A South Pacific vacation usually means traveling to Australia. Ask anyone what “Down Under” means and they will 100% say Australia and nothing more. But just because this country slash continent is famous, it doesn’t mean that it’s better than its neighbor, New Zealand.
New Zealand and Australia are more or less country siblings with almost similar cultures and the same geographic features. But what sets New Zealand apart from Australia is how this country will make your visit better and with less inconvenience as possible.
So here are seven reasons why New Zealand is better than in Australia.
There is a reason why Australia is called the sunburnt country. It doesn’t matter that Australia has a wet and dry season; chances are, it’s always going to be hot regardless of when you travel.
Just like in December 2019, Australia’s highest recorded temperature reached 49.9°C or 121.82°F. That’s a dot away from the hottest-ever recorded temperature in the country with is 50.7°C back in January 1960.
So while we can enjoy laughing at the Aussies cooking eggs on the concrete, it would be a pain for tourists to visit Australia and have their plans ruined because of the exhausting heat.
Meanwhile, in New Zealand, their seasons are normal as they should be. You’ll experience mild temperatures, enjoy the sunshine without being scorched, and sometimes, light sprinkles of rain.
2. Wide range of landscapes
In New Zealand, their landscapes are the envy of the world. This country has over 15 thousand kilometers of diverse landscapes and coastlines.
In the far north, you’ll see perfect long sandy beaches where you can swim, surf, and get a good amount of tan.
In the south, there are hundreds of glaciers where you can fly around in a helicopter or hike. Not to mention sunken mountains and ranges scattered around the country.
But in Australia, most of their scenery is brown and red thanks to their harsh climate. Of course, they are beautiful on its own, but it can be tiring for your eyes especially if you want something different every now and then.
There are sparse tropical regions in the Northern Territory and the northern part of Queensland but generally, Australia is pretty dry.
3. Flora and fauna
The stereotype of Australian wildlife is that everything is out for your blood — you’ll find venomous spiders that will hide in your shoes, snakes, and box jellyfish to name a few.
Even their pretty plants can be toxic, with about a thousand of species up to count and are more toxic during drought.
To be fair, the chances that you’ll encounter them if you’re in Australia are lower than what everyone thinks but having that worry loom over your trip is not that great.
But in New Zealand, you’ll find that most animals are friendly. Unlike in Australia, NZ’s unique animals are unbelievably cute and are not life-threatening.
Take Hector’s dolphin for example. This is the world’s smallest dolphin species and you’ll find a lot of them swimming around the South Island. The kiwi birds, which are New Zealand’s national icon, are the nation’s sweethearts too.
This is probably the most important thing for travelers when it comes to choosing between Australia and New Zealand. In every aspect, Australia is way more expensive than New Zealand.
In terms of flights, roundtrip airfare to New Zealand is cheaper for an estimated amount of US$ 500 to US$ 700 depending on where you are.
When it comes to accommodation, a three-star hotel in Sydney, Australia can go anywhere between US$92 to US$ 150. But in Auckland, New Zealand, a similar hotel will only cost you from US$78 to US$110.
So instead of portioning most of your money into your flights and hotel rooms when you visit Australia, travel to New Zealand so you can allocate your budget into something way more exciting and fun.
When it comes to watersports, no country in the South does it better than New Zealand. This country wasn’t named as the Adventure Capital of the World without reason.
Canoeing, kayaking, surfing, scuba diving — you name it, New Zealand has it. Check out Rotorua where lakes and streams are perfect for intense water sports like surfing, rafting, and parasailing.
If you want a more laidback afternoon, why not go fishing and have a wonderful barbie by the lake?
The Waitomo Glowworm cave and Ruakuri cave are straight out of a sci-fi movie. Go for a black water rafting where you’ll float around in their underground river surrounded by magical galaxies of glow worms.
Jump off their underground waterfalls, take a zip line across the cave, and just take in all the natural beauty that New Zealand has to offer.
6. Better gourmet food
New Zealand is home to several of the world’s best produce with their best food right on their doorstep. So it’s not surprising that this country is full of artisanal producers that beat Australia.
Their culinary innovation and advanced gastronomic skills shaped New Zealand into a destination for foodies and connoisseurs all around the world.
From their gourmet cheeses, Sauvignon Blanc, chocolate, ice cream, meats, pickles and preserves, and more locally created smallgoods, this country is not shy to show the world how they make their best products into the best artisan meal you’ll ever experience.
Since trying the local cuisine should not be the last thing on your trip, here are some of the New Zealand food that you absolutely have to try:
Hokey Pokey ice cream
No one loves their artisanal ice cream better than the Kiwis and Hokey Pokey ice cream is on top of their list. This ice cream has a vanilla base with solid chunks of caramelized honeycomb.
New Zealand is serious about their honey and ice cream, so this is definitely the best of both worlds.
Every Australian will tell you that they invented pavlova, but history books say otherwise, and that the creation of this amazing dessert is credited to New Zealand. But regardless of who made it, this is a must-try for tourists.
Made with meringue, whipped cream, and arrays of fruit, this dessert will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth cravings.
Another confectionery, New Zealand takes their jaffas seriously that they even use these small sugar-coated chocolate balls to race.
Every year, people enter the Jaffa Race in Baldwin Street, Dunedin to roll tens of thousands of jaffa balls down the steepest street in the world. You’d never imagine that a small ball can reach a speed of 100kph in 350m street!
7. There are more things to do
With the perfect climate condition for outdoorsy experiences and being the Adventure Capital of the World, you’ll never run out of things to do in New Zealand no matter how long or how often you’ll visit.
Don’t know where to start? Then get started with these places.
Every local or tourist start with Queensland because it really is the perfect place for adventure. From an adrenaline-filled afternoon with bungy jumping and river rafting to a more relaxing alternative like riding the gondola to enjoy the beautiful Queenstown skyline.
Ancient lava flows
You don’t need to visit Hawaii to experience the beauty of volcanic terrains. Visit the Tongariro Alpine Crossing which is definitely New Zealand’s best day walk where you’ll see ancient volcanic terrains, emerald lakes, old lava flows, and active craters.
New Zealand Wine Trail
If you enjoy a good glass of wine, then New Zealand is a perfect place for you. This country is world-famous for its Central Otago Pinot Noir and the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
Plan a trip of your own or join a local wine tour where you can meet the local winegrowers who have been perfecting their craft for generations.
While both New Zealand and Australia are great at their own things, you can’t deny that the NZ does recreation, food, and tourist experience better than their sibling country.
At the end of the day, what you want to get out of your South Pacific trip will be your basis on what country is worth your money and time.