My Visit to Australia and New Zealand

Earlier this month I traveled across the world to Sydney, Australia to keynote at Affili@Syd then  stopped by Christchurch, New Zealand before heading back home. It was my first time visiting these two countries, so I thought I’d let you know how it went.

Sydney, Australia

When you think about Australia, you will most likely think of the outback and kangaroos… so did I, but I was actually on the other side of the country and stayed in Sydney, which is a very large city and nothing like what might pop into your head when you think of Australia. Once arriving, I found out that the airlines left my luggage back in the USA and it would arrive the next day, so this gave me the opportunity to check around the city and pick up some necessities. Being from the US, I’m used to seeing well known department stores like Target, Walmart, fast food chains all over the place and just being familiar with my surroundings. However, you won’t find many (or any) of these in Sydney… and I actually only came across a few McDonald’s and one Starbucks when walking throughout most of the City.

Sydney is of course most well known for the Sydney Opera house. I was staying at the Westin hotel and it was a decent walk to the harbor where you could see the Opera House, visit the market place and other cool attractions in the area. This photo is an awesome view of Sydney from the harbor then into the city. (image source)

During my time in Sydney I realized the people that live within Sydney were extremely nice. After spending a few days in Sydney, Australia, it was time to head over to New Zealand for the first time.

Christchurch, New Zealand

I’ve always wanted to visit New Zealand, especially after the filming and documentaries on Lord of the Rings and all of their NZ filming locations. Flying into the country was simply gorgeous. You could see the mountains, valleys, endless fields of sheep and more. Arriving in Christchurch, it was a different story. I was staying at the Millennium Hotel which is right in the middle of Cathedral Square, which is one of the main focal points of the city. Once you walked a few blocks outside of the square, you were right in the city area with office buildings and stores everywhere… completely different from the atmosphere flying into the country.

As mentioned, Lord of the Rings was one of the best things to happen to New Zealand because of all the attention and new tourism. Since the movie was filmed throughout the whole country, it would be quite the task to visit all of the movie sites, but I did get a chance to visit Edoras where Rohan was filmed in the movie. It took a few hours to get out into the mountains, but it was great to actually get outside of the city.

I also made time to visit the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. It was only about 20 minutes from the hotel and $50 taxi fare each way to and from the zoo. The Willowbank animal reserve was only $25 per person, but well worth the taxi fare and one of my favorite zoos I’ve been to. I was actually one of the only people there and got to spend plenty of time there and all of the animals were running up to me as I walked around the park, hoping for some food. Right now it’s winter (temps around 50 degrees F) in Australia and New Zealand, so not many people visit the reserve, but it was nice weather for me (being from NJ / NY area). The wallabies (pic to right) were the best, as they were so friendly and would eat right from your hands and let you pet them.

With my remaining time in New Zealand, I visited several other destinations and tried to book a helicopter tour at Mt. Cook. It was a four hour ride to get there, then within a mile of the airport, there was a blizzard and it was canceled.

I only had a few days in each country, but there was so much to see and do, both Australia and New Zealand were amazing. On my next visit I’ll make sure to leave more time to visit outside of the main city areas.

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  1. I love Sydney, and really want that picture as a poster for my office wall.

    I have to say though Zac, I think this article was outsourced. That, or you were on your 8th beer when you wrote it.

    Terrible writing – this didn't sound like you at all!

  2. Wow, those are some lovely pictures and I love how you nerded out by bringing LOTR into the mix haha.

    I think, in some ways, we get brainwashed as Americans that the outside world is very rough, especially Australia. Yes, Australia does have a lot of outback but it’s just like any other place, there’s a lot of great people, great cities/towns and plenty of new places to explore.

  3. Australia and New Zealand are both beautiful countries. Some great people there too who are always friendly and up for a good laugh.

    I did my Australian visa when I was 24 and spent a few months there. I went back a few years later for two months just before I went to New Zealand to do my NZ visa. Spent around 5-6 months in NZ before moving on (I actually started bloggingtips when I was still living in Auckland).

    Will definitely return one time in the future. It just isn't practical to do so every year as it takes about 30 hours of travelling from the uk to get there.

  4. <a class="replyTo" href="#comment-118035" rel="nofollow">@Kevin Muldoon:

    The people in Australia were amazingly nice, and everyone seemed happy to talk and meet with you. From the USA (NY area) it was quite a ride… 5 hours to LA, then 15 to AUS, then another 3 to NZ… plus all the layover times.

  5. Nice post Zac. Those are wonderful places. I wish I could be there someday, not to work, but for a vacation. It adds motivation for me today Zac, knowing and realizing what life can give us by our online business.

  6. I'm thinking about going to Australia for a few weeks next year. Might do some traveling out there, go to New Zealand.

    Glad you had a nice time, the reserve looks awesome!

  7. Nice Zac,

    what a wonderfull trip, and as the australians say “mate”.
    Nice pics….just got an idea for a new project lets study it…thanks

  8. I was lucky enough to go to Australia last summer. It was a very enjoyable vacation. If I get the chance to go back I’ll have to try to stop over at New Zealand too. Australia is such a big country that there is plenty more to explore.

  9. I am a 45 year old who has just booked her first ever long haul flight – to New Zealand. I have a month in which to travel around, although approximately one week will be spent with relatives at the top of North Island. I am very keen on walking and would like to fit in one 'trek' if possible. My budget is small, so I would like some advice/suggestions on how to get the best out of my time. I would be happy to join in with 'group' activities and would not mind having to share a room/dormitory if necessary to keep costs down.

    Is it possible to visit both Islands in the time available?

  10. That's really cool that you found the LOTR mountains – its amazing what CGI can do in a movie. I've always wanted to visit New Zealand as I've heard there's no place quite like it.

  11. Can anyone answer me on my previous question regarding a plan trip in both cities?

  12. hey Zac, how do you came up with the Rohan in the Lord of the Rings is it part of your plan to visit the site or it's just a coincidence ? because i always wanted to visit those sites one day

  13. G'day Zac,

    Skip Australia next time and come straight to New Zealand… let us know in advance and we'll set up an itinerary with scenery and experiences that will blow your mind.

    What you saw on this visit is but a mere snippet!

    Enjoy reading your stuff… and applying it to our businesses: and

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