I’m currently on a flight from Nelson to Christchurch to meet some of my customers. That’s only about 35 minutes of actual flight time. Sure, I could have driven all the way with my car, but 5 hours on the road (one-way) is not the best use of my time. A domestic flight makes sense and it’s strategy frequently used by travellers in New Zealand.
So why would visitors to New Zealand be interested in this? Understandably, most travellers want to make the best of their time while travelling through this beautiful country. Consider this example: I received communication from a couple in their early 70’s with three weeks of travel planned for the North and South Island. They want to see Milford Sound, Queenstown, Dunedin, Christchurch, whales, glaciers, Wellington, Rotorua, some vineyards around Napier and the Bay of Islands! If you look on a large scale map of New Zealand this might be achievable, but…
….they only have three weeks to spare! So I recommended that 2/3 of their time be spent in the South Island and the other 1/3 in the North Island. This really does work and will enable having as many 2-nights stays as possible. Consider that out of 14 days (South Island) you’re looking at approx. 7-8 locations – 3-4 locations for the North Island. Given all the places visitors want to visit, doesn’t it make sense to use a domestic flight to cut just a few of those long drives out?
If you look at some of our sample itineraries you’ll see that we often use flights in between Rotorua or Napier and Christchurch or Nelson. All very easy and convenient. Drop-off the rental car (often directly in front of the airport terminal), check-in luggage, enjoy some time to study the guide book during the flight, arrive, get luggage, pick-up the car (again a few metres to walk) and continue your journey.
Taking the ferry is another option, but remember, you have to cover a lot of kms between Rotorua/ Napier and Nelson/Christchurch, plus 3 hours on the ferry. If you book early, you’re far better off using a flight. Makes perfect sense doesn’t it?