Traveling to New Zealand

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Getting there

Most international flights land in Auckland, on the North Island, although Wellington (North Island) and Christchurch (South Island) are also international airports. From the US, you have a choice of 4 air carriers: Air New Zealand, Air Pacific, Air Tahiti Nui, and Qantas. Sunspots International has excellent contracts with all of the major carriers and can offer very competitive pricing, especially in business or premier-class. You're certainly welcome to arrange your own flights of course.

Flying time from Los Angeles is about 12 hours. Typically, you'll get on the plane in Los Angeles at about 10:30PM, and be looking at animals on a hillside in New Zealand at 2:00 in the afternoon the next day. Nice seats with only a 5 hour time difference makes this a much different travel experience than a trip to Africa or Europe.

You'll need a passport with an expiration date of at least three months beyond your departure date. US passport holders don't need to get a visa to visit New Zealand provided your stay is less than 3 months. Full details on passport requirements can be found at

Check out the NBC Nightly News clip talking about Air New Zealand's Sky Couch.

Contact us with questions or to book a hunting package about booking your New Zealand hunting trip.
  Air New Zealand's Business Premier seats
Air New Zealand's new Business Premier seating on their new 777-300 aircraft is available on
flights from Los Angeles to Auckland starting April 2011. Photo courtesy Air New Zealand.

If you're bringing things with you such as liquor, cigarettes, knives, firearms, etc. we recommend you read this page from regarding customs and immigration. You may bring your sporting firearms into the country, provided you obtain a permit from the New Zealand Police upon arrival at the airport. Further details regarding firearms permits and also restrictions on knives are here. Sunspots Safaris can assist you with your paperwork and any questions you may have, of course.

Air New Zealand's Premium Economy Spaceseat
Air New Zealand's Premium Economy Spaceseat on their new 777-300 aircraft is available on
flights from Los Angeles to Auckland starting April 2011. Photo courtesy Air New Zealand.

Getting around New Zealand

The country is about 1000 miles long, with a greater land mass than the UK. To get from one island to another, you can either book an inter-island flight, or take the ferry (which takes cars, motorcycles, and foot passengers).

Many visitors rent a car (you'll see this referred to as "self-drive"), and most people adapt to driving on the left pretty quickly. You can legally drive in New Zealand for up to 12 months if you have either a current driver's licence from your home country or an International Driving Permit (IDP).

You'll find that many rental cars have manual transmissions, but you may find it much easier to drive an automatic since the gearshift is going to be on your left.

Touring the country by camper van is very common, letting you take all your gear and your hotel room with you. Motorcycles are available for rental as well; helmets are mandatory in the country.


New Zealand's currency is the New Zealand Dollar (you'll see it referred to as NZD). You can use this
currency converter to help you understand prices from New Zealand websites.


English is the common language spoken in New Zealand, although you might also hear a bit of Maori, the language of the indigenous people of New Zealand. Maoris make up about 14% of the population in New Zealand, and the vast majority of place names are of Maori origin.

Both Maori and European-descent New Zealanders will respond to the Maori phrase for hello, "kia ora", and making the effort to say hello in this way will certainly get you off on the right foot when you first meet a New Zealander of either heritage.