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For many people, New Zealand and Australia are “those countries down under.” But don’t say that to an Ozzie or a Kiwi! These two countries couldn’t be more different, from the climate to the language to the culture. Before you visit, make sure you do your research!

Climate

What you pack for Australia and New Zealand should be quite different. New Zealand lies further away from the equator and has a temperate climate. A quick Google Image search will show lush, green forests, and moss-green mountains. Australia, on the other hand, is hotter and covered in dry, red dirt. You’ll want to have warm clothes for the damp New Zealand climate and sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses for the hot Australian sun. 

Animals

Australia is known for kangaroos, koalas, crocodiles and lots of venomous snakes and insects. New Zealand has sheep, kiwi birds, and large, flightless parrots called kakapos. The animals in Australia have adapted to the hotter climate, while animals in New Zealand are often forest-dwelling grazers. Both countries have strict laws when it comes to importing outside animals and plants. The ecosystems of both these places have been isolated for so long that invasive species can quickly wreak havoc on the natives.

Language

Australians and New Zealanders use different slang words, so make sure you know which ones to use in which country! Ozzies tend to shorten words, so “roo” instead of “kangaroo” or “ta” instead of “thank you.” Kiwis come up with entirely new words. They call remote areas the “wop-wops,” and if something is awesome, it’s “chur.”

Culture and History

Before European settlers arrived down under, the Aboriginals and Maori people lived in Australia and New Zealand, respectively. The difference is that Aboriginals were wiped out, while the Maori still live in New Zealand today. It’s a bit easier to learn about them than the Aboriginals.

Which one should you visit?

Comparing Australia to New Zealand is like comparing apples to oranges. If you love surfing, deserts, and hot weather, Australia is for you. But if you prefer peaceful lakes with misty, green forests in the background, then head to New Zealand. Not sure about which one you visit? Well, you can always do both. After all, a trip to the Southern Hemisphere is quite the undertaking, so you might as well get in all the experience while you’re there.

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