Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Australia & the Pacific
Reload this Page >

Is Australia and New Zealand similar to European Countries?

Is Australia and New Zealand similar to European Countries?

May 15th, 2018, 10:39 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 20
Is Australia and New Zealand similar to European Countries?

We’ll be vacationing in Hawaii, Fiji, Bora Bora, Australia, and New Zealand over the span of a month and a half. We love Europe, particularity France and Italy. Is Australia and New Zealand similar to Countries in Europe in terms of walking around various squares, museums, outdoor cafes, ect.? Are there similar “walkable” cities such as Florence, Paris, Venice, Rome. What about towns/villages/regions similar to Aix-en-Provence, Bonnieux, Tuscan towns, ect.? We vasically would like to vacation in a similarxway as in Europe. Walking around aimlessly down small narrowxstreets, eating our way through the streets, while experiencing the culture, food, and exploring the various areas.
izap484 is offline  
May 15th, 2018, 11:36 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 14,781
Not to me they aren't.

You'll find a vibrant cafe/coffee culture in cities like Sydney and Melbourne. As well as a good public transport system, plenty of shopping, etc.

Other than that, I don't see many similarities.

I can't think of a single place in New Zealand that might offer what you want, although Auckland would be the obvious choice - because it's a big city.

NZ is more about small towns, beautiful scenery and plentiful outdoor pursuits.

Are you sure you want to cram five countries into six weeks? We're currently in New Zealand for a month - the South Island only - and we've visited a dozen times before. It's not a place you want to rush through.

I think you'll be hard pressed to just visit NZ and a small part of Australia in six weeks.
Melnq8 is offline  
May 16th, 2018, 10:27 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 20
Thanks! We don't have to go to all the locations. We can skip Bora Bora or Fiji. We want to break up the flight with a few days in Maui. We vacationed in Maui twice in the last 10 months, so we don't need a long time there, just 3 days. I do want to mention we have twin boys. They will be 21 months when we go, therefore we will not be doing much outdoorsy stuff. We are just looking to go to a place we have not been to before and thought about adding Fiji or Bora Bora to the itinerary since it is in the same direction.

My thought was to do the following:
Hawaii (3 nights just as a stopping point - maybe)
Fly to Fiji or Bora Bora (7 nights)
Fly to Australia (15-18 nights)
Fly to NZ (10-14 nights)
Fly to Fiji or Bora Bora(6-7 nights)
Fly Home to Chicago
izap484 is offline  
May 16th, 2018, 11:32 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,071
Similar to Europe! Absolutely not! Australia and/or New Zealand is where those stuffy Europeans come to get away from all that European stuff!

We have great cities (but not too many). Spectacular natural beauty. Small population (except in Sydney and Melbourne). People are friendly. You almost speak the language. Similar to Italy. - great coffee (Starbucks just about went broke in Oz). Similar to France - excellent food, produce.

In both countries you need to get out of the cities to see the best.

You need to do some research.0
margo_oz is offline  
May 16th, 2018, 11:38 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,071
A quick note on size. Australia is roughly the same size as mainland USA, but without the population. It's not a cute little country. Bokhara will be along later with her "mind-boggling maps"!

By comparison, New Zealand is a cute little country - but it takes a while to see it all. Take Mel's advice or check out her trip reports.

G'day Mel!
margo_oz is offline  
May 16th, 2018, 02:43 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 11,725
Morning Margo, Melnq8

izap484 - Here’s the map ... as you can see, the whole of Europe would fit into a reasonable sized horse paddock in Australia.


You certainly can wander around our major cities & some regional places, eating & enjoying the ambience in the style you describe - Melbourne’s laneways & Sydney’s Harbour & beaches spring to mind. Our cities are all safe and easily walkable. By European standards, most of our capital city centres are quite compact.
But that’s not why one would come to Australia, charming though our cities are. What makes Australia unique & spectacular lies outside of the large cities.

