Photos: Explore New Zealand

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  1. Kepler Track

    The 60 kilometer Kepler Track rewards serious hikers with full-strength high country scenery. The track leads to views of lakes Te Anau and Manapouri, the alpine grasslands of Jackson Peaks and spectacular U-shaped glacial valleys. Department of Conservation huts provide accommodation during the 4 day walk. (www.newzealand.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Water sport paradise

    With more than 15,000 kilometers of coastline, New Zealand is a water sport paradise. Sailing, swimming, diving and fishing are just some of the options for marine recreation. Or you could test yourself with one of the more extreme sports, like kite surfing and wave jumping. (www.newzealand.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Poor Knights

    The fish of the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve are famous for their friendly nature, and some of the subtropical species are found nowhere else in New Zealand. Spotted Black Groper, Mosaic Moray and Lord Howe Island Coralfish are a few of the local stars. Squadrons of stingrays can also be seen during the warmer months. (www.newzealand.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Milford Sound

    A couple paddles their kayaks while flanked by a dolphin in New Zealand's Milford Sound in the country's stunning fiordland. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. That's our bird!

    Unique to New Zealand, there are five kinds of kiwi - three closely related Brown kiwis, the Little Spotted Kiwi and the Great Spotted Kiwi. Nocturnal and flightless, the kiwi’s long slender bill has nostrils at the lower end, so that it can detect worms, insects and grubs. Despite its awkward appearance, a kiwi can outrun a human. (www.newzealand.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Mount Cook National Park

    Glaciers cover 40 percent of Mount Cook - or Aoraki National Park, as it is also known - and is New Zealand's top spot for spectacular alpine scenery, and is the country's highest mountain. All but one of its 29 peaks is over 3,000 meters, so the park has become New Zealand's mountain climbing mecca. Non-climbers can enjoy a selection of challenging alpine walks - from the one hour Red Tarns stair-climb to the relatively flat hike to Kea Point. (www.newzealand.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Preserving culture

    The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, in Wellington, preserves and presents the taonga (treasures) of New Zealand's people. Spectacular long-term exhibitions are enhanced by diverse short-term exhibitions and a captivating events program - performances, talks, lectures, entertainment and more. (www.newzealand.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Maori men

    Ethnic Maori men from Gisborne, New Zealand, take positions on the beach after the arrival by boat of elders from Cook Island, Wednesday, December 29, 1999, to join in Gisborne's millennium celebrations. History has been harsh to the indigenous Maori and Moriori of New Zealand, but their resurgent cultures were at center stage when the country became the first major nation to enter the new millennium. (David Guttenfelder / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Pure Middle-earth

    The fast running rivers of the Mount Aspiring National Park can be negotiated by jet boat and kayak, allowing visitors to discover the locations for the 'Lord of the Rings' Isengard, Lothlorien and Amon Hen. With not a manmade structure in sight in this remote wilderness, it’s easy to imagine yourself in 'Middle-earth'. (www.newzealand.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  1. Editor's note:
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  2. Editor's note:
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  3. Editor's note:
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updated 3/16/2009 10:57:55 AM ET 2009-03-16T14:57:55

The deal
Travelers often think of New Zealand as just beautiful vistas (remember “Lord of the Rings”?). While it does boast stunning landscapes, you’ll also find a fantastic wine scene, unbelievable lodges and happening cities. Even if you’re not a hiker, a New Zealand trip will convert you to the great outdoors.

And great they are. Comprised of two main islands, together the size of California, the Kiwi nation is positively littered with gorgeous alpine passes, grassy plains and glacier-fed rivers. For a limited time, get there for less, with discounted Air New Zealand fares priced from just $798 round-trip.

Lock in these lowest promotional rates to Auckland via West Coast cities at Los Angeles or San Francisco — even when factoring in the approximate $80 in extra taxes and fees, this is still one steal of a deal! Plus, this promotion allows for an additional stopover at one of 25 other destinations throughout New Zealand, like Christchurch, Queenstown, Wellington and more — at no additional cost. Or, opt to touch down for a free stopover in the South Pacific, where Air New Zealand operates routes to exotic destinations like the Cook Islands, Samoa or Tonga.

Travel is valid from May 1 through Sept. 21, which falls largely over New Zealand’s winter — we recommend travel in May or September, which boasts plenty of crisp, clear days for sightseeing.

It's A Snap! Readers' best shotsJune and July, the coldest months (average temperature: 43 degrees Fahrenheit), are the best for skiing, which means that ski resorts boom while the rest of the island slumbers. Note that this deal expires as soon as March 17.

Be sure to consult with ShermansTravel.com’s New Zealand 101 Guide and New Zealand Travel Guide to start planning your trip!

Plus, read about Air New Zealand's late-breaking Australia sale, featuring jaw-dropper rates from just $675 round-trip, on the Savvy Flyer blog.

The dollars
While fares from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Auckland are advertised from $798 round-trip, we were able to find even cheaper rates while conducting sample searches for dates in June. Book tickets from as little as $738 round-trip, which works out to about $815, with all taxes and fees included!

Though unadvertised, sale fares are additionally available from gateways across the U.S. — for example, we turned up base fares from the East Coast from as low as $918 (via NYC) during our editor's sample searches.

The catch
The flight to Auckland clocks in at 12 hours from Los Angeles or San Francisco — and you’ll need some 20 hours to get there from the eastern U.S.

ShermansTravel is a guide to top travel deals and destinations. Sign up for Sherman's Top 25 e-newsletter which features the best editor-screened deals from hundreds of travel providers and is delivered to over 2.5 million subscribers, free, each week. ShermansTravel also publishes trip ideas and travel features to inspire, guide, and go.

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