I wasn’t going to write this post as so many bloggers have written amazing things about travelling on this side of the world. As it stands though, our 10 week South America Itinerary and our 1 Month Australia Itinerary are some of our most popular posts. It’s also an opportunity to look back on our adventures as I can hardly believe that a whole 6 months has passed since we arrived to start our 10 weeks in Australia and New Zealand, with a bonus stop off in Fiji. Time flies when you’re having fun!
So firstly, what was it like to travel in this area compared with say, South America or Asia? For us it turned out to be one of the most memorable parts of our trip, mainly because we fell utterly and head over heels in love with New Zealand. I would move there tomorrow if it wasn’t so far away from home, and can’t wait to visit again. Fiji was one of the most beautiful places we’ve been lucky enough to spend time although sadly we weren’t there anywhere near long enough. Australia though was a different kettle of fish. I wanted to love it – I expected to love it, but somehow I just didn’t… after a month had passed I was kind of getting there and the country definitely has some amazing highlights, but it just didn’t float our boat like other countries did.
The Highlights & Lowlights
The best thing about spending 10 weeks in Australia and New Zealand are that it’s very easy to travel there. Everyone speaks English, it’s simple to travel by car, bus or even plane if you’re not on a budget and the infrastructure is obviously far better than many other places popular with travellers. You’re much less likely to get sick or have food issues, and there’s loads to do whether you’re into nature and hiking, love exploring cities or just want to meet other travellers and party. The downsides for us were that the Internet was surprisingly crap, there are a lot of young and party oriented backpackers (not a problem but not our thing), and it’s very expensive to travel here compared with other places we’ve been. Our budget pretty much fell apart by the time we were halfway through touring Australia and it’s lucky that we had some savings left to raid.
All in all though, we had an incredible 10 weeks in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji and would definitely recommend to anyone. This is our suggested itinerary if you’re looking to explore the highlights of these amazing countries. As with the last post like this I’ve also included some suggestions for things to add on or miss out depending on how much time you have 🙂
FIJI – 4 Days
I told you we didn’t spend long enough here and having flown in from the US we were pretty exhausted by the time we arrived! If we visited again we’d definitely spend at least a week and probably two. The best thing about Fiji? It’s 100% as beautiful as you’ve seen on Instagram and all those holiday brochures and it’s also cheaper than you might think. Don’t miss it if you’re spending time in this part of the world – it’s an essential part of any 10 week itinerary through Australia or New Zealand as it’s so easy to get to and just so stunning.
Days 1 & 2
Against most popular advice we were using the main island of Nadi as our base as it’s far cheaper than other options. We spent a fab two days relaxing, sunbathing, reading and getting over our jetlag.
Day 3 & 4
Definitely don’t just stay on the ‘mainland’ though and if you’re on a tight budget day trips are a great option for more exploring. We took a day trip on an old sailing boat to see the island used in the filming of Castaway and to explore Yanuwa as well as doing plenty of swimming and snorkelling. Our second day trip was to South Sea Island which is a tiny paradise island just 20 minutes boat ride. We spent a day snorkelling, paddle boating, kayaking and sunbathing and it was pretty much perfect.
This cost £92 for the first trip and about £70 for the second with South Sea Cruises and included all food and tons of drink, including ‘champagne’. Sounds pricy but worth every penny.
Alternative Ideas for a Fiji Itinerary
If you have more time I’d recommend some island hopping, there are a lot of well planned itineraries designed for backpackers that aren’t too expensive. If you’re on a really tight budget then consider just staying on the main island as whilst it has a bad rep there’s plenty to do for a few days and you can still sunbathe and enjoy the fact that you’re in FIJI!!
Must Dos in Fiji
Whatever you do try to fit in some snorkelling as it’s really fantastic with beautiful tropical fish and usually excellent visibility if you have good weather. Make sure to take in a Kava ceremony as well, really interesting and always fun to drink alcohol that numbs your mouth.
Our Other Blogs about Fiji
New Zealand – 5 Weeks
I won’t dwell too much on the detail here as I’ve written a couple of detailed itinerary posts that are linked below. If you want to see both the North and South islands you need at least 5 weeks and I’d really recommend 8-10 to explore thoroughly. We hired a campervan from Escape and had the best 5 weeks of our whole trip driving around and exploring New Zealand. Honestly, if you have 10 weeks in Australia and New Zealand and want to see Fiji, I would consider just sticking to Fiji and New Zealand and doing Aus on a separate trip. Both need a decent length of time to see properly so this itinerary only really gives you the highlights and is best if you’re happy to be on the move a lot.
Days 1 – 4 – North East North Island
Check out some of the beautiful coastlines in this area and be sure to spend time at Cathedral Cove, Coromandel, Hot Water Beach & Tauranga over the course of a few days. Lots of stunning beaches and some of the bluest water you’ll ever see. It’ll need to be pretty good weather to try swimming though unless you’re feeling brave!
Days 5 – 12 – Central North Island
This is the area of North Island that has the most to see. We found that the time we spent in each place was very weather dependent, e.g. we didn’t spend too much time in the very popular Taupo as the weather was a bit crap but spent a good while around Hamilton in lovely sunshine. Make sure to include Waitomo Glow Worm Caves, Hamilton Gardens, Mata Mata (Hobbiton), Rotorua, Taupo and Tongariro National Park as a minimum while you’re in central North Island.
