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Compare AUSTRALIA with NEW ZEALAND and Switzerland! HOP in HERE!

Compare AUSTRALIA with NEW ZEALAND and Switzerland! HOP in HERE!

Feb 9th, 2011, 11:59 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 111
Obviously Peter you did not go where I went in Southern Argentina did you? Bariloche and El Califate?
MaryD2 is offline  
Feb 10th, 2011, 12:00 AM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
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Also Peter did you get to Torres del Paine in southern Chile?
MaryD2 is offline  
Feb 10th, 2011, 10:33 AM
  #23  
 
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The only hotel inside the park with a combination of the grand view of the Cuernos and good quality lodging is the all-inclusive minimum-stay Explora. There are other alternatives that are simpler or farther away, including Las Torres or some of the hotels near Rio Serrano. If you are not up to hiking the W, there is a drive along the main road that the tour busses take, but it is not the same as staying inside the park and having the opportunity to watch the dawn and sunset on the mountains.

It's quite an expensive trip (as you've noticed) between airfare, high cost of meals, lodging and transport.

My Trip report
http://www.fodors.com/community/sout...-del-paine.cfm
mlgb is offline  
Feb 11th, 2011, 01:00 AM
  #24  
 
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We spent several days in El Calafate. We didn't get to Torres del Paine, but we did do two glacier cruises and a couple of walksand drives (with a geomorphologist).

Reread my post -
"I thought it [southern Argentina] was the most amazing and stunning place... UNTIL I went to Iceland."

Iceland simply blows all other "beautiful places" out of the water!

The big Island of Hawaii, Scandinavia, Finland, Tasmania UK and NZ come down the list. To use a horse racing term Iceland wins at a canter the others come second at the flog.
peterSale is offline  
Feb 11th, 2011, 01:17 AM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
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OK Pete but have you been to Antarctica - now that is a place out on its own.
I am making a note about Iceland though and will do that on my swan-song trip.
MaryD2 is offline  
Feb 11th, 2011, 01:23 AM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
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PS: I was running out of places to go Pete that are ones that still are on the top draw.
On my second trip to Alaska I found that that is a place I should go again - next is Russia cause I loved St Petersburg, now I have Iceland and also Syria so at least there are still some that attract me.
I would go back to Antarctica in a flash too but will bypass the Falklands next time.
I got bored with Finland and Scandinavia et al.
But I am sure I can find enough goodies to do a really big swan song.
MaryD2 is offline  
Feb 11th, 2011, 01:31 AM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
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Not as yet. It is on the list with a trip to South America. But it will be hard to beat Iceland. But then again, so are huge icebergs and penguins and killer whales. It will be a close race I'm sure. The bookies are only offering evens.

The combination of volcanoes and glaciers was just amazing. The isolation added to it as well.

Often we were the only people at a waterfall or thermal area. Going in Autumn helped, but meant that most restaurants etc. were closed. One night we had dinner of breadand jam from the supermarket asit was the only thing open.

We did the fiords cruise up the coast of Norway straight after Iceland. It was a bit Ho Hum (drizzle and being in the boat most of the day didn't help - I admit). If you do go and haven't been to Norway , be sure to do it first.

Just be aware that Icelnad is much bigger than it looks.

Sorry for the Hijacking of the thread - Go To Tasmania.
peterSale is offline  
Feb 11th, 2011, 03:02 PM
  #28  
 
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Well southern Chile offers volcanoes and glaciers, which brings me back to the original poster, if she is still with us after all our detouring - what kind of things do you particularly like? Perhaps if you told us that we could zoom in better for you and hopefully not get sidetracked again.
MaryD2 is offline  
Feb 11th, 2011, 03:11 PM
  #29  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 111
Common mammals of Australia - this is only a list of common ones
: http://teachingtreasures.com.au/scie...ts/mammals.htm

Birds of Australia: www.birdphotos.com.au
MaryD2 is offline  
Feb 11th, 2011, 05:46 PM
  #30  
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THANKS EVERYONE for the delightful debate about WHERE is the most amazing spot to visit on the planet! My husband and I are working on our 5-year-travel plan....all the trips we HOPE to take in the next 5 years!

