Australia vs New Zealand

Aug 4th, 2007, 06:16 PM
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Australia vs New Zealand

My wife and I are booking travel from the US and have 12 nights to spend(Mid Nov.). We have looked at both countries and not sure whether to go to NZ or AU. Interest are Golf, Wine, and Outdoor adventures. Our first stab was AU fly into Sydney, then up to Cairns, and then to Melbourne. I look forward to your recommendations
tfog is offline  
Aug 4th, 2007, 07:38 PM
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You don't say how old you are or what you like ( other than Golf, wine and outdoor adventures) or where you are from in the US.
Both countries have those activities/products but are vastly different. What exactly do you want in the way of help about the 2 countries when the only similarities are that English is spoken in both and both are in the South Pacific?
LizzyF is offline  
Aug 4th, 2007, 09:04 PM
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Yes, I agree with LizzyF, two wonderful countries with differing scenery & attractions.
The major attractors for each country would have to bebr /> Australia - Surf beaches, great wines, Great Barrier Reef, Inland country, laidback dining/lifestyle & people, but a large country with vast distances between attractions, hence the reason for flying between destinations.
New Zealand - Volcanoes, snow covered Alpine regions, fantastic trout fishing, best Sauvignon Blanc wine in the world, and their other wines are pretty good also. Friendly people, Maroi culture, good fishing, beautiful isolated countryside outside major cities & towns, beautiful lakes, lots of action sports, and yes Lord of the Ring film locations, and your exchange rate for currency is pretty good in NZ.
I believe NZ is extremely popular with American tourists at the moment,
With only 12 days to visit one country or the other, I would perhaps recommend seeing New Zealand, mainly because there is a lot of scenery packed into a small country, good golf courses, and once again excellent wines.
I will be in the south island for the latter part of November, just look out for a happy Aussie sipping a few Sauv Blancs in the Marlborough region.
tropo is offline  
Aug 4th, 2007, 10:51 PM
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Hello tfog

take a look at this web site !

heathy is offline  
Aug 4th, 2007, 11:05 PM
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Hello again!

Try this site for wine !

In NZ you can spend the morning playing golf on a spectacular course, visit a vineyard for lunch , have an outdoor adventure in the afternoon and then top off your evening in another winery !
You can pretty much do this the entire length and breadth of the country.
heathy is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 03:08 AM
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tfog - ignore the tone of the first reply - we spent 4 weeks in NZ and 4 weeks in OZ in Feb/Mar.

A few questions - is the 12 nights exclusive of travel/recovery from travel days? Either way it's not a lot of time and your first stab may be too ambitious.

If it's outdoor adventure you want, the South Island of NZ packs a punch! We joke and say if there's an inch of water in NZ you can jet sky through it or bungee jump into it! We're not big outdoor adventure people (more food/wine types) but you can't help yourself when you're there. We went swimming with dolphins, crawled through underground caves to see glowworms, took several fixed wing/helicopter rides for beautiful views and my husband drove a Centurion Tank (that's a long story). There are many opportunities for wine tastings on the South Island as well - but I'm not sure about golf. A fair number of courses around Christchurch according to the Travel NZ site (which I found very helpful)

Here's a link to the NZ portion of our blog - still incomplete but it will give you an idea of what we did

Happy to answer any questions

Elizabeth_S is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 06:57 AM
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Lizzy, tropo, heathy, & Elizabeth

Thanks for all the great feedback. In my mid-40's coming from AZ. Just going through 80 days of 100 degree + temps, I have no need to see the desert. White Water Rafting, Mountain Biking, Kayaking, Horseback riding all appeal to me. My wife like's to snorkel, but I am more of a land sport guy. Something about not being on top of food chain...

The 12 nights are exclusive. Leaving on Nov 9th and arrive on the 11th, flying back on the 22nd.
tfog is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 09:08 AM
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Definitely NZ. Despite being magnitudes smaller, NZ packs a lot into a small space and there is something there for everyone within fairly easy reach.

