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Australia vs New Zealand - which gap year is best?

Because Australia and New Zealand are geographically close together and both are classic working holiday destinations (and let’s face it, the accents do sound the same – immediately ducks to miss incoming missiles from outraged Aussies and Kiwis), they are often pitched against each other. For that reason and that reason alone (we’re clearly going to say do both), here’s our attempt at answering the age-old question... where to go on your gap year, Australia or New Zealand?

What's the weather like?

If you're looking to chase the sun the first place that comes to mind is Australia. With its sweltering summers and warm winters, it seems like a no brainer. But don't be fooled into thinking the whole of Oz has 365 days of summer – a winter in Melbourne is a chilly affair.

The winner: We love you New Zealand and all skiers will argue this result, but even a chilly few months in Melbourne doesn’t equate to a New Zealand winter.

Australia: 1 / New Zealand: 0

Where has the best beaches?

New Zealand has some stunning beaches, but let’s face it, it’s going to be hard to beat Sydney’s Bondi beach, Broome’s Cable beach and the Whitsunday’s Whitehaven beach. In fact, Australia has 12,000 beaches, so it’s kind of an unfair contest.

The winner: Australia wins this one hands-down, no further explanation required.

Australia: 2 / New Zealand: 0

Where can you earn more?

Australia and New Zealand’s minimum wages are pretty even at the moment, so this is a close race. But to employ a complex mathematical calculation that all travellers understand, the cost of a beer and a coffee is less in New Zealand.

The winner: Based on the price of beer alone, New Zealand wins this one.

Australia: 2 / New Zealand: 1

Where will I meet the most people?

Australia's East Coast may be built for backpackers, but don't underestimate New Zealand’s backpacker creds. With an extensive network of chain and independent hostels, as well as famous hop-on-hop-off bus networks, you’d have to try REALLY hard to not meet other like-minded travellers.

The winner: It's a draw... your equal mentalities and love of the road will bring you and your fellow backpackers together no matter where you are.

Australia: 3 / New Zealand: 2

What can I tick off my bucket list?

With New Zealand being known as the adrenalin capital of the world and being home to the epic filmset scenery of the Lord of the Rings, it’s full of high-ranking bucket list items. But let’s not give up on Oz right away, Australia’s diverse natural beauty and impressive UNESCO sites put up one helluva fight.

Here are the scores on the board.

New Zealand:
Bungy jump in Queenstown
Skydive over Lake Taupo
Whitewater raft in River Valley
Visit the Shires in Hobbiton

Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef
Visit Uluru
Learn to surf

The winner: Pipped to the post, it’s one for the Kiwis.

Australia: 3 / New Zealand: 3

So, to conclude, Australia and New Zealand are both incredible (plus, we’re unwilling to pick between our two favourite children). The reality is, they’re very different countries with equal job opportunities for travellers. So our advice? It’s not a one or the other, it’s a life is short, and you’ll be doing the 9-5 for a long time – so do both. You have until you’re 30-ish to make it happen. (We’ll just wait here for the angry phone call from your parents, shall we...).

Call us to go through the visas, eligibility and job support options for both our Work Australia and Work New Zealand programs.

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