Have you ever wondered how much you can pack into a long weekend?
If you spent the past 12 months exploring only your backyard, why not mix up your Friday, Saturday, Sunday (and Monday while you’re at it) routine with an itinerary that requires a passport.
Thanks to the new Trans-Tasman travel bubble between Queensland and New Zealand, swap G’day with Kia ora as you spend a long weekend across the ditch.
With so many cities to explore on both the North and South Island, and more than 40 daily connections between Brisbane and New Zealand cities, we’ve done all the heavy lifting for you and created an extra long weekend guide exploring Christchurch and Wellington.
As both Qantas and Air New Zealand operate afternoon flights between Brisbane and Christchurch, you’ll want to arrange another half day of annual leave to kickstart your long weekend, giving you at least three full days to travel between the islands.
Day 1: Friday
ICYMI: New Zealanders are serious about their coffee. As the birthplace of popular roasts Coffee Supreme (Wellington) and Ozone Coffee (New Plymoth), start your day at Unknown Chapter for a brew with beans from this local Christchurch roastery.
Once caffeinated, jump on the hop-on, hop-off city tram to navigate your way around Christchurch one tram stop-at-a-time.
The 17 stops on the city network include the Canterbury Museum, Botanic Gardens and Arts Centre, so you won’t need to collect your car from the concierge to tick off the main attractions.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, hop off at Riverside Market, where you’ll find up to 20 boutique cafés or restaurants housed in this indoor marketplace, with Ramen, Mexican and Greek just a few of the flavours to choose from.
For 360-degree views of the city and Southern Alps, catch the Christchurch Gondola to the summit of Port Hills.
Once at the top, choose from one of the nearby walking tracks or board the Time Tunnel ride, which passes through six different rooms, sharing aspects of Canterbury’s history.
Wrap up your day with a riverfront meal at The Terrace – a multi-use complex with indoor and alfresco dining overlooking the Avon River.
Day Two: Saturday
Navigate your way to the northern point of the South Island and set your GPS to Kaikōura, a small coastal town 180 kilometres north of Christchurch.
For a close encounter with marine greats, book a morning Whale Watch tour to spot New Zealand Fur Seals, Giant Sperm Whales and Dusky Dolphins in their aquatic playground.
If you prefer to save your sealegs for the island crossing, stretch your legs with a coastal walk and sit down to a plate of crayfish – a specialty of the region – before continuing north to the Marlborough Sounds.
With over 10 wineries located a short 30 kilometres outside of Picton, make sure you plan a winery stop to sample a much-loved Marlborough sauvignon blanc or pinot noir before departing the South Island.
Book an afternoon or evening ferry to Wellington (departure times vary daily) or spend your evening in Picton before making the three-hour journey to the North Island the next day (if you can squeeze an extra day to your itinerary).
Overnight: Picton or Wellington
Day Three (and possibly Four, because #holidays): Sunday and Monday
With a compact city centre, there’s plenty of sights to tick off in Wellington in a short amount of time.
Start your day with a cable car journey to the Wellington Botanic Garden, for city views as you ascend to the gardens.
Once at the top, learn about the historic transportation at the Cable Car Museum before strolling through the 25 hectares of flora and fauna at the hilltop gardens.
After satisfying your senses with a few of the collections – from Succulent Garden to Native Bush – head back down to street level and make your way to Te Papa Museum.
With five floors of exhibitions on offer at this museum, you may want to plan ahead so you know which exhibitions to make a beeline for on arrival.
Before you make your way to Wellington International Airport for your afternoon flight home to Brisbane, grab lunch at a waterfront restaurant facing Lambton Harbour. Choose from one of the cafés or restaurants outside Te Papa Museum or along the waterfront at Queens Wharf.
With the airport a short seven-kilometre drive from the CBD, enjoy one final New Zealand vino before saying Kia ora once last time, this time as goodbye.
PLAN YOUR TRAVEL
BEFORE YOUR FLIGHT
It may have been a while since you last flew overseas. It's a fantastic time to remember the basics of international travel as well as learn about what's changed.
We can’t wait to welcome you back to Brisbane Airport’s International Terminal, see you soon!