rules on flexibility and flight rules.

2. You’ll (almost) have the place to yourself

Treble Cone, Wānaka, Otago. Pic: Miles Holden

While New Zealand’s international border remains closed for now to nations other than Australians and Cook Islanders, you’ll have the run of the country to enjoy minus any fellow international travellers.

How lucky are we this year?

While it’s not ideal for a truly multi-cultural experience, it is ideal for travelling minus insta-loving crowds, with more availability and value for what you want to do, and traffic-free road journeys the length and breadth of New Zealand.

Much like Australia, domestic tourism in New Zealand has boomed, meaning we can get to know our extended Anzac whānau a little better and enjoy plenty of shared experiences wherever we roam.

3. The South Island has got the kettle on for you

Milford Sound. Pic: Miles Holden

A warm welcome most definitely awaits in 2021 in the South Island, with the snow meccas of Queenstown, Wanaka, and Mt Hutt all seeing plenty of snow dumping already and the slopes being groomed, plumped and prepared for our arrival.

The South Island snow season starts on 11 June at Mount Hutt, followed by Cardrona on 12 June and Coronet Peak opening on 19 June. The Remarkables and Treble Cone open on 26 June.

Not that’s it all about just the snow, by the way. Adventures await wherever you roam down south with everything from spectacular vineyard visits, hiking in National Parks, cycling, wildlife spotting, cruising fjords in Milford Sound, hot thermal pools, and culture and food in Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill.

Lastly, let’s not forget that this has been a horrendous time for the travel industry. With minimal visitors for so long, there’s a good chance you’ll be treated like royalty now that we can get going again. Make sure you return the positive vibes.

4. So too has the North Island

canopy-tours-rotorua
Canopy Tours, Rotorua

Not to be outdone by all of the Southern snowflake excitement, you can also ski and ride in the dual-World-Heritage Tongariro National Park in the North Island at Mt Ruapehu – around a four and a half-hour drive from Auckland or Wellington. Whakapapa and Tūroa open on 11 July, with beginner fave The Happy Valley opening on June 5.

The Polynesia Spa in Rotorua

But then again, the North Island has plenty of its own wintery charms to get stuck into, with outdoor capital Rotorua leading the charge for mountain biking, ziplining, geothermal spa bathing, hiking and culture. At the same time, the Hawkes Bay region is the place to be for food and wine lovers, and nearby Napier is the go for the Art Deco festival from 16-18 July, which is not to be missed.

Auckland. Pic: Miles Holden

And did we mention cosmopolitan Auckland? We could go on…

5. Get a dose of culture and difference

Karry On - AAT Kings

After 15 months and counting of being cooped up in our own backyard, getting a taste of another culture will always be a refreshing change for our mindsets.

Contrary to what some people may think, New Zealand is vastly different to Australia wherever you go. But you have to go there to see it and feel it for yourself.

While we share many of the same loves, Māori culture and a sustainable approach are integral to every tourism experience in Aotearoa, which offers a rich experience and fresh perspective to what we can see and do in Australia.

Isn’t that what travel is all about?

6. Head out on a road trip (DIY or on a tour)

New Zealand Road Trippin

Why not go your own way and at your own pace on a ‘Road Trip New Zealand?’ Pick up a car on your arrival and take off North, South, East or West. Hit the road, stray from well-worn paths and experience the real New Zealand. From Northland to Southland, you can embark on a collection of road trips throughout New Zealand.

In the coming months, we’ll be featuring the best Road Trips on Karryon with tips and advice on what to do along the way.

Otherwise, if you’d rather someone else drive and take care of all the details, hop onto one of the many tours that cover the country in style with the likes of Anzcro, Globus or AAT Kings.

7. Time to create lifelong memories

Mount Ruapehu, North Island. Pic: Miles Holden

If the pandemic has taught us anything about life, it’s that nothing can or should be taken for granted. When it comes to travel, it’s never been more crucial for connecting precious times with loved ones and sharing unforgettable memories.

The chance to travel to New Zealand this winter gives us all the opportunity to experience moments far from our everyday reality.

Ready to go? It’s still not too late to plan and book your trip.

Start your journey at www.newzealand.com.au or speak to your travel advisor to make this winter in New Zealand a reality.