Because there’s way more to the country than just fush’n’chups.
(You can still get those too, though.)
With its no filter needed landscapes, rich culture, abundance of attractions and more, New Zealand has become less about a faraway dreamland, and more an all-encompassing travel destination. In fact, for a country with a population of close to 5 million, it punches far above its weight in terms of appeal.
Our Oceaniac cousins live in a land of contrasts, where you can discover unspoiled wilderness alongside modern metropolises – and it’s all right next door. That’s right, Australia and New Zealand go together like Vegemite and toast (even if they insist that Marmite is better). To further our case, allow us to present you with six highly compelling reasons as to why, as an Aussie, you’re overdue a trip to the land of the long white cloud.
It’s (almost) in our backyard
You know what? Sometimes, long-haul flights can be quite the commitment. We all love to travel (obviously), but when even your smartphone is confused by the number of time zones you’ve crossed, you can start to have second thoughts. That’s what’s so great about New Zealand – it’s only a few hours away. You can settle in, enjoy a complimentary meal, jump on the in-flight Wi-Fi, and before you know it – you’ll be in an entirely new country.
In fact, it’d take you more time to watch The Lord of the Rings trilogy (filmed at more than 150 locations in New Zealand) than it would to fly to NZ from any major Australian city, so make sure you watch them all pre-flight. Or, if you’re a true fan, experience them first-hand on the official Hobbiton tour.
You don’t need a visa
Thanks to a reciprocal arrangement with our Kiwi cousins, Australians don’t need a visa to visit New Zealand. That means it’s the ideal destination for a spur-of-the-moment trip (especially given the short flight time).
Think about it, if you’re halfway through the working week and feeling like you’re stuck in a rut, you can book a flight with a few clicks, get voice-activated flight updates thanks to the new Virgin Australia Alexa skill, spend the weekend exploring an entirely new country, and be back at your desk on Monday morning. If you’re looking for something to recharge your batteries, a weekend overseas jaunt could be just what you need.
Given that the country is divided into the North (Te Ika-a-Māui) and South (Te Waipounamu) Islands, we’d suggest confining yourself to just one for a short trip. That way, you’ve always got an excuse to come back.
It’s packed full of incredible experiences
Speaking of the North and South Islands, no matter where you land, there’s going to be something exciting to sink your teeth into.
For the thrill seekers, there’s Queenstown. You can go sky-diving, ziplining or simply enjoy the stunning sights and incredible wine. Or there’s Auckland, a beautiful city in its own right, but also a short ferry ride to Waiheke Island, home to more incredible wine (there’s a theme here). It’s also a short drive from Lake Taupo and everything else the North Island has to offer. Then you’ve got the Hot Pools and Mud Pools of Rotorua and the Abel Tasman National Park (perfect for kayaking) just a short boat ride from Wellington.
You’ll be planning your return before you even board the plane home.
The culture is (mostly) similar…
If you’re an Australian visiting New Zealand, you might get the sense of having travelled through the looking glass. There’s a pervasive sense of things being simultaneously familiar and foreign at the same time. This un-reality makes everything feel fresh and exciting, even if you’re just cruising down the street in Auckland or Wellington.
On a more practical tip, it also means that you’re not going to encounter language barriers (unless you count the accent), and the currency exchange is pretty simple to master. If you’re taking a little bit of time for your trip, New Zealand is ideal for exploring by car. Your existing Australian license is valid in the country (even a provisional license), so it’s as simple as hiring a ride and hitting the road.
…Until it’s not
There are also a stack of things that are entirely unique to New Zealand. Like, for instance, the fact they call an Esky a ‘chilly bin’. In fact, if you’re particularly enamoured with linguistic anomalies, NZ the place to be. Could we suggest that you plan a visit to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu in Hawke’s Bay? Bonus points if you type it into your GPS instead of cutting and pasting.
New Zealand also has a rich Indigenous history, and Māoris make up 14 per cent of the population. Their cultural traditions are alive and well, and it’s possible to partake in an experience that’s entirely unique to New Zealand’s native peoples. Try a hãngi meal, cooked low and slow in an earth oven, or explore a marae – the traditional tribal meeting ground of the Māori.
You’ll earn bonus Velocity Points and Status Credits
Still not sold? Well, did we mention that – in honour of Virgin Australia increasing its capacity on flights across the Tasman – we will hook you up with a whopping five Velocity Points per dollar spent on eligible flights1 between Australia and New Zealand? And as if that isn’t compelling enough, we’re also offering and increased Status Credit earn rate2 on the same flights; at least 23kgs of checked baggage, a substantial in-flight meal and drink included in all fares; and where available, in-flight Wi-Fi3 (including 15 minutes on the house).
If you’ve been meaning to tick Aotearoa off the ol’ travel bucket list, there’s never been a better time. So, what are you waiting for?
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- An eligible Trans-Tasman flight is a flight operated by Virgin Australia with a VA flight number. Flights purchased in New Zealand dollar (NZD) or any other currency will earn Velocity Points based on the Australian dollar (AUD) equivalent spent. Check the Velocity Terms and Conditions for details about earning Points.
- Only eligible Trans-Tasman flights are eligible for Status Credit earn. All other flights in the journey operated by Virgin Australia with a VA flight number will Status Credits per the tables available here. Where your Trans-Tasman or International Short Haul journey contains a flight with a VA flight number operated by a Velocity Partner Airline you will earn Status Credits based on your fare class and the number of miles flown for the whole journey, including any flights operated by Virgin Australia.
- While WiFi is being rolled out across our fleet, we are unable to guarantee that your aircraft will be equipped with WiFi. Your use of our WiFi service is subject to the Virgin Australia WiFi terms and conditions.