Subject: Re: New Zealand vs. Australia
Hi Joli,

Interesting question!

If you are planning on doing any extra scuba diving, then I would definitely say Australia (North Queensland) over New Zealand, but if scuba diving is for Fiji alone, let me share some observations.

You wrote "Sights, walks or hikes (but not trekking), good food, museums, getting to know the people":

I spent 2 weeks in the southern half of New Zealand's South Island in October 2000 and *loved* it. But sights there and what I class as sights here in Australia are a bit different. So in 10 days you can see a lot! In Australia however, you would probably base in just 2 to 3 places.

For me, sights in New Zealand included Christchurch, cruising on Milford Sound, cruising on Doubtful Sound, a bird watching boat trip off Dunedin, visiting a penguin colony there, swimming with the dolphins in Kaikoura, walking on Fox Glacier. Beautiful views, easy transport, relaxed lifestyle.

Here in Australia I haven't travelled much (shame on me!) but I imagine people would refer to our sights as including the Sydney Harbour Bridge (which you can walk up and over!), the Sydney Opera House, Ayers Rock, our beautiful beaches, the cities themselves like Melbourne and Sydney, the Barrier Reef and Cairns, ... But be aware that Australia is a MUCH bigger place - lots more kms to cover!

I'm not much of a food connoisseur I must confess - I love my food and know good from bad but that's about it :) That being said, you can find some lovely restaurants with beautiful views as well and that makes the food taste even better!

Getting to know the people - I found the NZ people to be very nice whenever I engaged them in conversation :) I CAN say however (with pride!) that we Aussies are supposed to be some of the friendliest people you can hope to meet - the petrol station attendants will tell you to have a nice day and mean it!

One last thing - your preferred climate and weather and the time of year for your travels may make the decision for you!

Whatever you decide, you will definitely have a ball! :) Megan Brisbane, Australia