Need expert help?
Meet Joni, one of our travel experts for New Zealand.
Born in the Southwest, raised in the Northwest, I have called the South Pacific home for nearly 25 years. I founded J2 Travels in the late 1990s to share our knowledge with other like minded travelers – remembering always, that the joy is in the journey. I currently live on Maui, I'm endorsed by IATA, and am a member of the Fiji, Tahiti and New Zealand Tourism Boards.
Testimonials from Joni's clients:
"I want to say a big THANK YOU!! We had the most amazing time on our trip. Everything was wonderful. We absolutely loved Queenstown. We took the bus out to Milford Sound and then took a helicopter back as you suggested. It was raining the whole way out there but then the rain disappeared so we saw so many waterfalls it was breathtaking! We also went horseback riding in Glenorchy (well, I did – Pete got sick!) and that was amazing. The drive out there was beautiful and the ride itself was really fun. We tried to go skydiving but unfortunately it cancelled twice because of the winds. We also went jetboating,and spent a lot of time in the restaurants and bars in town. We then spent a few hours in Nelson and went out to Bleinhem for a day and did some wine-tasting, which was a lot of fun. When we were in Motueka we spent sometime relaxing and then did an 8 hour kayak/hike through Abel Tasman, which was truly amazing…and tiring! We spent a lot of our time in Rotorua just hanging out at the hotel and relaxing because it was just so beautiful, but we did go to hell’s gate which was really neat. In Auckland we spent a day walking around and then played golf one day. We also went to dinner at the Mudbrick restaurant in Waiheke which was great.
And on to Fiji...it was amazing! We loved Tokoriki. It was a beautiful spot and the Fijian people that worked there were so warm and friendly. The honeymoon bure that we stayed in was absolutely amazing, and we spent a lot of time just hanging out in our plunge pool. We also went snorkeling a few times, which was great. The food was also really good. As for the seaweed, there was definitely a fair bit of seaweed around and a slight smell of it, but it really wasn’t a big problem. After the first day we didn’t even think about it. I would definitely recommend Tokoriki to others, and would love to go back someday.
Thank you again for all of your help. We will definitely let our friends and family know how great you were when they head off to NZ / Fiji!
- Megan & Pete
"We had a fantastic time in Fiji. Qamea was particularly wonderful-rustic, authentic, beautiful, and communal. Staff members were incredibly friendly and always very accommodating. Namale was spectacular and definitely more upscale. Our bure was so elegant and we had a private deck overlooking the ocean that was phenomenal. We appreciated the remoteness and feel of Qamea over Namale, however, so we were delighted to have been there longer. I would certainly recommend Qamea to anyone traveling to that area of the world.
Thanks again for arranging this remarkable trip. It was incredibly unique and one we will remember always. We're both grateful to you.
- Naomi & Matt
"The Four Seasons Maui and your recommendations for the other island resorts we visited were wonderful. The Four Seasons Maui is impeccable, as we also enjoyed the Halekulani on Oahu and the Hyatt at Poipu on Kauai.
Thank you so much for your attention to detail, your availability every step of the way planning our honeymoon and assisting our guests. Your surprise gifts to us and our guests were extra special touches, and I can't rave enough about you. Even through the most stressful times I endured, you always kept your calm and made sure we were taken care of. You went above and beyond for us, going to the Four Seasons to take pictures of the construction before we got there for the wedding so we would be prepared, calling around to local stores to help me find items for gift baskets, giving us the scoop on where to shop, eat, etc.-all in such great detail as well!
You really are a true, experienced travel agent that doesn't just book trips, but travels to and knows the areas and resorts in which you book your clients and you become a trusted friend. It is with the utmost gratitude we write this in appreciation for everything you did to help make our honeymoon dreams come true for us and our guests.
- Michelle & Scott
"We are now home and slowly acclimating to reality. We had the most fabulous time on our holiday and want to thank you for seeing to it that every little detail was well planned, organized, and executed. We feel you really listened to our desires and planned "THE PERFECT" holiday...thank you so very much. We will definitely call you again and have recommended you to several of our friends. It is obvious that you really know both New Zealand and Fiji as I'm sure you know the other locations you book for your clients, I especially liked how you found locations that were less "touristy" and more reflective of the countries we were visiting...just as I requested. Thank you!"
- Randy and Teresa
"Kurstan and I had the most amazing time on our trip to Maui. The wedding went off without a hitch, even though when we arrived at the house that we rented for the occasion there were hurricane strength winds. They died down in just enough time to get the flower circle in a perfect place overlooking the ocean and everything went according to plan. The ceremony was thoughtful and such a happy time for us as well as Kurstan's mom and Jack who seemed pleased with the arrangements as well.
