Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August, 2016, now updated to reflect Air New Zealand’s current pricing and itinerary.
You’ve planned and saved, then saved and planned some more. You’ve been dreaming of a visit to the land of the roos, of snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, sailing the Whitsundays and sampling a South Australian shiraz since you can remember. You’ve finally got the ways and means to visit Australia like you’ve always wanted to, now it’s down to just one thing.
Do you pay $2199 to fly to Australia? Or do you pay $2018 to fly to Australia, Los Angeles, Cook Islands, New Zealand and Hawaii?
The question is rhetorical as it’s clearly a no-brainer. Unless you are seriously pressed for time, value-blind or self-loathing (I jest), there is simply no reason not to dive head-first into the fantastic stopover options available when choosing to fly Air New Zealand and their incredible network of South Pacific destinations.
Canada > Los Angeles > Rarotonga (Cook Islands) > Sydney > Auckland > Honolulu > Canada
Flight Centre has long partnered with Air New Zealand to offer Canadians exclusive airfares to New Zealand and Australia. Each and every stop offered en route to and from Sydney is a legitimate destination on its own and all complement each other in their own way. What’s even better is that Air New Zealand arranges their flights to give passengers a full week between onward non-stop flights on the itinerary, giving travellers ample time to enjoy their break in the journey.
- All international flights on this itinerary are non-stop so no unnecessary transits anywhere.
- Air New Zealand operates 1 non-stop flight per week from Los Angeles to Rarotonga, cutting hours off the journey by avoiding transiting in Auckland (Air New Zealand hub).
- Air New Zealand operates 1 non-stop flight per week from Rarotonga to Sydney, again, cutting hours off the journey by avoiding transiting in Auckland.
- Air New Zealand is a proud member of Star Alliance and Aeroplan members may be eligible to earn frequent flyer points on the entire journey (depending on booking class as not all classes earn points).
- Fare can be customized and stopover cities can be used as transit points (connections) only, if a more direct option isn’t available.
Air New Zealand’s North American gateways include Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston and Chicago (starting November 2018!), using their Star Alliance partners to get you there. Once you board your Air New Zealand flight, not only do you get the usual great kiwi service, you’ll be travelling with one of the world’s most decorated carriers.
Conde Nast Traveler awarded Air New Zealand ‘Best Airline 2017’
TripAdvisor voted Air New Zealand as having the ‘Best Premium Economy Class’
Airline Ratings voted Air New Zealand ‘Best Airline in the World’ – 5 years in a row!
Get on board with one of the industry’s best. Even those travelling in Economy can upgrade and get more space to stretch out with Air New Zealand’s innovative Economy Skycouch™ seating. These specially designed seats offer maximum room and comfort and are ideal for couples and anyone travelling with young children. Or, why not treat yourself and fly Premium Economy? You’ll enjoy a separate cabin and spacious seats with leg rests.
Booked in Business Premier™? Lucky you. Arrive early to indulge in complimentary gourmet meals and wines before boarding, in any one of the exclusive Air New Zealand or Star Alliance partner lounges worldwide.
Los Angeles, USA
Where to start… If you have yet to experience its glitz and glamour, endless beaches, amusement parks, world-class shopping, dining and typical west coast laid-back vibe, it’s high time you do.
L.A. is the perfect precursor for the many beaches you’ll undoubtedly visit on the rest of your trip and the surrounding area has no shortage of famous sandy playgrounds. Venice, Manhattan, Zuma, Malibu – they’re all here. If there is ever a state to rent a car in, California is it, as the entire coast is a must-see, from San Francisco’s sea lions to San Diego’s surfers.
Shopping is in its own league here too. From all the big names on Rodeo Drive to one-of-a-kind boutiques run by designers, outlet malls and boardwalk stalls, thrift shops and more.
Disneyland is a short drive away, Universal Studios is around the corner and LEGOLAND and Knott’s Berry Farm are all easily accessible. For the perfect carnival experience in the thick of it all, Pacific Park on Santa Monica Pier can’t be beat.
If you’re a sports fan, you already know what you’re in for. Catch a pro game any time of the year with any one of L.A.’s many storied franchises.
Check out our recommended Los Angeles hotels and activities! The perfect add-on to the perfect airfare.
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
You know that jaw-dropping travel brochure cover depicting an idyllic beachscape of a single palm tree jutting out over an unreal blue lagoon with maybe a single lost cloud in the sky that you always thought was Photoshopped? Well, it wasn’t – and welcome to the Cook Islands.
