The two sides were level pegging throughout the match with the world number one Australians only pulling away in the last couple of minutes.
Australia led 17-14 at quarter-time, it was level at 30-all at half time and 44-43 to Australia at three quarter time.
Australia shot 88 percent, while Bailey Mes and Ameliaranne Ekenasio shot only 77 percent for New Zealand.
Ekenasio shot 32 goals and Mes 23.
The Ferns had more intercepts and turnovers but were unable to turn that into an advantage on the score board.
The Silver Ferns coach Janine Southby said the gap in experience between the two sides was the difference.
"Just some basic errors and we just, you know, I think that physicalness just really took its toll particularly in our turning circle. And we didn't adjust and do the things - we didn't go back to what we had been doing really well.
"So we just have to take this as a learning [experience] and move on."
Ferns captain Katrina Grant said she was gutted by the final two minutes when Australia went clear, but the side was showing some good signs.
"The young ones in the squad have really lifted the side and we're having a lot of fun."
New Zealand now play Jamaica in a three-Test series before meeting the Australians again in the Constellation Cup in October.
England finished third in the Quad series after beating South Africa 57-44.