5 Biggest Differences Between Australia and New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand are two of the most popular travel destinations, offering unique experiences and attractions. Despite their proximity, they share commonalities, like English as the predominant language, colonial history, and a love for outdoor activities.

Such common ground helps us understand how Australia and New Zealand are different, but also connected. It is interesting to compare and contrast these two unique countries in a variety of categories.

Online Casinos

While Australia and New Zealand have land-based casinos, there is a significant difference in the availability and regulations of online casinos. In Australia, online gambling is heavily regulated, with strict laws prohibiting Australian-based companies from offering online casino games to its citizens. However, you can bet on Casino games in New Zealand, even on offshore websites.

New Zealand has a more relaxed approach to online gambling, with no restrictions on where players can access online casinos. The country also has its government-run website, MyLotto, which offers various lottery games and scratch cards. Additionally, while Australia has banned the use of credit cards for online gambling, New Zealand has no such prohibition.

No Snakes and Venomous Spiders

One of the most striking differences between Australia and New Zealand is the absence of snakes in New Zealand. As a country known for its diverse wildlife, Australia has over 140 species of land snakes, some of which are among the most venomous in the world. In contrast, New Zealand does not have any native land snakes.

This can be attributed to New Zealand’s geography and geological history. The country was once part of Gondwana, a supercontinent that existed millions of years ago. Gondwana included South America, Africa, India, Antarctica, and Australia. As a result, New Zealand shares many species of flora and fauna with Australia, but the separation of landmasses during the break-up of Gondwana caused the exclusion of snakes in New Zealand.

Australia has a diverse population of venomous spiders, such as the Sydney Funnel-web Spider and Redback Spider. Those spiders are not found in significant numbers in New Zealand. The limited presence of these venomous spiders can also be attributed to the country’s geographical isolation and different climate compared to its neighbour.


New Zealand is known for its stunning natural landscapes and many volcanoes. The country has many active and dormant volcanoes, most located on the North Island. In contrast, Australia has only one active volcano, Mount Gambier, in South Australia.

Tongariro National Park, on New Zealand’s North Island, is home to three active volcanoes. Ngauruhoe is depicted as Mount Doom in The Lord of the Rings films.

The presence of these volcanoes in New Zealand has significantly impacted the country’s landscape and culture. For example, Mount Taranaki on the North Island is an iconic landmark and cultural significance for the local Maori. 

Volcanic activity in New Zealand has also created unique geothermal features, such as hot springs and geysers, which are popular tourist attractions. In contrast, Australia’s volcanic landscape is much older and less active, with the last significant eruption occurring around 5,000 years ago.

Rugby vs. Cricket

Sports play a significant role in Australian and New Zealand culture, but there is a clear difference in the popularity of certain sports between the two countries. While Australians love cricket, New Zealanders are more passionate about rugby.

Cricket has been Australia’s national sport since the late 1800s, and the country has a long-standing rivalry with England in the legendary Ashes series. In contrast, New Zealand’s national sport is rugby, and its national team, the All Blacks, is regarded as one of the world’s best. The popularity of these sports is also reflected in the countries’ sporting achievements. Australia being more successful in cricket and New Zealand dominating on the rugby field.

Boxing day cricket being played at the MCG
The Melbourne Cricket Ground has a capacity of 100,024 spectators. Australia’s MCG is the largest stadium in the southern hemisphere.

Black Sand Beaches

One of the most striking and unexpected differences between Australia and New Zealand is the colour of their beaches. While Australia is known for its pristine white sandy beaches, New Zealand boasts black sand beaches on its west coast. These unique beaches result from volcanic activity, with the dark-coloured sand comprising tiny grains of iron-rich minerals.

The black sand, often composed of volcanic minerals like iron and titanium, creates a dramatic and picturesque setting. That attracts visitors looking for an unconventional beach experience. New Zealand’s black sand beaches, like Piha Beach and Karekare Beach, offer a stunning backdrop for relaxation and exploration. They showcase the raw beauty of the country’s volcanic past and diverse landscapes.

These black sand beaches are more than an attraction. They are also ecologically important. They provide a home to various wildlife, like endangered sea turtles and rare bird species, making them popular areas for conservation and ecotourism initiatives.


While Australia and New Zealand may be geographically close and share some similarities, they offer distinct experiences for travellers. Exploring these two countries will undoubtedly provide a deeper understanding of their individual identities while also highlighting their connection as neighbouring nations in the South Pacific. So whether you choose to visit the land down under or the land of the long white cloud, you are sure to be amazed by what each country has to offer. So, pack your bags and get ready for a memorable adventure! 


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