If you want to knockout a few countries in the Pacific on your trip then you should consider booking flights that are multicity rather than roundtrip. The reason for this is that traveling in that part of the world is expensive as all countries are divided by water, necessitating flights. Booking travel such as into Auckland, New Zealand to Sydney, Australia to Fiji and back home will create the perfect (oblong) circle of travel that minimizes your time in the air. It will also eliminate the need to backtrack with expensive flights back to where you’ve already been. Finally, many airlines offer a free or very cheap option to have a stayover in Fiji.
Just because you’ve narrowed your desired honeymoon down to Australia keep in mind that based on square miles it’s basically the equivalent of saying “I plan to go to the States for my honeymoon.” Someone who wants to hit up Miami, D.C., New York, Dallas, Denver, Seattle, L.A., and San Diego is in for a heck of a lot of travel! Australia may not have as many iconic cities, but committed to seeing Tasmania, Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, and Perth is pushing your time and wallet farther than you likely prefer. Focus your time on key locations and determine what you truly want to see. Most international flights go through Sydney so count that city in, the rainforest and Great Barrier Reef are both in the Cairns area (3-hour flight from Sydney). Some variation of itinerary incorporating both of those locations will check off much of your must-sees of Down Under.
Australia isn’t quite as inundated with hostels as Europe is, however the hostel options they do have are often of high quality. For instance, the Daintree Crocodylus in the Daintree Rainforest is outstanding with refurbished rooms, surprisingly fresh and tasty food offerings, and tons of optional activities including night hikes, kayaking, and “jungle archery” – whatever that means. Anyway, drop the need for a TV and in-room microwave in exchange for memorable experiences on your once-in-a-lifetime trip.
Unfortunately, Australia and New Zealand don’t have a great rail system. With that said, they do have a pretty expansive bus system both locally and long-distance. Signing up with one of Contiki’s plans will allow you to hop on a bus for as long as you want and ditch out for a night, week, or month when you find locations worth investing more time in. When you’re ready to continue your trip, simply hop back on to the next bus going your direction, watching the beautiful scenery all the while. Renting a car can be very affordable and is certainly very freeing, but keep in mind that they drive on the wrong side of road (take that British system – #burn) so adjusting to it may be an adventure in itself.
Australian culture may or may not be found largely in bars (*may) so mind the proper terms and customs. For instance, when chatting with a local remember that Aussie is pronounced “ozzy” and that they are all about talking smack to show affection. So, if they are calling you a “dirty Yankee” it’s actually a term of endearment. These are the people at the bar that you should buy a round for because the Aussies love to share a pint with anyone and everyone and will buy more than their share of drinks for the rest of the night; but even if they don’t, you’ve had a great night partying with some of the best partiers in the world.
Most people never have the opportunity to go Down Under so if you make it to the other hemisphere on your honeymoon be sure to take in how great of an experience it is. The land is gorgeous and the people are irresistibly comical and friendly. Save a few bucks on accommodation so that you can dive with the sharks, and buy a round for the locals that night.