What do we love? My husband is a passionate biologist/herpetologist and he is a fearless adventurer. I am a poet and dreamer, and I enjoy being inspired by the places I go and the people I meet. We are very different in some ways, but the following things tend to please us both on a trip:
--unspoiled location with natural wonders to explore
--SCENERY! Gorgeous natural scenery
--beautiful national parks with convenient facilities
--delicious FOOD made with fresh local ingredients & interesting spices at reasonable prices
--MOUNTAINS
--wild seacoast (NOT all built up)
--waterfalls
--rainforests or cloud forests
--Fijords
--cultural experiences
--unique cities (Austin, Texas; Rome, Italy)
--small towns or villages (Murren, Switzerland; Westport, Ireland)
--native flora and fauna
--music (any music except for jazz)
--ABOVE ALL, BEAUTIFUL PLACES THAT HAVE ACHIEVED A NICE BALANCE BETWEEN PRESERVING NATURAL RESOURCES, AND PROVIDING COMFORTS FOR US TO ENJOY, SUCH AS...comfortable beds; good food; friendly lodging; hot showers; etc.

Well that doesn't narrow it down much!!! I hope to have time this weekend to do more research on Tasmania, Australia, and New Zealand.
Melissa5 is offline  
Feb 11th, 2011, 06:32 PM
  #31  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 111
Well between Australian and New Zealand we have all of those things.
PLUS we got lots and lots of interesting stuff in the herpetology scheme of things.
MaryD2 is offline  
Feb 11th, 2011, 06:35 PM
  #32  
 
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For hubby: http://www.jcu.edu.au/school/tbiol/z...rp/herp2.shtml
MaryD2 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2011, 06:13 AM
  #33  
 
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Just got back from first time visit to A and NZ for six weeks. I loved the Great Ocean Road and the GB Reef in Australia as well as Kangaroo Island and the most scenic place--Tasmania.

