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

Is Australia as spectacular as New Zealand and Italy?!

Is Australia as spectacular as New Zealand and Italy?!

Nov 5th, 2004, 12:10 PM
  #1  
Melissajoy
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Is Australia as spectacular as New Zealand and Italy?!

This is a very subjective question, but how would you answer it? Is Australia as spectacular as New Zealand and Italy?

What did YOU find spectacular in Australia?

For me, Italy was amazing, mind-boggling...New Zealand is spectacular...

I need to make 2 decisions; one, will my husband and I go to Australia or New Zealand in september/october 2005; two, if we pick Australia, then New Zealand will become the next trip after that, and what is your favorite month to go to New Zealand? Spring (oct?) Fall? (March/April?) Summer (eek...too crowded in summer I think.)

It helps to hear what YOU think is spectacular and why. Then I'll have to decide.
 
Nov 5th, 2004, 02:40 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 935
Australia does not have the "chocolate box" scenery of the italian or new zealand alps but...


"The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies -
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror ?
The wide brown land for me!"

johhj_au is offline  
Nov 5th, 2004, 04:09 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
Hello Melissajoy,

You said in a previous post that you were used to warm weather in California and that you didn't like a vacation that was dominated by rain or snow.

You also said that you wanted to head for a vacation destination soon after your youngest child left for college in the fall. This would point to a vacation in September / October, not so?

In that case, I believe Australia would be a perfect destination for you. You could expect to have absolutely delightful weather in Far North Queensland (the area around Cairns / Palm Cove / Port Douglas). You could snorkel or dive in the Great Barrier Reef, you could explore the wet tropical rainforests and mangrove swamps between the Daintree River and Cape Tribulation (and elsewhere), you could ascend the escarpment onto the Atherton Tableland and see totally different, drier vegetation.

Then you could fly to Sydney, take a ferry across the justly famous harbour, climb the Harbour Bridge, tour the Opera House, etc., etc.

If you do not like to risk cool, rainy, windy weather, then I would suggest that you venture no further south than Sydney in September / October. Take Melbourne as an example. Its spring weather tends to be unstable. It can have gorgeous spring days, but its spring weather can be dodgy at times.

For that matter, even Sydney in September / October is pushing the envelope a little. It's possible to encounter cool spring weather there too. However, the chances of good spring weather increase the further north you go so that, by the time you get to Sydney, the chances are at least respectable. Furthermore, if you're anything like me, the sight of Sydney Harbour will bring tears to your eyes, and you'll consider it worthwhile to endure some cool weather, if that's what it takes.

Something that is difficult for me to do, at times, is to suspend judgement and to refrain from comparing places with each other.

Australia is not New Zealand, and it most certainly isn't Italy. It just isn't fair to talk about them in the same sentence. Each place has its own magic.

I'm pretty sure, though, that if you snorkel in the GBR, you'll pinch yourself to check if you're awake. It will be so beautiful, you'll be tempted to conclude it's a dream.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Nov 5th, 2004, 04:36 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 3,680
You're not wrong Judy, anyone who watched the Melbourne Cup earlier in the week could not have helped but notice the howling gale screaming through Flemington race course.

And Johhj's quoted excerpt from Dorothea MacKellar's "My Country" just about sums it up.
pat_woolford is offline  
Nov 5th, 2004, 04:51 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,638
Australia is a continent like no other. It really does have four seasons in one country. Your choice really depends on how much time you will have to discover each country's beauty. If you have 2 weeks-forget Oz-go to New Zealand in Mar or Oct/Nov.

Spectacular in Australia? In WA-Cable Beach, Broome, Cape Leveque & the Kimberley, Lichfield Park in NT, The islands of the Whitsundays in QLD, the Snowy Mountains, Port Stephens, Hunter Valley & Sydney Harbour in NSW, The Great Ocean Road in Victoria. imho you'd need about 4-6 weeks and fly most places to see and fully appreciate the sights I've mentioned. NZ is magic, it is so small compared to Oz. I'd see both before you leave the planet.

