Australasia-a region of Oceania, comprises Australia, New Zealand, neighbouring islands in the Pacific Ocean and, sometimes, the island of New Guinea (which is usually considered to be part of Melanesia). Charles de Brosses coined the term (as French Australasie) in Histoire des navigations aux terres australes (1756). He derived it from the Latin for "south of Asia" and differentiated the area from Polynesia (to the east) and the southeast Pacific (Magellanica). The bulk of Australasia sits on the Indo-Australian Plate, together with India.
Australia-is a country and continent surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans. Its major cities – Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide – are coastal. Its capital, Canberra, is inland. The country is known for its Sydney Opera House, the Great Barrier Reef, a vast interior desert wilderness called the Outback, and unique animal species like kangaroos and duck-billed platypuses. Walk on the wild side with these animal encounters that invite you to get up close and personal with some of the planet’s most incredible wildlife. Between silverback gorillas, whale sharks and manta rays, these adventures will see you rub shoulders with some of Mother Nature’s giants. Alternatively, downsize the creatures but scale-up the number, watching legions of baby turtles hatch in Borneo; or discover the whole cast of the Lion King with a walking safari on Zambia’s vast plains.
Australia is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. It’s known as a major backpacking, camping, road trip, and diving destination, but no matter your travel style, there is something to draw you here. The country is filled with incredible natural beauty from Uluru to the Outback, rainforests to pristine white sand beaches, and of course, the Great Barrier Reef. Sydney’s Harbor Bridge and Opera House are iconic man-made wonders, and Melbourne’s café culture will make you feel like you are in Europe. Coupled with world-class surfing, and it is no wonder people never leave.
New Zealand- is a country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean consisting of 2 main islands, both marked by volcanoes and glaciation. Capital Wellington, on the North Island, is home to Te Papa Tongarewa, the expansive national museum. Wellington’s dramatic Mt. Victoria, along with the South Island’s Fiordland and Southern Lakes, stood in for mythical Middle Earth in Peter Jackson’s "Lord of the Rings" films.
New Zealand is the adventure capital of the world. Hiking, skydiving, caving, bungy jumping, skiing — everything here is geared towards getting you outside and doing something incredible. As a popular destination for backpackers and budget travelers, New Zealand is really affordable and offers many ways to save money. I loved my time in New Zealand — the people were friendly, the country was beautiful (I can see why the shot Lord of the Rings there), and you meet a lot of great travelers there. It’s one of the best countries in the world and a place not to be missed. I’ve never heard anyone not love their time in the country. Most people don’t want to leave! I didn’t. You really can’t go wrong with this majestic country. It’s one of my top ten countries in the world!
Trip Planning: The planning stage of your trip can be instrumental in its success and an enjoyable part of the experience itself. You have a world of options...and plenty to consider.
Entry and Exit formalities: Visitors must hold a passport valid for at least six months & beyond at the time of entering the Schengen countries. Some nationalities can obtain visa on arrival and for nationalities who requires visa please refer to the respective consulate or embassies.
Australian consulate website: www.vfsglobal.com/Australia/GCC
New Zealand consulate website: www.vfsglobal.com/NewZealand/UAE/
Transportation: Figuring out how to get around is one of your biggest pre-trip decisions. Get our holiday expert best advice on deciding between your options. Based on your trip itinerary, our experts will help you choose wisely. You'll also find a wealth of practical travel tips.
Money: Use your money wisely. Know the best time to use cash or card — and how to avoid unnecessary fees either way — as well as tipping etiquette, and how shoppers can take advantage of VAT refunds.
Phones and Technology: Phones and other smart devices can be huge time-savers...or expensive distractions. Get our tips for making the best use of technology during your trip, and for calling home with or without your own phone.
Packing Light: On your trip you'll meet two kinds of travelers: those who pack light and those who wish they had.
Sleeping and Eating: Your hotel and restaurant choices can be a matter-of-face chore…or they can provide rich opportunities to connect with locals and their culture.
Health & Hygiene: Take comfort: Doctors, hospitals, launderettes, and bathrooms aren’t that different. Dealing with them can even be part of the fun of travel.
Sightseeing & Activities: Once you're on the ground, the real fun begins…but it pays to have a thoughtful plan. Our experts will help you get oriented to your surroundings, use your sightseeing hours wisely, and find your way off the beaten path.
Things to see & do:
Sydney-capital of New South Wales and one of Australia's largest cities, is best known for its harbourfront Sydney Opera House, with a distinctive sail-like design. Massive Darling Harbour and the smaller Circular Quay port are hubs of waterside life, with the arched Harbour Bridge and esteemed Royal Botanic Garden nearby. Sydney Tower’s outdoor platform, the Skywalk, offers 360-degree views of the city and suburbs.
