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From farmland to forest, from subtropics to snowcapped and glacier-fed lakes and from hours of sunshine to kilometers of craggy coastline, clean, green, thinly populated and remote New Zealand (Australia is 1500 kilometers away!) is packed with incredibly diverse scenery. Make no mistake about it, however. New Zealand is not a destination strictly catering to the tranquil-seeking, low-key type. In fact, New Zealand is filled with just as much excitement as it is serenity. Few countries can match New Zealand’s thrilling and year-around outdoor adventures, such as whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, and skydiving. Of course, the country’s clear and blue skies make such experiences all that more unforgettable.

Once the sun sets and moon shines and after you have treated yourself to some mouthwatering meat (preferably lamb) and fine wine, it’s time to make the mental switch from wildlife to nightlife. While New Zealand may be humble by day, specifically Queenstown, Christchurch, and Auckland are bold and daring by night. Equally memorable to the outdoor activities, food and nightlife, is the people. Native Maoris and European-descendent Kiwis alike are undoubtedly good-hearted and extremely welcoming.

Australia is home of Sydney, a destination worth visiting even if the country offered nothing more. However, this internationally renowned and attractive city is just a part of the mosaic. Unique terrain and year-around outdoor adventure are the primary draws of this ancient, large, prosperous, and relatively safe island nation (yes, island), whose urban settlements are located primarily along its coastlines.

True, the country seems to be best appreciated for its love of nature as well as its passion for extreme sports: skydiving, bungee jumping, and climbing a commercial bridge in Sydney to name a few. Nonetheless, no less enriching is getting to know the Aussies: incredibly sociable, environmentally friendly, well educated, and well organized, the welcoming type who enjoy a good beer and barbeque, a.k.a. shrimp on the barbie. Get over to Australia mate so you can figure out for yourself why so many tourists come from so far away to feel the thunder in this land down under. No, that’s not a goofy joke. That’s a famous song. Google it!

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