Showdown in Oceania: Australia vs. New Zealand

new zealand

Is Australia or New Zealand a better destination for travellers? We’ve heard this question time and time again – as we have for Bali and Phuket – and we can tell you that both countries definitely deserve a spot on your bucket list. While both destinations are similar in that they have breathtaking landscapes, adventure, and friendly people, the “better” vacation spot ultimately depends on what you’re looking for:

For Adventure

Photo by mikigroup
Photo by mikigroup

Go to: New Zealand. Middle Earth is the world’s playground, filled with all sorts of adrenaline rushing activities, especially in Queenstown, which is deemed the “adrenaline capital of the world”. Here you can go skiing, bungy jumping, skydiving and white water rafting, all to the backdrop of the most gorgeous natural scenery.

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whitewater rafting australia
Photo by Gary Bembridge

What about Australia? Australia has got just as much adventure…but New Zealand’s got the better view! In Australia you can surf world-class waves, go snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, bungy jump in Cairns, or skydive at Byron Bay.

For Beach Bums

bondi beach
Bondi Beach by Kim

Go to: Australia. Australia has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, with a tropical climate in many areas and the Great Barrier Reef. While our favourite is tied between the Heart Reef and Whitsunday in Queensland, nothing beats afternoons with your friends at Scarborough (Perth) or Balmoral (Sydney). Bondi Beach is nice but can be a touch touristy!

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Moeraki Boulders Beach by Flying Kiwi Tours
Moeraki Boulders Beach by Flying Kiwi Tours

What about New Zealand? We won’t lie — for a second, we considered giving this one to New Zealand for it’s underrated and almost undisturbed beauty. The beaches along the East Coast have that white sand, chilled-out vibe, while the wilder-looking beaches on the West Coast have black sand.

For The Great Outdoors

Port Underwood: Phillip Capper
Port Underwood by Phillip Capper

Go to: New Zealand. New Zealand features secret hot springs, geysers in Rotorua and the volcanic White Island. Be sure to visit the volcano Ngaruhoe, otherwise known as Mount Doom in the Lord Of The Ring movies.

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Uluru by Tchami

And Australia too! One word: outback. The land down under offers incredible national parks like Kakadu and Litchfield, canyons and termite mounds to explore, and we can’t forget about the massive and majestic Uluru. When you’re used to urban scenery, the red deserts of Australia offer a very unique setting with magnificent sunsets!

For Flora and Fauna

Photo by Glen Wright

Go to: Australia. Sorry NZ, but there’s no argument that OZ is home a variety of animals you can’t really experience elsewhere! Whether or not you’re travelling with kiddos, you can’t go to Australia at least once without holding a koala bear, as cliché as it is. However, there are also quokkas, kangaroo sanctuaries, crocodile safaris, and shark cage diving with great white sharks (this should really be on your bucket list).

NZ Sheep
NZ Sheep by True New Zealand

What about New Zealand? Well, the only animals native to the land are bats, marine mammals, and the kiwi bird (which are now endangered and also really fierce). For marine life watching, we suggest taking a boat out to the Poor Knights Islands, 23km off NZ’s Tutukaka Coast.

For Culture

Photo by Rob Chandler
Photo by Rob Chandler

Go to New Zealand. Because you’re probably already familiar with Australian culture. New Zealanders, also known as Kiwis, are some of the friendliest people in the world. Life here is laid back, but extremely passionate when it comes to the All Blacks, their rugby team! There’s also the Maori (the indigenous Polynesian people of NZ) culture, which can be experienced in Rotorua, Bay of Islands, and Whanganui National Park.

Streets of Melbourne by Eva Powell

What about Australia? There’s the typical Aussie culture we’ve come to love – the cafes, the restaurants, and the beaches – but there’s also the aboriginal culture that’s importantly upheld. One of the best places to appreciate its significance is Uluru, which is sacred to the local Pitjantjatjara tribe that lives there (by the way, they’d prefer if you didn’t climb on the rocks).

For Food

melbourne food
Photo by Br3nda

Go to: Australia. It’s no secret that Australia is one of the foodie countries of the world, with countless celebrity chef restaurants and innovative fusion cuisine. The food scene here is known its innovation, with warehouse-styled restaurants and quirky concepts. There’s Melbourne‘s undisputed (hipster) coffee culture and Sydney’s top eats worth travelling for!

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Photo by Mispahn
Photo by Mispahn

What about New Zealand? We can’t really think of a specific cuisine that stands out as a typical NZ original — perhaps meat pies? Despite the rich marine life seafood hasn’t been that popular until the last decade, as Kiwis generally really like red meat (though they sure drink lots of milk and lattes). Dinner is the biggest meal of the day, so even if you can’t find much to nibble on in the day, you’ll have a feast of potato and meat for dinner.

This article was contributed by our friends at The Luxe Nomad, so hit them up for the best deals on luxury villas and hotels.

Top Image by Aurel

The Luxe Nomad

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