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3 weeks in NZ - is it worth doing a stopover on the way back?

(18 Posts)
bigTillyMint Sat 24-Jan-15 18:39:57

Having finally persuaded DH that NZ is a good idea this summer, he is now looking for flights. As cheap as possible (nowt wrong with that as long as he isn't compromising us onto the most uncomfortable seats) of course.

So is it worth doing a stopover in Singapore or Hong Kong or somewhere else on the way back? And where would you recommend?

It is much cheaper to fly there/back without breaking the flights for a couple/three nights stopover somewhere, so I am now wondering whether it is really worth doing a stopover?

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 24-Jan-15 19:03:11

I would do a stopover in somewhere like Singapore or Hong Kong especially on departing for there. Air NZ also fly via LA but I would not recommend that option at all.

Cheap is not always cheerful especially if you have to sit on the aircraft for the best part of 2 days without a stopover and only seeing the inside of another airport terminal before having to reboard. You need food other than airline food and fresh air if nothing else. I would stopover both ways if at all possible.

specialsubject Sat 24-Jan-15 20:57:06

are you going in their winter?

EldonAve Sat 24-Jan-15 21:08:40

I would never bother with a stopover but then we are always pushed for time
I prefer to have as much time in the destination and get the horror of travel out of the way

Others have said Singapore is good to stop off in even just for a short time as there is a swimmming pool

ToastedOrFresh Sat 24-Jan-15 21:15:29

Stop over in Singapore or Hong Kong on the way there. By the time you are coming home you will have a suitcase full of stale clothes and be tired and will have spent all your holiday money. if you're anything like DH and I

When you leave NZ you will be in 'going home' mode. Any stop over on the way home will just feel like a delay. Also, going from one westernised country to another will not be to difficult. So, if you stop over in the far east on the way out you may well be more ready for it.

bigTillyMint Sun 25-Jan-15 07:26:30

Thanks - some great thoughts and suggestions!

Attila, that is exactly what I was thinking, though there's no guarantee that any plane in economy is going to be remotely comfortable for 24 hours!

I was thinking of Singapore on the way back - it seems a shame not to visit somewhere else when we have gone all that way, but I can see that we may just want to arrive home after 3 weeks in NZ!

Special, we have to go in the summer hols as we are both teachers and the DC are both teens and so we can't miss any school to go at Christmas and DH wouldn't consider going for less than 2 weeks. We went at the same time 15 years ago and had beautiful weather (apart from Windy, and rainy, Wellington!) but I know we might not be so lucky again.

specialsubject Sun 25-Jan-15 11:33:48

winter in NZ is not a no-go, but obviously you have to think of short days and icy roads. But as you've found you can get better weather; west coast south island is apparently much less rainy in winter.

quite right to make it 3 weeks. And strongly recommend stopover,after many hours on a plane the last thing you want to do is get on another one.

Singapore is a wonderful place and really easy to get around. HK is a lot further from its airport and more of a culture shock. Both well worth seeing, but at least with Singapore you know where you stand with weather. BTW there's no need to go shopping or to Sentosa, loads of much more interesting things to see and do. And oh, the food..

bigTillyMint Sun 25-Jan-15 13:50:41

Right, I am going to see if I can persuade DH.

Do you think 2 nights is long enough for a stopover?

MincePieDiet Sun 25-Jan-15 13:56:22

Yes you can see a lot of Singapore in 2 nights, also same for HK. I would do it on the way out there and make it part of the trip. The return is not fun. You will be tired and as someone said in coming home mode.

railwayworker Sun 25-Jan-15 15:30:27

Funny, I'd always go for a stopover on the way back. Our reasoning is that on the way out you're excited enough to cope with the straight through trip, despite the hell that is economy for 24 hours. On the way back there's nothing to look forward to other than getting back to work, so it feels even more of a chore to sit in economy for 24 hours, and a stopover is even more welcome.

