How to maximise your annual leave in 2024

Whether you hit the beach, the barbecue or the open road, public holidays can be the perfect antidote to a busy working year. But what if there was a way to get even more from those bonus days off?

Planning your travel around public holidays can quickly turn a three-day weekend into a week-long adventure overseas; all while using as little of your hard-earned annual leave as possible.

In this article, we dive into how to plan strategically, maximise your travel, and enjoy up to 57 (yes 57!) days off while only using 18 of your annual leave days.


New Zealand public holidays 2024

Want to get as much adventure time as possible in the year ahead? Plan as early as possible, especially if your coworkers are competing for the same holiday dates. New Zealand’s 2024 public holidays are:

  • New Year’s Day Monday 1 January
  • Day after New Year’s Day Tuesday 2 January
  • Waitangi Day Tuesday 6 February
  • Good Friday Friday 29 March
  • Easter Monday Monday 1 April
  • Anzac Day Thursday 25 April
  • King’s Birthday Monday 3 June
  • Matariki Friday 28 June
  • Labour Day Monday 28 October
  • Christmas Day Wednesday 25 December
  • Boxing Day Thursday 26 December

And for good measure – here’s the early 2025 dates:

  • New Year's Day Wednesday 1 January
  • Day after New Year's Day Thursday 2 January
  • Auckland Day Monday 27 January
  • Waitangi Day Thursday 6 February

We haven’t included the regional holidays in these lists - but be sure to check yours as you may be able to add another day to a long weekend (pro-tip: they’re great for city breaks!).


Maximise your travel over Easter

As you can see above, March - April holds the best opportunity for successive public holiday dates that you can plan your travel around. Consider this scenario:

Take 4 days off over Easter to get a 10-day holiday.

  • Friday 29 March: Good Friday Public Holiday
  • Saturday 30 March: Weekend
  • Sunday 31 March: Easter Sunday (Weekend)
  • Monday 1 April: Easter Monday Public Holiday
  • Tuesday 2 April: Annual Leave
  • Wednesday 3 April: Annual Leave
  • Thursday 4 April: Annual Leave
  • Friday 5 April: Annual Leave
  • Saturday 6 April: Weekend
  • Sunday 7 April: Weekend

This Easter break provide plenty of time to explore far and wide, whether that’s along the beaches of Bali or visiting our neighbour across the ditch.


Best Easter holiday escapes

So, you’ve picked your dates, booked your leave, and now have travel ideas up your sleeve. Here are five of the top Easter holiday escapes for beach-lovers, foodies and anyone in between.


1. Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka

Mountainous jungle, endless beaches, breathtaking wildlife and rich in culture - there’s a reason why Sri Lanka has quickly become a hot tourist destination. In April, the east coast enjoys fine weather with areas like Arugam Bay and Yala National Park attracting surfers, foodies, yogis and animal lovers.


2. Singapore

Singapore is a great option if you’re after an easy, direct flight and a few days shopping, relaxing and indulging in some spa activity! Visit the iconic Marina Bay Sands (and that iconic pool!), and take a stroll around the impressive National Gallery.


3. Sydney, Australia

It may not be as exotic as the shores of Sri Lanka or the action of Singapore, however, Sydney has plenty to offer in the Autumn months. The famous Sydney Royal Easter Show runs from 22 March – 2 April in 2024 and will delight the kids with rides, animals, concerts and more.


4. Los Angeles, California

Come April, Los Angeles dusts itself off from the winter chill and welcomes the return of warmer days in spring. While it’s not quite beach weather every day, the clear skies and pleasant temperatures are great for exploring Santa Monica and the surrounds, or for hitting the highway on a USA road trip.


5. Kyoto, Japan

Picture vibrant cherry blossoms set against the incredible Mt Fuji in the distance - the beauty of Kyoto truly comes alive in April. Cherry blossom viewing, locally known as hanami, is a favourite past time in Japan and draws travellers from all around the world who come to enjoy their piece of postcard perfection.