Melbourne-is the coastal capital of the southeastern Australian state of Victoria. At the city's centre is the modern Federation Square development, with plazas, bars, and restaurants by the Yarra River. In the Southbank area, the Melbourne Arts Precinct is the site of Arts Centre Melbourne – a performing arts complex – and the National Gallery of Victoria, with Australian and indigenous art.
Cairns-considered the gateway to Australia's Great Barrier Reef, is a city in tropical Far North Queensland. Its Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park tells the stories of indigenous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with music and dance. Cairns Esplanade, lined in bars and restaurants, has a swimming lagoon. Northwest of the city, Daintree National Park spans mountainous rainforest, gorges and beaches.
Brisbane-is a “business city”, so unlike Sydney or Melbourne, there isn’t a lot of “culture” here. South Bank has some nice restaurants, and there are some decent pubs, but overall, the city isn’t one of the most exciting places to visit in Australia.
Perth-is Australia’s west coast capital and is often overlooked by most travelers. It’s expensive to get out there from the east coast so most travelers avoid it, but I love it! In fact, it’s probably my favorite city in all of Australia. Perth feels more like a large town than a city and is the best place to have a “Sunday Session” (an Aussie tradition of drinking on Sunday afternoons). From the beaches, food, and beer (be sure to take a day trip to Freemantle), Perth is just awesome.
Gold Coast-Australia is famous for its surfing, and one of the best places to learn is on the Gold Coast right outside of Brisbane. You’ll find world-class waves, a wide beach, and lots of available lessons. If you don’t like the Gold Coast, there is always Noosa, Byron Bay, Bondi Beach, Perth, and—well, you get the idea. There’s a lot of surfing in Australia!
Adelaide-is South Australia’s cosmopolitan coastal capital. Its ring of parkland on the River Torrens is home to renowned museums such as the Art Gallery of South Australia, displaying expansive collections including noted Indigenous art, and the South Australian Museum, devoted to natural history. The city's Adelaide Festival is an annual international arts gathering with spin-offs including fringe and film events.
Canberra-is the capital city of Australia. With a population of 403,468, it is Australia's largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory south-west of Sydney, and north-east of Melbourne. A resident of Canberra is known as a "Canberran". Although Canberra is the capital and seat of government, many federal government ministries have secondary seats in state capital cities, as do the Governor-General and the Prime Minister.
Darwin-is the capital of Australia's Northern Territory and a former frontier outpost. It's also a gateway to massive Kakadu National Park. Its popular waterfront area has several beaches and green areas like Bicentennial Park. Also near the water is the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, displaying Southeast Asian and Pacific art, plus a pearling lugger and other seafaring vessels.
Hobart-capital of Australia's island state of Tasmania, sits on the River Derwent. At its fashionable Salamanca Place, old sandstone warehouses host galleries and cafes. Nearby is Battery Point, a historic district with narrow lanes and colonial-era cottages. The city's backdrop is 1,270m-high Mount Wellington, with sweeping views, plus hiking and cycling trails.
Wollongong-is a coastal city in Australia, south of Sydney along the Grand Pacific Drive. Surfing beaches and rock pools line the coastline. Trails encircle the forests and rocky cliffs of Mt. Keira in the Illawarra mountain range, which frames the city. To the north, hang gliders launch from Bald Hill. South lie the Buddhist temple of Nan Tien and Lake Illawarra, a large lagoon with boating and fishing facilities.
Newcastle-is a harbour city in the Australian state of New South Wales. Its plentiful beaches are linked by the Bathers Way, a coastal walk stretching between Nobbys Beach and Merewether Beach. The walk provides access to Bogey Hole, a convict-built ocean bath from the colonial period. Also on the path is the 1880s Fort Scratchley, a historic site and a viewpoint for spotting migrating whales.
Townsville-is a coastal city in northeastern Queensland, Australia. The Strand esplanade, with its pier and water park, is popular. The Reef HQ Aquarium has marine life and coral from the Great Barrier Reef, plus a sea turtle hospital. Southeast of the city, the Billabong Sanctuary wildlife park is home to koalas, wombats and crocodiles. Offshore, Magnetic Island has coral reefs and a national park full of wildlife.
The Great Barrier Reef-off the coast of Queensland in northeastern Australia, is the largest living thing on Earth, and even visible from outer space. The 2,300km-long ecosystem comprises thousands of reefs and hundreds of islands made of over 600 types of hard and soft coral. It's home to countless species of colourful fish, molluscs and starfish, plus turtles, dolphins and sharks.
