IN BOUND: Air New Zealand landing at Sunshine Coast Airport.
IN BOUND: Air New Zealand landing at Sunshine Coast Airport. Contributed

Kiwis are coming to warm up

A DROP in the mercury can mean only one thing - the Kiwis are coming into winter and Noosa is one of their favourite destinations to beat the cold.

Sunshine Coast Airport is preparing for a winter rush with a snappy national marketing slogan - sunshine by lunchtime - to coincide with Air New Zealand's non-stop seasonal service starting July 7 and running until October 29.

Tourism Noosa reported in March that Noosa had enjoyed significant growth in visitor nights from New Zealand, with a 25.3% jump to 174,000 nights.

Sunshine Coast Airport general manager Peter Pallot said the annual Air New Zealand services had gone from strength to strength in the past six years, with passenger numbers increasing year on year as awareness grew.

"Each year we look forward to welcoming our Air New Zealand visitors flying direct to the Sunshine Coast,” MrPallot said.

"Air New Zealand is a strong and valued partner of Sunshine Coast Airport and their continued investment in the region is testament to the popularity of the direct flights over the July to October season.”

Visit Sunshine Coast chief executive Simon Latchford said the region's mild and sunny winter was ideal for Kiwis wanting to escape the chilly weather, with temperatures remaining near the 25degrees mark all winter.

Air New Zealand's Cam Wallace said the popularity of the Coast as a destination had grown steadily.

"By timing our services to depart Auckland at 9.30am, Kiwis can arrive at lunchtime ready to kick off their winter break and enjoy the very best Sunshine Coast has to offer.”

New Zealand is the largest international market for the Sunshine Coast. About 66,000 visitors travelled across the ditch to the year ending December 2016 - an increase of 9.2% from 2015.