Australia is huge, with people often using planes to cover the distances involved. Beach/sea activities seem to be many Australians main outdoor interests.
kaneda is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 02:31 PM
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Kanada - why don't you just P.O.Q. You are the most bitter and twisted person on line for a long time - you comments are based on hearsay and your own bias based ideas and sometimes we have to wonder what IQ rating you could have when we read your rants.
For a POM to assume what an Australian's main outdoor interests are is stupid and "so what". Either lift your game or shut up and go somewhere else where you are not loathed and hated.
LizzyF is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 02:55 PM
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Hi tfog, sorry for my divergence above but that poster is the biggest pain and has never given anything but incorrect information on this forum and we wish "it" would disappear. We do not want to be like the fighting European forum although from time to time we have our little fights.
I will not insult your intellingence by repeating that Australia is a big county but it has a wealth of interesting areas around various places so that you do not have to see something and then fly 1,000 miles before there is something else to see.
I understand better now what you would want to see - coming from AZ, which incidently is one of my favourite places in the US and because I now know that it makes it easier to help you. For instance I presume that a contrast would be the preferred distination. Cairns/ Port Douglas and the GBR would be wonderful for you with tropical waters, rain forests, great Golf courses and outdoor adventures. Sydney of course is a must as it has so much to offer but I would miss out Melbourne mainly because you do not have that much time to spend really and it is not that much different from other bigish cities. Around Sydney there are many places to go and see which only require a lovely ferry ride or even a walk.
The wine in Australia is of course of World standard with many International Gold winning awards. The Hunter Valley wine region is a days outing from Sydney but I just prefer to try out lots from everywhere with my meals anyway instead of actually going to the vineyard area because after 2 glasses it all becomes a blur!
Alternatively you may like to do a trip to Sydney and surrounds and perhaps then fly or take the train up to the Northern New South Wales/ South East Queensland area and spend your time there seeing the fantastic hinterland, waterfalls, great beaches, great activities, horse riding, hang gliding, unique flora and fauna, beautiful birds diving, fishing and everything else you could think of. Ralph from Conn, US wrote a post recently on the activities of the area and his wife is there now so you could get an update from reading his posts.
I am not saying "don't go to NZ" but I am Australian and I know more about my country than NZ although I have been there 4 times. Places in NZ are like the area around Flagstaff - high mountains and snow. In fact Cottonwood reminded me of somewhere in NZ but I cannot remember where. In either country we have nothing to compare with the Grand Canyon in my opinion but we have quaint little places like Jerome and Sedona.
You will get some great ideas from others now that we know a little more and whether you go to NZ or Australia just have the best time in your life and enjoy our antipodean hospitality. Do some searches on this site and get some great ideas about both countries.
LizzyF is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 03:00 PM
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Its RalphR that has written lots on the area I was talking about.
LizzyF is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 03:04 PM
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Hi once again !

Golf in NZ is very egalitarian . I believe in some parts of the world golf is somewhat elitist. Here you will find yourself playing alongside Kiwis from all walks of life - which I think is fantastic- and the way things should be.
I personally favour small country courses. Often you can have the course virtually to yourself - apart from the odd stray sheep. An honesty box for fees ( only a few dollars ). The downside is you would need your own clubs. Purchase some cheapies in NZ ?
Starting from the top of NZ. Kauri Cliffs golf course looks rather appealing! ( And exceedingly expensive.) The Poor Knights is a fantastic spot for kayaking and snorkelling. Dolphins etc. Consider Tutukaka as a base.

There are fine courses in Hawkes Bay. A very good one at Cape Kidnappers.( think wine too ! ) Can be quite windy that time of year - all adds to the challenge !
Wairakei Golf course is a beauty - just out of Taupo. Think thermal. All that steam !
Down South -Queenstown has a stunning golf course. And there are simply oodles more !!!!

NZ really is a golfers paradise . The beauty of it is - you will meet NZers and get to see loads of fantastic countryside. Head for the backblocks - and meet the locals. Perhaps we'll meet on the fairway!
heathy is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 03:21 PM
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PS. Am sure golf is very egalitarian in Oz too ! There is a beaut course at the Coolum Hyatt. Amazing to play with kangaroos on the course !
heathy is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 03:51 PM
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tfog, LizzyF is perfectly correct in what she was stated, there are some great places to visit in Australia, but my recommendation would NZ, mainly because of the very short time you will have. Yes, its true that Australia is a vast country, but we have what I would call pockets of great scenery, eg. GBR, Nth Qld, Sth East Qld, Great Ocean Road, etc etc.
On my last trip to North Island of NZ last March, we drove for 10 days, and each day we have "varied scenery" that made the trip so enjoyable, but you must do you homework, and ask various people on this board from NZ, the interesting, less travelled routes in that country. On our last trip was drove the "Forgotten Highway" from Stratford (near New Plymouth)across to Taupo, and after leaving the view of Mt.Taranaki, we entered a beautiful piece of NZ countryside, quiet farming country, and a quaint historic village & pub enroute. The thing that I noticed was that we seemed to be the only people on this road, no wonder they call it the forgotten highway. Another great trip is from Gisborne right around East Cape to Bay of Plenty.
There are plenty of nice out of the way drives in the south island as well.
Having said that, there are some great drives in south east Qld, like the Mary Valley Way, or Hinterland on the Sunshine Coast, or drive from Noosa Heads to Boreen Point, and have a beer & meal in the historic pub there.
tropo is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 03:54 PM
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Sorry about the spelling errors. I am a touch typist, and I think my fingers move quicker than the brain cells.
I will preview my reply in the future.
tropo is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 04:38 PM
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Wot spelling mistakes tropo ? ! Im sure no one notices esp. me !! You've written some lovely things there about NZ .Am not too sure about your choice of wine though! Am a merlot person myself and have been enjoying a few good Aussie ones of late !

