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Planning a Trip from New Zealand to Australia

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Next Stop, Australia!

When you’re backpacking or doing a holiday in a land down under, you might as well visit New Zealand’s neighbour, Australia. Not only is Australia a super popular backpacking country, but there are not many times in your life that you’re likely to be this close to Australia. Travelling from New Zealand to Australia is like a holiday on your holiday, or a great next destination once you have finished up in New Zealand.

To give you a quick introduction to backpacking in Australia from New Zealand, we have put this guide together. Find out what are the best New Zealand airports to fly to Australia from and to what Australian cities can you get to. Visas are also a major thing to consider. Check out our quick destination guide to Australia and you can begin your research, and finally, see how to get around. So if you have caught the travel bug and you are looking for more awesome backpacker-friendly countries down under, check out Australia! By the way, have you seen 5 South Pacific Islands That Are Awesome for Backpackers or How to Plan a Trip to Hawaii from New Zealand?

Direct Flights from New Zealand to Australia

New Zealand has five international airports: Auckland (AKL), Wellington (WLG), Christchurch (CHC), Queenstown (ZQN) and Dunedin (DUD). All of which operate flights direct between Australia. Flying direct not only tends to be the most inexpensive way to travel between New Zealand and Australia, but it is a huge time-saver too.

Auckland – Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth

As the largest international airport in New Zealand, Auckland has frequent flights to all of the destinations mentioned above. Check out Cheapest Airport Transfer Options for Auckland Airport.

Wellington – Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne and Canberra

Wellington has frequent direct flights to/from Sydney and Melbourne and less-frequent flights to/from Gold Coast, Canberra and Brisbane.

Christchurch – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Perth (Seasonal)

Christchurch is the second largest international airport in New Zealand with regular flights operating to/from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Flights to Perth operate two times a week.

Queenstown – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast

A number of airlines fly between Queenstown and Australia every day, mostly to Sydney and Melbourne. Every other day there are flights to Brisbane and Coolangatta (Gold Coast).

Dunedin – Brisbane

Virgin Australia operates a service 3-4 times a week costing an average of NZ$250 one-way.

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Visas for Australia

To enter Australia you must have a valid visa (much like you did when you arrived in New Zealand). There are different types of visa depending on your intentions in Australia and what country passport you currently hold.

Visitor Visa for Australia

There are three types of visitor visa for Australia if you have the intentions of just travelling or visiting as a tourist. The eVisitor visa is a free visa allowing you to visit for up to three months at a time within a 12-month period for those holding a passport from: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany. Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Republic of San Marino, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom British Citizen and Vatican City.

You should apply for the eVisitor visa at least two weeks before your proposed date of travel. Apply online at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.

The Visitor Visa is a paid visa (costing AU$135 to AU$1000) for stays up to three, six or 12 months. There is a wider variety of passport holders who can apply for this visa. Find out more information on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.

Finally, there is the Electronic Travel Authority Visa allowing visitors to enter Australia as many times as you want for up to a year and stay up to three months for each visit.? The fee isAU$20 and is granted to those with a valid passport from certain countries. Check out the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website for more information.

Working Holiday Visa for Australia

If you did a working holiday in New Zealand and totally love it, then consider doing a working holiday in Australia! The working holiday visa for Australia allows holders to stay in Australia for up to 12 months, work in Australia, generally for up to six months with each employer, study for up to four months, and leave and re-enter Australia any number of times while the visa is valid. For more information on the working holiday visa for Australia, check out the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.

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Quick Guide to Destinations in Australia

By “quick guide” we mean quick guide! With Australia is 29 times bigger than New Zealand, we would have to make a whole new Backpacker Guide website to go through the places to visit. To keep things short and sweet, here is where you can visit in Australia based on the destinations that you can get a direct flight to from New Zealand (see above).


Sydney is the largest city in Australia most famously recognised by the sail design of the Sydney Opera House. It is usually a popular city for backpackers on a working holiday visa to work, with a great mix of city and beach life. To stick with the on-the-road backpackery lifestyle that you probably got used to in New Zealand, go on an epic road trip on one of the great road trips starting from Sydney, such as the Grand Pacific Drive, the Legendary Pacific Coast drive up the North Coast, and the Greater Blue Mountains Drive.


Another major city in Australia, Melbourne is usually described as the “alternative” city – great for foodies and shopping addicts! Art and culture play a massive part in Melbourne’s appeal with heaps of events, galleries, and more. You never know what you’ll find hidden down its many laneways.


There’s always something going on in Brisbane, many of which are free, so be sure to keep up-to-date with the events calendar. VisitMoreton Island for sandboarding and snorkelling. Hit the road and drive the Scenic Rimto see the rainforests, mountains and ancient landforms of the Beaudesert, Boonah, Mt Tamborine and Lamington National Park.

Gold Coast

A top holiday destination in Australia, the Gold Coast is a land of world-renowned beaches and year-round sunshine. If you want “that beach holiday” then the Gold Coast is a great choice. Oh yeah, and surfing is just a little popular here too.


On the western side of Australia, Perth is full of adventure and wildlife spotting out on the water with dolphin swimming and the Humpback Highway. You can also get your beach fix in Perth and soak up the endless sunny days. What’s more, you have all your city conveniences like nightlife, food and more!

Pixabay© Pixabay

Getting Around Australia

Your best mode of transport in Australia, should you want to venture further, depends on your budget, who you are travelling with, and what type of experience you want. Here are the best transport options for backpackers:

Travel Australia by Bus

Travelling the east coast of Australia by bus is a cost-effective way of getting around and meeting other backpackers, especially if travelling solo. Bus companies like Oz Experience, Greyhound and Premier have a hop-on hop-off bus passes (much like how the hop-on hop-off works in New Zealand), where you can travel between the main tourist hot spots. However, the most popular way to travel around Australia by bus is to use bus tours, see below for more details.

Travel Australia by Campervan

Renting or buying a campervan with a group of mates (the most cost-effective way to do it) is a way of exploring what you want when you want. You can use campgrounds, holiday parks and hostel’s ‘park up’ facilities to save a bit of dollar on accommodation. However, driving in Australia is much longer and less varied than what you might be used to in New Zealand. You need to be up for the drive, as does your vehicle!

Travel Australia on a Tour

Taking a tour in Australia is a great option if you have a limited time-frame, want to meet new people, and want someone else to sort out the hassle of organisation. Tours operate all over Australia and are even a good safety option when wanting to explore the Outback. Bus tours around Australia range from a week to up to 3 weeks with some of the most popular options being 2-week tours alongside the east coast of the country. Check out Wild Kiwi on Tourradar for examples that offer multiple tours to suit your budget and time-frame ranging from 6 days to 14 days.


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

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