Australia & New Zealand when to go

Old Oct 24th, 2023, 06:42 PM
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Australia & New Zealand when to go

My husband and I (70 and 71) want to visit Australia and New Zealand next year, but don't want to go through a tour company. I pretty much plan our trips, but am a loss as to when to go. I know Australia is huge and there is so much to see both there and in New Zealand. Husband wants to go through a travel package bc there'd be so much moving from place to place. I do not, because we would be stuck with an itinerary that isn't flexible, might include sights we aren't interested in and would be more costly. Would really appreciate any help/advice on this. Thanks so much in advance.
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Old Oct 25th, 2023, 03:24 AM
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Things that are important for Australia- time of year for your trip and how long do you have? A​lso what sort of things do you want to see and do​?

If you have a week I'd ​suggest stick​ing to Sydney and surrounding areas​, or Melbourne and surrounds. If you have a month you could visit Far North Queensland and see the Daintree and Great ​Barrier ​Reef or maybe the Red Centre with Uluru (Ayers Rock). B​ut time of year matters a lot. The northern part of Australia has a hot dry climate for 6 months and a hot wet climate for the other six. Southern area​s ha​ve the more typical four seasons​, with Tasmania probably the coldest as it's the furthest south. If you don't like heat and humidity, avoid the North from about Nov-April.

Sydney and Melbourne, and our capital city Canberra, will have the most museums and art galleries, if that's of ​i​nterest. If you want to see wildlife, in the wild, country Victoria would work. There are zoos in all states as another option. For scenery, Sydney Harbour is pretty special, with the Opera House and the bridge. You can catch ferries around the harbour for the beach, walks etc.

​Because of the distances between major cities here, you really need to fly. There are trains but they are very slow, especially compared to other countries with much better public transport. You can get around the big cities easily on bus/tram/train etc but if you venture outside the city area, a car would be best unless you do an organised day tour. Make sure you have travel insurance and you need a tourist visa (I would get it online before you book flights etc). If you're not sure of the official government website for the visa, let us know. Reading over some of the other threads on the Australia and New Zealand forum, you will get good ideas.

Hopefully this helps a little, I agree it's hard to plan a trip for somewhere you really don't know.
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Old Oct 25th, 2023, 07:41 AM
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Thanks so much Kay for this detailed advice Kay. We are planning for two weeks in Australia. Should have posted that initially.
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Old Oct 25th, 2023, 02:11 PM
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Hello & Welcome to Fodors Australia & New Zealand Forum. I'll just comment on Australia & leave NZ to others with more & more recent experience there.

I agree with you Soluv2travel. You get more out of independently planned & arranged trips, in my experience. I don't mind a special interest/small group tour here & there to see something I either could not do independently or would benefit from a specialised guide. Nocturnal wildlife tours spring to mind.

There's plenty of good advice from travellers and locals to help you do your own thing, usually more cost effectively and certainly more tailored to your interests, mobility, travel pace etc. May I suggest you also post on Trip Advisor's Australia Forum, which is much more active than Fodors. You will have a wider audience and thus a lot more responses from people who live & frequently travel around Australia.

As Australia is quite big, some might say huge - Australia – size map: https://www.virtualoceania.net/australia/maps/how-big-is-australia.shtml "when to come" might be influenced by what you want to do & see. However, for the classic 2 week first time visitors' trip, the "Bridge, Reef & Rock" gives a good glimpse at a wide variety of places. That's
Bridge - Sydney
Reef - Great Barrier Reef .... Cairns/Port Douglas - also wonderful rainforest & hinterland in the area. Best time: May to October because of Marine Stingers October to April/May.
Rock - Uluru (formerly Ayers Rock).


You will need visas to visit Australia (and one for New Zealand too).

Here are a few links which you might find useful:
Weather: Australia's official weather forecasts & weather radar - Bureau of Meteorology - This will give you temperatures & weather forecasts and patterns across various places you might consider visiting. As we are in the Southern Hemisphere, our seasons are the opposite to those in the Northern Hemisphere.
Thus: Spring - September - November, Summer - December - February, Autumn - March - May and Winter - June to August.
New Zealand is generally quite a bit cooler than Australia.VISA FINDER: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visa...sa/visa-finder

Sydney map: https://goo.gl/maps/PFmeA45BAKXruh4F8

Visit Sydney: https://www.sydney.com/

Edited to add: It often helps if we know where our visitors are coming from. That gives us some context with what they may be accustomed to and can allow us to make relevant comparisons etc. Of course it's up to you - but it can help sometimes to add your home town/state our country.


Last edited by Bokhara2; Oct 25th, 2023 at 02:13 PM.
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Old Oct 25th, 2023, 04:15 PM
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As someone who dislikes heat and humidity and lived in Australia for seven years, I would personally avoid December, January and February - of course take that with a grain of salt because some people like the heat.

Those were the months we most wanted to be out of the country.

As for NZ - we prefer the shoulder season of Sept/Oct or April/May.
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Old Oct 27th, 2023, 01:24 PM
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Apart from temperature, seasons can impact the landscape. For example, central Victoria is lush and green in winter and spring but can be brown and dry in the summer. This gives a very different feel.

One other point about timing is that it can be worth avoiding school holidays and Schoolies week. Not critical though.

With two weeks, I suggest either choosing two destinations from which you can explore or a road trip from A to B (eg Sydney to Melbourne or Melbourne to Adelaide or Sydney to Brisbane etc). I would only do the latter if you’re happy to drive. As mentioned, our transport outside of the cities is limited, which is such a shame.

I too would not bother with an organised tour but taking local walking tours of a few hours can be good.
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Old Oct 27th, 2023, 01:28 PM
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Mel, how far into April do you reckon would be good for hiking in the north of the South Island NZ? Thinking of next year. OP, apologies for adding another question.
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Old Oct 28th, 2023, 08:01 AM
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dreamon -

I personally would go anytime after Easter (which is late March in 2024). A quick search shows me that school holidays run from April 13-28. We always tried to miss school holidays in both Australia and NZ. Looks like temps on the SI range from 16-18c. But as anyone who has been to NZ knows, the weather is unpredictible at best. If you're willing to take your waterproofs and just get on with it you'll be fine

Autumn in NZ is beautiful with the changing leaves. We absolutely loved our May visit in 2018 (yes, need to get back!). I just searched for that trip report as we were up on the north of the SI, but there's a problem with Fodor's and old trip reports. Supposedly will be fixed by Oct 31. We'll see.

Last edited by Melnq8; Oct 28th, 2023 at 08:06 AM.
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Old Oct 28th, 2023, 12:38 PM
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Thanks very much, Mel. Trying to get something organised for next year but being pulled in multiple directions. Early April sounds great.
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