Pre-planning Australia & NZ - some questions

Old Sep 10th, 2007, 10:23 AM
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Pre-planning Australia & NZ - some questions

I'm just starting to plan a trip to Australia and New Zealand (or maybe Australia OR New Zealand) in 2008. I've been cruising the board, and I have some preliminary questions I hope you experts can help with.

1) When? I was thinking late March, maybe April. Is that a good time? Am I too late getting started planning for a trip then?

2) How much can we do? I think we'll have 3 weeks (including travel time). I'd like to do an itinerary that includes Australia and New Zealand, and I'm aware I have to make some hard choices. We don't like flitting all over the place but like the get the feel of an area. If I limit Australia to Sydney and environs, the GBR and ... something, and pick a part of New Zealand to concentrate on - will that work?

3) Resources - other than this (fabulous) forum, what books? What websites?

Thanks for helping me get started, getting the outline of a trip is always the hardest part for me. Once I have that, I can start to fill in details, and also start working on airfare.

Alice9 is offline  
Old Sep 10th, 2007, 11:51 AM
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You have plenty of time to plan a trip to Australia and/or New Zealand for March and April of next year. I always start by reading one or two guidebooks and one of the best for this region is the Lonely Planet series. You might decide that you don't want to go somewhere you thought you did and you might discover another place that you never knew about that sounds great.
Once you have narrowed your destination choices, you can begin using the internet to book transportation and accomodations. (But I'd start looking now at airfares to AUS and NZ). Also, be sure to check for school holidays (there's usually a 2-week break around Easter) because everyplace is more crowded then with transportation and accomodations more expensive and sometimes entirely booked out.
March and April are great times to be in Australia, but I don't know about NZ because everytime I have been, I've gone in January. You can do both AUS and NZ in 3 weeks, but just don't try to do too much. You might want to confine your NZ portion to either the North Island or South Island.
So, grab a guide book and start reading and planning--that's half the fun of a vacation anyway!
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Old Sep 10th, 2007, 03:37 PM
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Here is a list of the top things to do in New Zealand.
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Old Sep 10th, 2007, 04:54 PM
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We had a 3 week trip tp NZ in late March-early April, and the weather was very good. Some rain on the West Coast. It was Easter time, but we had no problem getting a place to stay except at the glaciers. We made reservations about 3 months before, as I remember, in most places.
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Old Sep 20th, 2007, 09:35 AM
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Okay, after your very helpful responses, I've been doing some homework, and have narrowed down how much we'll try to do in a 3 week period. I thought we'd split our time in Australia to Sydney and the area around there (Blue Mountains, etc), and the GBR, maybe 5 days each, and then 10 days for SI New Zealand. Is that reasonable?

As to WHEN to go, it needs to be somewhere Feb-May. I want to maximize the chance of good weather everywhere, so when is the best time to go? What order should I do things? NZ first? Someone said that it can get cold pretty early there. What about GBR? When is the best time in that period for snorkeling? Sydney probably is okay anytime, is that right?

Then for airfare - are there airline deals that include both Oz and NZ? Where have folks had the most luck arranging airfares?

Thanks for all your expertise -
Alice9 is offline  
Old Sep 20th, 2007, 11:47 AM
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If you want the weather to be warmer, start in the south (NZ) and work your way north to Sydney. February will be pretty warm, but if you go in May, it will be chillier, especially in the SI.

Yes, you can get special airfare deals if you want to do both Australia and NZ. Check out Qantas and Air New Zealand -- both airlines frequently run web specials.
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Old Sep 21st, 2007, 10:19 AM
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Sounds like you have come with a trip that is almost exactly what we did. The only difference is that we spent a few days in Auckland and Rotorua on the North Island at the end (partly because we were flying out of Auckland back to the US.

The later in the year you go to the South Island, the colder. But more importantly, the shorter the days get. We went in July and found that we couldn't spend as much time just poking along the roads because it got dark (and the roads became icy once that happened) at about 6pm. Then it wouldn't really get light until almost 8. The only problem with going to the South Island first is that it is so magnificent you won't want to leave !

If you want to have a great experience snorkeling on the GBR, check out Reef Encounter - you can actually spend the night on the reef and get LOTS of snorkeling. I don't know what it will be like when you are there, but it should be fine. It was a bit chilly in June (and we had terrific wind and waves which prevented us from going to different spots along the reef), but with a shorty wetsuit on (which they will rent you), I was fine. I know in the summer there is concern about the jellyfish, but maybe not in the fall? My understanding is that if needed, they will rent or give you "stinger suits" that protect you somewhat.

We flew Quantas and their companion airlines the whole way - mostly because we had lots of American miles and were able to do the whole trip using our miles ! That saved a bunch. Our friends who are moving to Christchurch (he is from there) always fly Air New Zealand/United and say that the flights are great.

If you would like any specifics about where we stayed and what we did, I'd be happy to correspond/talk directly. E-mail me at [email protected].

Enjoy the planning and the trip!
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