Ive become a " born again " golfer - and would just like to add that the Taranaki region and the East Coast have some fine golf courses too. Sorry - I just can't help myself!
heathy is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 08:00 PM
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Thanks so much for all the advise. For this trip, we have decided NZ. Next one, AU. Still have lot's of time to travel in my life, and many Frequent Flyers miles to use. Flying into Auckland and moving south. Trying to plan the Martinborough Wine Festival on Nov 18th. Work our way down to Queenstown. Then fly back up to Auckland for the long journey home. Thanks again.
tfog is offline  
Aug 5th, 2007, 09:19 PM
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Your latest plan sounds like a good idea to me. Not too much travel involved if you were to base yourself in three or four places and travel out from them. Getting back up to AKL to fly out back to the US is not too bad if you get your agent (or you) book a direct flight, Queenstown - Auckland. Not all flights are non stop, many go via Christchurch which is to be honest a bit of a pain.

I just had a couple of days down in Queenstown and I had forgotten how beautiful it is and how good the local wines are (I had not been for about 15 years).

You will enjoy yourself I am sure. As had been said, NZ is a very egalitarian place for golf. Even the smallest towns have courses with honesty boxes for the green fees. Through to some stunning international courses like Kauri Cliffs, the Grange (In Auckland) down to Millbrook just outside Queenstown. If you are stuck for clubs (I.E. don't bring your own) a lot of courses will hire you a set. Though that wont help your game much, though at least you will be able to blame the clubs ha ha.

Good to read that you will consider Australia in the future, it is a truely vast country but it has some great attractions, from its cities (Melbourne is one of my favourite places) to its natrual attractions such as the GBR - unsurpassed snorkling, it certainly is packed with attractions.
Kiwi_acct is offline  
Aug 6th, 2007, 01:20 PM
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Some specific golf course comments for NZ:

In November, the south island courses in areas that get winter frosts may have greens that have not fully grown in after punching and sanding, but the North Island courses should be in great shape. Be prepared for wind and bring umbrellas and rainsuits. Golf balls are pricey and easily lost in vegetation or drainage areas.

At almost any private course, you can make a reservation by email or by calling a few days ahead. There are some club days and I think the end of November tends to be the time of club championship competitions so it's a good idea not to just show up.

Many courses have twilight social events that are open to anyone and a great way to play with some Kiwis. Learn some Kiwi golf lingo!

A good website to start with for golf course information is

Electric carts are now more widely available but some smaller courses will not have very many, the cost is around $30 NZ per cart.

As a US citizen, you may be charged a higher fee than a NZ resident or a member of a NZ club, but golf in NZ is very affordable for what you get, with the exception of a few places aimed at the international luxury market like Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers.

Other than the $400/a round places, there are some fantastic opportunities for a US golfer in NZ:

Alister MacKenzie course at Titirangi just outside of Auckland airport.

Links courses such as Muriwai Beach on the west coast near Auckland

Quirky course at Arrowtown set amongst schist outcrops

Kelvin Heights (Queenstown) along the lake with the Remarkables in view.

Many courses that are over 100 years old (Poverty Bay in Gisborne is one).

Chance to play through an active thermal field at Rotorua Golf Club.

mlgb is offline  
Aug 8th, 2007, 03:12 PM
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For your edification Kaneda - it is Prisoner of Mother England. No one here uses the name Sheila and Australians drink much more wine than they do beer - we leave that for the non discriminating Euro Trash. Just another one, two or three occasion/s you don't know what you are talking about. I will admit though that as a POM you have much more reason to need to drink and drown your sorrows.
LizzyF is offline  

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