In Europe, Australia and New Zealand often get mentioned in the same sentence, almost as if you’ve seen one if you’ve seen the other. In reality, nothing could be less true and mistaking a New Zealander for an Australian or vice versa won’t make you any friends either! Australia holidays can be totally different to New Zealand holidays and here’s a snapshot of why.
|Size||Almost 3 million sq m.||Approx. 100 thousand sq m (30 x smaller than Australia, more like the UK).|
|Population||Around 22 ½ million, very sparsely populated.||Around 4 ½ million, also thinly populated, but more densely than Australia.|
|Set up||Large mainland + island of Tasmania + several smaller islands in Indian and Pacific Oceans.||Island country in South-Western Pacific made up of two main landmasses: North Island + South Island + several smaller islands.|
|People||English-speaking nation, most people of European descent. Indigenous people are mainly Aborigines and Torres Straight Islanders, making up around 2% of the total population.||English-speaking nation, most people of European descent. Indigenous people are mainly the Maori and make up around 14% of the population.|
|Getting there||Approx. 18 hours travel time from the UK to Perth in the South West of Australia and 25 hours to Sydney in the South East.||Approx. 25 hours to anywhere in New Zealand.|
|Climate||Plenty of sunshine throughout, all year round with the Southern third of Australia bearing quite a different climate than the central and Northern parts.
In the South, warm, sometimes hot summers (Dec to Feb) and cold winters (Jun to Aug). Fewer seasonal variations in the North with hot & dry conditions Apr to Sep and hot & wet conditions Oct to March.
The Southern third of the country has an overall milder and more pleasant climate.
|More comparable to the UK climate, New Zealand sees a fair bit of rain and wind as well as sunshine throughout the year.
On the South Island, the West has a wet climate, while the East has a dry climate, with winds in the summer months sometimes quite strong and hot. Northland on South Island has a subtropical climate.
On the North Island, the climate is more uniform throughout with the Western side of the volcanoes wetter than the Eastern side. On both islands, the East is drier than the West.
|When to go||Australia’s high season falls in the spring, summer and autumn months (September to May), because of the warmer climate.
Its winter months (June to August) are low season, but also popular with some snow-sports enthusiasts who head to New South Wales and Victoria to hit the slopes.
|New Zealand’s warmer outdoor season runs from November to April, with plenty of food & music festivals and sports events taking place during the summer months (December to February).
June to August is the quiet season, but popular with skiers and snowboarders.
|Heritage/Highlights||18 World Heritage Sites, including:
||3 World Heritage Sites, including:
|Typical food||Seafood, beef steak, BBQ, beer, fresh Fruit, kangaroo steak.||World class cuisine, with inspiration from Europe, Asia and Polynesia. Lamb, pork, venison, BBQ, seafood, wine, fish and chips.|
|Wildlife snapshot||Cuddly: Kangaroos, koalas, possums and wombats. Less cuddly: Deadly spiders, snakes, crocs and sharks.||No dangerous wildlife on land. Due to its isolated location, New Zealand is home to some very interesting and unusual wildlife, such as the Kiwi bird and other native birds as well as ancient reptiles.
Other typical animals include bats, dolphins and sea lions as well as sharks.
In a nutshell…
Australia has a vaster landscape than New Zealand and is drier in places, with more thriving cities. You are likely to cover more ground in Australia to see the sights, but can enjoy desert landscapes as well as snow-capped mountains and rainforests all in one country. Australia is generally more ‘wild’ than New Zealand.
In New Zealand, the landscape is generally more lush and mountainous than in Australia, the Maori culture more thriving than Australia’s Aboriginal culture and the towns more traditional. Its breathtaking scenery is more accessible and forms the backdrop for Lord of the Rings films.
One thing both countries do have in common is that they are positively filled with natural beauty…