But nothing beats the tranquil Doubtful Fjord -- be sure and take the overnight boat trip! Willing to send itinerary if anyone wishes.
Mayer0198 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2011, 08:39 AM
  #34  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 34
HI,
I've been to Switz. twice and N.Z. only once. And Aukland for only one day. Let me try to sum up my experiences and rationale. Although I'm a bit prejudiced I fear. My personal preference is lush, green and mountainous over flatter, or beachy terrain. So after reading a NZ guidebook to help me decide how to plan my trip, I quickly decided to spend all three weeks on the So. Island of NZ and only one day in Aukland. There was a decided difference in the feel of Aukland vs Christchurch btw. Christchurch felt and looked more intimate and less "big city" despite the fact that it is a city.
My three top experience memories ( I couldn't choose just one. They were all very magical, unusual and very unique.)on the S.I. are:
1. Abel Tasman N.P. offers a regular service water taxi that stops at set beaches at set times along the coast. So we took it to a stop , they took us to shore in a dinghy or zodiac ( can't remember) and we then walked the trail through this absolutely magical, lush rain forest to the pick up point a short few miles away. Like 2 or 3. As we walked the trail wandered in and out along the coastline offering views and glimpses of the ocean and beaches and cliffs a short distance below. Occasionally we would pass another person but mostly it was just us. It gave me such a feeling of awe and appreciation to be able to experience that magic. The walk was not at all difficult, honest. I'm not at all athletic. When we arrived at the next water taxi stop we went down to the beach and sat on rocks, totally alone in nature on this tropical beach, and waited. Then we waded out to the zodiac to be rowed back to the small boat a short distance out.
2.Fijord cruise; I took both the Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound cruises. Both were wonderful. The boats are small and intimate allowing them to get close to the walls of the fijords to see birds nesting and waterfalls close up. Milford Sound is very well known and more popular, I think. But a woman I'd been emailing with, a B&B owner strongly suggested Doubtful Sound over M.S. And I think I agree but only by a narrow margin. D.S. is one of the rainiest spots on earth and is very frequently misty or drizzley. It is also a bit narrower if I recall. The cruise, day, was also magical, almost surreal with the mist and wisps of fog. Quite different that a sunny open day which was what the M.S. cruise was. Also saw fairy penguins, also called blue penguins if I remember right. Little bitty things, quite cute, floating on the water, and catching fish. That was very special and fun too to watch them. Hard to put into words, the difference. I loved both. Both were gorgeous. On the other hand, the M.S. cruise was an overnight and returned early morning the next day. And what was the strongest memory of that cruise was at dusk, we dropped anchor close to the mouth of the fijord looking out to the Tasman Sea I think. The crew then put in kayaks for those of us who wanted to paddle around. It was absolutely silent save for us humans talking. So with the kayaks one could get a short distance away from the boat and others and experience the grandeur and beauty alone. Really gives one chills.
3. Penguin Sanctuary;On the southeast coast, near Dunedin, there is a place,( google penguin sanctuary Dunedin as I can't remember the name of the outfit) that offers a unique experience. They will take you out to their sanctuary where they have placed many nesting boxes for the little fairy penguins to safely sleep and breed when they come on land each night at sundown. The guide takes you before sunset on a trail to the preserve area. It is not a stroll but not difficult either. The rafts of penguins- a raft of p is what the group of them is called as they float together- can be observed and it's times to see them swim to shore and make their way up the hillside to their nests in the boxes. By this time the sun has gone quite low and it's quite dim. By the time you are making your way back to the car, it's pretty dark and while the guide had a flashlight, I could have used one myself. This experience wasn't magical and gorgeous like 1 and 2 but very unusual and special too.
I'm so glad I chose the SI over the NI in NZ. The scenery all over was very varied and beautiful. It seemed the NI wasn't as dramatic and the guidebooks focused on beaches and valleys of fruit. I wanted variety. I never got to explore the wine growing area, NE, of the SI. Three weeks wasn't enough time to see it all.
bonbon5 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2011, 08:04 PM
  #35  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 209
Hi Melissa5,

A tough decision indeed. We have not been to Switzerland, but have been to Patagonia (Argentina side) and both Australia and New Zealand. My husband and I ranked Australia above New Zealand only due the amount of variety of experiences, but both are great. Out of all of our travels however, those two countries come out on top. If you haven't been to Australia, I would do that and you for sure will have a memorable experience.

Since your husband has an interest in biology you have the opportunity to see a lot more wildlife in Australia than New Zealand. We saw the yellow-eyed penguins in NZ which we thought was cool until we saw 200,000 Magellanic penguins in Patagonia, other than that no particular wildlife comes to mind from our travels to NZ. Australia on the other hand had so much more diversity in their wildlife from coast to coast. If you go near the Great Barrier reef there is obviously great ocean life, then take a day trip into the rain forest with David Ambrose at his private reserve (I hope he's still doing trips, we were there 9 years ago now). We saw a ton of animals up close with him. We loved the desert of the red center and saw several animals there too (camels & dingos). Then near Melbourne at Grampians NP we saw our first Koala in the wild. Kangaroos and Wallaby's are pretty abundant as are a large variety of birds.

Scenery... it may be hot in the red center of Australia, but the rocks are worth seeing at some point, if not this trip then hopefully another one. Since you like the fjords of NZ so much, consider Tasmania if this is a "must have" part of your trip, or go back to the south island of NZ. North island NZ is less exciting and the exciting parts are more like the dry desert of Australia with volcanos (Tongariro), which is also worth seeing some day.

Cities... Sydney beats Auckland hands down in my opinion, and in the opinion of many other non-native travelers that have visited both. Melborn was just ok for us, but the driving there was stressful for us and we only spent one day there. Wellington in NZ was just about as good (again only one day). Most of our travels don't usually center around city activities though so I am not the best to ask about that if you are really into cities.

