April 2018

In this month’s update, read about exciting new air routes, sustainable ways to travel around New Zealand and a whole range of new products across the country.

Hobbiton, Matamata Photo: Sara Orme.


Air New Zealand and United Airlines announce new nonstop service between Chicago and Auckland

The new service will begin on 30 November 2018 and will operate a three times weekly, year-round service with its new configuration Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.  The flight time will be approximately 15 hours northbound and just over 16 hours southbound. Air New Zealand code share services will be offered on around 100 flights across the U.S. for convenient connections to Auckland via Chicago.

United Airlines operates more flights from its hub at O’Hare International Airport than any other airline, with more than 500 flights to 147 airports across the United States.

In addition to the new route announcement, United announced it will extend its seasonal service between San Francisco and Auckland to year-round beginning April 2019.

Air New Zealand boosts Wellington-Queenstown route

Air New Zealand is set to grow the number of seats available on the Wellington-Queenstown route by around 50 percent from April 2018. The airline will operate an extra five A320 direct services a week between Wellington and Queenstown, the equivalent of 38,000 extra one-way seats compared with the previous year.


Tourism Holdings trialling electric campervans

THL has been trialling e-RVs in the North Island over New Zealand’s summer and is about to extend the trial in the South Island. All going well, they hope to have e-RVs available to rent later this year. The motorhome fleet is 1800-strong and they are aiming to have 5 per cent of them electric by 2020.

Go Rentals introduce GO Glamper

The new solar powered two-berth camper trailer features everything you’d need for a camping holiday and with the ability to detach the camper from your 4x4 vehicle for a day of exploring. Available for pick up from Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown.


Fullers and 360 Discovery Cruises promote twilight wine and dine tours to Waiheke Island

Guests will enjoy wine tasting at Stonyridge, followed by a vineyard tour and dinner at Batch Winery.  The tour includes return a ferry trip from downtown Auckland, as well as all coach transfers on Waiheke Island.


Waitomo Adventures Troll Cave family experience – NEW product
An underground eco-sanctuary and “scare” experience featuring Tom the troll, along with cave creatures, traps and puzzles to solve. With trips departing several times daily and taking about an hour, it is a great family experience in Waitomo.

Hamilton Gardens introduces new garden

The latest masterpiece at Hamilton Gardens comes in the form of the Huddleston airship. It can be found tethered beside the Concept Garden, which is the latest garden to open at the award-winning Waikator visitor attraction. Send your clients on a guided tour or book them a gourmet picnic basket to enjoy in the park.

Hobbiton™ Movie Set unveils new self-check-in kiosks

The new self-check-in kiosks are for FIT customers at the Shire’s Rest to help streamline arrivals. The popular Evening Banquet Tour has increased guaranteed departures from two nights per week to four, now departing Sunday to Wednesday throughout the year. Refurbishments to the party marquee continue and the newly added retail store for groups is up and running.

The Red Barn group lunch venue

Located 10 minutes from Hobbiton™ Movie Set, The Red Barn is an historic venue on a 500-acre dairy farm with spectacular views of stunning rural surrounds and mountain ranges. Already a popular wedding venue, they are now welcoming small luxury groups and large groups to enjoy lunch or a guided tour of the working dairy farm, followed by a pasture-to-plate style buffet or plated lunch.


Ogo Rotorua introduces Mega Track

The new track is the longest, fastest, steepest downhill ball rolling track in the world and is an exciting way to experience this iconic New Zealand adventure activity. 

Waimarino Kayak Tours offers new evening kayak and hot pool product

On the Lake Rotoiti Starlight Kayaking Experience, your clients will enjoy a gourmet BBQ dinner before heading out for a short kayak to view glow worms and visit the stunning Manupirua Hot Pools.


Kawarau Bridge road update

New Zealand Transport Agency has opened one lane of the Kawarau Bridge to traffic, allowing for two-way travel across the Kawarau River ahead of its completion, scheduled for May.  The entire project including converting the existing bridge to a walking and cycling route will be completed by June 2018.

Over the Top gains new twin-engine helicopter

Over the Top has introduced a new nine-seat BK117 to its fleet. The twin-engine helicopter is now the largest based in Queenstown, with a capacity of up to nine guests, or in a VIP six-seat configuration. It boasts leather seats, noise-cancelling headsets and OTT’s signature black and charcoal livery.

Jetski Tours Queenstown – new product!

Hydro Attack has launched guided jetski tours on Lake Wakatipu. Groups of up to five can explore the lake in control of their own Seadoo jet ski, led by experienced local guides.

Queenstown Water Taxis run additional service to town

The company has updated its taxi service with an additional run at 8.00am and 7.00pm from town, and 8.30am and 7.30pm from The Hilton Queenstown.

Milford Sound Scenic Flights adds new aircraft to fleet

The 13-seater Cessna Grand Caravan offers leather seats and all window seating, as well as speakers for in-flight commentary, eliminating the need for headphones. 

Air Milford adds new model Cessna to fleet

The 2017 aircraft has capacity for 10 passengers. The new Cessna features a Garmin G1000 NXi integrated flight deck.


Elm Wildlife Tours offers new “max” Tour 

This package features the Peninsula Encounter tour, wildlife viewing from the ocean
on board the Monarch Cruise and the Royal Albatross tour, giving wildlife enthusiasts the opportunity to combine the best possible viewing from land and sea.

Orokonui Ecosanctuary launches overnight group product

Experience Nature by Night is an overnight product where guests will discover the twilight antics of birds, enjoy a BBQ on the deck overlooking the forest and the bay, become a star-gazer and learn the mysteries of the southern skies. They will listen to the myths and legends around the magic of the night, immerse themselves in games and puzzles about rare wildlife and hear the calls of kiwi and ruru. Minimum pax of 15, maximum of 30.