New Zealand is a beautiful, fresh country with a dynamic landscape, a fascinating natural history, excellent fly fishing for trout, and a cosmopolitan, if somewhat rural, lifestyle. It is also remote on a global scale, and a long flight from the northern hemisphere.
Maybe the thought of a long flight is putting you off heading to New Zealand. You’ve heard about the great trout fishing and the fabulous little fishing lodges dotted through the country. It’s on your fly fishing bucket list, but the flights are a little daunting.
Here’s a bit of good local knowledge for you. It needn’t be as long a flight as you may think. Long flight times are often due to transit stops, plane changes and indirect routing by the various airlines. Or by just going for the cheaper options.
If you live near San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago or Vancouver you’re only one flight away from New Zealand. Same if you live in the major Australian cities, South East Asia, China, Japan and the Middle East. These flights range from 3 hours from Sydney to 17 hours from Dubai. Somewhere in-between, like Los Angeles, is a 13 hour flight; Singapore is a 10 hour flight.
Direct flights from North America are easy to find on Air New Zealand or its code-share partners. As Auckland is the airline’s hub, all flights lead to Auckland, so to speak, and are not sidelined to other hubs and countries along the way. There are also some direct options with American Airlines. And from October 2020 Air New Zealand will be flying direct Auckland to New York with a 17 hour 40 min flight.
So from the United States, for example, you can check in to Los Angeles International early evening, refresh in the airport lounge before boarding, and head into the sky for the overnight flight. We recommend flying at least Premium Economy so you can upgrade to a lie-flat bed (Air New Zealand has an excellent Sky Couch offer); Business Class is even better.
There are no direct First Class services to New Zealand – the easiest option for First Class is to fly with Qantas via Sydney – adding at least 3 hours to the trip. But not all legs of the flight may be in First Class as it depends on the aircraft being used.
Having relaxed through the night on a direct flight you will arrive in to New Zealand around 6am, hopefully well rested and ready to start your New Zealand adventure. Just remember that you lose a whole day on the flight to New Zealand if travelling from the US – so if you leave LA on Friday evening it will be 6am Sunday morning when you land, despite only being in the air for 13 hours.
Most domestic flights within New Zealand are also with Air New Zealand, so it will be possible to get all your flights on one ticket – always an advantage if disruptions occur. And don’t forget to off-set the carbon emissions on your flight when you purchase – for a few well-spent dollars you’ll be helping to plant carbon-hungry trees. Air New Zealand supports an excellent reforestation project with these funds through their FlyNeutral initiative.
Another tip – if you’re arriving into Auckland later in the day, heading for a fishing lodge stay further down the country, it can be a good idea to take that first night in Auckland to relax and refresh and also to help your body clock adjust. There is a good hotel at the international airport, and many others in the city, a 30 minute drive away.
Ask us for more info – we are New Zealand luxury and fly fishing specialists.