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Australia + New Zealand 2017

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We're just beginning to envision a trip to Australia & New Zealand next year ... we haven't even started researching the guidebooks yet (we will shortly).
We're in our early 70's, very active, like outdoors and hiking as well as general sightseeing. We haven't yet envisioned the duration of the trip, but likely to be more or less around a month in length.
Question:
1. If given a choice, what months would you recommend?
2. Any thoughts about flying non-stop from the US/Canada west coast, or breaking it up with a 1 day stop somewhere each way?
3. Any thoughts about things to see/do that might not be in the major guidebooks?

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