Theres no bigger country vs. country debate than Australia vs. New Zealand... Okay, maybe thats not exactly true. But both countries have so much to offer in the way of culture, education, entertainment, and even water and land activities.
It can be one heck of a challenge deciding which one to book for a visit. To make a potential travel decision easier (or maybe tougher), weve come up with all the things to love about both. By pointing out specifics that each country does well, its our hope that future travel will much easier while deciding which location speaks to your soul.
Both countries are wildly adventurous and are positively stunning to take in, but when it comes down to it, only one can be explored at a time. Heres a bit of help in deciding whether to be Team Australia or Team New Zealand.
20 Australia: The Great Barrier Reef Cant Be Underestimated
Despite the trouble it has run into lately with coral bleaching, the Great Barrier Reef is still one of the seven greatest wonders of the world. Full of diverse wildlife and beautiful coral formations, many boats offer day trips to snorkel amongst it all. Pro tip: Bring something for motion sickness - those waters can be pretty rough.
19 New Zealand: South Island Is Attractive For Many A Reason
New Zealand, in itself, is a sight to behold. With mountain ranges that look like something straight out of a CGI movie (because they were), theres no end to the beauty you can witness here. For the active traveler, this is a great time to hit some trails and do some exploring.
18 Australia: Sydney Offers Nightlife And Nighttime Harbor Cruises
If the Great Outdoors isnt exactly your thing, Sydney is a city that has it all. From cultural and political education to dining and nightlife, this city is basically the clean (and polite) version of New York City. Nighttime cruises past the Opera House are particularly beautiful.
17 New Zealand: It Can Be Traveled Much More Quickly From End-To-End
If youre planning a longer trip, much more of New Zealand can be seen in one day than Australia. The country is much smaller, meaning its easier to traverse in most places. If youre daring enough to drive on the wrong side of the road, New Zealand is a great start to a road trip.
16 Australia: Beach Life For Surfers Is Unparalleled
Its also the home of Bondi Beach, one of the most famous (and dangerous) in the world. Surfers will find no end to their thrill-seeking limits here, as many places on Australias Gold Coast offer premium surfing for beginners and experienced pros alike.
15 New Zealand: Kayakers, Hikers, And Photographers Will Love Its Untouched Beauty
From cliffside kayaking to mountainside hiking, New Zealand offers so much to those who love being out in nature. The best part is that there are so many tour companies and activity parks to choose from, complete with staff that doesnt mind helping tourists with a safe and gratifying experience.
14 Australia: The Outback Is An Experience Inside Itself
For us in the West, the Outback might just be a steakhouse - but for Australians, the Outback is an experience. With unique mountain formations and even more unique wildlife, this expansive land is just itching to be explored by those seeking adventure off the beaten path... literally.
13 New Zealand: Maori Culture Is Fascinating
The Maori tribes are well-known throughout New Zealand and Australia, and visitors have the chance to learn even more about them during their trip. With so many museums and traditional Maori dance performances, it doesnt hurt to throw a little culture into your R&R down under.
12 Australia: Pink Hillier Lake Is Full Of Scientific Wonder
This lake gets its coloring from a combination of natural minerals that turn it a pinkish hue, and its open to visitors. Its just like any other sandy lakeshore, except the fact that the water is a brilliant neon-pink. Its worth the trip and the photos youll take home after.
11 New Zealand: Hot Springs And Active Geysers
The amazing thing about New Zealand is that the island itself sits along a fault line. This means the country is full of active geysers and volcanoes, and home to plenty of natural hot springs. While not all are safe for visiting, there are several national parks that offer tours to explore these areas.
10 Australia: Train Travel Is An Option
One unique aspect about traveling Australia is that as opposed to car or bus travel, visitors have the option to travel via train, too. Similar to how the Amtrak would work in North America, Australia has a train system that allows travelers to hop aboard from time to time.
9 New Zealand: Extreme Sports Were Made For This Country
Ah, theres nothing like speeding down a hillside at roughly 40 niles per hour in a luge. This isnt an exaggeration - New Zealand offers mountainside luging that allows visitors to speed drive down a steep paved road in luges, complete with handlebars. Dont worry - the helmets are included in the rental.
8 Australia: Wildlife Lovers Will Have The Chance To Meet Their Faves
From koalas to kangaroos, animal-lovers should definitely check out Australias petting zoos. We use that term lightly because normally when we think of a petting zoo, we think of farm animals. In Australia, a kangaroo could very well be a farm animal. Theyre cute, but watch those back legs!
7 New Zealand: Less Congestion Means A Breathtaking Night Sky View
If you ever have the chance to step outside in the middle of an uncrowded New Zealand landscape, do it - you wont be disappointed. The sky is like no other in the world and offers star views like you wouldnt believe. Less congestion means zero light pollution; perfect for stargazing.
6 Australia: Theres No End To Hostels And Affordable Accommodation
Since Australia is the larger country of the two, it makes sense that it would offer more in the way of amenities. While New Zealand might offer more unique overnight accommodations (farm stays, for example), Australia offers hostel life. Theyre pretty cheap and definitely worth it for younger, social travelers.
5 New Zealand: Swimming With Dolphins In Kaikoura Is Magical
Keep in mind that much of Australia and New Zealand are untamed outside of their cities. That means theres a good chance that you could end up swimming with a dolphin on a trip in Kaikoura, New Zealand, which is known for its marine life-watching excursions.
4 Australia: Western Australia Offers Vast Wine Tours
Something you wouldnt expect to see in Australia is a vineyard, at least not one so expansive. A popular destination is Yarra Valley, a vineyard whose wines most people are pretty familiar with. Tours are available along with tastings, and the sights surrounding are simply gorgeous.
3 New Zealand: A Bit Of Farm Life Lies Just On The Outskirts Of Most Big Cities
New Zealand offers so much more than just Auckland (which is also worth checking out, because its an awesome city), especially for those who arent afraid to step away from city life. Much of New Zealand is farmland, and many of those can be visited on the regular.
2 Australia: Uluru Is Sacred Land And Over 600 Million Years Old
A popular spot for many tourists who are in the know, Uluru is a sacred Aboriginal rock formation. With that being said, tourists must be respectful of the land it sits on, but it truly is an amazing sight. Knowing that its millions of years old just makes it that much more humbling.
1 New Zealand: Fresh Seafood And Delectable Desserts
The food in both countries is nothing short of flawless, but its their fresh ingredients and local meat that really give both their bang. New Zealand, being an island, is always full of fresh fish - and their delicatessens arent too shabby either. Hokey Pokey ice cream is also a must, especially for toffee fans.
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Katie Machado (1816 Articles Published)
Originally from New York, Katie is used to a fast-paced lifestyle. She got her personal start with writing in the second grade, and carried that passion with her until she won a spot in her high schools published poetry book - but not before becoming the News Editor and columnist for the high school newspaper. In college, she majored in English Literature with an emphasis in Political Science, soaking up most creativity and method from one of the last professors to study under famed beat poet Allen Ginsberg. The more she wrote, the more she learned about the world and, more importantly, herself. She has been writing professionally and has been published since the age of 19, and for nearly a decade has covered topics in entertainment, lifestyle, music news, video game reviews, food culture, and now has the privilege of writing and editing for TheTravel. Katie has a firm belief that every word penned is a journey into yourself and your own thoughts, and through understanding this, people can begin to understand each other. Through her voice, she brings personality, research, and a bit of friendly sarcasm to every piece she writes and edits.