As for the honeymoon, that was a vacation of a lifetime. I have never been as happy as I was on this trip. The hotel was lovely and the service was fantastic. Our room was more spacious than I imagined and the view was breathtaking. The hotel itself was beautiful from the lounges to the restaurants to the pool area to the beach. The beach was the best that we saw on the island.
Also, Joni, you were so helpful in getting everything arranged with us and Kurstan's mom. It was difficult for us not having ever been to Maui figuring out where to stay and what to do, but you were more than helpful in making this a trip that will be remembered throughout our lives. What a way to start a marriage!
And, thank you for the champagne you sent to our room upon our arrival. It was such a great way to start our trip.
Thank you so much for everything, and we'll definitely contact you for any help we need with travel in the future.
- Heather & Kurstan
"Lisa and I had a magical experience at Qamea and everything was wonderful! You prepared us perfectly and all the details were worry free. We had a beautiful sunny day outdoor wedding in Michigan and then whisked away to paradise.
Thank you does not fully communicate our appreciation and we will be sending you referrals at every opportunity. We will be in touch soon and again, sincere thanks and warm regards!
- Scott & Lisa
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What's the Best Time of Year to Visit New Zealand
The best time of year to visit New Zealand depends on what you're going for.
If you're a skier, ski season starts in early June and runs through late October.
If you're looking to enjoy hiking, camping, swimming, etc., their summer runs from December through February.
New Zealand's latitude ranges from about -37 degrees to -47 degrees, roughly equivalent to the area from San Francisco to Seattle in the northern hemisphere.
However, because most of the country is relatively close to the ocean, you don't find quite as much of a temperature range in general.
The weather can change pretty quickly, though, as cold fronts or tropical cyclones move across the region.
The southern island has a climate similar to that of Oregon, whereas the northern island is more sub-tropical.
Rainfall levels are high, ranging from about 25 inches/year to 60 inches/year.
Thick fog at Auckland Airport early one June morning.
To compare all resorts in New Zealand, click here.
See our complete list of travel specials for New Zealand.
Typical airfares from LAX
Airfares vary by season, but also day of week, and are definitely affected by holidays.
The chart above shows the typical minimum and maximum fares for a economy class ticket from Los Angeles (LAX) to Auckland, NZ (AKL), by month.
We gathered this data in June 2016 from FareCompare.com.
Rainbow over Lake Wakatipu from Queenstown harbor.
Most of New Zealand averages over 2000 hours of sunshine a year.
This, plus the fact that there's very little air pollution, means that the
UV rays are quite strong in the summer months.
Seasons in New Zealand
||September to November
||December to February
||March to May
||July to August
Ski Season in New Zealand
Ski season in New Zealand starts in early June and runs through late October.
The best-known ski areas are near Queenstown and the incredible Remarkables mountains and Lake Wanaka.
This area is noted for spectacular scenery, a wide variety of terrain and types of trails, and popular resorts.
On the North Island, there's the Whakapapa and Turoa ski areas, perched on the active volcano of Mt Ruapehu.
Helicopter against the backdrop of the Remarkables, near Queenstown.
Looking down on Queenstown from the top of the Skyline gondola.
New Zealand Wine-Tasting
The country has become very well-known for its wines, especially its sauvignon blancs
and pinot noirs.
Wine tastings are available in tourist areas throughout the year.
Harvest time for the vineyards typically starts in February, with some late-harvest types being picked as late as June in the Otago area.
Queenstown Wine Trail offers sight-seeing and wine-tasting year-round, visiting many of the premier vineyards and wineries in the Otago/Queenstown region.
Hunting and Hiking in New Zealand
Really, the weather extremes are not so extreme--it's a pleasant place to hike and explore the outdoors year-round.
Hunting is popular, especially for the incredible red stag--one
of 7 types of deer introduced to New Zealand about 150 years ago by European settlers (who failed to consider the fact that New Zealand has no predators other than a small hawk).
Deer hunting season is officially from February through September, however, the rut (when the biggest stags are available) is during the rut, from late March through late April.
Stalking red stag at Glen Dene Station, on the shores of Lake Hawea, South Island.
Founder of Visual Itineraries, Michael lives in Bend, Oregon. He's an avid traveler, scuba diver, photographer, and a private pilot.
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or on Twitter.
Bay of Islands
Franz Josef/Fox Glacier
Map of Hotels and Resorts in New Zealand