New Zealand sometimes feels incredibly isolated from the rest of the world. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is a matter of opinion, but it can be frustrating when it comes to travel – it’s difficult to look forward to sitting on a plane for twelve hours. If you’re looking for a getaway in easy reach of New Zealand, there are a few countries that will be just as enjoyable to visit as those farther away:
Just 3 hours away from Auckland, a slice of paradise awaits! It’s probably easiest to fly to Nadi, but make sure to venture outside it for the ultimate Fiji experience. Snorkel amongst the colourful fish and coral by day, and attend a kava ceremony to add a thrill to your evening.
A bit of an obvious one, as Kiwis are no stranger to their friendly neighbours across the ditch, but Australia has plenty of underrated destinations if you’re willing to venture outside of the main cities. Why not explore the botanic gardens of Bendigo or the sandy beaches of Mooloolaba? You might even like to rent a car and make a bit of a road trip out of it; the Great Ocean Road will give you all of the scenic views you could ever hope for on holiday. Of course, if you are after good shopping and even better cafes, there’s nothing wrong with hitting Sydney or Melbourne for a weekend; you’ll only be flying for 3.5 or 4 hours respectively.
Often passed over by tourists for its more famous neighbours, Samoa is a gem of the Pacific. Your options are endless; you might like to visit To Sua Ocean Trench for a dip in a natural swimming hole, to visit a stunning waterfall up close, or to swim in clear water at a sandy beach – all are possible. Samoa also boasts a rich cultural heritage, so make sure to visit the Samoa Cultural Village for a glimpse into the country’s history. If all you want to do is relax, you’re also in luck – you can opt for a traditional Samoan massage. Friendly locals, incredible fresh food, and an abundance of natural beauty only 4 hours away from New Zealand – what more could you want out of a holiday
- New Caledonia
If you fancy a touch of France without trekking all the way to Europe, why not visit the island of New Caledonia? Brush up on your French skills and hop on a 3-hour flight, and you’ll soon be experiencing the incredible lagoon, the clear waters, and the cultural experience that this island has to offer.
A 4-hour flight from New Zealand, the volcanic island of Rarotonga is sure to wow you with incredible sunsets, charming locals and pristine beaches. You might consider hiring a car to explore the island. Experience the culture of the island by visiting Te Vara Nui Village, or meander around Punanga Nui Market on a Saturday morning. A big plus in Rarotonga’s favour is that it uses the New Zealand dollar, so changing money is one less thing you’ll have to add to your pre-travel checklist!
Clearly, most of the countries near New Zealand are islands – but perhaps we should be grateful for that. The relative isolation of these countries means you won’t have to contest with hordes of tourists like you might in more populated areas; you might even find a beach to enjoy all to yourself!