Even before the announcement of the opening of a quarantine-free trans-Tasman bubble and despite new cases of COVID appearing locally, Australians are flocking to book accommodation in New Zealand, according to new data.
The data from Bachcare, New Zealand’s largest holiday home management firm shows that even pre-bubble announcement there was a surge in Australians booking holiday homes in New Zealand, with a jump of over 117 percent over the past month.
Zaina Razzaq, spokesperson for Bachcare, said their figures showed a marked increase in Australian travellers researching and booking accommodation across the Tasman – even before there was confirmation of a quarantine-free travel bubble!
However, unlike previous years where the focus was on ski holidays, the new figures show Australians are seeking regions known for their beaches, food and wine.
She says: “What is coming through in our research this year is a surprising lack of bookings around New Zealand ski fields such as Queenstown and Ohakune.
“At this time of year, we would typically be seeing an influx of Australian’s booking their accommodation for a midwinter ski holiday.
“Instead, the bookings are concentrated around beaches and vineyards; and feedback we are getting is that a lot of people want to spend time reconnecting with family members living in New Zealand – many of which have been unable to see for over a year now,” she says.
The top 10 locations for Australians booking in New Zealand are Raglan, Tauranga, Waiheke, Marlborough, Mount Maunganui, Marlborough Sounds, Martinborough, Akaroa, Whangamata and Hanmer.
Razzaq says while there fewer confirmed bookings for Queenstown than expected at this time of year, this region in the lower South Island is the most popular search term – suggesting that travellers are researching and preparing for when quarantine-free travel is announced.
She says holiday home bookings from across the Tasman are being made for as early as this month with others concentrated around the summer of 2022.
Razzaq says pre-Covid almost a third (29 percent) of Australian bookings at this time of the year were for Queenstown followed by Canterbury (14 percent), Coromandel (14 percent) and Taupo (9 percent).
“What we believe the data is showing us is that Australian’s looking to travel here for skiing in a specific seasonal time frame are waiting for confirmation of the bubble to open before they book.
“Conversely, travellers who are more flexible in their travel time frames are making bookings in regions either well known for their wine production such as Waiheke, Marlborough and Martinborough or coastal areas such as Raglan, Tauranga, Mt Maunganui, Akaroa and Whangamata.
“The most common reason we are hearing from Australians making bookings through us is a desire to beat the rush ahead of the peak season,” she says.