What are you looking for

Close search

The best of Australia and New Zealand for first-time travellers

Looking to make the most of your time in New Zealand or Down Under on your first trip abroad — and don’t have infinite time and cash? We’ve got some tips for newbie planners (including where to go and what to do, and some tricks to stretch your budget):


1. Opt for direct flights

While renting a camper van and taking a leisurely road trip is an epic way to see NZ or Aus, it may not be practical for the first-time traveller with a limited number of days on holiday leave. After all, with a total area of more than 7.6 million sq. km. (and five different time zones), Australia is the world’s sixth largest country! 

If you’re packing your itinerary with the best both countries have to offer — like beach days, adrenaline activities, mountain hikes with secret waterfalls, world-class shopping, restaurant hopping, and wine tasting — you’ll need to fly.

Luckily, cities in this region aren’t too far apart by plane. A flight from Auckland to Queenstown, for instance, is round about two hours; from Melbourne to Sydney, you’ll only spend about an hour in the air. 

Plus, you can take advantage of affordable multi-city fares from Qantas, which allow up to two additional stops in Australia (you’ll only be charged the applicable airport taxes). Ask your nearest Sure Travel Agent how!

. . .

2. Choose your destinations wisely

Best foodie city? Melbourne. Best sight seeing? Sydney. Most beautiful? Queenstown. One of the most difficult choices you’re going to have to make when you’re time constrained is where to go! There are obviously so many incredible destinations packed into these two countries — start with these and discover your own favourites to explore:



Australia’s first city and home to Australian icons such as the Harbour Bridge, Opera House, and Bondi Beach, Sydney is the gateway to the many attractions of New South Wales. Sparkling Sydney Harbour is the heart and soul of Sydney.

Don’t miss: Navigate your way by ferry, kayak or on a luxury super-yacht tour from Circular Quay. Catch a performance at the Sydney Opera House; climb to the top of the bridge; fly over the panorama by seaplane; or dine in award-winning restaurants.



From the industrial and funky Britomart to the upscale Ponsonby, Auckland has a neighbourhood to suit every client. Here you will find hole-in-the-wall bars serving up wicked cocktails as well as fine dining restaurants dotted along the foreshore of the CBD.

Don’t miss: The northern most region of New Zealand, and home to its largest city, is a perfect arrival point for those planning on exploring the North Island. Visitors can expect to find islands, beaches and coastal beauty wherever they venture.



The bustling heart of Queensland, Brisbane is a city with an innovative and vibrant edge, and a fresh approach to life that combines the best of Queensland’s famous laid-back lifestyle with the sights, sounds and energy of a major international metropolis.

Don’t miss: With endless stretches of glittering golden beaches, including the world-famous Surfers Paradise, the Gold Coast boasts international theme parks, designer-label shops, world-class golf courses, award-winning restaurants, upmarket bars, and lively nightclubs.



The hub of New Zealand’s film industry, this city earns its nickname of "Wellywood" for good reason! Tour renowned film locations used in The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. A visit to Weta-Workshop should also be on your hit list. 

Don’t miss: The historic Wellington cable car runs up to the Kelburn Lookout, offering stunning views of the city and harbour. Near the lookout is the Cable Car Museum, Botanic Garden and Zealandia eco-sanctuary. New Zealand’s capital is also a contemporary city full of cultural and gastronomic experiences. A multitude of coffee roasters, food markets, craft breweries and a thriving restaurant scene awaits visitors. There is also the famous Hannah’s Laneway.



Behind the historic Victorian era architecture of the main streets lay a hidden web of laneways and alleys, where you will find one-of-a-kind fashion boutiques, hole-in-the wall cafes, and hip bars and restaurants. Melbourne is an artistic, sophisticated and eclectic city — you’ll definitely have to schedule another visit since there’s so much to see and do!

Don’t miss: The prettiest ski field in Australia is a few hours from Melbourne. Falls Creek is a pedestrian only ski village, where all the accommodation, dining and activities are literally ski-in/ski-out. It is great for families, with the sweetest child-dedicated runs through magical forests.


Queensland + the Great Barrier Reef

This region is famous for its dense World Heritage listed rainforest, hiking trails and white sand beaches. Or caves carved out by volcanic lava over 190,000 years ago at Undara Volcanic National Park. And while we wouldn’t personally do it (have you seen those nails?!), this is also the one of the few states where you can cuddle a koala.

Don’t miss: The Great Barrier Reef is a wonder of nature, and definitely worth a visit if you’re into diving or snorkelling. Station yourself in Hamilton Island (Whitsunday Islands) off the coast of Queensland, it’s the site of scenes from the Disney movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales


Go there with Sure Travel

Ready to jet off to Australia or New Zealand and save big with Qantas’ multi-city flight deals? Contact your nearest Sure Travel agency to enquire or book, or call +27 (0)861 47 48 49.

. . .

3. Prioritise your passions and quash your “FOMO”

It’s easy to feel some serious “fear of missing out” when you’re planning your dream adventure and don’t have time to see, do and taste everything in the guidebooks or online trip guides. Especially if you haven’t been somewhere and don’t know if your definition of “must see” aligns with the person writing the guide.

Before a short trip, sit yourself down and be realistic. Identify why you’re most excited to go on the trip in the first place. Are there one or two things that you’d be devastated if you came home and hadn’t done? Also identify what type of traveller you are; do you like being on the go, or would you actually just love some rest and relaxation, or to meet new people? 

By identifying your motivations for travel, along with any particular hobbies or passions you’d like to prioritise in your activities, you’ll ensure a customised trip itinerary with sites and experiences that make you happiest. 

After all, if you love a place more than you thought, you can always travel back and stay for longer next time!  

. . .

4. Let travel experts help you plan

Planning a trip for the first time can seem a little overwhelming. Thankfully, our Sure Travel agents know their stuff and can recommend the best destinations, tours and packages from our trusted travel partners. 

Skip the internet scams and hidden fees — we’ll make sure you get top value trips and save you hours of planning. Speak to your nearest Sure Travel agent to learn more: visit www.suretravel.co.za/agencies or call +27 (0)861 47 48 49.

Go there!

Log In to Access Your Suitcase

You need to log in to add packages to, and manage, your suitcase. Please log in or register.