Personally I wouldn't exactly call HK a culture shock, especially not based on what you're likely to do/see in just a short stopover but really, either would be great - I'd probably just go with whichever has cheaper flights.

If you only have a few hours in the stopover then I would pick Singapore, you can have a swim without leaving the airport and get a room in the transit hotel for a shower and a lie down if long enough. But I wouldn't be paying any extra for that, last time I did a similar trip my bargain basement flight gave me about 8 hours in Singapore.

bigTillyMint Sun 25-Jan-15 15:45:16

We are quite well world travelled, so not bothered about culture shocks!

Railway worker, did you book into the transit hotel to do that? It might be worth trying to just do that to break the journey?

railwayworker Sun 25-Jan-15 17:01:13

Yes, it was a good few years ago now so things may have changed but the minimum booking period was 6 hours. It felt amazing to have a long hot shower and lie flat for a couple of hours. Unless it's moved it was near the free cinema I think.

specialsubject Sun 25-Jan-15 17:15:44

you don't need to book into the transit hotel for any of this; showers can be purchased separately (and agree, brilliant!), as can lounge access. Also lots of places to relax, there are lounger chairs scattered about for free.

all these delights are airside only.

but I think Singapore is very well worth a visit,however short.

ICantDecideOnAUsername Sun 25-Jan-15 17:23:32

We did NZ via Hong Kong last February and loved it. Think if HK as China for beginners grin. I wanted Singapore but the cheaper flights at the time were via HK but was glad in the end. Cathay Pacific were really good. We also had Air New Zealand for the NZ legs and they were good too.
I would recommend a stop over. It's a long way and its a shame not to make the most of it.
If you go via HK I would recommend the holiday inn on Jervois street on Hong Long Island (they should pay me commission!). The underground is also really good and very cheap, it goes from the airport to almost anywhere so no real need for taxis. Victoria peak is well worth the trip and take a boat over to Kowloon. We blew our budget in Disneyland but you don't have to go there smile. I really wanted to do the cable cars but we ran out of time.
We didn't do a stopover on the way back but if you want to stop somewhere different it will cost you big time as it means getting two singles rather than a return, although I think Virgin do two different stopovers but in random places. It's no more expensive to have a stopover, the travel agent just books you on different flights. Have fun, I'm very jealous.

Christelle2207 Sun 25-Jan-15 17:29:06

I think HK is far better a destination than singapore but almost warrants its own trip- we went for 5 night which was ideal. I've done a few 1-2 day stopovers in singapore and it's easier to navigate around and get to/from the airport so if you're limited to a couple of days would do that instead. Not that HK is a particularly stressful place to go but Singapore is excellent as an "asia for beginners" sort of place. I do think going on the way out would be better tho. In singapore, recommend a cocktail at the marina bay hotel at sunset.

Zebrasinpyjamas Sun 25-Jan-15 17:39:26

A couple of nights in either would be fun. HK would be my preferred choice of the two. Some flights go via Bangkok too which can be interesting. In HK you can do self guided walking tours ( all listed in the guidebooks) which are a great way of getting around the markets. We have stayed in Kowloon every time we go which is a good base (and cheaper to stay than HK Island).

3-4 days in either place would be enough to get a real flavour of the place.

bigTillyMint Sun 25-Jan-15 17:48:27

This is great - thanks everyone!

We have been to Bangkok (when we went to Thailand) and would want to do a longer trip if we were going to Hong Kong, I think. Now I have to convince DHwink

Hippopotamousse Tue 27-Jan-15 16:42:46

We stopped in Kuala Lumpur for a few nights on the way back from NZ a few years ago. We just picked the cheapest flights and decided as the plane was stopping in KL we'd spend a few days there - it was a nice city.

We've also done Hong Kong and Beijing as stopovers. Beijing involved additional flights to and from HK. When we did this trip I think STA travel were offering free internal flights in Asia with Cathay Pacific - as we'd already been to HK it was a good opportunity to visit another city on the way back from NZ.

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