Many travelers dream of visiting Australia and New Zealand and often hope to combine the two for the ultimate vacation. They believe if they are traveling all that way, than why not see it all. A good idea in theory, but sometimes it is hard to fit all the places in that they want to see – especially with most of us limited to only two weeks annual vacation.
Flying on Air New Zealand allows travelers the opportunity to easily combine the two or three destinations with one airline. Daily flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco connect in Auckland with flights into the Pacific Islands or Australian gateway cities.
Australia’s sunshine State, is an easy starting point in Australia or add on to a New Zealand vacation. Four easy to reach destinations in Queensland offer varying vacation options and are the perfect addition to any South Pacific itinerary.
Nothing says “Australia” quite like a beach, and the Gold Coast is the perfect beach destination. Famous for its beaches, surf, theme parks, shopping, nightlife and hinterland, this is the perfect vacation spot no matter what you enjoy. There are huge waves to navigate in Broadbeach, a shipwreck to snorkel through off Main Beach and golden beaches framed by high rises in Surfers Paradise to explore. Discover the theme parks including Dreamworld, SeaWorld, Wet ‘n’ Wild and Warner Bros Movie World before traveling inland for some natural wonders with waterfalls, rainforests and scenic lookouts in the Gold Coast hinterland. Shop ‘til you drop in high-end boutiques, open air malls and local art and craft markets, and dance until the early morning with nightclubs, bars and casinos all within easy access.
For big city excitement visit Brisbane; a modern, vibrant city with a sunny, sub-tropical climate with loads of natural beauty. Stroll through the lush riverside gardens of South Bank, browse the local markets and take a dip in the man-made lagoon. See the many old buildings and heritage arcades in and around Queen Street Mall and stroll through the city’s grassy parks. Cuddle up to a koala and meet other friendly Australian wildlife at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
For a bit slower of a pace try the Sunshine Coast, just over an hour from Brisbane with miles and miles of pristine beaches to explore. The laid back vacation town of Noosa offers trendy restaurants and fashion boutiques just steps from the beach with no building higher than the trees. Noosa National Park features stunning coastal scenery and a selection of native Australian wildlife. Here you can go on a Noosa Coastal Walk along the trails winding through the bush and along the coast offering breathtaking views. Picturesque villages surround Noosa with many being home to open-air markets, gourmet restaurants, friendly pubs, local art galleries and colorful characters.
The tropical north of the State is home to Cairns, the jumping off point for the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. Discover this undersea world of the Great Barrier Reef which is home to more than 6,600 species of flora and fauna, including 1,500 species of fish and 400 different types of coral. Experience the Reef whichever way you want: diving, snorkeling, cruising, flying, and island hopping are just some of the options. Then allow yourself to be enchanted by the beauty and tranquility of the world’s oldest surviving tropical rainforest, the Daintree. Wade out and paddle through the crystal-clear rivers, swim in the volcanic lakes and seek out the spectacular waterfalls that are hidden throughout the Rainforest. Glide over the pristine rainforest in a gondola, take in a bird’s eye view of this area and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of the tropical rainforest environment.
For more information, check out Down Under Answers.
Editor’s note: Down Under Answers is a sponsor of Budget Your Trip.
Laurie is happiest on the road and has visited over 50 countries. She dreams about meeting tribal people, hiking through rice paddies, and driving longtail boats through crystal-clear waters. She enjoys photography, social activism, and helping others quit their jobs to travel. Laurie co-founded Budget Your Trip, and lives the life any nomadic soul would yearn for.