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Australia and New Zealand: March, mid-October or November?

Greensboro, North...
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Australia and New Zealand: March, mid-October or November?

My husband and I are planning to go on an escorted tour to Australia and NZ. I am trying to decide if we should go in early March, mid-October or early November. The trip will last 3 1/2 weeks and will begin in Australia with half of the time in NZ. We want to go at the best time to avoid a lot of rain and high temps. We will be going to Melbourne, Sydney, Ayers Rock, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and both the north and south islands in NZ. Your opinions are most appreciated.

Christchurch
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1. Re: Australia and New Zealand: March, mid-October or November?

I think it is six of one and half a dozen of the other but I would choose early March myself or early November as a second choice. The South Island at the end of March and first half of April and in October/November can be quite cool, and even cold the further south you go, so you will need to be prepared. Rain can and does happen any time but March/April is likely to be drier than in spring.

New Zealand
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2. Re: Australia and New Zealand: March, mid-October or November?

This tour seems to cram a lot into a very short time, with some long distances to be covered even if you are flying. You will get some considerable climate differences within a short space of time.

Assuming the tour starts in Australia, the mid-October departure would be best as this will avoid the rainy season in Far North Queensland. You may get cold days in Melbourne and New Zealand however.

If the tour starts in New Zealand, early March could be the best departure date. It will be warm here, and should miss the rainy season in Queensland.

I would seriously reconsider this tour, and look at something that doesn't involve travelling such great distances. Even if you want to see both countries on the one trip, cutting down the number of destinations would make a lot of sense.

New Zealand
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3. Re: Australia and New Zealand: March, mid-October or November?

Ayers Rock to Chch is the same as flying LAX to NYC - with the same differences in climate.

The tour covers a lot of places in just 3.5 weeks. I would look at doing just one country in that time period.

Greensboro, North...
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4. Re: Australia and New Zealand: March, mid-October or November?

Thanks for your replies. I guess it is a gamble whichever time of year. you choose. We will be going to both Australia and NZ so I guess I should have asked which time of year is best to go rather than narrowing it down to those times . We want to avoid as much rain, heat, and cold weather as possible. The trip starts in Australia for 11 days and then we will go to New Zealand so the time in each is 11 days.We go to these places in this order: Melbourne, Ayers Rock, Great Barrier Reef , Sydney, and then to NZ to Wellington, the South Island, cruise Milford Sound, go to Queenstown,, and Auckland. I know that is a lot, but that will give us an overview of both AU and NZ and perhaps we can go back to ficus on one of them. The tour lasts 22 days, and we are going to Melbourne 2 days early and staying 2 days longer in Auckland. So if you could go anytime if year, when would you go???

Exeter
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5. Re: Australia and New Zealand: March, mid-October or November?

March is my favourite time to visit NZ. We've done that twice and are due to be there mid-feb to mid-march this year. We've also done one December and one November visit. The worst, weather-wise was the November visit - it was very cold at the start of the month around Auckland. Our NZ friends always recommend March, and my mum, who has been about 10 times also likes that time of year for a visit.

Personally, I'd stick to one country or the other though - 3.5 weeks is nothing! I spent 7 weeks in Aus a few years back, thinking that was loads of time, and it was an incredibly rushed visit. 3.5 weeks is the shortest amount of time I've spent in NZ on one visit. I do understand though the cost of flights can be prohibitive to having two holidays!

Regina - Canada
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6. Re: Australia and New Zealand: March, mid-October or November?

Hello Huntruby,

We went on a Tauck tour that sounds very similar to your itinerary.

We arrived in Melbourne in mid October, spent 11 nights on tour in Australia (same locations as you have described), then 10 nights in New Zealand in early November, in all the same locations as you’ve listed.

The weather couldn’t have been better. Be aware, that we are from Western Canada, so we’re used to cooler (colder!), drier weather than you.

We found Australia in mid October was about perfect – 70s and 80s (90s at Uluru and Port Douglas/Cairns) and mostly sunny.

New Zealand in early November was cooler – mostly in the 50s/60s, with a few days in the 70s. We had a few drizzly days in NZ, but no rain to speak if. About half our days in NZ were bright sunshine – the other half cloudy.

The tour the week before us experienced snow (!) in Queenstown , but we were told that was unusual. Our days in Queenstown (Nov 9-12) were beautiful – temps around 70 and sunny.

I haven’t been in March, so can’t comment.

And from our experience, you are not trying to pack too much in. Our tour was well paced, and we felt the amount of time at each location was just about right.

We arrived in Melbourne 5 days early to acclimatize ourselves, and explore, and stayed 4 extra days on the South Island of NZ to explore.

I'm happy to answer specific questions if you have any.

Joe

Oz
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7. Re: Australia and New Zealand: March, mid-October or November?

Hi,

Given the locations you are visiting I would choose March but....................the weather is always a lottery!!! In Melbourne if you don't like the weather it will change, rapidly.

Northern Oz and the Red Centre should be delightful at this time of the year. Autumn is generally a more settled time of the year in NZ but again anything may happen. Layers and a Goretex outer cope with all conditions.

Good Luck,

Edited: 03 January 2014, 04:35
Christchurch
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8. Re: Australia and New Zealand: March, mid-October or November?

Unfortunately you really cannot generalise what the weather will likely be at any time of the year. I have been to Melbourne in November when it was actually quite cold and the same for Auckland in the same month and Sydney in October when I expected all three places to be warmer than my home town of Christchurch. On all three trips I wished I had packed more warm clothes. On another Melbourne trip we experienced cold days as well as quite hot days so it really is the luck of the draw.

Just be prepared for everything by packing layers and pick the time of year that suits you best. :)

New Zealand
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9. Re: Australia and New Zealand: March, mid-October or November?

It rains every single time I go to Sydney.... actually it pours.... buckets.

pack a rain jacket!

Edited: 03 January 2014, 08:48
10. Re: Australia and New Zealand: March, mid-October or November?

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