I am traveling alone and a little nervous!!! Good nerves I'm sure
I plan to fly into Auckland NZ on 1st August, spend a month maybe a little longer in NZ (was looking at doing the Kiwi Experience for 20-24 days) Then between friends and family in Christchurch & Wellington for the rest of my time.
What do you guys think of the Kiwi Experience?
Around 9th September I am looking to fly over to Australia for 3 months. I am thinking of starting in Melbourne and workings my way up the East Coast to Cairns.
Again I've had a look at the Oz Experience just because I think this will be a good way to meet people and have advice at hand as where is best to go.
Firstly is there anyone out there planning to be in NZ around August or OZ September onwards?
Secondly what do you guys think of the Kiwi/Oz Experiences?
and Lastly do you think 3 months traveling along the east coast is too long?
Thank you and I cant wait to hear from you x
Kiwi Experience: I personally think it's overpaying for something you can do much better on your own. Too much a tour. I much prefer to make my own way by public transport or rental car. Still loads and loads of fellow backpackers to meet in hostels along the way. I also quite disliked the upselling of activities they did on the bus during the two days I travelled with them back in 2003. That said, there's certainly a lot of people who enjoy to social aspects of travelling with the kiwi experience, and many people who travel with them have a pretty good time. ('course, it's hard not to have a good time in New Zealand.) If you like the organized aspects of the kiwi experience, also look into the Magic Bus and Stray, two competing companies operating on basically the same principles.
For Australia, for three months starting in September, I'd recommend starting in Cairns and heading south rather than the other way 'round, as from mid November onward, things'll get unpleasantly humid in the north, with the wet season about to start. In general, you can take as long as you want for the east coast; there's lots and lots to see. Though personally I'd probably move a bit more swiftly, and try to include a bit more (for example westward beyond Melbourne to Adelaide (not just including the Great Ocean Road, but also the Grampians, and maybe heading north from Adelaide into the Flinders Ranges (never been there myself, but it's on the list for next time)), and definitely also Tasmania). Or really, make it two months New Zealand and two months Australia, because I absolutely love the huge diversity of the landscape in New Zealand, and seeing things in depth there feels much more worthwhile.
I know it seems a little daunting traveling alone to these countries, but honestly once you get there you will make plenty of friends and be glad of the freedom to choose where and when you go, rather than a tour bus. South of Rotorua is this beautiful natural hot spring. I was sitting in it yesterday and a Kiwi Experience bus drove past, stopped then drove on. I felt so sad for those on the bus that don't even get to experience things like this and are only taken to the things the company gets kick backs on.
Just remember you will be in NZ in winter. A much different experience from summer. Bring plenty of warm clothing, or plan on buying it here.
Sounds like you already have your flight booked for Sydney (Edit ah Melbourne, ok same thing you can still get a connecting flight from Melbourne up to Cairns), but you could still book a connecting flight up to Cairns the same day, which as Sander said is a much better climate in September and can be pretty oppressive by December. Where as December will be best time to be down south.
[ Edit: Edited on 12-Jun-2012, at 17:42 by Dodger ]