Long weekends made longer

So, you’ve got Easter sorted – here are some other long weekends to consider for your holiday planning!



An easy four-day weekend can be had around ANZAC day.

  • Thursday 25 April: Anzac Day
  • Friday 26 April: Annual leave
  • Saturday 27 April: Weekend
  • Sunday 28 April: Weekend

Kings Weekend, Matariki and Labour Day

Take that cheeky Friday or Monday off on Kings Weekend, Matariki or Labour Day to get an extra day, work-free!


Christmas and January 2024-25

Be the envy of your friends and get super organised for the summer. Get a chunky 16-day break over Christmas by booking the below dates – thank us later!

  • Saturday 21 December: Weekend
  • Sunday 22 December: Weekend
  • Monday 23 December: Annual leave
  • Tuesday 24 December: Annual leave
  • Wednesday 25 December: Christmas Day public holiday
  • Thursday 26 December: Boxing Day public holiday
  • Friday 27 December: Annual leave
  • Saturday 28 December: Weekend
  • Sunday 29 December: Weekend
  • Monday 30 December: Annual leave
  • Tuesday 31 December: Annual leave
  • Wednesday 1 January 2025: New Year’s Day public holiday
  • Thursday 2 January 2025: Day after New Year’s Day public holiday
  • Friday 3 January 2025: Annual leave
  • Saturday 4 January 2025: Weekend
  • Sunday 5 January 2025: Weekend

Best overseas destinations close to New Zealand

Wanting a quicker trip - or don’t have enough annual leave to stray too far from home? Organising your travel around any of the public holidays on the calendar is still a great way to get the most from the public holidays. Here are five of the best destinations just a short flight from New Zealand.


1. Byron Bay, Australia

Many would argue that Byron Bay, the most easterly point of the Australian mainland, is also Australia’s most beautiful bay. Sweeping white sand beaches, crystal waters and world-class waves make Byron Bay a paradise for surfers, and countless restaurants, boutiques and markets mean there’s plenty to enjoy once the sun goes down.


2. Coral Coast, Fiji

Nowhere says tropical desktop screensaver quite like Fiji. At only four hours from Auckland to Nadi, you can go from the departure lounge to dangling in a hammock on the nearby Coral Coast in the space of a day, making it the ideal quick trip.


3. Vava’u, Tonga

The so-called ‘Friendly Islands’ have long been a favourite for Kiwi travellers. With kaleidoscopic coral reefs, undiscovered islands and laid back locals welcoming you to their shores, it’s easy to see why.


4. Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Watching the sunset over the ocean on the island of Raratonga in the Cook Islands will have you feeling a million miles from home. The isolated island nation has everything you’d hope for in a tropical escape with a rich local community.


5. Bali, Indonesia

Bali isn’t quite as close as the other destinations on this list. However, those few extra hours of travel will soon be forgotten when you’re floating in an infinity pool in a cliffside villa overlooking the Pacific.


Tips for travelling on public holidays

Here are five key things to remember when travelling over public holiday periods:


1. Consider a red-eye flight

If you’re pressed for time, consider travelling straight from work to the airport and flying out at night to avoid losing any precious travel time.

2. Consider the school holidays

Public holidays often fall in school holiday periods, which can mean heavier crowds and higher costs. Booking your flights and accommodation early is a great way to lock in a deal before prices reach their peak. Consider setting a price alert on a flight website, which will send you an email when prices for specific journeys are at their lowest.

3. Book your leave before you coworkers do

Your office may not be able to accommodate too many travelling staff at the one time, so book in your leave as early as you can.

4. Prepare for busy airports

Departure lounges can be predictably busy around public holiday periods, with other savvy travellers racing to take advantage of the extra time off. Give yourself plenty of time to check-in and find your gate.

5. Accommodation can be more expensive

Holiday periods often means peak prices, especially over Easter and Christmas. Shop around to find a bargain and don’t be afraid to ask for discounted rates if you’re staying for more than a few nights.

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