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With realization that by budget is not as tight as I thought it was it looks like Australia and New Zealand are pretty doable and they are a likely choice. Maybe five or six weeks there and a road trip in the US for the remainder of the time during a different time of year.

For New Zealand, you might want to look into renting a camper or motor home. They've got em for every budget and level of luxury desired. Some people also will get a simple camper van and mostly stay in hotels, using the camper when convenient to do so. The size of the country is ideal for road tripping from one end to the other. 8 weeks is about right if you want to want to cover the whole thing, especially if you'd like to do one or two of the Great Walks (many of the Great Walks are easy to moderate tramping).
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