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Australia or New Zealand for spectacular trip September/October 2005?

Australia or New Zealand for spectacular trip September/October 2005?

Nov 4th, 2004, 10:19 PM
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Australia or New Zealand for spectacular trip September/October 2005?

My husband and I want to take a spectacular trip in late September 2005 when our youngest daughter moves away to college.

We want to spend 2 weeks in either Australia or New Zealand (south island).

Which one to choose?

We saw New Zealand for the 1st time 20 years ago...and I didn't save my notes! It was fantastic...we were awed. It wasn't even a well-planned trip and we tried to go too many places but it was still great. Not even sure what season it was...late spring or early summer, I think.

We have never been to Australia.

We enjoy scenic drives, walking in beautiful areas, nature (especially native flora and fauna...husband is a biologist); art, culture, music...snorkeling if it's easy (I am a very timid snorkeler); little towns with character or interesting neighborhoods in bigger towns; walks on the beach; finding restaurants where the locals eat.

What do you think? Should we focus on Australia or New Zealand for late September/early October 2005?

Nov 4th, 2004, 10:36 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,603
Its comparing apples and oranges really. If you are thinking of the South Island of NZ then forget about snorkling as it will still be cold. The cultural scene too is not very prolific as I think that there are only about just over 1 Million ( if that ) in the South Island of NZ. However there are many beautiful areas for walking and scenic drives and everything that goes with that.
NZ has spectacular scenery but it does not have the diversity nor the prolification of different flora and fauna. The towns are small but there are some lovely little villages around.
So unfortunately its back to you for the decision.
lizF is offline  
Nov 5th, 2004, 10:08 AM
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Melissajoy - LizF is right in what she says about Australia & NZ.
Melissajoy I think your probably the same person that I am, enjoy nature, bushwalking, scenic drives, unusual or a gem of restaurant/cafe discovered enroute, etc, etc. In other words, I take it your not into "Touristy places"? and far prefer the more natural & scenic areas.
There are always people in this world who will travel the well worn tourist track (and thats okay, if they enjoy it), then are others who take the "least" travelled path, and discover a whole new world. In the last few days, my wife & I travelled to Noosa Heads on the Sunshine Coast, Qld, to stay with relatives. It was crowded with people, too much traffic, it felt no different from a beach suburb of Sydney. However, on the way back to Hervey Bay, we took the road out to Maleny, then to Kenilworth, then to Imbil, and the "Mary Valley" Way, past sleepy little villages, to Gympie, then back home to the Bay. Its was so nice to break away from Noosa & travel this scenic road, where locals actually talk to one another.
When you decide which country you want to tour in, let me know, and I will try & suggest some interesting travelling routes & places to get away from the tourist routes, to see wildlife, quaint villages, interesting or unusual restaurants/cafes, etc.
tropo is offline  
Nov 5th, 2004, 10:27 AM
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tropo, yes, we like your style of travel...looking for native wildlife, small towns or neighborhoods with character, interesting restaurants/cafes that linger in your mind...and they are usually the ones locals are enjoying long after the tourists have left!

Sometimes you gotta do the tourist must-sees. Who would miss Millford Sound in New Zealand? After all, Millford Sound was there long before the tourists... But it's fun to discover someplace more private that has a unique charm about it...

It's a tough decision because I'm really drawn to New Zealand. Her scenic beauty is just mind-blowing. The spring in New Zealand does have some advantages...less tourists, flowers blooming, baby lambs on the green hillsides...But I am concerned about the places where the temperature will likely dip into temps that are "winter temps" for us here in San Diego.

My husband is equally interested in australia but it just hasn't called to me yet. More research and then a decision...

Nov 5th, 2004, 10:44 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
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Melissajoy - I agree, its still important to do those little touristy things now & then, and also incorporate other places, a bit off the beaten track. Milford Sound is a must see. The Milford "Walk" would be my idea of something really different, but then some people don't have the time for that. Also Abel Tasman National Park is worth visiting, and likewise hiring a boat at Picton, and fishing in the Marlborough Sounds. How about staying at fishing lodge in Arthurs Pass, and doing a bit of trout fishing in "paradise"?
Unfortunately, the weather in September could be quite cold, windy, rain, etc. so make sure you take your goretex coats, bushwalking boots...still fun walking in the rain.
In between Invercargill & Dunedin, try to visit the Catlins Forest Park & coastline, for birdlife - take the little secondary roads into the Park.
Are you thinking of renting a car or campervan? in NZ
tropo is offline  
Nov 5th, 2004, 11:01 AM
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tropo, we would rent a car in New Zealand. I like to spoil us and put us in interesting B&Bs. My husband is gonna be 50 in January and he works so hard but isn't good at spending his money...no problem, I'm good at it!

You have some good ideas and I'm getting excited about New Zealand. I am leaning towards making New Zealand a March/April trip...warmer then, yes?

But we would still need a spectacular trip for September/October 2005...have pinned down that time because it's a significant shift in our lives, our youngest daughter moves away to college and we've gotta move on! We're not ready for the rocking chair so travel is very appealing over the next years and we're really excited about it!

Tropo, all those little villages you menioned are in Australia?

I'm so torn about spring in New Zealand though...spring is a wonderful season with that feeling of new life bursting forth. (I used to live in Jersey as a child.)

Fall might be warmer in New Zealand but have you been to New Zealand in the fall? Is there that feeling like winter is coming, the green is starting to brown? Fall can be depressing.

