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New Zealand has many international and domestic airports. Auckland Airport (AKL) serves the largest number of international arrivals and departures, but Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Palmerton and Queenstown are also served by international flights. From the US there are a number of airlines offering New Zealand plane tickets including Air New Zealand, China South, Air Pacific and Qantas.
The weather is always changeable in New Zealand, even between the two islands. The best time to visit New Zealand, in terms of weather, is summer, from December to February.
A flight to New Zealand from New York takes at least 21 hours.
New Zealand is a relatively young country, undiscovered by Europeans until the mid-1600s. Today more than 2 million foreigners from far and wide enjoy vacations in New Zealand. What's the draw? Let's just say the stunning landscapes, impressively preserved indigenous cultures and outdoor tourism are just the beginning.
Auckland: Known as the City of Sails, if you head out to Waitemata Harbor you'll see why. This is where locals practice their jibb as they island-hop all summer long. Another plus, there are more than 100 beaches within an hour's drive. Take a sailing course, soak in the unique cafe culture, perfect your golf swing and laze about some of the world's most beautiful beaches.
Napier: Did you know NZ is also famous for its wine? Hawkes Bay is the place to try a syrah or just enjoy the architecture. This city has a taste for fine fashions and good wines. Enjoy a winery tour and don't forget to visit the tasting room!
Coromandel: Some volcanoes have really huge underground supplies of superheated water. From time to time, this water comes to the surface cooling down on the way. There are two crevices at Hot Water Beach, each of them giving 15 litres of hot water (64C /147F) per minute. You can rent a spade at the beach store for $5 and dig yourself a spa. Be sure to get there an hour before low tide, so that you have a good spot and time to dig your hole.
Visit newzealand.com for more info.
What makes New Zealand so special when it comes to hotels is that there are so many family-run places. Bed & breakfasts, inns, guesthouses and cabins are the usual here, each with their own charm and allure. While B&Bs are generally pricier than motels and inns, they're worth every penny.