It's 6,000 miles from North Island to the Korean Peninsula, which means cheap flights to South Korea from New Zealand will typically take in the region of 12 hours when going direct. Seoul – the bucket-list capital of the country – is the most likely place to arrive. It's a throbbing mass of a metropolis, home to Joseon-era palaces and neon-lit districts where beating bars pulse to Gangnam tunes. However, it's not the only choice. You could also opt to jet into the salty fish bazaars and sandy bays of Busan on the Sea of Japan. Or, there are indirect connections that go to off-beat Jeju, where you'll discover rugged cliffs, lava craters, caves, and waters teeming with marine life.
Gyeongbokgung Palace is where Seoul looks to the past. The onetime home of the Joseon Dynasty, it's a grand mass of dragon-wreathed court rooms and serene pavilions.
Jeju is a far cry from Seoul. Here, neon-lit streets are swapped with lava landscapes, volcano peaks, and golden beaches.
The UNESCO reserve of Seoraksan National Park includes wonders like jagged Dinosaur Ridge and sweeping forests of yew and fir.
Air New Zealand and Korean Air fly direct between New Zealand and South Korea.
Singapore Airlines is the best airline to fly from New Zealand to South Korea. For non-stop flights then Air New Zealand is the best. Jetstar is the best low-cost airline.