Travel advice for Australia/NZ

I know there are a few Aussie/NZ dopers around here, and I’m sure there are people who have visited there, so I’m asking for some advice. I’m planning a trip to the Southern hemisphere over Chirstmas, probably with at least 3 weeks and maybe as much as a month of time there. I have to be in Melbourne on Christmas itself.

I’d really like to see New Zealand, and I’m open to other suggestions. Now, I always laugh at tourists who come to Canada and want to see Vancouver, Toronto, and Halifax, and I know Australia is a huge country, so I need to ask - how much is it possible for me to see in this time frame? How do you get from place to place - is airfare from NZ to Australia prohibitive, or not so bad? Buses, trains?

I also wonder what people think the best airline is to travel to Australia is, and what routes you have found to be best? I’m in Halifax, and most people I know have gone via LA if at all, but would London be a better route?

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Can’t speak for the Aussie side of things, but I’d say allow yourself a 3-1 ratio, with three weeks in Aussie, say, and a week here in NZ. Even that would be a bit of a rush. Depends on how much cool stuff you want to see over in Aussie, as well.

A bit of a start toward what we have to offer here is this NZ travel guide.

What sort of things appeal to you? My wife and I spent 3 weeks in Oz and NZ (actually, 10 days in Oz, 9 in NZ, and 2 flying there and back…)

In Melbourne, you’re not far from Tasmania, which is maybe the only state/territory that is small enough to reasonably be explored by car (IMHO). We liked the Cradle Mountain area there, as well as the more wild west side of the island. New Zealand had more picture-postcard views, but Tasmania had more interesting flora and fauna. Overall Tasmania is in some ways more like New Zealand than it is the rest of Australia.

Port Arthur and Hobart should defintely be visited.

I can’t speak to what’s in Melbourne - I’ve only changed planes there. Sydney is very much worth visiting. Do you have the time / inclination to head out to the Great Barrier Reef?

Our tastes run more to hiking and natural beauty, so we enjoyed the South Island of New Zealand more than the North. We flew from Melbourne directly to Christchurch on the South Island and started our tour (by rental car) from there.

We have some active Dopers around these parts who can give you much more detailed advice. I haven’t been down there in 12 years.

To browse flight fares, try here: Australian Expedia

Presumably fares are in AU$.

Most flights from Halifax to Melbourne that I can find take the Pacific route, with some connections in Toronto or the USA.

I been to OZ and NZ a couple of times. I flew out of LAX on Air NZ; and also flew on Quantas on flights between Adelaide, Perth, Alice Springs, and Sydney. The flights were pretty much on time and I found air travel down under generally more pleasant than in the States.

I’ve only been to the South Island. If you give yourself eight days, you could hit the high points starting at Christchurch. You could explore the top half, heading up to Kaikoura, Nelson and back via Greymouth and Arthur’s Pass, or the bottom half, going down to Doubtful/Milford Sound, over to Queenstown and then over to the coast to check out the Glaciers.

Since you’ll be in Melbourne, you might consider checking out The Great Ocean Road.

One thing about that time of the year is that in NZ at least it’s the summer holidays for schools, starting just before Christmas and finishing at the end of January. Most workers have their summer holidays from Christmas on, so until mid January a lot of places are overflowing with visitors. Well, it is from my perspective :stuck_out_tongue:

So you may want to think about prebooking accommodation, rental cars etc. High season rates will apply too.

Long time since I’ve been to Aus, we drove Sydney to Canberra, but it was cheaper/easier to travel Syd/ melbourne by plane. A friend commented that she spent most of her aussie holiday in airports, trying to see all ‘the important bits’ in one trip.

New Zealand is easier to get around by car - but you’ll still miss heaps, however you go.

could be helpful.

This is great - keep it coming! I’m bookmarking all these sites to read covertly at work tomorrow.

For internal travel in Australia use and Both sites have regular sales of flights. I picked two random days 13 and 15 September and checked their fares against the Expedia site. Expedia lists some of the cheap Virgin flights slightly dearer than Virgin at $117 but Jetstar have $69 and $79 flights to Melbourne and $79 flights back.

I have used nothing but for hotel accomodation in Australia for as long as I can remember. Terrific bargains if you are happy to book closer to travel times.