The Bare Traveller

New Zealand vs Australia: Similarities and differences

Australia vs New Zealand is the ultimate travelers’ debate. I already imagine you in the situation of having to choose between a great country, Australia, and one that doesn’t leave you indifferent, New Zealand.

New Zealand vs Australia

These two fascinating English-speaking countries, nestled in the southern hemisphere, are ideal destinations for hiking, working holidays, and studying abroad. 

So which one to choose? To help you decide, I have listed the similarities and differences between the two countries. Let’s see what Australia vs New Zealand looks like!


Australia vs New Zealand: Similarities

New Zealand and Australia, two countries that fascinated me. These two isolated countries keep a mythical aura of ancient times. Despite the great rivalry between the two States, Australia and New Zealand share many similarities.

1) Down Under

The first common point in Australia vs New Zealand rivalry is that the two states are often referred to as Down Under countries. The concept originated from the fact that the two States are in the southern hemisphere. It means that both countries are below the majority of other States. 

The term Down Under has been used so much by the media that it has become an iconic concept for Australians and New Zealanders. Moreover, the concept was used in several films and songs.

2) Drive on the same side of the road

Another common point between Australia vs New Zealand is that people drive on the left with a steering wheel on the right in both countries. If you are not used to driving with the steering wheel on the right-hand side, it is best not to try. 

Wheel left

The majority of tourists initially find it odd to be seated on the other side of the car. However, don’t worry! Know that the pedals are in the same direction as in regular vehicles.

It means throttle on the right, brake in the middle, and clutch on the left. 

Typically, other than roundabouts to be taken in the opposite direction, I believe you will quickly get used to driving in Australia as in New Zealand.

3) Share love of the outdoors and outdoor activities

The third point in common in Australia vs New Zealand is that both populations love going out and being outdoors, and who can blame them? Both States have a variety of breathtaking landscapes. 

Outdoors activities Australia

The richness and natural diversity in Australia and New Zealand are highly mesmerizing and attractive. Both people enjoy volcanoes, fjords, subtropical forests, etc.

4) Both are located in the South Pacific

Although 2000 km of the Tasman Sea separates Australia and New Zealand, the two islands are part of the South Pacific. 

It should be noted that NZ was the last territory discovered in this area and is located in the South West of the Pacific. 

At the same time, Australia is situated in the heart of the South Pacific. Speaking of geography, know that New Zealand comprises two main islands, called North Island (North Island, Te Ika a Maui) and South Island (South Island, Te Wai Pounamu). In contrast, Australia is one land in the form of a continent.

5) Both were former colonies of the British empire, are current member of the Commonwealth organization and have Queen Elizabeth the second as head of State

The last common point that binds Australia vs New Zealand is that the two States were part of the British Empire.

British rule in New Zealand began in 1769 after Captain James Cook’s expedition succeeded in slaughtering the local population and linking New Zealand into the British Empire. 

Commonwealth flag

On the other side, in Australia, the British domination began in 1770; again, the famous British captain James Cook succeeded in attaching Australia to the British Empire.

Although the two countries have gained their independence, they are now members of the Commonwealth organization, and both have Queen Elizabeth II as head of State.

New Zealand vs Australia: Differences

After looking at Australia vs New Zealand similarities, let’s dive into their differences!

1) Culture

The first difference in Australia vs New Zealand rivalry is the naming of their two indigenous populations. The natives of NZ are called Maoris; their name refers to human beings, mortals, unlike gods. 

On the Australian side, we have the aborigines, whose name refers to those who were there originally. 


Maori make up 16.7 % of New Zealand’s population compared to just 3.3 % of Aborigines in Australia. Regarding communication, the Maori language is the official language of New Zealand. 

At the same time, Australia does not have an official language, even though the language of the locals is taught in some schools.

2) Food Spread (Marmite vs Vegemite)

Although Australia vs New Zealand shares several characteristics, one of their most significant differences is food. Indeed, Australians are Vegemites, and New Zealanders are Marmites, but what does all this mean? 

