Australia & New Zealand at a Glance
Few places can evoke superlatives like these epic islands in the Pacific, and little can prepare you for their sheer visual euphoria. It's all indelibly unique, from hopping marsupials to enchanting cultures, shimmering red deserts to dramatic turquoise fjords. Famous attractions effortlessly blend into your itinerary: the world’s largest reef and monolith, its oldest rainforest, famous movie sets, and a succession of dazzling cities surrounded by nature. Ethereal landscapes provide the backdrop, the ancient continent reveling in its ability to compel and confound. It feels like a surrealist collection, a dozen distinct ecosystems dramatically juxtaposed. But it’s all very real. Don’t expect to find the mundane; this is where you come to feel alive.
Australia’s successful transformation from a wild hinterland to a glamorous nation hasn’t dampened its captivating spirit. The vast untamed land immediately captures the imagination, yet its otherworldly attractions are easily accessible. Just across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s unique geological formations expand definitions of natural beauty. The South Island is rugged and astonishing, the volcanic North Island artistic and soothing. Despite the size and scale, both countries always serve up a dreamy intimacy. And despite both countries being on almost every traveler’s bucket list, the experience is never shared or crowded. Travel in Australia and New Zealand is blissfully authentic, packed full of nuances, and heartwarmingly welcoming.
So which adventure do you want? Discovering beautiful cities, cruising through fjords, exploring intrepid deserts, lounging on beaches, or hiking through Middle Earth? Journeying through this continent could last a lifetime, but even the shortest vacation provides a sublime concoction of new experiences. An exemplary infrastructure ensures your time is maximized, and even the most ambitious wanderlust is realized. And let’s not forget the tranquil rhythm that quickly unveils its magic. A lost world awaits, and a hundred new experiences will ignite the imagination. Here are a few favorite highlights:
- Immerse yourself in world famous cities that regularly top the charts for safety and beauty. Each is shaped by the landscape, effortlessly blending inimitable city life with vibrant nature. Sydney provides celebrated allure; sophisticated Melbourne is centered around its river and beaches while Auckland epitomizes the laid-back rhythm of the continent. Each makes a stunning place to start or end your adventure.
- It only takes one glance at New Zealand to confirm the many comparisons with Middle Earth. Meander through the seemingly fictional landscape and discover innumerable spots that have graced the big screen; the journey is packed with intriguing twists and photography-worthy brilliance. Australia has its own idolized sacred center, the ancient monolith of Uluru (Ayer’s Rock) burning red amidst remote canyons and startling landscapes.
- Lose yourself in endless expanses of pure white sand, indulgent beaches covering the countries’ idyllic coastlines. Nowhere on the planet can offer such dazzling choice both above and below the water. For example, hop around over 900 uninhabited islands and dip beneath the pristine blue to explore the Great Barrier Reef. Then look up and admire, as the postcard-perfect shorelines are fringed by lush rainforest or towering mountains.
- These sparsely populated nations compel you to be outside, countless national parks providing the stage for adventure and visual splendor. Kayak across lakes to natural hot springs in Rotorua, mountain bike into an unadulterated forest, and enjoy a seemingly endless collection of pristine hiking routes.
- Indigenous cultures have long been the protectors of this continent’s beauty, with the Maori and Aboriginal tribes having preserved the natural landscape for our intrepid footsteps. Ancient traditions haven’t been tamed, and culturally authentic experiences await everyone with an open heart and mind. From warrior welcomes to evocative rock art, discovering bush tucker to roasting meat on volcanic rock, these immersions in local culture have a pure legitimacy.
- Allow nature to unfurl a hypnotic spell as you take a journey through some of the planet’s most dramatic landscapes. Cross the Fjordlands National Park and cruise on Milford Sound (New Zealand), an incredulous expanse of blue water, thunderous waterfalls, and towering peaks. Or weave down the Great Ocean Road (Australia) and marvel at shimmering cliffs, phantasmal rainforest, and imposing rocky outcrops that stand isolated in the ocean.
- These two countries possess a limitless ability to shock and surprise, the sheer collection of experiences ensuring that “wow” spurts out of your mouth at least once a day. Swim with whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef, climb the exposed spine of Sydney Harbor Bridge, step onto the crisp whiteness of the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, or sit by a sub-alpine lake and smile at the breathtaking reflections.