Hi there people i'm planning on going to oz next year and new zealand. but i'm not to sure on what to do or where to start. im interested in the culture in both countrys and the out door senery. also what would the weather be like end of feb to april time which is when i plan to go.
Weather in New Zealand will be late summer to autumn, pretty much exactly as you know it in the UK, though perhaps with a bit less rain. There's a small chance of early snows in the Southern Alps on the South Island in April, but mostly you can expect to see gorgeously autumn colored trees (though those won't get north of Christchurch until late April at the earliest - and never show up in the rainforests on the west coast).
Southern Australia (Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth) will be the same, though warmer.
Brisbane and around there will be tropical, same as always; very humid in February/March, but nice in April. Cairns will suffer through the wet season in February, with that lessing in March, and getting decent in April.
Assuming 9 weeks of time, I'd divide it roughly as 3 weeks New Zealand South Island, 2 weeks New Zealand North Island, and 4 weeks Australia. For that time period, consider something like:
20 Feb: arrive Sydney. Explore Sydney for a couple of days. Do a daytrip to the Blue Mountains.
25 Feb: Take an internal flight to Adelaide. Explore. Rent a car. Maybe explore the Flinders Ranges. Drive to Melbourne via Grampians and Great Ocean Road.
2 Mar: Arrive Melbourne. Explore Melbourne and surroundings (Wilsons Promontory, maybe head over to Lakes Entrance). Drop off car.
7 Mar: Fly to Auckland. Explore Auckland (do the "coast-to-coast" walk). Rent a car. Drive to Bay of Islands and Cape Reinga. Hike through lush rainforest at Whangarei.
12 Mar: return to Auckland and make your way to Wellington via Mount Maunganui, Rotorua (Maori culture, if you can distinguish it from the tourist-performances) and Tongariro National Park.
20 Mar: arrive Wellington. Drop off car. Explore for a day or two, and take the ferry to Picton. Eat yummy dutch buttercake at the "village bakkerij" (tell them I sent you). Take a watertaxi to Mahana Homestead laze about in a hammock, eat yummy homecooked dinner, see free glowworms, sleep well, hike a day's worth of the Queen Charlotte Track, return for another yummy dinner, sleep well, return to Picton by watertaxi.
24 Mar: Hop on bus down the coast to Kaikoura. Go see whales, and walk the peninsula walkway. See lots of seals. Careful not to step on them. Bus on to Christchurch. Explore.
28 Mar: bus to Lake Tekapo. Gaze at the blue of the lake, and feel your soul settle down for the long stay. Walk to the top of Mt. John and gaze at eternity. Eat carbonara pizza at Pepe's. Stay at the YHA, sitting in the lounge beyond the huge windows, sipping tea and gazing at the lake. Repeat for a day or three. Take a helicopter flight to land on the glaciers if you have the budget and if the weather plays nice.
1 Apr: bus on to Mt. Cook. Hope on a rare day without low-hanging clouds (or even rarer blue skies) to actually see the mountain. Do some hiking.
3 Apr: Bus on to Queenstown. Explore. Go bungy jumping if that's your thing. Do a daytrip to Milford Sound.
7 Apr: Rent a car for added convenience and many roadside stops. Drive over awesome Haast pass to the rainforests of the west coast. Stay at Franz Josef or Fox Glacier. Gaze at the mirrorlike reflection of Peter's Pool. Walk the Robert's Point track. If you have the budget, but the weather wasn't with you in Lake Tekapo, do a helicopter flight with glacier landing now. Otherwise do glacier hiking.
10 Apr: drive back to Christchurch via Arthur's Pass. Fly to Brisbane. Make your way up the east coast to Cairns, either bussing, training, and hopping from place to place by plane. See the Great Barrier Reef.
25 Apr: fly from Cairns to Alice Springs and do a 4-6 day Uluru/Kings Canyon trip, either returning in Alice Springs or ending in Adelaide. Fly to Sydney from there, ready for your flight back home.
That's a very rough itinerary, and you'll probably want to customize it a lot, but it hits the absolute highlights scenery wise (Lake Tekapo!) :D, with opportunity to see a lot of culture, both indigenous and modern. Things you might want to ponder swapping in at the cost of something else would be: Darwin/Kakadu, Perth/Pinacles and Tasmania. These are things I myself skipped, because in my judgement the other things would be more worthwhile, but YMMV. (I do know I'll be going back for them.)
I divided up the time the way I did for the following reasons:
1) You want to hit Uluru as late as possible so the heat won't be too unbearable.
2) Same for the north of the East Coast, so the torrential rains will be gone.
3) You don't want to do New Zealand, especially the South Island, in February, since that's still very much high season, and everything will be booked full a lot in advance.
Wow the above post is probably about all you need to know, but I noticed you were particularly interested in culture, so thought I'd help you out a little there. In NZ the Maori culture is especially prevelant in the North Island. Rotorua is a great place to find some Maori-based tourism, such as cultural performances, hangi etc. If you do your homework properly you'll find all sorts of Maori culture experiences throughout the country though - bush walks with Maori guides that will tell you stories of their heritage, fishing charters, traditional tatooists. Ask local I-sites (information centres) when you arrive in each town/city, they'll be able to point you in the right direction.
As for Aussie, people after Aboriginal culture experiences usually head to the Outback. There's a range of tours through the Red Centre with an Aboriginal flavour. I also found Adelaide a great place to learn a bit about the Aboriginal people, there's a great Aboriginal art gallery called Tandanya that has digeridoo performances and talks each day at lunch time, as well as a video. The Museum in Adelaide is also great for Aboriginal culture. I also headed to the market at Port Adelaide one day and there was a chef cooking using "bush tucker" ingredients and Australian meat - crocodile, emu, kangaroo. You got to watch and taste, not sure if this is a regular thing at the market but was certainly cool to stumble across
Just a few ideas to get you started anyway, hope they're helpful!!
cheers guys that has helped me out a bit, regard time i'm out there i was planning on going anywhere up nto a yr or a yr in each cos i will work out there to, to give me some extra cash.
Ah, ok, I interpreted "end of feb to april" as meaning the entire time you'll be there, rather than the time-range within which you'd first fly over.
With that much time on your hands, my advice is much different: don't make any plans, you'll break them constantly anyway. Just be aware that December through March is a bad time to be in the north of Australia, and you'll want to avoid Uluru between October and March. Other than that, everywhere else is beautiful all the time. Pick a place to arrive, pick a direction, and go see what's there to see. (Do be sure to hit the above locations at some point, but definitely visit the lesser known more out of the way places as well.) Never plan to stay less than a minimum of five days per location, and allow yourself to linger longer if you like a place. (Though of course, do feel free to move on after a day or two if somewhere turns out to be a complete dump: just don't be too quick to judge like that - it's always amazing how many redeeming qualities you can find in a location once you start to become familiar with it.)
Other advice: Every so often, take your time to sit down in hostel lounges with a cup of tea and a book to give yourself a day of doing nothing to assimilate experiences. There's no rush, and you don't need to cram in every last thing.
[ Edit: Edited on Oct 25, 2007, at 3:31 PM by Sander ]