The Marmite and Vegemite are two spreads. Even if they look the same, don’t tell a New Zealander or an Australian that Marmite and Vegemiten are the same. 


For these two populations who consume it since childhood, this is far from being the case. We must admit that chauvinism is probably not for nothing. 

In short, the Marmite is a salty spread created in 1902 and made from brewer’s yeast, spices, and celery. 

In contrast, the recipe for Vegemite is kept secret. This delicious spread appeared in 1922 following the cessation of importation of the Marmite into Australia after World War II.

3) Flags

Another difference between Australia and New Zealand is that the two flags look similar at first glance but are very different. Both flags have a blue background with the Union Jack flag (that of the United Kingdom). 

Australia Flag

The two flags of these Southern Hemisphere countries also feature the Southern Cross, a constellation reserved for the land of the Down Under. 

On the one hand, the flag of New Zealand has only four constellation stars inscribed in red (which represents power among the Maori people). On the other side, the Australian flag has five stars in white, plus one on the side whose branches represent its states.

New Zealand Flag

4) National Animals

The fourth difference between the two Down Under states is that they have their iconic animal. Everyone knows that in Australia, the kangaroo is the mascot. 


In New Zealand, the Kiwi is the mascot of the country. The Kiwi is a bird the size of a hen; although it is less classy than the Kangaroo, New Zealanders like it.

5) Landscapes

Even though Australia vs New Zealand are in the same geographic area, the two countries have different territories. 

Australia is a large piece of land the size of an entire continent, while New Zealand is a collection of two large islands with lots of smaller islands around. 

Outback Australia

As for natural landscapes, you should know that Australia enjoys a backdrop of endless deserts, while NZ has a wide variety of landscapes with forests, green mountains, fjords, etc.

6) Size

The most significant difference between Australia and New Zealand is the size. Australia is enormous and roughly the same size as the United States. 

While New Zealand remains small, it is similar in size to the State of California. Australia is also known for its vast lands of desert that separate its cities. For example, Perth is over 3,660 kilometers from Brisbane. 

On the other hand, in New Zealand, it is quite possible to visit the two islands that make up the country in a matter of hours.

7) Hitchhiking

Australia and New Zealand are two popular backpacker destinations. Although geographically close, they are two very different countries. 

Before going hitchhiking in Australia, be aware that Another difference from hitchhiking is that in Australia, it is illegal to do so in Victoria and Queensland. 

Additionally, it is dangerous to practice hitchhiking in the outback due to the wildlife. 

Similarly, in New Zealand, there are no geographical limitations, and kiwis are known for their hospitality.

8) Sports

In sport, it is rugby fifteen that exacerbates the Australia vs New Zealand rivalry. The New Zealand team is nicknamed All Blacks, while the Australian team is nicknamed the wallabies. The Kiwis cheer on their national team with the fabulous Haka kiwi. 

Haka All blacks New Zealand

It is a warrior dance that expresses joy, the desire for revenge, and anger. The Kiwis and All Blacks tell through the Haka the story of the warrior Te Rauparaha, pursued by his enemies. Thus, they reflect the fear of defeat on each side and the will to win. 

As for the Aussies, you will hear them supporting the wallabies with their famous chant, “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi, oi.”

9) Kiwis vs Aussies

Another difference between the two populations of the Down Under World (Australia vs New Zealand) lies in their nicknames. 

New Zealanders are nicknamed kiwis after the country’s mascot, the famous bird, and the fruit which, thanks to its hairy skin, is reminiscent of that of the bird of the same name. On the Australian side, people refer to the local population with the nickname Aussies. 

Aussie vs Kiwi

This nickname comes from the geographical reference of the country, which is located in the far south. For this reason, the British speak of Australia by saying the land of OZ, which is pronounced Ozie hence the nickname Aussies.

