Developments Down Under

On the last day of the dueling V Australia and Qantas sales, Air New Zealand has decided to join the fray and throw their kiwi in the ring, so to speak. For this week-long sale, the best deals are limited to May departures, with prices higher at other times, but it does include some very nice freebies. Australia fares start at $940 with taxes from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Cairns and the Gold Coast and come with the customary free Auckland stopover option, while Auckland fares include an addtional domestic New Zealand destination for an all-inclusive $890, allowing you to pop down to, say, Wellington, Christchurch or Queenstown for free. Even more enticing, though, is the free stopover in a South Pacific paradise of your choice, be it Samoa, Tonga or Cook Island (Rarotonga), saving you the usual $150 stopover fee.