Days 13 – 17 – South & East North Island
Of our 10 weeks in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji this was one of our highlights. We headed back to the coast and one of New Zealand’s most famous wine regions for some sunshine and wished we were able to stay much longer! Not only are Hawkes Bay, Hastings and Napier amazing places to spend some time – cities with a real small town feel but still lots to do – but Wellington is a fab capital city. Small but perfectly formed we loved the museums, excellent food and drink and the atmosphere.
Days 18 – 21 – North South Island
Finally we reached South Island later than planned after an earthquake! We spent four days in the north of the island exploring Nelson, Abel Tasman National Park and the Queen Charlotte Trail & Sounds. Really beautiful area and often overlooked as people rush down to the glaciers and Queenstown.
Days 22 – 25 – West South Island
This is a must visit for some beautiful coastal scenery and of course Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. Try to budget for a heli hike as it will probably be the best thing you’ll do, and check out Hokitika Gorge and Punakeiki.
Days 26 – 32 – Queenstown & Wanaka
By far the most popular areas with backpackers just the drive to these towns is incredible! Here you’ll see striking mountain ranges, beautiful lakes and enjoy hanging out with lots of other travellers as you soak in the scenery and enjoy plenty of hiking as well as bungee jumps and extreme sports if that’s your jam. We loved this part of New Zealand as well as spent a week just relaxing and enjoying the area.
Days 33 – 37 – East Coast South Island
We were a little underwhelmed by this area although we enjoyed a day in Timaru and a couple of days in Christchurch. To be honest I probably wouldn’t budget too many days for this area but it is worth seeing if you have time. The drive to Timaru and the coastline here are beautiful.
Must Dos in New Zealand
I loved our whole New Zealand itinerary so it’s hard to pick out the highlights but I’ve given it a go!
In North Island our favourite places were Cathedral Cove, Hawke’s Bay and Wellington whilst in South Island we loved Abel Tasman National Park, Wanaka and Queenstown. Try to make sure you do lots of hiking as it’s the best way to enjoy the sights and definitely hike Franz Josef or Fox Glaciers, it was one of our best experiences of our whole trip!
Blogs About New Zealand
I’ve written a lot about New Zealand so please do take a look at the following if you have a chance:
Australia – 4 Weeks
This is another one that I’ve written about at length and detailed below, but our overall recommendation would be something like the following:
Days 1 – 10 – Cairns to Brisbane
The east coast of Australia is a pretty well worn path for travellers but there’s good reason to make sure you have a minimum of 10 days to complete this part of the journey. This is where some of the best tours and day trips are available to see Queensland at its finest. Make sure to include a tour of the Great Barrier Reef (although try to make sure you pick a sustainable tour company), a Whitsundays sailing trip, a 4×4 driving adventure on Fraser Island and if you have time then perhaps some additional extras like Magnetic Island and Australia Zoo. There’s so much to see for travellers and it includes some pretty beautiful places.
Days 11 – 23 – Brisbane & Sydney
Again this is covering a huge distance so you might struggle to fit in everything but try to spend at least a bit of time in Brisbane, Byron Bay and obviously Sydney itself, as well as enjoying the coastline and beaches as they’re some of the best. We found the temperatures a lot more bearable than Queensland as we reached New South Wales and really started to ‘get’ Australia on this leg of our road trip.
Days 24 – 28 – Day Trips around Sydney
Finally because we’d taken the cheaper option of covering the major distances using the Greyhound coach, we took a few days out at the end of our trip to hire a car and explore a few more places around Sydney. If you’re on a budget this is a great way of doing it and makes it easier to see some places that are tricker to get to independently on public transport. This included a couple of days in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley and a couple of days in the Blue Mountains.
Must Dos in Australia
There are really too many to list but exploring the east coast is a great place to start! Make sure you enjoy the beaches, see the Great Barrier Reef, chill out in Byron Bay and enjoy the highlights of Sydney. The Blue Mountains are beautiful and offer some brilliant hiking opportunities and the Hunter Valley is the best place to enjoy some Aussie wine. If you’ve got 10 weeks in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji you need at least a month to see the highlights in Australia although bear in mind the distances you’ll be covering are enormous!
Blogs about Australia
I’ve written a detailed blog post about how to spend a month exploring the east coast, which also includes lots of info on hostels and budgeting for travel, tours etc.
As well as this are a couple of other shorter posts about specific areas we travelled to in Australia.
Summary of our 10 Week Itinerary for Australia, New Zealand & Fiji
So there you go! A whistle stop 10 week itinerary for Australia and New Zealand with a bonus trip to Fiji which will hopefully help you to plan your adventures. In total we covered huge distances and spent more money than I’d like to dwell on but we had an amazing time and definitely go back!
I feel like we definitely caught the main highlights and enjoyed them although we did of course miss some things. This is what we’d do if we had more time:
Fiji – island hopping and diving lessons
New Zealand – Waikeke island, Dunedin and we’d love to visit in winter for some skiing. We also missed Kaikoura and whale watching due to the earthquake that caused a lot of damage while we were there. Finally if we returned we’d try and do some of the famous hikes we missed – starting with the Tongariro Crossing which was shut off due to high winds while we were in the area.
Australia – Magnetic Island, Uluru and more time in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. We’d also really like to visit Perth and see some of Western Australia so that’s on a list for future travel!