Lyndie is offline  
Nov 6th, 2004, 11:28 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,092
I can't understand why anyone would want to compare Australia, NZ and Italy...they are all different in their own ways. Some parts of Italy I really enjoyed and other parts I wouldn't revisit, especially Venice with its sewerage smell in the height of summer, tired gondoliers, crowded streets, (oh well, thats another story).
NZ is a small country in comparison to Australia, however, it is beautiful, but in September/October, expect very changeable weather, eg. rain & wind.
I agree with the others in respect to Australia, at that time of the year, don't go further south than Sydney, but do make a point of seeing our GBR region.
Whether you visit NZ or Australia, you will enjoy either country, but remember, they are different in so many ways. You stated in another posting, that you wanted to return to NZ, why don't you do just that....return to NZ to see the places you missed out on.
One thing we Aussies and Kiwis, have in common, that travelling around the world and visiting other countries, we always return home, wondering why we left our own country, as we considered it to be the "Best country" in the world. How could anyone compare swimming in the Greek Islands, to that of the Great Barrier Reef, just no comparison, GBR winds every time. I guess thats why we have so many greek people living here.
tropo is offline  
Nov 6th, 2004, 11:30 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,092
oops, that should read, "wins every time" not "winds every time"
tropo is offline  
Nov 6th, 2004, 11:46 AM
  #8  
Melissajoy
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
johnj_au, what a fantastic poem! Intriguing view of Australia...
 
Nov 6th, 2004, 12:01 PM
  #9  
Melissajoy
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Judy in Calgary, wow, thanks for all the info! I appreciate you sharing the magic of Australia.
 
Nov 6th, 2004, 12:06 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 935
Melissa
the poem was written about the turn of the last century and time was when every schoolkid in oz learnt it.(or at least the verses i have quoted)

but it does sum up one of the central issues about australia (and the west coast of the usa for that matter)

lots of the "new world" are foreign and strange to the "old world" european sensibilty and australia (in general) is quite different to look at compared to europe and england.

beauty is in the eye of the beholder...
but the australian landscape and mindset has a lot ot offer...if you think san diego is a great place then wait till you see sydney.
johhj_au is offline  
Nov 6th, 2004, 12:07 PM
  #11  
Melissajoy
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
You all have been really helpful. Tropo, I'm not really trying to compare New Zealand, Australia, and Italy...I just tried to phrase a question which would get people to post what they feel is magic about Australia and New Zealand.

Our first family trip to Italy was fantastically successful because I had lots of input from on-line travellers who shared what they felt passionately about in Italy. by reading through their responses I was able to figure out what we would probably best enjoy.

It worked for Italy and it will help me a lot with Australia and New Zealand. I think I am already planning 2 trips...one to Australia and one to New Zealand. You all have helped me see that while I can "see" the south island of New Zealand in 2 weeks, for Australia I will have to focus on a region with that time frame. Everyone's input really helps. Thanks!
 
Nov 7th, 2004, 07:01 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,116
My impression from talking with people who have visited both Australia and NZ, usually on the same trip, is that New Zealand often wins out as being the highlight. Why is this so? I'd say it is because Australia is much harder to get to know - it is a vast and empty continent, distances are immense, there is much to see and a lot of space in-between. Looking out the windows of a tour bus, New Zealand offers the eye the instant gratification Australia will likely not.

But Australia is indeed wonderfully spectacular - you just need more time and to be bit more adventurous to see it. For nature, Australia wins hands down over NZ. It's not just the Barrier Reef, is the myriad of National Parks and even private lands teeming with wierd animals and spectacular birds. Australia's scenic natural wonders are in many cases, second to none - unlike NZ, they are just a long way apart. The remote Kimberley region is a case in point. Here the massive beehive domes of the awesome Bungle Bungle Ranges remain totally inaccessible to cars and can only be seen from the air or 4WD.