10) Weather

Concerning the weather in Australia vs New Zealand rivalry, there is a massive difference in climates. Firstly, Australia has different climates within its territory. 

In the south, you will find a relatively temperate climate. In the center, expect a very arid climate, while in the north, you will encounter a tropical environment. 

Secondly, in New Zealand, the weather is temperate, and it can get freezing in winter, especially in the south. However, summer in New Zealand is delightful.

11) Wildlife

Another striking difference in Australia vs New Zealand is the two States’ wildlife. During my stay in Australia, I felt like I was in an open ZOO. 

Australia is home to an impressive list of animals. In this great country, you will have the opportunity to meet kangaroos, sharks, Rainbow lorikeets, snakes, white parrots, jellyfish, wallabies, and spiders the size of plates. 

Feeding a Kangaroo Perth Australia

On the New Zealand side, the animals are much less strange. The country is home to many native birds such as the kea, tui honeyeater, forest soil kiwifruit, and yellow-eyed penguin. 

Additionally, New Zealand is home to bats and marine mammals.

12) Adventure activities

If you are like me, searching for strong feelings, you will be more than satisfied by setting foot in either Australia or New Zealand. The two states of Down Under have many adventure activities that will lighten up your days. 

Adventure activity-Australia

In Australia, you have the possibility of Skydiving, Bungy Jumping, or even Surfing. In comparison, New Zealand has a broader range of adventure activities. Thus, you have the opportunity to practice Canyoning, Skydiving, Kayaking, Bungy Jumping, Ice Hiking, and climbing.

13) Cost of living

The last difference I noticed in Australia vs New Zealand is the cost of living. Regarding accommodation in New Zealand, a two-bedroom apartment in the city center will cost you around $ 350 to $ 500 per week. 

Whereas, in Australia, it costs between $ 400 to $ 550 per week. When it comes to transport, New Zealand has a significant advantage due to its small size. 

There are several weekly and monthly bus, train, and ferry passes that can take you anywhere in the country.

Cost of living Australian Dollar

Usually, this should cost you around $ 150 monthly. In Australia, you will enjoy the same benefits except that you will have to take a flight from one city to another most of the time. 

The cost is generally around $ 100 to $ 150. Lastly, concerning meals in restaurants, in New Zealand, the main dish will cost you between $ 15 to $ 40. 

In Australia, the same service will cost you between $ 20 to $ 40. Don’t let these prices frighten you. If, like me, you are a low-cost traveler, know that there are a lot of little tips to save money in both countries.

14) Australian vs New Zealand accent

Origin of the Australian accent

There is a theory regarding the origin of the Australian accent by the researcher Dean Frankel, an expert in communication at the University of Melbourne. 

He claims that early British settlers “frequently got drunk together and through their repeated interactions, unknowingly added an alcoholic touch to (the) national way of speaking.”

The scholar claims in this article that the Australian language “developed in the early days of colonisation from a cocktail of English, Irish, Aboriginal, and German before a mysterious influence was added into the mix.”

Origin of the New Zealand accent

A five-year study by Edinburgh physicists suggests that the New Zealand accent is of British origin. Indeed, most New Zealand immigrants are from the British Isles. During their immigration, they were imbued with British regional dialects.

Differences between the Aussie and Kiwi accents

The pronunciation of the vowels is the primary distinction between the two accents. 

Australian vowels are constricted, whereas “E” is replaced by something resembling a “EE” in New Zealand. The pronunciation of “Beed” rather than “bed” is one example.

In terms of composition, while the Australian accent is a fusion of British and American English, the New Zealand accent is enriched with various British accents and dialects.


Although Australia and New Zealand share several similarities, fundamentally, they are entirely different. 

Nevertheless, these two countries of Down Under have conquered my heart; it is for this reason that I decided to write this article about Australia vs New Zealand. 

Have you been to Australia and New Zealand? If so, let me know if my article is accurate. Also, If I missed anyhting please comment below. 

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