Halfway around the world for some and a short plane ride for a lucky few, Australia and New Zealand are two extremely diverse countries that promise unique travel experiences in the likes of kangaroos, fields of lupins, and covetable waves designed for surfing. Upon traveling to these countries, prepare to have endless dreams of returning to uncover more of their beauty. However, first-time travelers should plan to see these countries’ most worshipped highlights, from Sydney to Auckland to everything in between.
With Australia ranking as the world’s sixth-largest country and New Zealand falling into the bracket as the sixth-largest island country by area, a trip to these destinations is best spent soaking in the assorted treasury of activities and sights they offer.
Behold the Scenes of Sydney
Upon deplaning in the Land Down Under, you might be hit by a striking blow of jetlag. If the daylight is out, however, there is no better time than that moment to assimilate to the Australian time zone, even if it is an entire day ahead of your internal clock. Often recognizable by the eccentric architectural design of the Sydney Opera House, the city of Sydney does not skim on thoughtful design and landmarks adding to the capital’s pride. As part of your city tour, make time for this beacon of beauty while also viewing iconic spots such as the Harbour Bridge, the Parliament House, and the fashionable Paddington district. In celebration of crossing oceans to arrive, map out some time to take in the sights at Bondi Beach.
Although the daylight hours offer much magic of their own, Sydney follows suit with many other major cities of the world by offering a sparkling skyline that enhances its nightlife. Engage in an optional Sydney Harbour Dinner Cruise to view the city in some of its best light while tasting international dishes.
If your schedule permits, spend a day outside of the metropolis and wander in the direction of wildlife that is exclusive to this corner of the world. The Featherdale Wildlife Park and the Blue Mountains offer the pure Australian energy that visitors are in search of: cozy koalas, feisty kangaroos, Fairy Penguins, rugged Australian Bush, and more.
Travel Further South to Melbourne
Catch a flight to another of Australia’s choice cities: Melbourne. Wander through the city’s bayside suburbs, historical monuments, artistic avenues, and charming gardens. While a day in the city will introduce you to exquisite architecture and aesthetic eateries, there is an irresistible day trip that all travelers are encouraged to embark on to Phillip Island. At this location, visitors can expect nightly sunset entertainment that has earned itself the name of the Penguin Parade. After dusk, these lovable creatures emerge from the water and waddle onshore in an assembled fashion, creating an endearing pageant of sorts for spectators.
Hop Over to New Zealand
Upon concluding your tour of two of Australia’s most visited cities, make like the kangaroos and hop over to the neighboring island country of New Zealand. Arrive in Dunedin, the nation’s oldest city that pays homage to its antiquity by way of Victorian and Edwardian architecture. Marvel at the city’s gems, such as the posh Dunedin Railway Station, the historic Olveston homestead, and Baldwin Street, the steepest residential street in the world.
Take your tour guides up on their offer of an optional tour to the Otago Peninsula, where you will be greeted by sea lions, fur seals, and penguins. Venture further to New Zealand’s sole castle, Larnach Castle, built on a stunning estate. Before leaving Dunedin, partake in a wildlife cruise, spotting the Taiaroa Head lighthouse and its surrounding species.
Discover the All-Encompassing Sights of Queenstown
Queenstown is a must-see destination while visiting New Zealand. Nestled between the cobalt Lake Wakatipu and the snow-covered Southern Alps, the city promises electrifying views in each direction you turn. Commence your time here with a visit to one of the region’s local vineyards for a wine tasting. After becoming giddy on account of the vino, make your way to the gold rush village of Arrowtown to lay your eyes on century-old miner’s cottages and charming shops lining the foot of the mountains.
Upon returning to downtown Queenstown, explore the ground-level shops before taking a gondola ride to Bob’s Peak to view the city from one of its best angles. Capture the sights of Queenstown, The Remarkables, Coronet Peak, and Lake Wakatipu in one sweep from this vantage point. Fill the rest of your schedule with enriching experiences such as gold panning at Deep Creek or learning the ins and outs of raising sheep, producing merino wool, and the job of a sheepdog at Queenstown Sheep Farm Experience.
If time permits, take a full-day tour to Milford Sound, home to World Heritage Fiordland National Park. Both en route to the destination and once having arrived, you’ll likely experience sights including waterfalls, seals, dense rainforest, and the occasional dolphin.
A Final Stop in Auckland Before leaving Oceania, make one last stop in Auckland, nicknamed the “City of Sails,” on account of its being based around two harbors filled with superyachts. Explore what you can of New Zealand’s largest city, whether you spend your remaining time watching sailboats cruise between the web of small surrounding islands or tasting some local cuisine at one of the city’s numerous restaurants.