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mvpl Mar 8th, 2006 07:17 PM

Best time of year to travel to Australia and NZ
We're considering a trip to Australia and/or New Zealand and were wondering about the best time of year, avoiding the rainy months. Problem is I'm limited to Christmas time or summer. We would travel to the usual tourist spots, not adventure travel or into sports. Also, does anyone have any tour suggestions, since that's the easiest way to visit many places.

marg Mar 8th, 2006 09:12 PM

Around Christmas time, you could travel comfortably in Australia in Victoria, Tasmania, or the southern parts of NSW, SA or WA. New Zealand is great at this time of year. Unfortunately this is also the major school holiday for the year so you would need to book ahead for accommodation and tours.

wally34949 Mar 9th, 2006 04:55 AM

I live in Florida and have traveled to Australia during both Christmas and June/July.

June and July--spend most of your time in Cairns, Great Barrier Reef and Brisbane area. You should be able to get ahold of some good airfares. It will be getting dark around 5:15 p.m.

Christmas--Book ahead, high airfares but Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Kanagroo Island, and Tas are great to visit. Recently visited Perth during Christmas and it was great but a little windy.

longhorn55 Mar 9th, 2006 06:00 AM

I don't know where you live, but I have lived in the U.S., northern Europe and Australia and I can assure you that winter in Australia in extremely mild compared to most of the U.S. or northern Europe. Even Canberra, which most Australians find cold in winter, feels mild to me compared to the other places I've lived.
That being said, if you have more travel time in winter than at Christmas, I would definitely plan to go to Australia then. First of all, you will avoid the Christmas/school holidays crowds. Second, while you may encounter some rain, you can avoid it by staying in the north. I love going to Port Douglas and the Northern Territory in June/July. Don't miss Sydney, however--we've always encountered the most springlike weather there in June/July. I would, however, avoid Melbourne (it always seems to be raining there) and Tasmania (it is cold!)
Unfortunately, I can't help with any tour suggestions as we have always done it on our own. Australia is a VERY easy country to get around and I would highly recommend doing it on your own as opposed to a tour unless there are health/age concerns.

pb_and_j Mar 10th, 2006 06:40 AM

I went to both Australia and NZ in June July this past year. We only had one day of rain over 3 weeks, so that was great.
We did go to the Southern island of NZ. It was cold, but we wore coats and gloves and still did a lot. Queenstown was BEAUTIFUL, the drive to Milford sound was very impressive and we loved Dunedin and the Penguin Place tour there. It was low season down there which was nice.

Sydney was lovely - light jacket to t-shirt weather and then Queensland of course was very warm. We did go inland from there to the tablelands and Undara and needed something warm for the mornings and evening but still really nice weather up there.

Would we have preferred it have been warmer in NZ? Sure, but we don't regret going of course. So it may just be that the best time is whenever you can go. There are advantages and disadvantages both ways. Queensland over Christmas won't appeal to everyone from what I hear. :-)

Jed Mar 10th, 2006 07:20 AM

Of the two, December is best for visiting the usual tourist spots. The US summer, NZ winter, will limit visiting in the SI. Avoiding the cold and snow is more important then avoiding the rain. It will be more crowded in Dec, but you will always find a place to stay.

Do you want to go by yourselves, or with a group? ((#))

Jed Mar 10th, 2006 07:33 AM

I should add that you should make reservations as soon as you are reasonably sure where you want to stay and what you want to do.

inthechips2 Mar 10th, 2006 12:33 PM

We are thinking of flying to Auckland (and then over to Sydney about 2 weeks later) right AFTER Christmas. Is it going to be impossible to find a deal on airfare for that time frame? Would it be better to wait until early in January to book?

ElendilPickle Mar 10th, 2006 01:29 PM

For New Zealand, I'd rent a car rather than take a tour. It's the easiest way to get around at your own pace and see what you want to see.

Lee Ann

Suelynne Mar 10th, 2006 10:48 PM

The middle of the year is the only comfortable time to see Uluru and other places in Central Australia. Also the best time for Port Douglas etc. Bribane is lovely then, and Sydney, though cooler, is often very sunny in July. Places much further south of Sydney will be cold mid-year, nad better at Christmas - though crowded on the coast.

mvpl Mar 18th, 2006 07:34 AM

Thanks to all who replied. I'm positive we'll end up with a commercial tour as we often talk about doing this ourselves, but unless it's going to one country or major city, we always end up with a commercial tour. We're from Chicago area, so needing light coats is not a big deal. To us, that's pretty much early spring or late fall. It was 60 degrees F here last week and we had snow this week. We do find that constant rain is a pain. Went to SA this Christmas and we had four days of nasty in Rio - Yuk. I much prefer summer for major travel. Although I do work, it's all planning and meetings and easier to get away for longer trips. So, does anyone have experience with any good commercial tour companies. We've done a few Smartours, and have had mostly positive results, but would like to try a different group.

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