Post Retirement Trip to Australia/NZ

Dec 2nd, 2011, 02:50 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 478
Post Retirement Trip to Australia/NZ

We are in the very early stages of planning a post retirement trip to Australia/NZ for January/February 2013. But we will probably start booking flights within a couple of months because we'll be using frequent flyer miles. We are seasoned travelers, but have never been to Australia. We are interested in history, scenery, wine, food, beaches. We are active but unlikely to be bungee jumpers. From what little we know, we're thinking a three week trip with stops in Aukland, (Christ Church?), Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns, Brisbane. We do not want to spend a different night in every place and hope to fit in several relaxing days in "wine country". Any general advice about where to fly into and what is doable given our time frame??? We know there is lots of specific research we must do but we are hoping for some help for a more general plan since making flight arrangements will need to come first. At our age, we have learned to take things a bit slower and not cram in too much, but we don't know how to apply that "wisdom" to Australia. So, we'd be grateful for advice from folks who know Australia/NZ well.
peggionthego is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2011, 06:22 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
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Are you locked into January & February?

I ask because it's our hottest period, likeliest to have storm activity in the North, Australian Christmas school holidays (end last week of February.)

It's not impossible by any means, but if your retirement gave you some flexibility in timing, April & May would give you a wider range of places to see in Australia in better weather.

Am I correct in taking January/February to mean you will have 2 months?
Bokhara2 is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2011, 07:45 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
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I agree that visiting Australia and New Zealand would be much more pleasant (and likely cheaper) in April/May.

While I don't think you'd have any problem seeing Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns and Brisbane in your 3-week time frame, I do wonder about adding Auckland into the mix. Is there a particular reason you want to go there? I've been to New Zealand 3 times and I must say that there we found many places that were way more interesting/scenic/charming than Auckland.

If you really want to visit NZ, I'd spend a week on the South Island and then 2 weeks in Australia, eliminating one of 4 destinations you now have.
longhorn55 is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2011, 08:26 PM
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As mentioned above Jan/Feb will be very hot. I personally avoid traveling during those months for a variety of, school holidays, higher prices, crowds, etc.

Visiting NZ and OZ from the middle of December until late Jan/early Feb is akin to traveling between June-August in the are out of school so it's busy and crowded. Given that you're retired and presumably flexible, I'd suggest you select a shoulder season. Easter is also very busy in NZ and OZ, bust post Easter is ideal. April/May is a wonderful time to visit NZ - the weather is settled, yet still nice. Oct/November are good months for NZ too.

I love April/May here in Western Australia, but the weather will vary in other parts of the country.

With only three weeks divided between two countries, you'll have to be very selective. I generally tell people to pick either NZ or OZ, as folks tend to underestimate the distances between locations and the effects of crossing the international dateline. If you do decided on both NZ and OZ, I strongly recommend you stick to one island of NZ, as you'll see very little of it in a week as it is. NZ is one of those places that needs plenty of time - it takes much longer than you might expect to get from point A to point B.

Auckland and Christchurch are cities...the best of NZ is well outside the cities. Christchurch is still recovering from the earthquakes of this year and for the time being, it's just not the best place to visit.

NZ has several wonderful wine regions - Nelson, Blenheim, Wanaka/Queenstown/Cromwell, Waipara...and that's just the South'll be spoiled for choice, BUT you'll need TIME.
Melnq8 is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2011, 10:00 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
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If you only have 2 weeks (with one week in NZ), I would definitely not visit 3 Australian cities (Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne). I'd choose just one or two of them to visit and then use the remaining time to explore Cairns, Daintree and the Great Barrier Reef.

If you visit Melbourne you could do a side trip to the Yarra Valley for wine. To me, the wine areas around Adelaide and Margaret River in Western Australia make the best wine. I'm not a fan of the Hunter wines which are produced north of Sydney.
Susan7 is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2011, 02:07 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269
3 weeks is not a lot of time for what you want to do...

AARP/Expedia Travel has many good routes good tours based on budget too

For me 10 days NZ 10 days in Oz wouldbenice.

More time would be lots better. climte guides hot dry in some areas.

Happy Planning!
qwovadis is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2011, 01:12 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 478
Thank you! Back to the drawing board! Will definitely switch the timing to April/May and will probably see about the South Island of NZ and less destinations for time in Australia. Maybe I'm the only one like this, but as much as I like to travel, after two weeks, I get sort of "homesick". Want to be in my own bed, want to cook in my own kitchen, want to walk my dog.....So a three week trip seems like a stretch for me.
peggionthego is offline  
Dec 9th, 2011, 02:15 PM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 72
peggionthego, I too agree with earlier posts that it is deffinately too hot and too crowded (at least compared to other months) to travel in Oz in Summer. also echo school holidays times are more expensive and less 'value for money' than other times.

school holdiday guides for most states/territories are at least Christmas/summer and Easter - which could fall in April/march depending on the moon for that year. each state will have their holidays listed via the web search something similar too for nsw times and so on for vic and qld etc.

In your intial post you wanted to travel the Eastern states - the most populated side of oz. i'll also echo that Not to squeeze all of these in.

For the wine options; Brisbane area really doesn't have a distinct wine destination - that springs to mind, unlike Melbourne and Sydney (ok the Hunter). I would also suggest Margaret river as a 'wine country' destinations, from what I've seen (via docu's) of the USA wine areas - it'll be more of what you'll expect (same with Melbourne's closest nieghbour and the Hunter valley - dedicated areas really).

because of the distance and change in climate from place to place, choose just two with similar wheather to eliminate overpacking. if your stopping off in NZ then team that up with melbourne (Hobart?? - good wine areas too). or stay north and go the QLD areas.

just some suggestions
surprisealot is offline  

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