Australia's favourite international destinations

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Australia's favourite international destinations

Whether to indulge in a tropical paradise, to soak up a different culture, or to make tracks on another country's ski slopes, Australians love to travel overseas. And while there's plenty to see and do on our own continent, there's something about the Australian love affair with the rest of the world that's worth looking at.

According to the National Visitor Survey, New Zealand is the most frequently visited destination for Australians.

The latest National Visitor Survey conducted by Tourism Research Australia found that Aussies over the age of 15 made 7.1 million trips abroad in the year ending June 2012i. The survey also found that nearly 60% of overseas trips were holidays and that 143 million nights were spent outside of our borders in that year, which works out as an average of 20 nights away for each stint abroad (trips longer than 12 months were not counted). But where are our favourite places to go? According to the survey, our top pick is just a hop across the pond: New Zealand. Our favourite destinations ranked 2 to 5 are (in order): Indonesia, USA, Thailand and the UK.

Australians' top 10 destinations for overseas travel June 2011-2012ii

  1. New Zealand (14%) - 989,000 visitors
  2. Indonesia (11%) - 798,000 visitors
  3. USA (10%) - 739,000 visitors
  4. Thailand (8%) - 533,000 visitors
  5. United Kingdom (6%) - 451,000 visitors
  6. China (5%) - 344,000 visitors
  7. Singapore (4%) - 276,000 visitors
  8. Fiji (4%) - 258,000 visitors
  9. Malaysia (3%) - 233,000 visitors
  10. Hong Kong (3%) - 220,000 visitors

#1 - New Zealand

Australians made nearly 1 million (989,000) trips into New Zealand in the year ending June 2012ii. Known as a thrill-seekers paradise (think: luging, bungee jumping, skiing, and snowboarding) and as the landscape of Middle Earth (think: director Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit), New Zealand's a popular destination for tourists from across the globe. For Australians, New Zealand is an intriguing, beautiful and exciting holiday destination and it's just a few hours flight away - no wonder its number one!

#2 - Indonesia

Undoubtedly Australia's infatuation with Indonesian island Bali has a lot to do with why this country ranks so high on our list of destinations. The volcanic islands of Indonesia received 739,000 visitors from Australia in the year ending June 2012ii. Home to tropical rainforests, energetic towns, and idyllic beaches, a trip to Indonesia can be one of exploration and adventure or one of indulgence and pure relaxation.

#3 - USA

As diverse as it is big, the USA is a place with plenty to explore; it ranks as the third most visited destination for Australians between June 2011 and 2012 with 739,000 visitorsii. Attractions include the instantly recognisable cities such as New York, San Francisco and Las Vegas, and the varying landscapes in between: from deserts to mountain ranges, prairies to the Floridian Everglades.

Thailand ranks fourth most popular destination for travelling Australians.

#4 - Thailand

In the year ending June 2012, 533,000 Australian visitors said “Sawatdee" (hello) to Thailand - the fourth most popular destinationii. The Southeast Asian destination is famous for its shopping, beaches, temples, and cuisine, and infamous for its nightlife! Many choose to escape the hustle of capital city Bangkok to holiday on one of the hundreds of islands off Thailand's coast; popular tourist isles include Phuket, Koh Samui and Phi Phi.

#5 - UK

As a holiday destination, the UK ranked fifth most popular between June 2011 and 2012 (451,000 visitors)ii. The UK - made up of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales - has a fascinating and long history to discover. Capital city London is rich in history and has some of the best museums and galleries on Earth. It's popular with visitors for sightseeing, theatre, shopping and for experiencing the vibrancy of one of the great cities of the world. Destinations in the countryside make for the perfect rural retreat.

Wherever you choose to travel - whether to one of the favourites or to somewhere that's a little further off the grid - it's important to have travel insurance to protect you in the event of something not going to plan. For more information on insuring yourself abroad, get a travel insurance quote online today.

i Tourism Research Australia, 2012, Quarterly Results of the National Visitor Survey: Travel by Australians September Quarter 2012, p.5

ii Tourism Research Australia, 2012, Quarterly Results of the National Visitor Survey: Travel by Australians September Quarter 2012, p.26