I know I'm fussing over details but that's why I plan great trips...it's all in the details! We had a fantastic first family trip to Italy in June! Wow! Great memories.
Nov 6th, 2004, 10:47 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
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Melissajoy - yes those villages I mentioned are in Queensland, Australia.
As for what time of the year to visit NZ, to get the best weather, well thats difficult to answer. February/March should be okay, but then the weather could change suddenly at any time of the year. But NZ is such a pretty country, rain, hail or shine. Just remember to pack in wet weather gear, for any visit to NZ, it comes in handy if your out bushwalking, and it starts to rain. Fifty years of age, is the time when you really start to travel. In Australia, we have the babyboomers who were born just after the 2nd World War, and who are now migrating to warmer states or locations to live & travel. In northern Australia, we have what is called, "The Grey Brigade", people in their retirement, driving 4WD's and pulling caravans all over the countryside. So 50 is only young my friend....keep travelling until the Doctor tells you otherwise.
Getting back to NZ. I think the only sign of spring & animals you will see, will be the young spring lambs in the paddocks. Of course there will be spring flowers also.
tropo is offline  
Nov 6th, 2004, 12:41 PM
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Melissa, we went to New Zealand in April and the weather was lovely. We had a couple of partly rainy days, and some with some cloud, but we also had a good deal of sunshine. The leaves were changing on the North Island, and it was beautiful.

Then again, autumn is my favorite season, so that may not appeal to you.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Nov 7th, 2004, 12:06 AM
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tropo, if the doctor starts telling me not to travel, that might be a good time to get rid of the doctor!!!

Apr 6th, 2005, 05:48 PM
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Posts: 576
Well, Melissajoy, we are faced with the same dilemma, but we have the additional information of having taken a 23 day trip to Australia. Although we did go to many touristy areas, the country is so lovely in its many faces that we are having a hard time thinking about going somewhere else. We went to the Blue Mountains (but we went a little farther west and went to Jenolan Caves and farther west one day to Kanangra Walls--oooh, so wonderful), then we flew into Yalara (where Uluru is) and although very resorty there, the desert is wonderful (in July) and you can get away from the other people and take an Aborigine led tour and learn something about their culture. Then we went to Kakadu national park where there are few people and most of them Aussies camping and great diversity of wildlife (and probably flora, too, but we looked at the animals and the native rock art). Lots of opportunities to do more remote travelling in the park and into Arnhem land where you have to have a permit from the Aborigines to go there. Then we went to Cairns/Port Douglas and drove to Cape Tribulation and did a Daintree river night cruise. Lots of other people here have done a wildlife spotting guided tour onto the tableland around Cairns (which we want to do on our next trip)(or the one after that). We also love to snorkel and so did three trips, two to the reef and one to Frankland Islands. Lastly we were in Sydney, a beautiful city. The country has so much diversity and so many opportunities to see and learn (and eat well)! Keep me posted on what you decide--it's hard with two such wonderful countries to explore.
Sally in Seattle
SnRSeattle is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 06:35 PM
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Decisions, decisions! Weather can be a factor, but you can't really count on that either (as we know from wherever we're from!). I was in NZ in Nov/Dec and should have had great weather, but what can I say...they were having a cold Spring/Summer...didn't stop me from having a great time though. And as you sound like "travellers" vs. "tourists" I doubt if it would stop you either!

Just to further confuse you, I'm going to throw Tasmania into the mix. It sounds like a good fit for what you're looking for. You could combine it with Sydney and Cairns and have three different, distinct experiences.

Sorry if I'm confusing you further!


Certified Aussie & Kiwi Specialist
wlzmatilida is offline  
Apr 7th, 2005, 12:11 AM
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Melissajoy, my brother, from California and living in Australia for a few years, said: "Australia looks too much like California. If you want scenery, go to NZ." He did recommend Kakadu NP and the Great Barrier Reef as the best parts of Australia for wildlife. His travel preferences are similar to yours.
The other comment that I've heard is that the US dollar goes farther in NZ.
mlgb is offline  
Apr 7th, 2005, 12:42 AM
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No doubt that some parts of Australia are like California - but as the previous posts have indicated, many other parts are not remotely like anything you'll find in California. By the same token, you can find spectacular scenery in many parts of the USA, such as the Rockies.

Depends what you're after - my wife is a scenery freak, I'm not (not so much, anyway), more interested in the human factors. Either country will give you much to think about in that respect. NZ is always worth another visit, but I think you'd be well advised to spend some time in Australia. The good news is that you won't regret either choice.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Apr 7th, 2005, 08:20 PM
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A classic question, one that has come up before....


Some of my thoughts on the subject in there. Based on you and your husband's interests, Melissa, should should be very happy visiting Australia this time if you plan wisely.
RalphR is offline  
Apr 7th, 2005, 11:38 PM
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As someone from California, like Mlgb's brother, I can say that I agree with his brother in some respects; there are a few places in Australia and New Zealand that are similiar in some respects...but still different enough to know you've gotton out of the USA!

For example..I think Sydney and San Francisco are similiar -- they've both got famous bridges; life revolves around the Bay / ferries; interesting / lurid past, historical buildings, great restaurants. Just because I can be in San Francisco in 45 minutes, would I scratch off Sydney because they're the "same"? No way.

The Great Ocean Road sort of reminds me of the Big Sur coast -- well except I've never seen a kangaroo in Big Sur.

I've been in the redwoods here and the kauri forest in New Zealand...yeah, both big trees, but an entirely different experience.

I've seen wildlife in California, but nothing that stacks up to the amazing / unique animals I've seen in Australia.

I've had the "dolphin experience" in the Caribbean, but actually swimming with them, wild, in New Zealand? AMAZING. I've snorkelled in Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean, but the Great Barrier Reef - that's the pinnacle!


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wlzmatilida is offline  
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