Even the wide open spaces of the Outback are spectacular in their own way. I love the sense of isolation and freedom driving a straight thin black line from one horizon to another. No other cars in sight. Pull off the road occassionally to make way for the immense road trains that thunder along. There are also the little outback towns, the pubs and the friendly Aussie characters you often meet.

So my advice to seeing the specatacular Australia: take your time, don't rush, be adventurous and get to some of those out of the way places, off the beaten path.

An opal-hearted county
A wilful, lavish land
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand -
Though earth holds many slendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.
RalphR is offline  
Nov 7th, 2004, 11:58 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,092
RalphR - I like your last posting, I reckon it sums up Australia, quiet well.
I always feel sorry for some overseas tourists, who travel the well worn tourist path...Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns & GBR, without seeing what else this vast country of ours has to offer.
You are right about NZ touring, it has the wow factor from the window of your car or coach, eg. Lakes, mountains, green pastures, rivers, etc, etc.
A lot of people in Australia, consider NZ to be a "mini Switzerland", however, Australia, as you said, is a vast country in comparison to NZ, with ancient landscapes, and some true wilderness areas.
Some of my favourite areas, I tend not to talk about, as I want them to stay "secret places".
tropo is offline  
Nov 7th, 2004, 02:03 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,603
I don't know about Australia being a wide brown land Ralph - after 13 inches of rain this last weekend it will be a mouldy green land, dripping with the lushness of the rain-forest scents, with waterfalls cascading into many wonderous and beautiful hidden waterholes, with wild orchids abounding and the richness that only a tropical/subtropical green land can supply.
I have travelled the world and to me there are many New Zealands, similiar climates, vegitation, geography but nowhere, with perhaps a very small 'bit' of South Africa compared to a very small 'bit' of Australia, is there anything like Australia. Even Tasmania which is about the same climate as the south of NZ is very different and certainly unique.
If Melissajoy wants high snow peaked mountains then perhaps she would go to Wyoming or Montana because there are magnificent ones there. If she wants spectacular lakes then try Oregon, hot springs - Yellowstone as that also has the mountains etc. Most of what is in NZ is in the USA. Nothing that is in Australia is in the USA with the exception perhaps of some little villages or perhaps some of the desert.
lizF is offline  
Nov 21st, 2004, 06:48 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 81
We just returned a few days ago after spending a little over three weeks in NZ with Collette Tour Company on a 19 day adventure followed by four days on our own with a rental car. The country is awesome! We covered both the North and South Islands and each has something to offer. The scenery is fantastic! While driving was a bit overwhelming,we seemed to get where we wanted to go and to places that the tour didn't cover. We were on our own in only Sydney in Australia and only for about four days,so we feel we just had an appetizer of Australia. It was a nice city and easy to get around. We would highly recommend The Rocks area as it is so quaint and near alot of tourist sights such as the Opera House,Circular Quay and Botanic Gardens. Shopping areas are within walking distances too.
If I had to choose,it would be NZ without a doubt.
646wyck is offline  
Nov 21st, 2004, 07:23 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 9,922
646wyck ... I agree that NZ is spectacular and a fine country, but you spent enough time there to see a good deal of it. By contrast you saw about one millionth of the area of Australia, and that in a city - really, there's no meaningful basis for a comparative recommendation in that. Would you feel the same way about NZ if you'd spent 4 days in Auckland? Would I feel able to compare the USA with another country if I'd spent 4 days in Manhattan? Melissajoy may well decide that NZ is for her, but she needs a fairer comparison, I think.

There are spectacular things in each country, but they're different spectactular things. While the cultures are broadly similar, the size, geological age, landforms, history of human settlement (I'm talking about the Aboriginal and Maori peoples here rather than us Johnny-come-latelys) and "feel" of the two countries are quite different.

