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10 days in Australia and 8 days in New Zealand

Hi, we will be 3 adults are traveling Australia and New Zealand in February. (Flights are booked already: flight 1: Landing in Melbourne. Flight 2: round trip from Sydney to Aukland. Flight 3: Sydney to LA

Melbourne to Brisbane (this flight is not booked yet) and down the gold coast to Sydney by car (any names of one way car rentals?)
Thinking of stopping at Surfer's Paradise and then Port Macquarie on the way to Sydney- what are some must see sights? is it possible to do any of the outback from Sydney in a day trip?

Sydney to Auckland and back again...will be renting a car in Auckland. do we have time to see any of the South Island ? Was thinking of Aukland - Taupo - Wellington - Pickton - Wellington -Napier -Aukland
would it make sense to just do the ferry on a round trip in? see a bit of Pickton and return that evening?

if this is too much in 8 days, what are the must see places on the North Island?
Would like to see historical and natural sights, go to a sheep ranch ..do any of the wineries give tours of their properties(not just tastings)?

thanks for any and all tips:)

Posted by
11925 posts

A year ago I was starting to pack for a similar trip,although we spent less time in OZ and saw only the South Island so New Zealand, spending two weeks there. It's all good.

I have two quick comments. One, do not shortchange Melbourne; it is a beautiful city with a very different vibe from Sydney.

Two, definitely spend a night ( or two) near Picton. Specifically, this place, which you reach by water taxi from Picton:

http://www.lochmara.co.nz

You might want to consider ferry one way and flying the other to save some time.

Posted by
32 posts

You have a lot planned with just 10 days in Australia especially after a long haul flight. Melbourne is worth a few days and there are plenty of good day trips out of the city. The drive from Brisbane to Sydney is about 570 miles with lots to see and do along the way. Without enough time enjoy the trip it mat turn out to be just a very long drive. Try googling "road trip Brisbane to Sydney" for ideas. In terms of hire cars we have most of the international car rental firms here so looking at those should give you some idea of car hire costs, google should be able to help with more local info. For me, with only 10 days, I would stick with Melbourne and Sydney and fly between. Have a great trip.

Posted by
14225 posts

10 days in Australia, especially after a long-haul flight and jetlag, is barely enough for Melbourne and Sydney. 8 days for North Island only is too much.

Posted by
1856 posts

I agree with the other posters. With so little time I'd stick to Melbourne and Sydney. Sydney alone is worth a full 10 days, with so much to see and do in and around the area. Get a day pass from Sydney Ferries and use the boats, buses, and trains as a hop-on, hop-off service to explore one of the most beautiful cities on earth. Public transport will take you far afield as well - from the Blue Mountains to Hunter Valley.
From Melbourne a worthwhile day trip would be to drive out at least a portion of the Great Ocean Road. Might even continue all the way to Helen's home town of Adelaide, which we've always thought was one of the prettiest cities in Australia. The Gold Fields in and around Ballarat are easy day trips from Melbourne.
If you really have your heart set on visiting Surfers Paradise & the Gold Coast look at Jetstar (the Qantas low-cost subsidiary) for flights between Melbourne-Gold Coast airport and from there back to Sydney.
There's really no way to incorporate a visit to the Outback into your itinerary unless you fly to Alice Springs and/or Uluru (which are 300 miles apart). Jetstar will take you there for a reasonable price.
Not to diminish the scenic charms of the North Island - because all of NZ is beautiful, but personally I'd head straight to the South Island upon arrival in Auckland- and to Queenstown in particular. From there you can explore with a car to your heart's content.
A good planning tool for previewing attractions at all of your proposed stops is the TripAdvisor "Things to do" feature. We've stumbled upon a number of lesser known and out of the way attractions that we'd have missed otherwise.