Australia & New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand are the two major countries in the arbitrarily defined expanse of Pacific Ocean known as Oceania. (Several other parts of the region are covered under the Islands of the World Region.)

The two countries share historical and cultural similarities, with early European settlers (especially from Britain) coming in waves and taking over indigenous lands, while gradually developing their own distinctive cultures.

They differ greatly in geography, however, as Australia’s much more northerly location (closer to the equator) results in a much hotter climate overall, with much of the interior a desert region, especially in the west. It is by far the largest and most populous country in the region.

Smaller New Zealand is both more temperate overall and has considerably more altitude variation, ranging from coast to snow-capped mountains of over 12,000 ft (3,600m). Technically part of Polynesia as the indigenous Maori are Polynesian and providing the major air hub to the rest of Polynesia.

 

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Australia & New Zealand (photo by Wikimedia Commons)

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Countries in this region:

A Natural Atmosphere includes a diverse range of destinations with outdoor-oriented features, including both water-based (beaches, rivers, lakes, etc) and land-based (mountains, forests, deserts, etc). It also includes specific outdoor activities, ranging from water adventuring (eg, kayaking, sailing) to land adventuring (eg, hiking, biking).

Natural Interests tend to be:
(a) outdoors-oriented, and therefore more dependent on weather conditions
(b) less easily accessible and more physically demanding than other destination categories.

In some cases (eg, rafting and climbing), this includes a significantly increased degree of adventure (or danger, depending on one's viewpoint).

Australia

Atmosphere: Nature    
Best Weather: March, April, May, September, October, November

 AustraliaAustralia, the world's sixth-largest country by total area, comprises the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. Indigenous Australians inhabited the continent for at least 40,000 years before the first British settlement in the late 18th century. Australia is famous for its natural wonders and wide open spaces, its beaches, deserts, "the bush", and "the Outback.” Australia is highly urbanised with most of the population heavily concentrated along the eastern and south-eastern coasts. Most of the inland areas of the country are semi-arid.
 
A Natural Atmosphere includes a diverse range of destinations with outdoor-oriented features, including both water-based (beaches, rivers, lakes, etc) and land-based (mountains, forests, deserts, etc). It also includes specific outdoor activities, ranging from water adventuring (eg, kayaking, sailing) to land adventuring (eg, hiking, biking).

Natural Interests tend to be:
(a) outdoors-oriented, and therefore more dependent on weather conditions
(b) less easily accessible and more physically demanding than other destination categories.

In some cases (eg, rafting and climbing), this includes a significantly increased degree of adventure (or danger, depending on one's viewpoint).

New Zealand

Atmosphere: Nature    
Best Weather: January, February, March, April, November, December

 New ZealandNew Zealand comprises two main islands – the North Island (Te Ika-a-Māui) and the South Island (Te Waipounamu) – as well as numerous smaller islands. Because of its remoteness, New Zealand was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand often adds an adventure twist to nature: it's the original home of jet-boating through shallow gorges, and bungy jumping off anything high enough to give a thrill.