Food... more variety in Australia (at least where we visited). I ate a whole lot of venison in NZ which was great, but it got old after 3 weeks and I don't recall ever getting bored with the food in Australia.

Regardless of where you decide to go I honestly think you can't go wrong in either of these countries. Happy Anniversary!
koala is offline  
Feb 17th, 2011, 11:58 PM
  #36  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 5
Hello Melissa,
Tough choice indeed. Firstly let me say how much I enjoy North America - incredible diversity and stunning scenery. I love Colorado, the Pacific North West and the grand deserts (is there anything more spiritual and beautiful than Monument Valley? You must stay at the new View Hotel. Stunning. But to answer my own question, yes, Uluru. Magic. And for the same reason, deeply spiritual).
I agree with just about everything the other posters have said. Tasmania is an unspoilt (well, mostly) State. Quiet and peaceful. Wineglass Bay/Freycinet Peninsular is STUNNING. Take your shoes off and plunge your feet in the cold, crystal clear waters. You'll need to, the climb up/down to get there will see to that. I also loved Lake St. Claire, the beautiful Lake Pedder - the birth of the "Green" movement in Australia, Hobart, Straughn and the glorious wines/food in this State. The Southern Hemisphere is reputed to have cleaner air than the north; I have been to Argentina and Chile but not the deep south. To me, Tasmania has the cleanest air I've ever experienced. I was choking from the pollution I'd never noticed before when I got back home.
And home is Sydney. It is a great sprawling mass with lovely areas and there is hardly a more beautiful walk anywhere than the Bondi-Bronte beach cliff walk. Superb. Sydney is cosmopolitan and a great city to live in (and I've lived around the world. Only comparison, to me, would be San Francisco). Fantastic food and lots of 'stuff' to do. As most flights come to Sydney, spend a few days at least.
Queensland has been well covered and is fantastic for both variety and marvellous sea food.
Victoria - you can't beat the Mornington Peninsular: spectacular scenery, wines and food.
Few have mention Western Australia. It is a l o n g flight but Qantas are introducing lie flat beds on the domestic route from Sydney and Melbourne. The Kimberley's in the north are stunning, in fact the whole western coast line is. Magnificent sunsets over the Indian Ocean. Few facilities though and not cheap. Try the south western tip. Gorgeous places like Margaret River and Denmark; gentle climate and yet again, great food and wines. Just don't go in the ocean - too many sharks for my liking!
Travelling in Oz can be quite expensive. Book as much as you can from US sites.
One thing is guaranteed, you WILL love it here. Australians are very fond of our US cousins and most of us will go out of the way to make sure you're having a good time.
ynotc2001 is offline  
Mar 4th, 2011, 01:30 AM
  #37  
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Thank you for sharing so generously! We have changed our travel plans! I'm excited. We decided I will choose our destination trip for September 2011, and my husband will choose our destination for January 2012.

This changes things a bit and its exciting for us because instead of trying to agree on trips we decided to take turns choosing our dream destinations. We are in our 50's and are forming our 3-to-5-year trip plan.

So this means I get to choose our destination for September 2011, and then again for January 2013. My husband will choose the destinations for January 2012 and September 2013. In any case I'll still be the trip planner...what we are changing is how we decide on the destination.

So Australia and New Zealand trips might be postponed by a couple years I think, we'll see.

Thanks so much! I keep trip files and this discussion is going in my file.
Melissa5 is offline  
Mar 4th, 2011, 02:30 AM
  #38  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 1,518
We'll still be here. We hope.

No matter where you go it will be great.
peterSale is offline  
Mar 7th, 2011, 10:06 AM
  #39  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 540
Have really been enjoying this thread. Thanks Melissa!

peterSale--You've got me intrigued about Iceland. I've actually been doing a bit of research. What were your very favorite spots there?
caligirl56 is offline  

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