Tess Nichol is an NZME. News Service reporter.

Bring on the long weekend . . .

Plenty of deals around for the last holiday weekend in four months.
Pop over to Boracay in the Philippines for a long-weekend break. Photo / Getty Images
Pop over to Boracay in the Philippines for a long-weekend break. Photo / Getty Images

It's the last long weekend until October but there's still time to get away for Queen's Birthday.

For those wanting to escape before winter sets in, flights to Australia from Auckland can still be scored for under $500, said Flight Centre retail manager Sue Matson.

Return flights to Brisbane, where it was a balmy 20C yesterday, were $400 a person on Flight Centre's website. For $550 you could get to Sydney - but the weather there wasn't much better than much of New Zealand yesterday.

It may be better to splash out on Rarotonga for about $1000 for real sun or even the Philippines for around $750 and a sun-scorched 31C. "Boracay, south of Manila is accessible and stunningly beautiful," Matson said.

Booking on dates with lower demand could mean cheaper flights. "If you're flexible with your dates and aren't restricted to the long weekend, try taking a day off either side."

However, the good news for those not wanting to spend too much is that rain is predicted to bypass much of the long weekend.

Apart from a few showers in the upper and eastern parts of the North Island on Saturday, the long-range forecast for winter's first weekend was looking good, said Philip Duncan of WeatherWatch.

"We have a high pressure system rolling into the country bringing settled weather."

Auckland and Hamilton could expect brief showers on Saturday morning, but Sunday and Monday should be fine.

"This time of the year our weather is usually really messed up," said Duncan. "It might just perfectly work out for the long weekend. I think most Kiwis should be very happy."

Bookabach.co.nz offers a range of getaway options at a range of different prices. The Cute River House in Piha costs $200 a night and can sleep up to eight people. It has three bedrooms, a bathroom and its own private swimming hole below the house. A luxury waterfront bach in Russell will set you back $575 a night.

- Herald on Sunday

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