It’s no huge surprise that fierce rivals Australia and New Zealand have each battled their way to the final of the Rugby World Cup: both nations are big players in World Rugby and have each won the title twice before.
As part of our on-going Rugby World Cup competition, we’re giving one lucky fan a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the winning country. So let’s forget about rugby and focus on the real issues to see how the nations measure up!
WHITEHAVEN BEACH vs. 90 MILE BEACH
Found on the eastern coast of Whitsunday Island, Whitehaven Beach is one of Australia’s best: the combination of pure white sands and clear azure sea create the area’s idyllic setting. What’s more, Whitehaven is one of the country’s cleanest beaches.
Ninety Mile Beach (or Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē) is a 55-mile stretch of beach found on the north-western tip of New Zealand’s North Island. Known for its golden sands and desert-like dunes, the area is popular for bodyboarding and has been used as both a landing strip and a highway in the past.
RAMSEY STREET vs. HOBBITON
Australia’s most famous export, Neighbours is a staple of any British childhood. The show’s exterior shots have been filmed on Pin Oak Street in Vermont South, a suburb of Melbourne, since the soap began in 1985. Tours to Ramsey Street can be arranged with Neighbours Tours.
It’s no secret that the Lord of the Rings franchise gave New Zealand’s tourism industry a huge boost, thanks in part to the set of Hobbiton. Located on farmland, the ambitious set originally included 37 hobbit houses and took months to build, with gardens planted a year prior to filming to create a more authentic look. Excursions can be arranged with Hobbiton Tours.
WINNER: NEW ZEALAND
SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE vs. AUCKLAND SKY TOWER
One of the world’s most recognisable landmarks, the Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened in 1932 and is an iconic symbol of both Sydney and Australia. Since 1998, visitors have been able to climb the bridge for unparalleled views of the city (and one hell of a photo opp), thanks to BridgeClimb.
While it might be less-known this side of the equator, the Auckland Sky Tower is actually the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere. But what really sets this TV tower apart is the iconic Skyjump, which allows you to actually hurl yourself off the edge and safely return to Earth – not one for the faint-hearted.
WINNER: NEW ZEALAND
ULURU vs. THE REMARKABLES
Australia’s beautiful and mysterious Uluru has graced tourism posters and holiday brochures for decades, but the incredible rock formation is more than just a natural landmark. Uluru has sacred cultural significance for the native Anangu people of the region, many of whom lead walking tours for visitors to educate them on the local area and Aboriginal folklore surrounding the rock formation.
Found on New Zealand’s South Island, The Remarkables are a popular mountain range and ski field in the region of Otago. Noted for their staggering height and sharp incline, the mountains create a stunning backdrop for Lake Wakatipu – easily one of the most photogenic sights in New Zealand.
BAROSSA VALLEY v MARLBOROUGH
Located just 37 miles northeast of Adelaide, Barossa Valley is one of the most famous regions for producing New World wines. The area produces mostly red wine and is most famous for Shiraz, the first vines of which were planted as early as 1847. For the best view over the valley’s vineyards, head to the lookout point at Mengler Hill.
Marlborough is credited with kick-starting the entire wine industry in New Zealand, encompassing around 62% of the country’s vineyards. Today the region is said to produce the best Sauvignon Blanc in the world, with its typical hot sunny days and cold nights infusing the wines with unique aromas and flavours. Visitors can embark on the Marlborough Wine Trail, taking in the area surrounding Blenheim.
WINNER: NEW ZEALAND
MELBOURNE v WELLINGTON
While it might have a fierce rivalry with Sydney, Melbourne has an alternative streak that’s all its own. Centred in the suburb of Fitzroy, Melbourne’s hipster scene is full of hip bars, chic boutiques and exciting street art. Visitors can also sample one of Melbourne’s famous flat whites in any of the area’s artistic coffee shops.
Read more about Melbourne’s hipster side here.
New Zealand’s capital Wellington has been making a name for itself as the country’s hipster hotspot in recent years. Concentrated along historic Cuba Street, the city’s bohemian heart has plenty of cool hangouts like second-hand boutique Hunters & Collectors, lively Fidel’s Cafe, as well as Havana bar and restaurant – a hub for live music.
Choosing between these incredible destinations is simply too close to call… we’ll have to wait for the final of the Rugby World Cup to see where we will be sending our lucky reader.