Daintree-The world’s oldest rainforest (yes, older than the Amazon) offers hikes that range from easy to challenging, dense jungles, beautiful mountains, waterfalls, wildlife, and cliffs
Fraser Island-The world’s largest sand island is a popular place to do some camping, swim, hike, and avoid dingoes. It’s also extremely popular with the locals because of its rustic beauty is easily accessible from the mainland. They camp a lot on the island. You can hire your own 4WD car or take an overnight tour through the island that’s famous for its fresh water lake (and dingoes). Sadly, you can’t go in the water nearby as it’s rough and full of sharks!
Outback-No trip to Australia is complete without a trip to the outback to see crocodiles, valleys, lakes, and the red desert. Find your own Crocodile Dundee as you explore the Red Center and Western Australia. Must visit places I love: Karijini National Park, the Kimberlys, Kakadu, and Litchfield National Park.
Wine Tour-Margaret River, Hunter Valley, or the Barossa Valley, you will have many chances to taste Aussie wine right from the source. Visiting the wine country should be on your list of things to do.
Ningaloo Reef-The Great Barrier Reef gets all the hype, but the Ningaloo Reef on the west coast is a far better reef system. Because it’s less developed and attracts fewer tourists, there are actually more fish and wildlife—you can even swim with whale sharks!
Western Australia-The most overlooked area in the country is the west coast where the country really shines. Here you can escape the crowds of the east coast, explore the outback, the Ningaloo Reef, Coral Bay, Broome, Perth, and the Margaret River.
Tasmania-This is a very “off the beaten track” destination. Despite everyone knowing its name, hardly anyone ever makes it down here. Tasmania has amazing hikes, beautiful bays (Wineglass Bay being the most famous), small towns, and excellent people, just a ferry away from Melbourne.
Blue Mountains-Right outside of Sydney, the Blue Mountains are an awesome place to explore —particularly in 4WD vehicle. As you adventure into the rainforest of the outback, you will see kangaroos, parrots, kookaburras, and more.
Karri Trees-One of the most under visited sights in Australia are the Karri forests in Southwestern Australia. These dense woods and tower trees are a beautiful testament to the diverse nature of the country. They are only a few hours south of Perth.
Kimberley-This area is known for its wilderness, so if you love the outdoors and don’t mind things getting rugged, add this to your itinerary. The mostly-unpaved Gibb River Road runs 660km through the region’s heart, which has towering limestone cliffs, gorges, a desert landscape, and freshwater pools.
Kakadu-The enormous Kakadu National Park is a biodiverse nature reserve in Australia’s Northern Territory. It encompasses wetlands and rivers. It’s home to saltwater crocodiles and flatback turtles, as well as many different bird species. Aboriginal rock paintings (dating back to prehistory) can be viewed at Nourlangie, Nanguluwur and Ubirr.
Christchurch-known for its English heritage, is located on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Flat-bottomed punts glide on the Avon River, which meanders through the city centre. On its banks are cycling paths, the green expanse of Hagley Park and Christchurch Botanic Gardens. In 2010 and 2011, earthquakes destroyed many of the historic centre's stone-built buildings.
Auckland-based around 2 large harbours, is a major city in the north of New Zealand’s North Island. In the centre, the iconic Sky Tower has views of Viaduct Harbour, which is full of superyachts and lined with bars and cafes. Auckland Domain, the city’s oldest park, is based around an extinct volcano and home to the formal Wintergardens. Near Downtown, Mission Bay Beach has a seaside promenade.
Queenstown -The action capital of the country, this is one of the most fun cities I’ve ever visited. There’s a lot of outdoor activities and sports (bungee jumping is the most popular) to do in the area, amazing restaurants, and the best nightlife in New Zealand. Everyone who comes ends up staying longer than planned. Don’t skip Fergburger either — they have the best burgers in the country!
Hamilton-is a city in the Waikato region of New Zealand’s North Island. Hamilton Gardens, a sprawling public park, features elaborate themed gardens ranging from Italian Renaissance to Japanese and traditional Maori styles. The Waikato Museum displays Maori art and artefacts. Next door, ArtsPost gallery focuses on local art. In the busy city centre, Victoria Street is lined with restaurants, cafes and bars.
Wellington-the capital of New Zealand, sits near the North Island’s southernmost point on the Cook Strait. A compact city, it encompasses a waterfront promenade, sandy beaches, a working harbour and colourful timber houses on surrounding hills. From Lambton Quay, the iconic red Wellington Cable Car heads to the Wellington Botanic Gardens. Strong winds through the Cook Strait give it the nickname "Windy Wellington.
