Flights to Denver, Colorado

If you love craft beer, sport and live music, Denver was made for you. It's also an awesome launch pad for adventures into the Rockies.

Denver is called the 'mile-high city' because it sits at an elevation of 1609 metres (about one mile) above sea level. You'll be even higher if you escape to the Rockies, for skiing or hiking, where the scenery will blow the lens cap off your camera. Other reasons to enjoy this unique part of the USA include catching a show at one of the world's best outdoor concert venues, watching a live baseball or NFL game and tucking into exceptional farm-to-table food.

About our Auckland to Denver flights

Air New Zealand's alliance with United Airlines makes it easy to book all the way from Auckland to Denver International Airport through our website or the Air New Zealand app on your phone. Depending on the day and time you prefer to travel, your return flights to Denver will transit through Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco or Chicago. If you want to add other USA destinations to your trip, use the multistop booking feature - so much easier than booking all the flights separately and will ensure you receive the same baggage allowance and fare conditions throughout your trip. The Auckland to Denver flight time depends on transit duration, however it's generally about 18 hours.

If you're interested in cheap flights from Auckland to Denver or another city in the USA, we run regular special offers. You can sign up for low fare alerts to receive early notice of special airfares to Denver. You can also sign up to receive regular email updates about flight deals, packages, competitions and exclusive opportunities.

Things to do in Denver

Before you launch into a Rockies adventure, discover all that's great about Denver. Start by walking or biking some of the 64km Cherry Creek Trail, which begins in Confluence Park and ends at Castlewood Canyon State Park. Highlights at the city end of the trail include Four Mile House, a pioneer museum and park set on 12 acres; Cherry Creek Shopping Center, a chance to explore iconic stores like Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus; and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, where you can pick up tickets for a theatre or music performance.

A live sports match should be another top priority. From March to November you can catch a Rockies game at Coors Field, the home of Denver baseball. And from September to December it's NFL season - time to watch the Denver Broncos play at Broncos Stadium. Armed with a hot dog, cold beer and loud cheering voice, you'll feel like a local.

Denver has a fantastically eclectic live music scene, covering everything from folk and country (think John Denver tributes) to jazz and rock. It's easy to find a live act in a bar or you can plan ahead and get tickets for a show at the acoustically impeccable Red Rocks Amphitheatre, just outside the city. The amphitheatre is carved out of ochre sandstone, so this experience delivers equal quantities of geological and musical brilliance. While you're in the vicinity, check out Buffalo Bill's museum and grave at Lookout Mountain - an excellent location for some amazing shots of the nearby Rockies.

Craft beer and other pleasures

If Colorado had a middle name it would be beer. Craft breweries number in the hundreds and every autumn the state hosts the Great American Beer Festival, which is the largest beer festival in the USA. You can even eat craft beer ice cream. The majority of breweries are found in Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs and Fort Collins, but there are new contenders popping up in mountain towns. Every brewery has an angle and a story, which you can absorb while you sip the fruit of their labours.

Colorado also turns out some excellent wines, especially cabernet franc, riesling, petit verdot, viognier and carmine (a grape created by crossing cabernet sauvignon, merlot and carmenere). There's a swathe of wineries from Boulder to Colorado Springs that welcome visitors for tasting and winery lunches.

Foodwise, you'll be on the hog's back in Colorado. There's a passion for farm-to-table dining in the state, as well as Colorado-style green chilli, chilaquiles and mountain pizza. Famous local ingredients include lamb, farmed bison, cantaloupe and peaches. To get to the heart of local food, go to The Source - an artisanal market that's thick with specialty restaurants, street food vendors and premium ingredients. Another dining destination is Union Station, Denver's historic railway station. This place is still a transportation hub, but it's also where you'll find the Crawford Hotel and several acclaimed restaurants.

The Rocky Mountains and other national parks

Denver is your gateway to your very own Rocky Mountain high, whether you want to hit the snow, hike to the heavens, saddle up for a horse trek or shred some trails on a mountain bike.

In winter, there are ski resorts that are an hour's drive or less from downtown. Echo Mountain, Loveland, Eldora Mountain, Arapahoe Basin, Winter Park and Keystone are all super convenient. If you want to ski or snowboard the famous fields - Aspen, Breckenridge, Telluride, Vail or Beaver Creek - you can stay at accommodation right in the mountains to maximise time on the slopes. Snowshoeing, snowmobiling and dog-sledding are other wintertime activities you'll find in the Rockies.

When the snow's melted, usually by the end of May, the hiking, biking and horse riding season gets underway. There are trails for every level of fitness and agility, including 54 mountain peaks that rise 4270 meters (14,000 feet) or more above sea level. The locals call them 'fourteeners'.

Along with hikers, the mountains are alive with campers, hunters and anglers. Whichever direction your interests take you, there's a good chance of seeing wildlife, like bighorn sheep, moose, elk and mountain goats. Maybe you'll also be lucky enough to spot a predator - black bears, bobcats and mountain lions all call the Rockies home. If you're a bit of a twitcher, the Colorado Birding Trail connects you to more than 400 species across the state, from tiny bank swallows to massive bald eagles.

Colorado's other national parks are quite different to the Rockies. There's Mesa Verde National Park, which features ancient Pueblan dwellings built beneath the overhanging cliffs; Great Sand Dunes National Park, with its 78 square kilometres of other-worldly dunes; and Gunnison National Park, where Black Canyon is ready to wow you with 85kms of steep black rock walls along a narrow gorge.

Boulder and beyond

Just 45 minutes north from Denver, at the foot of the Flatirons rock formation, is the enthralling city of Boulder. Once a hippie hang-out, today Boulder's main claim to fame is proximity to places for outdoor pursuits - namely skiing, hiking and riding mountain bikes. One of the best things to do is a hike up Mount Sanitas. There are multiple trails to choose from, including the easy Mount Sanitas Trail that takes its time meandering up the mountain.

Boulder's centre of attention is Pearl Street, an open-air mall that's alive with restaurants, street performers, intriguing shops and great places to drink craft beer. And if you're in town on Wednesday or Saturday, the Boulder County Farmers Market is a must. An evening treat is tickets to whatever's on at Boulder Theatre, a 1906 opera house that hosts all kinds of live entertainment.

If the Colorado University Buffaloes are playing at Folsom Field, be there! You'll experience everything that's great about a USA sports event and the stadium has blockbuster views of the Rocky Mountain foothills.

Essential information

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Best time to go

If you're visiting Colorado for the snow, then you'll want to visit between November and May. All the other months are ideal for hiking and other outdoor pursuits, with low humidity and many blue sky days. The state's high altitude prevents the super-hot summer conditions you might experience in other parts of the USA.

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How much will it cost?

Not including air travel and hotels, you should allow about US$150 to $200 a day per person for food and entertainment.

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There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to the United States.

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If you're travelling on a New Zealand passport you won't need a visa, but you will need an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation). More about USA entry requirements.

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Air New Zealand - ATW Eco Airline of the Year 2019 

Air New Zealand has been crowned 'ATW Eco Airline of the Year' in the 2019 Air Transport World Airline Industry Awards.