Image: Ed Kruger/QFSE Media
The North Island’s Lake Taupo region has topped a consumer poll conducted by leading travel experience provider Experience Oz +NZ as New Zealand’s number one destination to experience this year.
‘New Zealand’s Top 10 Destinations to Experience’, a trans-Tasman poll now in its second year, has revealed Taupo is the country’s top destination for 2015, closely followed by Fiordland’s perennially popular Doubtful Sound, while Northland’s stunning Bay of Islands were recognised in third place.
Voters are asked to consider factors such as the typical “New Zealand”-style nature of the destination, its unique natural highlights, the area’s cultural, historic and architectural features, the variety of activities on offer, whether it was over-commercialised and if it was simply considered “beautiful”. The top 10 list in the poll was rounded out by Queenstown, Marlborough, Rotorua, The Coromandel, Ruapehu, Nelson and the Bay of Plenty.
Destination Great Lake Taupo Sales and Marketing Manager Zelia Horrell was thrilled by the Experience Oz + NZ accolade and said a great deal of work by key advocacy groups and tourism operators had been undertaken, resulting in wins for the region.
“A few things have helped put our region on the map over the last year, one of those being the official opening of the Great Lake Trail, part of the NZ Cycle Trail, which opened to rave reviews in April last year. The Great Lake Trail has also added to the plethora of hiking options in the region, as it is open to both bikers and hikers and is currently being use 50/50 by riders and walkers alike. Of course the Great Lake Taupo region has been sought out as a hiking destination for years, as it is home to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, which has been heralded by many as the best day walk in NZ. We are also home to the Huka Falls, the most visited natural attraction in the country, and the fishing here has always been an enormous drawcard.”
Taupo is well known for its aquatic adventures and adrenaline rushes, but the region actually offers more than just the popular action activities of jet boating, skydiving and bungy jumping.
“We have many unique cultural attractions, with the Sculpture Trust creating a sculpture tour around the town centre and we house the largest collection of street art in the country which culminates in our annual Graffiato Festival,” Zelia adds.
In conducting the survey, Experience Oz +NZ received over 2000 votes from a mixed audience of Australian, New Zealand and international respondents. Experience Oz+ NZ Business Development Manager Michelle Woodroff said ‘New Zealand’s Top 10 Destinations to Experience’ consumer poll was a great opportunity to identify hotspots to visit in New Zealand.
“The absence of several major cities shows us tourists are keen to immerse themselves more in the land and culture of regional New Zealand, and these 10 destinations certainly showcase the best of them,” she said.