Things To Do In Australia vs New Zealand

Nathan, who is from New Zealand, can’t count how many times people have asked him if New Zealand and Australia are the same country, if there is a bridge between the two (yes, people have asked if you can drive between the two countries), and even if they’re joined together. The list goes on, but one thing is clear – many people don’t realize just how different Australia and New Zealand are from each other. The only thing they have in common is that they’re far away from the rest of the world, and that the people are very easy-going, laid back and friendly. So when you’ve gone all the way down for holidays in Australia, you should definitely consider visiting New Zealand as well.

Things To Do In Australia vs New Zealand

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Things To Do In Australia vs New Zealand

Things To Do In Australia vs New Zealand


Australia is world famous for its beaches, surfing, outback and cosmopolitan cities like Sydney – there are so many things to see and do here that you will find it incredibly hard to get bored.

Here are some things that Australia offers

Great Barrier Reef & Beach Life

A large part of Australia has a tropical climate and some of the most beautiful beaches and clear waters in the world. The lifestyle on by the coast is all about beach-life, and the warm clear waters are perfect for surfing & diving. You also have the Great Barrier Reef, a huge coral reef unlike any other in the world, where you can dive and snorkel among exotic fish, corals, sharks and more. You won’t find anything like this in the cold waters of New Zealand.

The Outback

Making a generalization, Australia is a desert country, while New Zealand is a garden – completely different, but equally fascinating. Australia’s outback is an adventure like no other, with termite mounds tall as houses, cooling gorges, canyons, national parks, and of course the impressive Ayers Rock and Alice Springs. The sunsets you’ll experience in the red deserts of Australia are breathtaking, and looking out over a huge wide open space of “nothing ness” with a horizon stretching way out in the distance, is a big contrast from the usual “ocean sunsets”.

Play With Dangerous Animals

When it comes to wild life, Australia and New Zealand are as different as they can be – Australia has more dangerous animals than you could count, while New Zealand doesn’t have any dangerous animals at all. In Australia you can dive with sharks, go on crocodile safaris and visit numerous places showcasing the creepy spiders and snakes you can find in the bush. On the flip side, it also has cute koala bears and other cuddly animals.

New Zealand

Despite its small size, on holidays to New Zealand you will find stunning diverse nature with everything from active volcanoes to steep fiords. It is completely opposite from Australia when it comes to wildlife as well, where many birds naturally evolved into wingless birds because of the absence of predators.

WWOOFing in New Zealand ~ (Travel Interview)

Here are some things that New Zealand offers….Hot Springs, Volcanoes & Geysers

Bathe in the healing waters of natural hot springs, watch geysers exploding several meters in the air in Rotorua, or dig your own hot water jacuzzi in the sand at Hot Water Beach in Coromandel. There are many ways to enjoy the hot springs in New Zealand, but whatever you choose you’re up for a fun, unique experience. While Australia has some hot springs, they’re not famous for them, perhaps because it’s too hot there to enjoy them anyway! The country also has many dormant and active volcanoes and a volcanic island (White Island), with a beautiful green crater lake. Ngaruhoe is the volcano featured as Mt. Doom in the Lord Of The Ring Movies.

Glaciers And The Southern Alps

While Australia does have some skiing, it simply can’t compare to the Southern Alps in New Zealand. Many people are surprised that skiing is even possible in these countries, but the truth is that New Zealand has some amazing glaciers and over a dozen ski fields for you to enjoy. With much colder water temperatures, New Zealand is not always the best place for water activities, but there are two that truly stand out in all their glory; the incredible fiords in the South Island, and the opportunity to go whale watching.

There are many other differences between these two countries, but these are the first that come to mind – what differences do you think of when comparing Australia and New Zealand?

(photo credits: 12 – 3 – 4 )

12 Responses to Things To Do In Australia vs New Zealand

  1. Andi Perullo March 22, 2012 at 12:08 am #

    This part of the world is so freaking amazing!

    • Sofia - As We Travel Blog March 22, 2012 at 6:32 am #

      it really is isn’t it! I can’t wait to go back and spend more time there 🙂

  2. Ron | Active Planet Travels March 22, 2012 at 2:13 am #

    Wow this is such an informative article.  Both locations, whether they be dangerous or exotic are places that you must see.  I can’t wait till my travels take me that way! 😀

    • Sofia - As We Travel Blog March 22, 2012 at 6:33 am #

      Hey Ron, thanks for the comment – they both really offer SO MUCH – hope you can get to that area of the world soon 🙂

  3. Ayelet - All Colores March 23, 2012 at 8:04 am #

    I was in New Zealand and NO ONE that I know remembers that. They are all convinced I traveled to Australia. So I really enjoyed your post 🙂 New Zealand is heavenly. I missed the glaciers unfortunately, yet everything in your “hot springs, volcanoes and geysers” section brought back sweet memories. I would love to return one day (and see the glaciers) as well as visit Australia. I would love to see the sunsets you described and to snorkel with exotic fish – but swimming with sharks!? Have you ever done that?

    • Sofia - As We Travel Blog March 24, 2012 at 10:38 am #

      Glad the post brought back good memories! Haha yeah i can relate to that as well. For years my friends kept thinking that nathan was australian 😛 We never swam with sharks, i might consider it when we go to OZ next time, but the thought of it makes me a little uncomfortable..!

  4. Ta March 24, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    Sofia, that was a great article and I think you showcased the two countries really well. Can I ask though that you edit your article to refer to Ayers Rock as Uluru, which is its original name, out of respect for Aboriginal Australians? It is an important site in Aboriginal culture and so it is probably right to acknowledge that. Thanks

  5. Preetika March 26, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    A friend of mine works at a travel agent in NZ and an American guy once came in and asked how to get the bus to Australia:)

    • Sofia - As We Travel Blog April 1, 2012 at 8:20 am #

      hahaha that is funny! thanks for sharing that story :p

  6. Flashpacker Family May 16, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I love seeing posts on NZ. I’m going to start travelling at home the way others do in my country. I’ve barely been to any of the top tourist spots in NZ. Shame on me!

    Didn’t know that Nathan was a Kiwi. Where is he from exactly?

    I used to work for NZ Customs and one of the guys from Auckland airport told a story about a tourist who arrived and asked for driving directions to Australia. He told them to jump in the car, cross the Auckland harbour bridge and you’ll arrive on the other side at the Sydney harbour bridge. Hilarious!

  7. ben May 19, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    You claim to know something about these countries? Yet you think koalas are bears? you’re an idiot.

  8. youbloodytourist August 5, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    Love the post. I’m currently living in Aus (for a year) and planning to get over to NZ in that time so I’m making my way through all your posts about this area of the world! Thankfully I knew it was a different country before I arrived!

    Thanks for posting. 🙂