Travel time from Australia to New Zealand
The Koala is native to Australia. (Photo: Koala image by HeikeKl from Fotolia.com )
Australia and New Zealand lie in the Oceania region of the southern hemisphere, surrounded by water on all sides. Separated by the Tasman Sea, Australia and New Zealand each feature diverse attractions for visitors to enjoy. From the koalas and Aboriginal culture of Australia to the kiwi birds and Maori tribes of New Zealand, both countries offer intriguing opportunities for exploration. While there is no one best time to visit either of these destinations, tourists should consider a couple of key elements when planning their travel arrangements.
The seasons in Australia run opposite of those in North America and Europe. Mild spring weather lasts from September to November. Summer spans December through February, featuring longer daylight hours and warm to hot conditions depending on the part of the country you are in. March through May constitutes autumn, leading into the cooler winter period of June to August. Lonely Planet Travel Guide notes that the climate changes significantly as you head north near places like Darwin and Cairns. This region lies within the monsoon belt and has just two seasons. Hot and wet conditions prevail from October to March, while blazing arid weather kicks in from April to September.
Australia's Peak Tourist Season
Australia's primary school holidays take place during the summer months of December and January. This means that most places experience their peak tourist traffic around this time. Lonely Planet suggests avoiding travel for this period if possible. Winter, on the other hand, offers visitors some respite from the crowds and inflated prices, albeit in much cooler and sometimes rainy conditions.
New Zealand's Climate
New Zealand also has a reverse seasonal calender due to its position in the southern hemisphere, so its four seasons run fairly parallel to those in Australia. Queenstown and the Central Plateau on the North Island get a large amount of snowfall during the winter months of June and July, providing some good skiing conditions. Aside from the reliably sunny summer months of December and January, travelers can expect intermittent rain showers year-round across the country as storms come in off the Tasman Sea and the Cook Strait.
New Zealand's Peak Tourist Season
Most people in New Zealand take their annual holidays between mid-December and February. As such, Frommer's Travel Guide warns travelers that accommodations will be more expensive and harder to find during these summer months, and attractions will generally be more crowded.
Frommer's recommends visiting northern Australia between April and August when airfares are lower and the weather is decent along the Great Barrier Reef. Frommer's also suggests traveling to Australia's southern states in the warm summer months of January and February. Of course, you'll also have to contend with a higher concentration of tourists and vacation-goers during the summer.
New Zealand Verdict
December through February is the warmest and most lively time of year in New Zealand, according to Lonely Planet. Skiiers, in contrast, will want to opt for the June to August window. Expect to pay top dollar on everything from airfare to hotels and tours in the summer. Frommer's suggests visiting during the autumn shoulder season of March and April to take advantage of the moderately warm climate and the relatively small number of tourist crowds.