Melissajoy, "crowded" is relative - Australia has only 20 million people, albeit most are concentrated in half a dozen big cities, and NZ only 4 million. You've certainly got more competition for accommodation and transport during the school holidays in late December and January, and in parts of Australia it's pretty hot into the bargain. But summer holidays Down Under aren't quite the same deal as they are in the US and Europe. I think autumn is a good time to travel to most places. September/October (spring) weather is more changeable but overall, pleasant in both countries.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Nov 21st, 2004, 07:32 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 14,776
Melissa -

We just returned from a 16 day visit to Tasmania, Australia. We've been to NZ several times and we're planning yet another visit as we just can't seem to get enough. Years ago we visited Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns, Magnetic Island and Townsville.

Comparing NZ and Australia is sort of like comparing apples to oranges. They're both spectacular, yet also uniquely different. Because of the sheer size of Australia, it' difficult to compare it to anywhere really. It's about as diverse as a country can get.

We visited Tasmania because we like NZ so much and we'd been told that it's similar to NZ. Well, in some ways it is, but in others it's completely different. We very much enjoyed Tasmania and hope to go back again soon, yet we're not as drawn to it as we are the South Island of NZ, which we've already seen many times.

What I found spectacular in Tasmania was the scenery and the people. Oddly enough, that's also what I find spectacular in NZ. My husband has mentioned a few times that the food was better in Australia though!

Our favorite month to go to NZ is September - it's off season and the weather can be iffy though. We're hoping to get back to the South Island in April or May next year. Thought it would be interesting to see the place during the fall harvest.

Someone referred to NZ as a "mini Switzerland", which happens to be another favorite of ours. While I understand the comparison, these countries are completely different and spectacular in their own way. Nothing I've seen to date compares to the Alps of Switzerland. Yet, nothing quite compares to the sheep dotted rolling hills, the orchards and vineyards and the spectacular coastal scenery of NZ either.

So, my answer is that there really is no comparison. Each country is unique, and if you have the opportunity to visit them all, by all means do so!

PS - have yet to make it to Italy.
Melnq8 is offline  
Nov 21st, 2004, 07:43 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,603
646
I am off to L.A on Saturday but I have been told that it is not a magestic as Canada - is that so? I really want to see green grass, open plains and snow capped mountains.
lizF is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2004, 12:16 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 3,680
A former New Zealand Prime Minister named Piggy Muldoon, when asked why so many New Zealanders were migrating to Australia to live said that he "didn't mind at all - it should improve the average intellect of both countries".

Seriously 646 - your basis for comparison between most of a country and one city isn't valid. It would have made more sense to compare the largest cities of both countries, Auckland and Sydney. Even then, not much sense, as Sydney's population is higher than that of the whole of New Zealand - at least they both have harbours.

Melissa, if you're still reading this, Australia covers nearly 3million square miles, Italy about 116,000 and New Zealand is somewhat smaller than Italy in size. Italy also has a population of around 3 times that of Australia. Have driven around entire countries of both NZ and Italy - in Australia I fly, unless its very local travel.
pat_woolford is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2004, 02:43 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 669
I guess when you say "spectacular" you mean the landscape. I don't know country Italy very well - never been to the Dolomites. But Venice is one of those places I could go to over and over again. Italy to me means architecture and history. Lake Garda was lovely but I prefer Milford Sound. New Zealand is grander horizon-wise than Italy. And every time I visit I like it better. The mountains of the south island are awesome but much of it is petite. Australia is BIG and the landscapes are, almost without exception, as far from petite as you can imagane.

The GBR - see it before you peg out. Sydney - love it to bits. But what really makes Oz special IMHO is the ancientness and the hugeness of it.
Both poems go there.

It's hard cos on a first trip with little time you would not want to skip the GBR or Sydney. But Australia to me is in some ways those long, long drives across nothing (and I haven't even done the Nullabor) and the centre that isn't Uluru. If you do come, and if you do go to Alice Springs, there is an amazing day trip you can do that takes you to Chambers Pillar, and on dirt tracks, and to all sorts of out of the way places.

Other spectacular places - Kakadu, of course; Windjana Gorge; Cape Range NP and wonderful, wonderful Shark Bay (and I'm not talking about the dolphins!!)
alice13 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:25 AM.