Subject: Re: New Zealand vs. Australia
Joli, We haven't visited NZ but did spend one month in Australia some years ago. We loved every minute of it. As Molly has suggested, try to choose a part of Australia and see it in some depth. Where you spend your time will depend on whether you prefer a city or country holiday. Personally, I'd opt for getting out of the big cities if you want to discover what is unique about OZ. It is a beautiful country.

Consider the Boomerang air pass, which can only be purchased outside of the country. It allows you to choose between two and ten segments (we opted for six) at a very reasonable price ranging from AUD$160 to AUD$360. Our flights took us on the following route: Melbourne - Adelaide - Alice Springs - Yulara - Darwin - Cairns - Sydney. Melbourne was my favourite city with many good restaurants. Yulara and Darwin were also favourites. Darwin gives access to the Kakadu and Litchfield Park. An Alice Springs stop gives you access to Yulara and Uluru (Ayers Rock) and King Canyon. Cairns places you on the Great Barrier Reef with day trips to the Daintree Forest and Kuranda, in the hills. Australia is a large country so flying is a good option. You can book through Quantas.

We also bought a bus tour passbook. We never thought we'd enjoy these tours but we spent very pleasant days touring the Barossa Valley near Adelaide, the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney, the Jenolen Caves, and Kangaroo Island. The tickets are fully refundable, so if you change your mind about a tour you can get your money back when you return home. We purchased ours from a local Australia travel specialist here in Toronto.

One last suggestion: Visit the Sydney Zoo. It's the only place you're likely to see the cassowary - the giant Australian bird that can kill a human with one swipe of the claw! You can get to the Zoo by ferry from the Rocks area on the Sydney harbour. Lucy, Toronto