New Zealand is one of the most underrated destinations for Australian holiday goers. Though almost everyone that goes there comes away saying, “I can’t believe Australians don’t visit more often,” many of us end up shunting it to the back of the line when we remember we can get higher hiking in the Himalayas, warmer waves in Bali and more museums in Europe.
But go back again and you’ll soon remember why you feel bad about putting it on the backburner. New Zealand is a gem in its own right (and not just because it’s cheap and quick to get to), and recent research by the travel gurus over at travel discovery app Vacaay (the Tinder of holiday planning) shows Australians are set to rediscover that.
There are 120,000+ Australian users on Vacaay (globally the platform has more than 300,000) and there has been a 30% increase in Australians planning holidays to the land of bungee jumping, skiing and much more (New Zealand has epic activities for every type of traveller).
“Vacaay measured the period of Feb 15 – March 15 (pre-COVID) with Jun 15 – Jul 15, and discovered a 30% increase in Australian’s planning holidays to New Zealand.”
Pre-COVID, the top 3 countries Aussies were exploring were Spain, France and Greece, Vacaay states. This has now changed to reflect our limited new horizons.
“Currently the top 3 countries Aussies are exploring [are] Australia, French Polynesia (Tahiti); New Zealand.”
This marks a significant shift away from urban escapes, with the statistics also showing just 5% of Australians are considering a city stay (compared with 25% pre-pandemic).
Another trend Vacaay has noticed is that, when it comes to domestic travel, “95% of Australians are prioritising the great outdoors and road trips for their next vacation.”
Australians’ interest in New Zealand is reciprocal, with a 212% increase in Kiwis searching for Australian holidays during the June/July period.
Darwin, Coolangatta and Queensland’s Clamshell Falls were the most popular destinations for Kiwis looking to visit Australia.
No pressure on that travel bubble, then.
On that note: Australia’s virus setbacks of late (which have resulted in Australian politicians butting heads over interstate travel) have shown how difficult it is to implement countrywide freedom of movement, let alone international ‘bubbles.’
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern has said a travel bubble won’t be considered until Australia goes 28 continual days with no community transmission. Traveller reports “that is highly unlikely this year.”
In the meantime, we’ll all just have to live vicariously.