Tucked away deep in the South Pacific, the remote archipelago of fifteen islands and atolls is beautiful enough to boggle the mind. Its gateway and most populated island, Rarotonga, offers enough modernity to provide all the comforts of home yet is exotic enough to write home about.
Spend your time between ‘Raro’ and the magical lagoon of Aitutaki – one of the most photographed ever and prepare to be wowed. Time slows down here and it isn’t hard to fall in line. Immerse yourself in timeless Polynesian lore with a visit to a marae or two or simply enjoy your over-water bungalow, contemplating working remotely from here, forever.
Looking for a place to stay? Don’t book without checking out our recommended Rarotonga hotels and activities!
Sydney & Brisbane, Australia
And here you are. This is what you’ve come for.
Sydney and Brisbane are your gateways to the Land Down Under and you already know what you want to do here. After all, you’ve been planning this forever. Go on, get out there!
If you’re open to ideas, we’ve got a bunch. Grab a car and feast your way through the country’s delicious culinary scene or tour it with an excellent guide. Escorted tours are perfect and cover a lot of ground. Looking for something specific? It may be time to bring an Australian expert on board. Luckily, we’ve got a bunch of those too.
Auckland, New Zealand
Feels a little bit like Canada, eh? Surprising, as it’s literally halfway around the world, but what Canada is to the United States, New Zealand seems to be to Australia. It’s warm, friendly and civilized, and absolutely brimming with natural beauty, whether you head north or south from Auckland. If you’ve got the time, explore it all in a campervan for a true, all-encompassing experience.
The North Island is a bubbling, beachy paradise, complete with volcanic geo-thermal pools, sweeping, uncrowded beaches and a more visible Maori presence. Rotorua especially will provide a more cultural feel than you’ll find further south. Auckland and the nation’s capital, Wellington, are both green, cosmopolitan cities where it’s easy to find the perfect meal, a relaxing harbor stroll and New Zealand’s best museums and galleries.
In stark contrast, the South Island is rugged and wild; reminiscent of British Columbia’s breathtaking mountain scenery, gorgeous and grand. Hike the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers or see it all from a rushing river aboard the heart-stopping Shotover Jet. It’s the birthplace of Kiwi adventure sports where everything from bungee jumping to the Zorb can be tested. For the more reserved, sample New Zealand’s world-famous pinot noirs and coast gently through mystical Milford Sound in search of resident pods of dolphins and the elusive Southern Right Whales.
You know what would go great with this airfare? An incredible place to stay. Peruse our recommended Auckland hotels and activities and get sorted!
Honolulu, Hawaii (USA)
Hawaii is the perfect re-introduction to North America, especially bustling Honolulu. Rows of high-rise hotels stretch for blocks from Waikiki Beach and Polynesian reminders are strewed throughout the city, bridging your time in the South Pacific seamlessly with the familiar feeling of home.
Attractions here range from hikes up Diamond Head to history tours at Pearl Harbor. Shopping is plentiful and so are excellent restaurants dishing out delicious Pan-Asian fare. Learn to surf or take in a luau, cruise the main strip or relax with a pint of local Longboard Lager at tiki-perfect Duke’s and people-watch – it’s hard to go wrong here.
Venture away from the sprawl of the city though and you’re back to nature at its finest, even on Oahu. Circle the island or cut through to North Shore for a peek at some of the world’s best local and international surfers and unwind with an entirely different vibe than that of Honolulu.
If time allows, take a side-trip and visit Hawaii’s other, less-famous islands. Kauai and the Big Island are ideal for nature lovers and those wanting to get up close and personal with a volcano or two. Maui is for lovers with sexy resorts, quiet beaches and otherworldly sunsets and the remaining, less-visited islands are pristine enough to think you’re back in the South Pacific.
Ideally, you’d want about six to eight weeks to enjoy the above itinerary in its entirety without feeling rushed. Been to Los Angeles before and would rather skip it this time? No problem. Use L.A. as a connection only and simply transit through. In fact, you can eliminate any stop on the itinerary if you wish to spend more time in another. Or, you can still just use it as a return ticket to Sydney or Brisbane as you originally planned – it’s up to you.
Price our incredible Fare of the Month from your gateway. Looking to speak to one of our Airfare Experts? Connect with us online, by calling 1877 967 5302 or by visiting a Flight Centre store location near you.