To be honest, i dont think you can go wrong. I finished my chemical engineering degree last year at UQ in Brisbane, Queensland (live here) and have been skiing in australia and nz.
On the skiing side of things, If by next semester, you mean around March - June 2013 and you want to actually do some skiing, i would recommend NZ as their early season snow is generally better than the Aussie early season (June-mid July). I would also say that NZ is usually a little more reliable for snow due to its lower latitude but for the last two seasons i think Australia has been the better option (however this was mainly due to good mid to late season snow falls). Completely agree with the dude who recommended the Queenstown/Wanaka area, love that place but im not sure there will be many uni's in the area that offer chem engg.
As for the engineering side of things, the universities in QLD are tailoring their chemical engineering degrees now to prepare people to work in the coal seam gas industry (similar to the natural gas/shale gas that you have in the US) and tend to be moving away from refining and heavy hydrocarbon production processes. I cannot speak for the NSW or VIC universities but they are considerably closer to the snow in Aus.
Locations that others have mentioned, every place is different and has its pros and cons, if you like beaches and city life i would recommend Brisbane as the Gold and Sunshine Coasts are both only an hours drive away and its a city of roughly 2.5 million people. Refer to other peoples recommendations for other cities as i dont really know enough to comment but I would recommend having a look into some Melbourne uni's as its a pretty cool city.
Thats just a few things, if you have any more questions just PM me,