An Aussie and Kiwi walk into a bar and start discussing which country is better… such a scene may cause a brawl, so hopefully it will stay more peaceful around here, even though we have our opinions of which country is better.
I can’t deny the beauty of the Routeburn and Milford Tracks in New Zealand. They are truly special places that have few peers, in Australia and beyond. But when it comes down to which country would I rather visit, live in, or be associated with, it’s Australia hands down. This is due to a few simple things: Australians are nicer, the weather is better, and the cities are far superior. To enjoy the beauty of New Zealand you can hop on a short flight to visit, but always return home to enjoy Aussie life. Even if you were to live in New Zealand, you’d probably live far from the best sights, causing you to fly around, therefore why not enjoy life in Melbourne or Sydney?
I felt people were friendlier, happier and having more fun in Australia. The country really had a welcoming vibe which I didn’t feel in New Zealand. Outside of Queenstown, the people working in New Zealand’s tourist industry were often brusque and almost always rude. They didn’t seem excited about the services they were selling and the general lack of enthusiasm was saddening…especially for the price you were paying. In Australia people made me want to do things with them, I enjoyed the positive feelings, excitement for what they did, yet their laid back ways. Too often in New Zealand I felt like I was in a busy diner being served by an overworked waitress, the kind that you take the food how it is served to you, no comments or requests.
Australia was also a breeze, if you needed something you could get it. Companies have thought through their offerings better to provide comprehensive service. In New Zealand, even for the Great Walks, you needed to arrange your own transport, even though there was only one provider. Would it really be that hard to just sell the service together? Why do we have to walk to a RV park to schedule a bus? Nothing was like this in Australia, it was just easy.
I won’t begin to claim that Australia has everything figured out. There are some things that are completely unacceptable such as transport to/from airports. It generally cost $30 for two people to take a bus from the airport to city center. This isn’t a taxi or service that delivers you to your lodging, rather a bus that drops you off in the town center. This is compared to less than $10 for two people to take a bus from an airport to downtown in the USA, Hong Kong or Singapore. Even with the frustrations and costs of Australia, choosing between Australia and New Zealand is easy for me: Australia.
Breathtaking is an adjective I use all too often to describe a beautiful place I’ve been, but New Zealand is a country that truly took my breath away. The Great Walks lived up to their name, the Milford Sound exceeded my expectations, Lake Taupo was bigger than I could have imagined and the wine regions left a lasting impression and that doesn’t mean a hangover. When it comes to the great outdoors New Zealand delivers.
While it’s hard to compare two countries and come out with a front runner because in many ways it’s comparing apples to oranges, each place is unique and offers different attractions. But, New Zealand trumps Australia for me because the experiences I had were unparalleled to anything else I’ve done on the trip. Never have I enjoyed such gorgeous 360 degree views as I did on the Milford Track and the Routeburn Track. This is the first opportunity I have ever had to spend an entire day exploring a glacier as I did in Franz Josef. And without a trip to New Zealand I still would be oblivious to the existence of glow worms.
These are just a few of the interesting adventure options New Zealand offers. If you would rather jump out of a plane or go jet boating there are plenty of opportunities for that too. But for me the scenery was enough without seeing it upside down or at 90 mph hour as I jump out of a plane. In many ways its too bad that New Zealand is often best known by backpackers as extreme adventure sport capital because the true beauty of this place is found far from all the tourist traps.
I would highly recommend a trip to New Zealand and if you’re really having a hard time deciding between the two countries remember it’s a long flight to come back you should just visit both…
Have you been to both Australia and New Zealand? Which would you recommend and why? Share your thoughts in the comments, we’d love to hear what you think.