Let's go on a stopover holiday

TOYKO: Make Japan a stopover and you could fit in a quick trip to Mt Fuji.
TOYKO: Make Japan a stopover and you could fit in a quick trip to Mt Fuji.

The departure Lounge Diversions column a few weeks back got me thinking about stretching a transit into a multiday stopover.

Surely, if you've travelled halfway around the world, what's wrong with adding a few extra days to the annual leave tally and discovering a new city?

The problem is you've probably done to death the usual stopover contenders, fun as they are.

HONOLULU: Now doesn't that beach look better that another 12 hours staring at the head of the person in the plane seat in front of you?
HONOLULU: Now doesn't that beach look better that another 12 hours staring at the head of the person in the plane seat in front of you?

Singapore's Changi and Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok airports are well known for making transits a breeze (a reputation Los Angeles' LAX can only dream of). If you prefer the Qantas and Emirates partnership, you're probably fairly used to Dubai's desert views.

So if you want to try something a bit different, a 48-hour stopover in one of these destinations is worth investigating.

The airline industry's preference for code-share flights and partnerships means this is certainly not an exhaustive list of options.


En route to: Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, Las Vegas, Seattle and more US cities

Main airlines: Hawaiian Airlines, or Air New Zealand (for LA flights)

Highlights: The Aloha state is definitely back on the radar for Kiwi travellers and 48 hours could be spent on Waikiki Beach alone.

Honolulu offers great shopping and day tours to the outer islands, including volcanoes, could make it a stopover to remember. Best to take advantage while the New Zealand dollar is strong.

More information: gohawaii.com


En route to: Los Angeles, Paris

Main airlines: Air Tahiti Nui (for LA and Paris), or Air New Zealand (for LA and domestic US connections, with United)

Highlights: Ferry to Moorea for a snorkelling or big game fishing trip, or explore Tahiti Nui's blowholes, black sand beaches and waterfront night markets with food trucks in Papeete.

More information: tahiti-tourisme.com


En route to: Rome, Venice

Main airlines: Air New Zealand (with Alitalia to Rome, Turkish Airlines to Venice)

Highlights: Shopping in Shinjuku, a day trip to Mt Fuji and, if you're an early riser, the Tsukiji fish markets for some fresh sashimi.

That's before sampling the robot, cat and sci-fi themed nightlife.

More information:  gotokyo.org


En route to: London, Cairo, Athens

Main airlines: Virgin Australia / Etihad

Highlights: Less frequented by New Zealand travellers compared to Dubai, an evening stroll along the waterfront Corniche or a desert safari on a camel will make you really appreciate your economy class seat for the second leg of your journey.

More information:  visitabudhabi.ae


En route to: Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, Rome

Main airlines: Air New Zealand (with Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic, China Eastern)

Highlights: The Chinese government has launched 72-hour transit visas for New Zealanders, meaning you can have time to relax and explore this Chinese commercial hub.

Travel through Pudong to Xujiahui, a shopping district in the old French district or explore the historical sights of the Bund adjacent to the Huangpu river.

More information: meet-in-shanghai.net


En route to: London, Toronto, and Montreal

Main airlines: Air New Zealand (with British Airways to London, Air Canada to Toronto and Montreal)

Highlights: Consistently voted on of the most "liveable" cities, Vancouver offers the wilderness on it's doorstep. Whether Stanley Park in summer or Whistler in winter, you'll soon see why. It's not just outdoorsy, with frequent cultural festivals throughout the year, covering food, film, opera, theatre and fireworks (guess which one draws the largest crowds?).

More information: tourismvancouver.com.

What's your favourite stopover destination? Leave a comment.

Sunday Star Times