One thing that can be a bit annoying about living in a country with only so many airlines servicing domestic routes is that airfares to some destinations can be expensive. A couple of weeks ago we had to fly down to Dunedin at short notice. With Air New Zealand being the only domestic airline servicing the city, the fares were what I would call ridiculously expensive. I don’t like spending more money that I need to so I spent a bit of time trying to come up with a way of getting from Auckland to Dunedin without paying more than what Auckland to Sydney return flights would cost.
After looking at the Auckland to Dunedin options where fares started around the $400 mark per person one way we looked at options of flying out of cities close to Auckland. We ended up finding flights out of Hamilton via Christchurch (for those of you who do not know where it is, it is a 1.5 hour drive south of Auckland) for $200 per person one way. Even though we had to drive to Hamilton early in the morning to catch our flight, doing that saved us about $400.
With that part of the journey sorted, next was finding a way of getting back to Auckland. This time around flights from Dunedin to Auckland were around the $500 mark per person which is just crazy! Once again, we looked at flying out of cities close to Dunedin. Queenstown seemed like the best option and we managed to got really good deals on Jetstar for $120 per person. This meant having to take a shuttle to Queenstown for $30 per person and spending a night there. We got a good deal at the Copthorne Lakefront Resort for $100 through Expedia.co.nz. As you can see, for the two of us to fly out of Queenstown plus spend a night there, it cost even less than the Dunedin – Auckland fares that Air New Zealand was quoting for one person.
Being willing to travel to/from cities close to Auckland and Dunedin cost around $800 which still is a bit pricey. But, if we had gone ahead and booked the Auckland – Dunedin flights we would have had to part with an extra $1000. The point of this post is not to take a dig at Air New Zealand because in think they are a fantastic airline. What I am trying to get across is that the next time you are making travel arrangements and the fares are a little steep, do a bit of thinking outside the box for cheaper options.
Note: when searching for flights I turn to Webjet.co.nz to see what options are out there. Once I have found something suitable I go to the particular airlines site and if they have the same fare available I make the booking directly through them. By doing this I avoid paying Webjet’s $20.90 fee for domestic flights.