Chris Killen's goal wasn't enough for the Kiwis (Photo: Grant Stantiall)
In front of 55,659 fans, the All Whites threatened to gatecrash the Socceroos' farewell party when Chris Killen fired the visitors into a deserved 1-0 lead in the 16th minute after Shane Smeltz flicked on a deep Simon Elliot cross.
Only the post denied Killen a second eight minutes later and with Tim Brown shooting just past the post in the early exchanges, New Zealand were well worth their lead.
"I think at halftime we could've come in two or three nil up which would've made things a little easier but I'm quite pleased overall with a very solid performance," said All Whites coach Ricki Herbert.
"Tonight was a good positive statement on where we are and what we're about."
The match was marred by two sickening challenges on Leo Bertos, the first a two footed lunged by Aussie hard man Vince Grella and the second a late clip by Tim Cahill just minutes later that sent Bertos flying and resulted in the winger being stretchered off the field.
Neither challenge earned more than a yellow card, although All Whites coach Ricki Herbert was certain they warranted sterner punishment.
"I'm a bit disappointed with both tackles and in a normal game we would have been up against nine men."
Tim Brown also came in for rough treatment and did not return to the field after halftime but instead travelled to hospital for scans on a shoulder injury.
Mark Paston was kept busy collecting or clearing crosses into his area but it wasn't until the 57th minute that Australia broke through the All Whites defences and then only after a tackle from Killen ricocheted the ball into the path of an obliging Dario Vidosic.
Tommy Smith, employed as a left wingback amongst a raft of second half substitutions from both sides) picked out Rory Fallon in the 70th minute but goalkeeper Brad Jones was equal to the striker's powerful header.
Among the heavy traffic coming from the substitutes' benches was Winston Reid, making his New Zealand debut earlier than expected as a replacement for the injured Bertos after half an hour.
The former Denmark age-group international was kept busy in a variety of positions as some pre-planned changes and another injury, this time to Ivan Vicelich, meant Herbert had to keep shuffling his deck.
The All Whites depart for Austria on Tuesday evening after a recovery session at their Melbourne hotel. Further World Cup warm-ups against Serbia and Slovenia await the team in Europe with a training match against Chile in South Africa putting the final touches on preparation for an opening FIFA World Cup match against Slovakia on June 15th.
New Zealand: 1 (Chris Killen 16')
Australia: 2 (Dario Vidosic 57, Brett Holman 90+4)
Melbourne Cricket Ground
Crowd: 55, 659
New Zealand: 1-Mark PASTON (GK), 2-Ben SIGMUND, 3-Tony LOCHHEAD (19-Tommy SMITH 59), 5-Ivan VICELEICH (18-Andrew BOYENS 51), 19, 6-Ryan NELSEN (captain), 7 Simon ELLIOTT, 8-Tim BROWN (15-Michael MCGLINCHEY 46), 9-Shane SMELTZ (22-Jeremy BROCKIE 67), 10-Chris KILLEN (20-Chris WOOD 67), 11-Leo BERTOS (4-Winston REID 33), 14-Rory FALLON.
Substitutes not used: 12-Glen MOSS (RGK), 13-Andy BARRON, 16-Aaron CLAPHAM, 17-David MULLIGAN, 21-Jeremy CHRISTIE, 23-James BANNATYNE (RGK).
Cautions: Andy Boyens 66
Australia: 1-Adam FEDERICI (GK/18-Brad JONES 46), 2 Lucas NEILL (captain), 3-Craig MOORE, 4-Tim CAHILL (14-Brett HOLMAN 46), 5-Jason CULINA, 10-Dario VIDOSIC (22-Tom OAR 79), 13-Vincenzo GRELLO (16-Carl VALERI 46), 17- Scott MACDONALD (11-Nikita RUKAVYTSYA 71), 20-Mark MILLIGAN, 23-Mark BRESCIANO (7-Mile JEDINAK 46).
Substitutes not used: 6-Michael BEAUCHAMP, 8-James HOLLAND, 15-Shane LOWRY, 19-Nick CARLE, 24-Eugene GALEKOVIC.
Cautions: Mark Milligan 16, Vince Grella 26, Tim Cahill 30, Tom Oar 90
Story courtesy NZF Media.