I'm taking a Contiki tour through New Zealand in the summer of 2007 and was wondering how easy it is to get over to Australia afterwards? Are the flights cheap? Which airlines would you recommend? I've stayed at hostels in Europe, do they compare in Australia? Any advice about getting around down under would help, thanks!
Flights to Australia are dirt cheap. Probably will cost you around $250-$300 (NZD) including tax that time of year. Look at Qantas, Virgin and Emirates. (There's also JetStar, but they're too cattle class for me to recommend.)
Hostels in Australia and New Zealand are generally a class or two better those those in Europe (at least comparing the four European ones I've stayed in to the dozens upon dozens down under; YMMV). Generally really good kitchens, awesome lounges, small dorms and helpful staff.
Public transport is the way to get around if you're on your own; Intercity/Newmans coaches in New Zealand, or Greyhound or trains in Australia (although if the distance gets too large, it's often worth flying in Australia as well). With two people I'd recommend to rent a car for New Zealand, but stick to public transport in Australia (unless you're there for long enough (3+ months) for it to be worth buying a car.
Great! Thanks for the advice!
I stayed in hostels all over australia and new zealand. On average I find them to be very good. About $20 AUD a night for a dorm bed. As sander said, unless you have a ton of time your better off flying around OZ.. Don't miss frasier Island, spend a minimum of 3 days there. If you need so assistance with picking a hostel in a particular city let me know and I will try and help.
If your going to australia then you should go to Stradbroke island, excellent place.
I can't wait to go. I want to see as much as I possibly can!
If you know which city you will be departing NZ from, jump onto the Freedom Air website now! They have a sale and you'll get over to Aussie for waaaay cheap