|by The Budget Travel Editors||Beaches, Fishing, Islands, Romance, Scuba Diving and Snorkeling, Australia & South Pacific, French Polynesia, Tahiti, New Zealand, Auckland, Wellington||0|
Mountains or beach? Adventure or relaxation? How many times have you had that travel-planning conversation? Especially if you're thinking of a far-flung fling to the other side of the planet, you want to be sure you book a vacation that's right for you.
How about New Zealand and Tahiti? That's right. We've noticed lately that it's possible to combine two incredible South Pacific destinations in one trip. You can set up a travel itinerary that includes rugged, scenic, and adventurous New Zealand, plus beautiful, relaxing, tropical Tahiti (with its luxurious overwater bungalows, turquoise lagoons, and superb snorkeling).
Air Tahiti Nui has flights from Los Angeles to Auckland, New Zealand, via Tahiti! Extend your stopover in Tahiti (it's about eight hours from Los Angeles and less than six hours from Auckland), the main island in French Polynesia, for three or four nights. Spend some time exploring Papeete, the island's main city, stay at a luxury resort with an overwater bungalow, go whale-watching, take a 4x4 safari, explore the island's culture and food, or just hit the beautiful white and black sand beaches!
New Zealand, of course, was the setting for Middle Earth in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit films, and the country can be easily explored by car. Don't miss Auckland's harbor tour, Sky Tower, and a day trip to the Waiheke islands. On your way to Rotorua, drive through Waitomo caves for a boat ride under the light of—for real—thousands of glowworms! You could easily spend a week or more getting to know New Zealand's diverse terrain, Maori culture, and justly renowned Lake Taupo, the country's largest body of water and a magnet for parasailing, kayaking, and fly-fishing for rainbow trout. And a stop in Wellington (with more bars, cafés, and restaurants per capita than New York City) is practically mandatory. Ride the Wellington Cable Car up to Kelburn Village for amazing cityscapes!
A stopover in Tahiti on the way to New Zealand (or on the way back to the U.S.) is a great way to see more of the South Pacific in one trip. You might consider a package deal, such as those offered by PacificIslands.com.