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Australia and New Zealand

sarahuflsarahufl New York member
Tenth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
We have three weeks in December to go to Australia and New Zealand. No specific, hard budget but we don't want to go super nuts.

What is a good itinerary? We like a mix of city/rural/beaches/outdoor activities.

Re: Australia and New Zealand

  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    Have you checked out TripAdvisor?  I usually start there when trying to plan a trip.  Also, if I'm doing it independently, I will also look at the itineraries of guided tours to give me an idea of good areas to base myself in and things to see.  Good luck, that sounds like an amazing trip!
  • We did a cruise (Celebrity), with extra days on the front end in Auckland and Sydney.  It offered a ton of variety, and we loved it.  (The only negative was that we were by far the youngest people on the cruise ship.)  In total we spent about $12,000.  The flights alone were about $4,000 total.
  • Jells2dot0Jells2dot0 Cowtown mod
    Moderator Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    We got married and HMed in Australia. We focused primarily on the Great Barrier Reef- Brisbane, Heron Island, Wilson Island, Cairns, and Lizard Island. Cairns will be quite hot in December, so you will want to stay south of there if you can. Perhaps check out Hamilton Island or the Witsundays for some Great Barrier Reef time. We enjoyed Heron Island, but it was far from luxurious. It has some amazing nature programs, which is what drew us there. 

    For the more rural in Australia, you might want to look into the Blue Mountain area.

    I don't know too much about New Zealand. We started planning a trip there and then our office announced it was closing, so we wanted to move before going. And now I'm sick. LOL Maybe one day :)


  • Jells2dot0Jells2dot0 Cowtown mod
    Moderator Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    If you end up flying Air New Zealand, they have SkyCouches. It's a tight squeeze for two full sized adults, but it allowed me to lay down and sleep on the flight into Auckland. 


  • What I have heard is that three weeks is just enough time to see New Zealand. You may want to narrow and only focus on one location, otherwise you'll be missing a lot! You obviously must view Milford Sound! 
  • I'm also going to australia.  Don't have it planned yet, but an acquaintance who's husband grew up in Australia told me Hamilton Island is a must if you want the relaxing beach time 
  • Like PP said...3 weeks for both countries is tight considering the travel time between places. You can do it if you're heart is set on both...you'll just have to pick and choose. I'd do city & beaches in Australia and the outdoor/rural in New Zealand. It will be summer there in Dec and Cairns is definitely hot/humid but the rainforest/Great Barrier Reef make it worth it IMO. Here's some ideas of places to go just realize you'll have to add travel days in and if you want to scuba dive at the Great Barrier Reef you can't fly for a certain number of hours before/after diving (the tour companies usually have that info on their sites...it's been a few years so I can't remember exactly what it was). Australia: 3 days - Cairns (or surrounding area)- Great Barrier Reef day tour, Daintree Rainforest day tour, Rainforestation (feed kangaroos & hold a koala) 2 days- Sydney- Opera House, boat ride in harbor, etc. Personally I'm from a big city so 2 full days was more than enough for me in Sydney but it's just a personal preference. 3 days- Melbourne to Adelaide...rent a car and drive along the Great Ocean Road...it's breathtaking and you can get your beach time in. New Zealand: 7 days Rent a car and drive around...I'd spend most of the time on the south island. There's lots of options for hiking/nature activities. Some things to look into: Fly into Milford Sound on a small plane (the mountains/glaciers are out of this world) Cruise on Milford Sound Glow worm cave tour With this itinerary you'll lose around 6 days (some just part of the day) flying there/back and between cities. Depending on how the flights work out. It can be done for sure as long as you're willing to be on the go.
  • Ugh this was our dream trip.. sadley we could not afford it. Have a great time know matter what you choose!!!!
  • Cool. We are planning a diving trip in north east Australia and some island next year as a late honeymoon. I think the plan is Fiji, Syndey, then a liveaboard off Cairns. :) H's job is kind of uncertain so we can't do much beyond look at options. But, it's fun to check stuff out. Loving all the suggestions!
    "There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness." -Friedrich Nietzsche, "On Reading and Writing"
  • I live in NZ and I'm happy to help if I can.  3 weeks is a tight squeeze for both countries but if you have parts of each country it's doable.  
    What part of NZ are you looking to visit?  The north or south island?  Either way, rent a car.  The landscape in NZ is like no other place I've lived or travelled.  The south island is less populated, but both islands are beautiful.  
    If you were thinking about the south island, I would visit Queenstown, Wanaka, Lake Tekapo, Dunedin and Christchurch.  You can rent a car and do a really nice drive.
    The north island has Auckland.  I would visit Waiheke Island (ferry ride from Auckland).  It's beautiful with great wineries.  Drive up to the Bay of Plenty and then to the far north.  Go up the east coast and down the west.  Or you can head south from Auckland.  
    Again, I'm happy to answer any questions.  Have a great time!
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