Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in Sep 2017, and has been updated to include the most up-to-date information.
In recent years, Australia and the rest of the South Pacific by default have become a lot closer for Canadians to visit by way of better connectivity. Air Canada, once serving Sydney only, added Brisbane, and this spring, added flights to Melbourne too to its non-stop options from Vancouver.
Along with Air New Zealand and Qantas, Air Canada makes it easy for Canadians to explore the Land Down Under, and while you’re down there, stunning New Zealand and the various blissful islands of the South Pacific.
If you are one of the many looking at taking this opportunity to see this beautiful corner of the world, here is our list of the best places to stay and things to do on your journey.
The following hotels, attractions and activities are our best sellers, selected by travellers as offering the biggest and best bang-for-your-buck. All of the items can be pre-booked (we recommend it!) and added to your flight booking, or enjoyed on their own, as you see fit.
Psst.. we know California isn’t considered a part of the South Pacific but it is the first stop on this action-packed ticket.
Los Angeles Hotels
Andaz West Hollywood
Awarded the 2017 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, the hip Andaz West Hollywood is the ultimate boutique hotel experience on the Sunset Strip.
Celebrating its uber-cool rock n’ roll past with artful décor, guests love the fashionable suites and stylish guestrooms, all equipped with modern amenities. Expect free Wi-Fi, evening wine sampling, a 24-hour StayFit gym and a sexy rooftop pool. Signature bites and craft cocktails rule at the hotel’s Riot House Restaurant & Bar, just steps away from legendary rock haunts Whiskey A Go Go, The Rainbow and the Viper Room.
Other notable hotel options: The Garland and Mr. C Beverly Hills
Things to Do in Los Angeles
Locals on Tap in Hollywood by Urban Adventures
Hit the Hollywood pavement on a walking tour arranged and guided by a local. Stop at historic theatres, entertainment industry hotspots and the hottest current hangouts. Get up close and personal with all that is Hollywood to get the most out of the most famous city in the world.
The Grand L.A. Tour – Star Homes & Beaches Tour by Starline Tours of Hollywood
Meet at the hand and footprints of the stars by Sid Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and take it from there. Olvera Street, Walt Disney Music Center and Staples Center are all on the menu before you go full people-watching mode on famous Venice Beach. Stroll the lively Santa Monica Pier, tour Bel Air to Beverly Hills, shop Rodeo Drive and rock the Sunset Strip before finishing up at the famous Kodak Theatre. Now that’s a full day!
Edgewater Resort & Spa
Winner of the Family Friendly Award for 2016/17 (Air New Zealand), this divine beachfront resort highlights all that makes Rarotonga the perfect South Pacific paradise.
Affordable luxury means top-notch dining options, a soothing health spa and a dedicated Kid’s Club. From charming Garden View Rooms to spacious 3-Bedroom Beachfront Villas, the Edgewater Resort & Spa is perfect for both honeymooners as well as families.
Other notable hotel options: Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa, Moana Sands Beachfront Hotel
Things to Do in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands
Captain Tama’s Lagoon Cruise by Island Hopper Vacations Ltd
Tour Rarotonga’s pristine inner lagoon from the comforts of a glass bottom boat. Feast your eyes on striking coral reefs and far-off motus as you make your way to some of the Cook Islands’ best snorkelling spots. Lounge on some of the world’s softest sand while chowing down a freshly-prepared BBQ lunch on Koromiri Island. Immerse yourself in Polynesian culture with insights into local traditions and pareu tying demonstrations.
Raro Buggy Tour by Island Hopper Vacations Ltd
Drive it! As one of the islands few self-driving 4-wheel adventure tours, the Raro Buggy Tour explores both Rarotonga’s dramatic countryside as well as its historical sites. It’s the perfect way to take in the island’s many beautiful features before sitting down to a hearty lunch and drinks at either the Mooring Fish Café or Charlie’s Beach Café, two of Raro’s best foodie joints.
Auckland Harbour Oaks Hotel
Let the city’s tallest apartment tower be your home away from home in the City of Sails. Centrally located, Auckland Harbour Oaks offers 150 rooms on 37 floors with some of the best views in town.
Each Deluxe Queen and large One and Two Bedroom Apartments are fitted with full kitchens, laundry facilities and free unlimited Wi-Fi. Stay fit with an onsite gym and a heated outdoor swimming pool. Walk to just about anywhere to enjoy Auckland’s many bars and restaurants, shops and museums and the beautiful Viaduct Harbour.
Other notable hotel options: Pullman Auckland and The Sebel Auckland Viaduct Harbour
Things to Do in New Zealand
Waitomo Glowworm Cave Tour by Intercity Group Ltd
Sit back and enjoy the drive from Auckland to Rotorua, New Zealand’s cultural capital. The picturesque tour takes in the scenic Waikato and King Country regions before stopping in the town of Waitomo for the underground portion of the trip.
Explore the famous limestone caves formed 30 million years ago on a 45-minute guided tour, capped off by an enchanting boat ride through the Glowworm Grotto, lit by thousands of tiny glowworms. Continue on to Rotorua through stunning Fitzgerald Glade and its tunnel of greenery. Finish with a picnic-style lunch to top-off your most perfect day on the North Island.
Hobbiton Express Tour by Bush and Beach
This magical tour of the Hobbiton movie set from the famous Lord of the Rings trilogy is a not-to-be-missed experience for any fan. Journey through Middle-earth as you travel south from Auckland over the rich farmlands of Bombay Hills and the serene Waikato region on an insightful guided tour.
The hills get more verdant as you get closer to Hobbiton Shire and the largest ‘green set’ in the world. Duck into more than 40 hobbit holes, the Mill and Double-arch Bridge, party tree and the Green Dragon Inn. Lunch at Shire’s Rest Café is included before making your way back to Auckland.
The exotic South Pacific is closer than ever with our fantastic and cost-effective multi-city flights, and our must-do list of hotels, tours and attractions. Plan yours by connecting with us online, by phone or by visiting us at a Flight Centre store near you.