After a long break, Virgin Australia has returned to New Zealand, connecting Queenstown with three Australian cities. Flights to the South Island begin just in time as travelers gear up to enjoy their summer break and explore options to indulge in adventure activities. Queenstown is part of Virgin Australia’s larger international expansion that will see more destinations in the coming weeks and months.

Back in New Zealand

After almost 1,000 days, Virgin Australia has started flights to New Zealand as it looks to re-establish its network following the pandemic. The last time it flew across the pond was in March 2020, after which it suspended all international flights as the COVID virus forced travel restrictions.

Starting today, Virgin Australia will connect Sydney (SYD) and Brisbane (BNE) with Queenstown (ZQN) with daily flights and, from tomorrow, four weekly departures from Melbourne (MEL). This will change to daily flights during the peak Christmas holiday period (December 12th, 2022 – January 29th, 2023).

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Flight route

A one-way economy fare is priced at almost $540, but the airline celebrated the occasion by offering around 15,000 return economy tickets for $409 in a five-day sale.

Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka commented,

“Australians and New Zealanders have a close bond and we are proud to be creating a new gateway between the countries for friends and family to visit each other, businesses to flourish and holiday-makers to seek adventure with more choice and great value airfares.”


The airline is returning to New Zealand just in time for the busy summer season in Southern Hemisphere, which typically sees many Australians look for destinations that can offer adventurous outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, and water sports.

Virgin Australia enters an already crowded sector filled with competitor airlines such as Qantas, Jetstar, and Air New Zealand and, for now, has stayed away from larger cities such as Auckland and Christchurch.

Virgin Australia Boeing 737

Photo: Virgin Australia

The airline is also hoping that increased tourist demand will help fill up the seats on these flights, with Group Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer Alistair Hartley commenting,

“We are seeing strong demand across our international network over the Christmas school holiday period. Our flights to Queenstown will increase to 21 per week between 12 December and 29 January, with a daily service operating from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, to help meet the demand.”

International expansion

Virgin Australia has more offshore destinations planned in the coming months, such as the relaunch of services between Adelaide and Bali, commencing on December 14th. The airline has also announced direct flights to Vanuatu and Samoa beginning in March 2023.

Virgin Australia Being 737

Photo: Virgin Australia

Direct services from Brisbane to Vanuatu’s capital, Port Vila, will be five per week from March 10th, with a three times weekly service from Sydney launching on March 21st. The Samoan capital of Apia will have twice-weekly direct flights from Brisbane from March 23rd.

Virgin Australia also offers its passengers more than 500 global destinations to choose from through its partnerships with Qatar Airways, United Airlines, and Singapore Airlines.

Are you excited to see another airline connecting Australia with New Zealand? Please leave your comments below.


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