Dunedin-is a city in New Zealand, at the head of Otago Harbour on the South Island’s southeast coast. It's known for its Scottish and Maori heritage, Victorian and Edwardian architecture, and a large student population. Hiking and cycling trails crisscross the dramatic landscape of the adjoining Otago Peninsula, home to colonies of albatross, sea lions and rare yellow-eyed penguins.
Nelson-is a city on the South Island of New Zealand, facing Tasman Bay. It's known for local arts and crafts stores, and art galleries. It's also a popular base for nearby caving sites, vineyards and Abel Tasman National Park. Established by English settlers in 1841, the city's history is showcased at Founders Heritage Park, a living museum with a vintage railway.
Franz Josef Glacier – Hiking these glaciers is pretty amazing. Be sure to crawl through the glacier tunnels, they’re pretty cool! Franz Josef / Waiau is a small town in the West Coast region of the South Island of New Zealand. Whataroa is 32 kilometres to the north-east, and the township of Fox Glacier is 23 kilometres to the south-west. State Highway 6 runs through the town.
Tongariro Alpine Crossing – Labeled the best one-day hike in New Zealand, this walk takes you through where they filmed Mordor in Lord of the Rings. You walk through volcanic terrain, near high peaks, and sulfur lakes before finishing off in a dense forest. The walk takes a full day and is actually quite challenging. Your legs will probably be sore for a few days afterward but it will be worth the sense of accomplishment that comes with completing the hike.
Bay of Islands – North of Auckland, this area has some of the best opportunities for dolphin and whale watching, relaxing on the beach, swimming, boating, and eating seafood. The area is very low key and is a popular summer and weekend getaway destination for Aucklanders.
Bungy jump – Any adrenaline seeker worth their salt will do the 500 foot Nevis Bungy Jump outside of Queenstown. If that’s too high, there are smaller ones in Auckland and Queenstown.
Skydive – Another popular adventure activity in New Zealand is skydiving. The best place for this is over Lake Taupo. It provides a stunning backdrop as you plunge to Earth from 15,000ft. A jump from 12,000ft will cost you around 300 NZD, while a jump from 15,000ft that includes a video, photos, and t-shirt is 550 NZD.
Abel Tasman National Park – Located in the south island, this national park looks like something out of Asia with its turquoise blue water, dense jungles, and warm temperatures. There are many multi-day hiking trails and beautiful sea kayaking throughout the park.
Wellington – New Zealand’s capital has great architecture, character, fantastic nightlife, restaurants, and cultural activities. I found it to be the most “artsy” city in New Zealand. There’s a lot of cultural activities to do here so don’t be like other travelers and rush through — it’s worth a few days!
Waitomo Glowworm Caves – Explore these caves in sheer darkness with nothing but the glow of glowworms to guide your way. It’s an exciting activity as you float down rivers and jump over waterfalls and watch the “starry sky” in the cave. You can also tube and rappel through the caves too. It was one of the highlights of my time in the country.
Maori cultural show – Maori culture is important to understanding life in this country. You find Maori symbols and words throughout the country. See a cultural show while you are there to get a better understanding of the life and history of the country’s native population (the most popular ones are in Rotorua).
Dolphin and Whale watching – Whether you go from the Bay of Islands, Auckland, or down in the south island, the country is the migratory route for many of these creatures and you’re bound to see lots of them no matter when you go.
Go skiing – During the winter months, the south island, especially the are around Queenstown, has snow covered mountains that offer some of the best skiing in the southern hemisphere.
Rotorua – Rotorua is famous for its Maori cultural shows and for its sulfur smell. All around the city are sulfur mud pits that give the city a unique odor. But the upside is that there are a tone of thermal spas in the area to relax in!
Kaikoura – This is a coastal town several miles north of Christchurch. It is set in a peninsula, which makes it an awesome place to enjoy the mountain scenery while watching for whales or dolphins. Additionally, there are is an interesting museum, a handful of historical sights, and the Maori Leap limestone cave.
Wellington Botanic Gardens – Of all the beautiful gardens throughout the country, this is perhaps the most popular. There is a vast tract of native forest, in addition to an international plant collection, a rose garden, and a landscaped area — complete with duck pond, playground, sculptures, a café, and more.
Ride the gondola – If you are in Christchurch, the gondola ride is highly recommended and a pretty fundamental experience. The ride starts on the Heathcote Valley floor and takes you up the side of Mount Vaendish. There is a nice restaurant at the top that allows you to peer out over the landscape as you eat. Many people cycle or walk back down.