Do we have undulating hills with vineyards like France & Italy? - yes. We have small towns in wine areas ... but they are nothing like European villages. You won’t have sparkling clear air, the unique light of Australian skies, our flora & fauna -or the wonderful unpopulated spaces in Europe.

Do do some research. Have a look at http://australia.com/.
Bokhara2 is offline  
May 16th, 2018, 03:00 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 11,725
Buy or borrow a good guide book.
Each State & Territory has a “ Visit ...”website.
We only have 5 States & 2 Territories.

Each has its own characteristics, geographically, culturally and climatically. We see the subtleties quite easily - you will probably notice the differences in weather & architecture most.

Fewer than 25m people in 7.7million km2. So a lot less crowded than Europe ( and the US).

Look at the destination guides here on Fodors and in the more active Trip Advisor Australian Forum & Destination tags & FAQs.

In 2-3 weeks you can comfortably visit 3 - 4 destinations. Fly between them, rent a car & explore out of the cities.

You will need ETAs. Apply here before you book anything.

Bokhara2 is offline  
May 17th, 2018, 12:07 AM
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 631
New Zealand and Australia are not like Europe at all! NZ is a long skinny green country (it rains a lot here) while Australia is big, hot and dry (but still gorgeous).
We are much much younger countries and history here goes back about 200 years only.
The touristy places like Rotorua and Queenstown would work well. Queenstown is walkable and cute but there are not too many museums and certainly none of the stone buildings of Europe. Our famous buildings are usually wooden. Rotorua has lots of activities and animal parks. Wellington is very walkable and we never hire a car when visiting there. If you stayed in a central hotel there is lots to do.
Are the toddlers good travellers? It seems a very ambitious trip for little ones so I'd pick a few base cities/towns with plenty to do close by rather than getting them in and out of the car all day.
Fiji would be a better choice than Bora Bora as you have the kids. It's adding a lot of extra travel to go there.
tasmangirl is offline  
May 20th, 2018, 10:38 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 3,387
"History goes back 200 years "" - woo there! hopefully you are referring to post colonization - Tasman girl .
Aboriginal culture has been here for over 65,000 years .
northie is offline  
May 21st, 2018, 02:00 AM
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 631
Oops yes I had old buildings in mind with that statement and no offence to anyone intended.
tasmangirl is offline  
May 21st, 2018, 09:42 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,563
"the whole of Europe would fit into a reasonable sized horse paddock in Australia"

If not counting European Russia . . .
BigRuss is offline  
May 26th, 2018, 11:44 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,942
No, nothing like Europe. I think your plan seems very ambitious with two young children in tow. I'd choose (a lot) fewer destinations and do some research to decide if Australia or New Zealand are what you want. Also check flight times etc, it may be further than you realise between countries, or within countries.

KayF is offline  
May 28th, 2018, 02:28 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,835
My thought is that you might want to research air routes - type in a dummy time three months from now and check fares and flying times. It may make 'geographical' sense to stop off in Fiji en route to Oz, in the sense that the land lies in between Chicago and Sydney, but it might not make financial sense, unless you are blessed to have a particularly generous budget. Airfares work in mysterious ways, their wonders to extract money from flyers. Depending on the routing and itinerary, it may cost only slightly more to stop off en route, or it might cost a fortune.

The most heavily trafficked routes usually cost the least. There's a lot of traffic between either Oz or New Zealand via LAX (Los Angeles) or SFO (San Francisco.) For us this meant that by splitting the tickets, we managed to have a couple of nights in LA coming and going, without going bankrupt. Stopping off in HNL (Honolulu) proved to be way more expensive.

Airfare is going to be a much, much bigger consideration than it was from ORD to Europe, that's for sure!
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
May 28th, 2018, 04:59 AM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 21,925
Hi Sue! Nice to see you here.

I live in Melbourne but have visited parts of Europe as well as a bit of Australia since moving here (not as much as I'd like of either, of course)

I'd describe Melbourne and Sydney as being a bit somewhere between European and North American cities. Both are nice for walking, IMO. Sydney favours natural beauty around the harbour and there are a lot of very winding streets. Melbourne is more of a grid, but I think also more leaning towards the European than Sydney does.

