If you’re heading down under you’ll want to make the most of your time here and see all the best cities in Australia and New Zealand. Here are my suggestions in a list of 14 cities. These are recommendations I would make to friends and family members and where I haven’t visited the destination myself, I have looked at the experiences of other travel bloggers.
(Updated January 2020)
The best cities in Australia to visit
Melbourne is definitely one of the most popular cities in Australia and a great one for shopping whether it’s on Chapel Street, Richmond, the central city, the Southern Cross Mall or Docklands.
Grossi Florentino Cellar Bar on Bourke Street made the most delicious pancakes I’ve ever had, choosing from the row of amazing Italian restaurants on Lygon Street is also a must, and you should definitely visit the Crown Casino, view the city from the 88th floor Eureka Skydeck.
If you want to see a Koala, book on a Go West Philip Island Day Tour, the highlights of which are watching little blue penguins make their way home, spotting Koala’s and wild wallabies and tasting local chocolates, wine and cheeses. If you are into cricket take a tour of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on a non-game day.
I haven’t visited Adelaide but I did book my parents a week there. Y Travel Blog have covered off what you should do there pretty thoroughly. I think a cruise down the river seeing crocodiles would be pretty cool!
Did you know Canberra is Australia’s capital city? I’m betting most foreigners would think it was Melbourne or Sydney. So the obvious thing to do would be a tour of Parliament. There’s also always a stack of other events on in Canberra so you’re bound to find something of interest.
Sydney is the largest city in Australia. I love it and can’t wait to go back. Walk around Darling Harbour, the Harbour Bridge, Botanic Gardens and Opera House areas, go to Bondi Beach and either stay put on it or walk to Bronte Beach.Get a ferry from Circular Quay to Taronga Zoo or Manly. Brilliant views of the city are visible if you look back at it.
If you’re into shopping check out George Street and my personal favourites Topshop, Country Road, Sportsgirl and Myer.
Take advantage of the beaches in Perth to cool off during the hot summers. Scarborough Beach and City Beach are rated highly as is Sorrento Quay Boardwalk for entertaining kids with lots of things to see and do. Kings Park and Botanic Gardens (with over 13,000 species of Australian plants) look beautiful and are visited by millions every year, and Freemantle looks like a beautiful port city to explore.
MONA , the Museum of Old and New Art is worth a visit. But if you’d rather be outside then jump on a yacht charter, take in the view from the summit of Mount Wellington and visit the Salamanca Market which takes place on a Saturday morning and sells fresh produce as well as crafts. I have plenty more ideas as to what to do in Hobart.
The best cities in New Zealand to visit
It was another city prior to it’s earthquake recovery and I have fond memories of the Antarctic Centre from my childhood. Check out the Cardboard Cathedral and Re:Start Mall (a mall in shipping containers!) to see Christchurch’s resilience.
185 Empty Chairs were painted by Pete Majendie as an act of remembrance and are on display on Madras Street where a Baptist Church once stood. They serve as a poignant reminder of the lives lost in February 2011.
The Hamilton Gardens recently won International Garden of the Year and is worth a wander. If you’re looking for entertainment Hamilton has a casino and not a bad night life or for a slower pace Raglan’s surf beaches are a short drive away.
Nelson is the home of the WOW Museum and is near the Malborough wine region. It also has one of the sunniest climates in New Zealand so if your trip has been lacking decent weather you can hope for an improvement when you hit Nelson.
Dunedin now serves to remind me of Edinburgh with it’s castles and Scottish feel. It’s a university town with beautiful university buildings, a thriving student bar culture and some fun cafes and places to eat in the Octagon. New Zealand’s only castle, Larnach Castle is in Dunedin, as is the Cadbury Chocolate Factory and Baldwin Street – the world’s steepest street.
I’ve previously written about the best places to eat in Wellington and cover the Wellington Botanic Gardens, tours of Parliament and walking up Te Ahumairangi Hill, Mount Victoria and around the Makara Wind Turbines in this post.
You should also definitely visit Te Papa, walk around Oriental Bay and go on the Cable Car. If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan then Miramar is your place for the Weta Cave, Park Road Studios and Roxy Theatre.
You also need to experience Wellington’s Coffee Culture and I recommend you do so at Red Rabbit in tandem with a Salted Caramel Cookie.
MTG Hawkes Bay, National Aquarium and Ocean’s Spa are great places to start with, or if you’d prefer a beach Westshore or Clifton would be my local picks with the sandier Waimarama and Ocean Beaches only around an hours drive away.
I have a love/hate relationship with Auckland. My eating recommendations are here, and a visit to SkyCity Casino and trip up the Sky Tower would probably be my top recommendation.
I definitely recommend the Auckland Harbour Bridge Walk and if you’re an adrenaline junky you can bungy jump off it or alternatively go skydiving in Parakai or to Rainbow’s End, the local theme park.
Get out of the city and take the ferry to Waiheke Island for wineries and a beach or visit one of the other islands in Auckland’s Harbour.
Have any questions about things you want to do in any of these places? I reckon they’re the best cities in Australia and New Zealand to visit if you have the chance.