Australian online travel agency, Jetabroad, has noted a large jump in the number of Australians traveling to New Zealand this March compared to the same time last year.
This increase is partly due to an earlier Easter and school holidays, and shows a strong recovery from last year's Christchurch earthquake.
Statistics New Zealand released their International Travel and Migration figures this week, which reveal that 8,400 more Australians traveled to New Zealand in March 2012 than in March 2011. This increase in Australian tourists contributed to an 11 per cent year-on-year jump in total visitors to New Zealand, and a 4.4 per cent increase in the year to March.
Australians account for roughly half of all tourists to New Zealand, thanks to its proximity and the ready availability of cheap flights. New Zealand's spectacular landscape and active lifestyle has long drawn visitors from around the world, leading Lonely Planet to name it the world's top travel destination in 2003 and 2004.
Commenting on the results, Jetabroad MD Darin Walters says: "People tend to travel before and after long weekends, and we saw a huge jump in numbers in the last week of March leading up to the Easter period."
Walters continues: "Australia and New Zealand have long had a strong travel partnership, and we're glad to see that flights to New Zealand have grown in popularity this year. We hope that these numbers continue to grow as more Australians discover how much New Zealand has to offer."