They both have great food outlets and markets. Melbourne IME seems to have more sidewalk cafes and street performers spread out over a wider part of the CBD (downtown). While Sydney has the water and the waterside draw, Melbourne is all sorts of hidden laneways and arcades running between things. So they are also sort of uniquely themselves besides the intercontinental influences.

Both are also very walkable, but if you get tired, transport is pretty easy. (Melbourne has the most extensive tram network in the world, and in the CBD, they're free. Just on and off when you feel like taking it easy. If you think you'll make it this far south, let me know! You may just have a free guide for the day.
CounterClifton is offline  
May 28th, 2018, 04:02 PM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 21,925
Still my view of the original question but oops to my first and last lines! I got it in my head after reading the prior post that Sue was the OP as well.
CounterClifton is offline  
Jun 14th, 2018, 01:09 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 20
When getting out of the cities, where do you suggest going? I'll give you some examples of where I've visited and enjoyed. Italy: Lucca, Siena, Montepulciano, San Ginignano, Amalfi Coast(loved it all) France: Bordeaux, Nice, Aix, en Provence, Saint Remy, Roussillon, L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Bonnieux, Velleron, Lacoste, Eze.

We typically travel to the outskirts of Large cities. Enjoy just walking around small villages that have something to do, such as shops, cafes, vinyards, ect.
izap484 is offline  
Jun 14th, 2018, 01:30 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 14,781
<<When getting out of the cities, where do you suggest going?>>

Which city? Give us something to work with here.

You'll be well catered for as far as vineyards are concerned. Loads of them in both Australia and NZ.

Otherwise it's difficult to answer your question - too vague.
Melnq8 is offline  
Jun 14th, 2018, 01:43 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 20
Ooops, that would be helpful. We we were thinking of the popular Sydney and Melbourne, then adding in Brisbane or Adelaide. So I was thinking, maybe keeping those as a base for a few days and taking day trips from those major cities, and then the other half of the trip staying in the outskirt of Most Likely Sydney or Melbourne and venturing out from the small town we stay in. For example, we stayed in Paris for about a week and did day trips from there. Then we left Paris and stayed in the small town of Velleron and explored the surrounding areas. So I would like to do something similar;l stay in a major city, where I can do some nice day trips, then stay in the County per say and explore that surrounding area.
izap484 is offline  
Jun 14th, 2018, 02:05 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 14,781
Well, as far as Adelaide is concerned, you could make day trips into the very pretty Adelaide Hills, home to koalas and many wineries. You might enjoy Hahndorf, although the area surrounding it is much more interesting than the town IMO. You could also make a day trip (or take an organized tour so you could imbibe at will) to the wine region of McClaren Vale.

The Barossa, also a wine region, also very pretty, is about a 90 minute drive from Adelaide.

Personally, I find the best of SA is outside of Adelaide, but I'm not much of a city person in general.

I have a few trip reports on South Australia posted here - they might give you a few ideas.

From Melbourne you could visit the Great Ocean Road, but not really as a day trip.

I can make a whole lot of suggestions for Western Australia, but I don't see that on your wish list.
Melnq8 is offline  
Jun 14th, 2018, 04:37 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,092
When you are based in Melbourne, you could do a trip through the Yarra Valley (wine-growing area) and onto Healesville which has a good native animal sanctuary - good place to see koalas, platypus, kangaroos etc. Another day/evening trip could be to Phillip Island to see the penguins come in.
In the city, you could take a ferry down river to Williamstown - older part of Melbourne on the water with nice shops and restaurants. The botanic gardens and the Fitzroy gardens are good places to visit. We have two excellent art galleries in the city area - the National Gallery of Victoria has world wide art whilst the Ian Potter gallery in Federation Square concentrates on Australian art. St Kilda on Sunday has a street market and is good for people watching. The Queen Victoria market has great food and lots of other things to buy. In winter, they have a night market on Wednesday.
marg is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:00 AM.