Many people tend to lump New Zealand and Australia together with that catch-all term ‘Down Under”. True, both are south of the equator, but that’s where most similarities come to a screeching halt. New Zealand and Australia each have their pros and cons on the travel scale, and here’s a list of a few of them.
Getting To and Fro
Australia is huge. Huge. It is its own continent, after all. New Zealand is much more manageable, especially for the traveler on a time schedule. A ferry links the north and south islands for the road or train traveler, and a flight between Auckland and Christchurch takes just over an hour. That being said, it’s not as if air and train and road travel don’t exist in Australia, but much more time will be spent on travel between cities.
Cosmos or Beer
With the exception of Auckland, New Zealand is still quite a rural and laid back country. This is a big draw for many travelers, but for those in search of thumping nightlife, some of Australia’s very cosmopolitan cities may be a better fit. Sydney and Melbourne are consistently at the top of the list for internationally recognized DJs and clubs, as well as frequent visits by touring acts from around the world. Brisbane and Darwin come highly recommended, as well.
Weather plays a huge factor in travel decisions, which is especially true when outdoor sports are involved. New Zealand definitely has the upper hand if a ski trip is on your radar, as its volcanic terrain has inspired some great ski resorts. Surfing is popular in both countries, so it comes down to a personal warm or cold water preference. The same holds true with SCUBA diving, but Australia has the Great Barrier Reef, and that’s hard for any country to compete with.
New Zealand has that type of landscape that inspires magic, and epic films like Lord of the Rings. From fjords to volcanos to grasslands, New Zealand’s landscapes are stunning in their beauty. But so is Australia’s. The Outback offers some of the best desert scenery on the planet, including Alice Springs and the impressive Ayers Rock. Additionally, people flock from all over the globe to Australia’s pristine beaches and thousands of miles of coastline.
In the wildlife department, Australia takes the cake. With its abundance of marsupials, including the cute kangaroos and koalas, as well as many species of lizard, snake, birds, mammals and a vast array of sea life, Australia is a nature lover’s dream. Of course, New Zealand has wildlife as well, but the kiwi simply can’t compete.
In a perfect travel world, we could travel to each country in the world and make our own opinions about the best and the less than best. At the end of the day however, it is up to you, the traveler, to decide whether Australia or New Zealand is next on your travel agenda. Each destination has its own very distinct culture, people, sights and activities to take part in, any of which will be a highlight in and of itself.
Also in a perfect world, we could answer this question simply using the rugby quotient, and we all know what the result would be.