However much we hate being compared to others (Canada vs USA, Australia vs New Zealand, England vs France, etc)… we still do it. In this case, I think it’s important for me to lay the ground work before I jump to the conclusion:
Mentally and physically, I travelled to and within Australia with optimal conditions. I carried a sense of adventure. I flew with light-weight luggage between major cities. I had almost all the time I wanted, a full year. I crossed off many of the adventure sports I wanted to do. I never fell ill in Australia. I met locals and people who were living there permanently. Lastly, the landscape in Australia is vastly different from Canada – essentially a desert.
New Zealand, on the other hand, I approached it with a bit of sorrow. It signified the end of my adventure Down Under. I carried the bulk of my luggage with me. I spent a good chunk of time commuting by bus. I developed a cough and was not keen on replicating adventures. I met mostly travellers, few locals. The climate and landscape were very similar to Vancouver – chilly, rainy, beautiful, and forest-y. A little too similar.
My biased conclusion? New Zealand is beautiful and I like Australia more.
If I lived in New Zealand for longer, the result may have been different. I would’ve visited Abel Tasman National Park for one.
Would I recommend Australia over New Zealand? Maybe. If you’re a Vancouverite and want to avoid the 75% guaranteed rain, prefer the heat, beaches, wildlife, outback or city life, Australia offers that. If you want to enjoy tremendous landscapes, tropical rainforests, challenging tramping/hiking trips, be somewhat socially isolated to enjoy a slow pace, then New Zealand is the place to go.
The Line Up
With the comparison out of the way, it’s time to give New Zealand some fair share of gawking. Yes, gawking, because its beauty is majestic.
Here’s the line up:
- Lake Tekapo & Queenstown: Serene Lake Towns
- Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park: A Majestic Journey
- Fox Glacier & Punakaiki: Natural Phenomena
- Wellington & Tongariro Crossing: Mt Doom & Chocolate Milk
- Rotorua & Maori Experience: Thermal Spas & Cookers
- Hobbiton: The Magical Movie Set
- Auckland: Crater City
Should I like one place more than your favourite, it doesn’t mean yours isn’t great. It just means my experience is different from yours – my encounters, my mood, etc. Please enjoy.