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When you arrive in Auckland to start your New Zealand vacation, your first thought may be to head straight out of town for the North Island’s greener pastures. But don’t make that mistake — the country’s largest city is often overlooked, allowing its lovely waterfront, revamped historical centers, and islands of Hauraki Gulf to go unvisited. If you have one day to spare, fill it with this on-foot itinerary (and don’t forget to pack those walking shoes!).
Sounds impossible to buy a ticket to the wrong destination, right? You’d never mistake York, England for New York State. But would you notice an airline issuing a plane ticket for Grenada instead of Granada, like British Airways did last month? Or the 1,500 mile difference between airline codes SJO and SJU? Believe it or not, these things do happen. Here, 9 commonly confused cities that should make you check your boarding card.
Already a mainstay in Asia for decades, night markets are now taking hold all over the world. With a buzzy, carnival-like atmosphere, they’re the place to be for finding shopping and food deals as well as for rubbing elbows with locals out for a night of casual fun. Some markets run year round, some are seasonal, and some are weekend events. Here are five around the world worth noting:
Canada: International Summer Night Market
The city of Richmond in British Columbia is home to three major night markets, but the International Summer Night Market is the largest and most popular. It draws approximately 20,000 people every weekend to the trinkets, handicrafts, and even fresh produce from nearly 200 vendors. Between purchases, you can sample good eats like Singapore-style jerky, enjoy live entertainment, play nine holes of miniature golf, or pose for photographs with the two 9-foot inflatable pandas on display. The market runs Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and holidays, May 9 through September 14. Admission is 2 CAD ($1.86 USD). Tip: Print online coupons before you go to save at select vendors, and hit up the ATM — most vendors only accept cash.
Right now, Air New Zealand operates only two flights out of Singapore’s Changi Airport – to Abu Dhabi and Brisbane – via its partner Etihad Airways. However, by the end of this year, flight capacity between the countries of New Zealand and Singapore will have increased by up to 30 percent, thanks to a new alliance announced between Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand. Under the partnership, tourist-hungry New Zealand will have access to a whole new network of visitors in South and Southeast Asia. But New Zealand’s tourism office isn’t alone in celebrating this deal. Here’s how you can take advantage, too… Read more
Last spring was the time to visit Europe with fares reaching all time lows (under $300 round-trip), but so far 2010 hasn’t followed suit. Instead, rock-bottom rates have been cropping up to Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia from as little as $380 each way, making this year the best time to book that exotic trip you’ve been talking about for ages.
Adventure tour operator, Travelscene has paired up with Qantas Airways to offer low fares to Sydney, Brisbane, or Melbourne from just $380 each way from Los Angeles and San Francisco. Even after taxes and fees are factored in, round-trip flights can be had for just $937. Travel is valid from May 1 through June 8, and July 24 through September 21, but must be booked by February 15.
If you’d rather jet off to secluded Fiji, Air Pacific is offering a fare sale to Nadi from Los Angeles from $951 round-trip – including taxes and fees. Or, experience the diverse landscape of New Zealand with fares to Auckland from Los Angeles from $1,048. These rates can be found on select dates through November 30, but our editors found the lowest rates in March, July, and August. Tickets must be purchased by March 31.
Please note: You’ll have an easier time locating these fares if your dates are flexible. We’d recommend using the Orbitz flexible date search (select option three).
For anyone that has ever dreamed of visiting stunning New Zealand, now is the time to make it happen. Qantas Airways has partnered with Tourism New Zealand to make visiting in 2010 remarkably affordable. The airline is reducing fares by as much as 40 percent, bringing prices to Auckland down to a do-able $798 round-trip from Los Angeles and San Francisco, or $998 from New York. Even after taxes are factored in, you can still fly for less than $1,100 (other airlines are charging upwards of $2,000 or more). These low fares are available from May 1 through June 8, and July 24 through September 21, but must be booked by January 26.
For more information, or to book a ticket, visit www.qantas.com.
Dreaming of a faraway trip to the land Down Under? Summer is a great time to visit Australia – and more gems in the neighboring South Pacific – if you want to save a bundle. This exciting 7-night itinerary gets you a taste of an exciting Australian city, as well as a jaunt to New Zealand. Begin your trip with a 4-night stay in Australia’s Cairns, gateway city to the Great Barrier Reef. Located just one block from the Esplanade, the four-star Hotel Cairns offers upscale guestrooms within easy walking distance of fine shops and restaurants. Enjoy a full-day cruise to explore the vast underwater reefs just off the coast, and take advantage of the included 24-hour Smart Car rental to explore the region’s remarkable rainforests. Next, you’ll fly straight to Auckland, New Zealand’s largest and most cosmopolitan city. Spend three nights at the four-star Skycity Hotel and you’ll have ample time to explore the area’s gorgeous beaches. Priced from just $1,061, this affordable itinerary covers round-trip airfare from Los Angeles via Air New Zealand, flight from Cairns to Auckland, and all transfers. Normally priced at $2,372 per person, you’ll save 56 percent off rack rates if you book by June 30.
Travelers often think of New Zealand as just beautiful vistas (Remember Lord of the Rings?). While it does boast stunning landscapes, you’ll also find a fantastic wine scene, unbelievable lodges, and happening cities. Even if you’re not a hiker, a New Zealand trip will convert you to the great outdoors. And great they are. Comprised of two main islands, together the size of California, the Kiwi nation is positively littered with gorgeous alpine passes, grassy plains, and glacier-fed rivers.
Some travelers live on the edge. Never satisfied with lazing away their vacation days on the beach, these thrill seekers look for adventure on their days off. If orbiting the Earth, diving in shark-infested waters, or getting up-close-and-personal with a gorilla sounds like your idea of a good time, you’re in luck. We’ve found 10 extreme travel adventures to get your heart racing and, just in case you aren’t quite ready to light yourself on fire in a movie-quality stunt, we’ve also included a similar – albeit less-adrenaline-pulsing – alternative with each of our top adventure-filled trips.
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