Part 2: Practicalities
Have we convinced you to visit both countries yet?
If you're worried that planning for two countries instead of one will be a hassle, we can put your mind at rest. Here are the answers to some common questions:
What travel documents do I need for Australia and New Zealand?
Austraiia and New Zealand are two separate countries, so you before you travel you'll need to obtain a separate visa for each one.
Most visitors can apply online and in many cases it only takes a few minutes to receive your travel documents.
Do Australia and New Zealand use the same currency?
Australia's currency is Australian Dollars
New Zealand's currency is New Zealand Dollars
These are not interchangeable, so if you are ordering currency for your trip you will need to get both. You could just rely on your credit card if you prefer.
Will my electrical appliances work in both Australia and New Zealand?
Good news: both countries use the same type of plug and electrical systems. so you won't need separate travel adapters.
Do I have enough time to visit both Australia and New Zealand?
Perhaps you're worried that you won't be able to "see it all".
But think about it: if you were travelling to the USA for 3 weeks, (which is roughly the same size as Australia) would you expect to see everything in one trip?
America is a vast landmass with so much variety that you would need a pretty long time - months rather than weeks. Most people wouldn't try to see the whole country in one go!
It's the same with travelling to Australia & New Zealand. You most definitely CAN and WILL have a fantastic holiday that you'll remember forever. Even if you don't "see it all".
Whether you want to meander through one or two regions that take your fancy, or zip around as many sights as possible, here are some ways to travel around:
How do I get around Australia and New Zealand?
Car & Campervan: Australia
Pros: seeing the "real" Australia in glorious detail
Cons: difficult to cover a lot of ground in a short time
Road travel is easy due to Australia's comprehensive road network. But the distances involved can be huge. You're unlikely to want to drive more than 400km in a day, and when you add rest days in between... it's not quick.
Car & Campervan: New Zealand
Pros: Easy to visit of attractions in a short space of time
Cons: Driving conditions can be unpredictable, especially in winter
Being smaller than its bigger sibling, New Zealand is the perfect place for a driving holiday. But you'll find few freeways and lots of bendy single-lane roads. This can mean delays if there's ice, flooding, or even sheep on the road!
Domestic Flights: Australia
Pros: Drastically cutting your travel time
Cons: Expensive to rely on flying alone
Mix driving with domestic flights to see as much of Australia as possible in the time you have. Most airports have rental car outlets so it's easy to pick up a new set of wheels when you land.
Domestic Flights: New Zealand
Pros: Ideal for travelling between main towns & cities
Cons: Again, taking lots of flights will increase your budget
Driving distances are shorter in New Zealand, but you'll still save time on your journey with domestic flights. And it's a convenient way to travel between the North and South Islands.
Rail Travel: Australia
Pros: Great for regional travel
Cons: Long-distance train travel is expensive
There are plenty of local and regional rail services in most Australian states. They're great for day-tripping to locations like the Blue Mountains from Sydney, for example.
But long-distance rail travel in Australia is very much a luxury. You'll sleep onboard in your own cabin and dine in a restaurant car, the old-fashioned way.
Rail Travel: New Zealand
Pros: Some of the most scenic rail journeys in the world!
Cons: Rail network isn't extensive
You won't find overnight sleeper trains in New Zealand - the distances are too short! There are only three long-distance rail services, and no rail link between the North and South Island.
However, the three long-distance services - one in the North Island and two in the South - cross some jaw-droppingly beautiful terrain.
Coach and Bus Travel: Australia
Pros: extensive, well-priced bus network
Cons: long distances
Australia has an extensive long-distance bus network, with comfortable air-conditioned coach services. It's a cost-effective way to travel, but for vast distances, you might prefer to fly at least some of the way!
Coach and Bus Travel: New Zealand
Cons: Overcrowding during high season
If you want to travel by road in New Zealand, buses are the cheapest way to do it. Even smaller towns have regular services. Book ahead if travelling in high season: if buses are full you may have to wait for the next day's service!
Independent coach touring - using public coach services to follow your own itinerary - is an extremely cost-effective way to see and New Zealand.
Ferry Travel: Australia and New Zealand
Pros: Great if you're driving, as you can take the car!
Cons: Not all car rental companies allow their vehicles to be taken on ferries. Do some research before you commit.
If you're travelling to Tasmania from Melbourne, you can sail across the Bass Strait on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry. There are two sailings per day, an overnight crossing and a daytime one.
New Zealand's InterIslander ferry sails between Wellington (North Island) and Picton (South Island). The views of the Marlborough Sound are spectacular. There are several crossings per day and it takes around three hours.
Now you know how easy it is to get around... it's time to decide where you want to go.