Together in the South Pacific on the other side of the world, Australia and New Zealand aren’t just neighbours – in fact their relationship with each other is more like that of a big and small sibling. There are many similarities between Australia and New Zealand that provoke a feeling of familiarity when travelling between the two; yet they still have several differences that make both worth a visit in their own right. Let’s compare and contrast Australia and New Zealand to see how much they really have in common.


Both are former British colonies


An interesting fact about both Australia and New Zealand is that although both are former British colonies, they were in fact first discovered by Abel Tasman, a Dutchman. The colonisation has had a huge influence on both countries’ cultures and histories; and the colonial buildings in cities ranging from Melbourne to Wellington are just one example today of their cultural past. Both countries also still enjoy close ties in the UK in a number of ways, from still having the Queen as their head of state to adopting popular British sports, such as cricket and rugby, as their own.


sunset in the city Melbourne Australia


Both share cultural similarities


As well as both having a love of sports as we just mentioned, there are a host of other Australia and New Zealand similarities when it comes to everyday life. You’ll find that popular culture, including music, television and film, is very similar, with Australian entertainment being popular in New Zealand and vice versa. Both countries also share a love of the outdoors and outdoor activities, no doubt due to their excellent climates and wonderful landscapes. They’re not identical however – there are still a host of cultural differences between Australia and New Zealand.


Both are beautiful places to visit


Both Australia and New Zealand are popular travel destinations because of the incredible landscapes they have to offer. You’ll find stunning beaches and spectacular coastline in both these island countries, but that’s where the similarities in their landscapes end. In Australia you’ll find sprawling bushland, vast deserts and lush rainforests, while in New Zealand you’ll find a more verdant landscape with mountains, lakes and waterfalls. If you’re still torn about which to visit, take a look at our guide to which destination to pick for your holiday.


man standing on mountain top over lakes New Zealand


Both have rich ancestry


Before the British colonies settled in both Australia and New Zealand, indigenous people lived there for thousands of years, and their legacies have helped shape the countries today. New Zealand is home to the Maori, who make up around 8% of the population, and their culture has transcended into modern New Zealand life. Throughout New Zealand you can visit sacred sites and discover more about the Maori culture with dedicated tours and experiences. Over in Australia, the native Aborigines are made up of hundreds of tribes, who reside in areas all over the country. Though they’re not as present as the Maori, you can still learn all about their culture and history with experiences ranging from rock painting visits to cultural demonstrations.


Why choose one when you can visit both?


Even after you compare Australia and New Zealand and lay out their similarities and differences, it can still be impossible to choose one to visit over the other. With our escorted tours of Australia and New Zealand, it’s possible to visit both and discover their similarities and differences for yourself, taking in the very best destinations and experiences each country has to offer. Take a look at our Highlights of Australia and New Zealand tour, where during your 29-day adventure you’ll be immersed in incredible scenery, activities, culture and history across both countries.


Images by Paula May and Aaron Birch via Unsplash and 12019 / 10266 images via Pixabay.