The Heat is On: Plan a Trip to Australia, New Zealand Now

Australia and New Zealand seem to be on more must-see bucket lists than any other countries and no wonder: They’re beautiful.

And with warm weather on the way to Down Under, let’s plan a trip. We have tips for getting there, tips for traveling in and out of Australia and New Zealand and even an airfare deal for Aussies.

Australia/New Zealand Info for Outsiders

Some things to know:

The seasons: The seasons of Australia and New Zealand are the opposite of North America and Europe, so when it’s winter in Chicago and Edinburgh, it’s summer in Sydney. The weather varies of course partly because Australia is so big (about the size of the U.S.) and partly because of New Zealand’s diverse terrain, but here are the basics:

  • Spring: September to November
  • Summer: December through February and the warmest weather months (coinciding with Australia’s primary school holidays)
  • Fall: March through May
  • Winter: June to August and the chilliest weather months

More on weather: The northern region of Australia including Darwin and Cairns “lies within the monsoon belt and has just two seasons,” notes USA Today, “and hot and wet conditions prevail from October to March, while blazing arid weather kicks in from April to September.”

Learn more about weather Down Under from the Australian Bureau of Meteorolgy and more about New Zealand’s weather on MetService.

Where to Go in Australia/New Zealand

So many destinations, so much fun; there’s simply no way to list it all but here are some highlights. Cty descriptions in quotes are from official tourism sites (links below).

Australia

See the official Australia tourism site for much, much more.

  • Adelaide: South Australia’s “elegant and cultured capital” known for its world-class wineries.
  • Brisbane: The city where the “South Bank’s cultural institutions and restaurants meet riverside gardens and a lagoon.”
  • Cairns: Great jumping-off point for visiting the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Melbourne: This capital of Victoria and “a vibrant hub of style, sport, culture and dining” is also the home of the Australian Grand Prix and a day trip away from the “fairy penguins” of Phillip Island.
  • Perth: Called the city of relaxed magic where you can “cruise the Swan River past parks and skyscrapers to 40 vineyards in the Swan Valley.”
  • Sydney: Beauty, culture, world famous beaches, world famous restaurants, incredibly friendly people plus that gorgeous opera house. What more could you want?

New Zealand

See the official New Zealand tourism site for much, much more (including Hobbit film locations).

  • Auckland: New Zealand’s largest city, described as having a Pacific vibe, is a place “where everyone lives within half an hour of beautiful beaches, hiking trails and a dozen enchanting holiday islands.” Excellent food and wine, too.
  • Queenstown: You can ski, hike, cycle, swim or jump out of an airplane if you like. You can also just sit there in this wonder “on the shores of Lake Wakatipu amidst dramatic alpine ranges” and immerse yourself in its regal beauty.

Cheap Flights to Australia, New Zealand

A few things to know:

  • Find cheap flights: Always compare airfares. An airfare search site can ensure you get the cheapest flight possible.
  • Passports: You will need a passport to visit either country.
  • Visas: You will also need a visa to enter Australia; learn more here. No visa is required for travel to New Zealand.

Info for Australians/New Zealanders

If you’re interested in traveling to Europe and North America:

  • Weather and airfare: The winter months in the U.S., Canada and Europe span December to March. It can be cold and snowy in northern regions, but the good news is fares drop sharply (except at Christmas and New Year’s) and this is particularly true for domestic U.S. flights. Prices rise again in late May and June as school breaks begin which generally extend through late August; at that point, domestic airfare prices drop again. More on weather here.
  • Year-round cities: It may be cold in January but there are plenty of amazing indoor attractions to see in popular cities like London, Paris, Rome, and New York (to name just a few).
  • Warm winter cities: There are also plenty of cities that are warm even in the winter months of January through February including U.S. favorites in Florida: Ft. Lauderdale, Miami and Orlando. You’ll also find warm cities in California: Los Angeles and San Diego.

Wherever city or country you decide to cross off your bucket list, we hope you get a cheap flight and have a safe trip. We already know you’ll return with beautiful memories.

LISTEN: “Will that be one seat or two?”

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Updated: October 9, 2015