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Good green fun: visiting national parks/forests on holiday

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), March 2014 – February 2015 (n=10,422). Base: Australians 14+ who took a holiday in last 12 months. Thumbnail image: copyright Kevin Utting (Flickr Creative Commons)

Nearly one in five (18%) Aussies who took a holiday in the past year visited a national park or forest on their last trip, the latest findings from the Roy Morgan Holiday Tracking Survey reveal. That’s a higher proportion than those who went to museums (15%) or art galleries (11%) or bars/nightclubs (6%)! So who is this nature brigade? Read on…

In the 12 months to February 2015, 2,239,000 Australians visited a national park/forest on their last holiday. Eighty-six percent of them agree with the statement ‘I prefer to holiday where I can see nature or be in a natural setting’, a considerably higher proportion than the national average (76%); and 81% say they ‘like to take my holidays away from crowds’ (also higher than the national average of 74%).

True to their nature-focused holiday preferences, people who went to a national park or forest on their last trip have marked green leanings: 72% agree with the statement ‘At heart I’m an environmentalist’ compared with 62% of average Aussie holiday-goers. 

How do national park visitors differ from other holiday-goers?


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), March 2014 – February 2015 (n=10,422). Base: Australians 14+ who took a holiday in last 12 months

This sensibility extends to their accommodation choices. While 20% of Australians who took a trip in the last 12 months agree that ‘For my next holiday I’d really like a total ecotourism experience’ and 18% ‘avoid staying at accommodation that does not have genuine environmental policies’, these figures rise to 26% and 22% respectively among people who visited a national park/forest on their last trip.

In contrast, national-park trippers show less inclination than other holiday-goers to just chill out and ‘do as little as possible’ on holiday (26% vs 36%), preferring instead to be ‘always very active’ on their trips (64% vs 56%). Indeed, above-average proportions of them take part in holiday pursuits such as bushwalking, surfing, swimming, fishing, bike-riding and ‘other outdoor activities’. Phew!

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“What we do on holiday can reveal a lot about us: our attitudes, demographics, habits and preferences. For example, with its wide-ranging data collected from 50,000 Australians per annum, the Roy Morgan Holiday Tracking Survey shows that people who visit national parks or forests while on holiday tend to be more environmentally aware and energetic than the average Australian holiday-goer.

“They’re also more likely to do prior research and get advice from friends or relatives before deciding where to take their holiday. Given that they like to pack as much action and natural scenery into their trip as possible, this kind of knowledge-gathering ensures that their chosen destination meets all their requirements.

“Interestingly, the energetic spirit that national park trippers bring to their holidays is also evident in their day-to-day lives, and they’re consistently more likely than other Aussie holiday-goers to go to the beach, take day trips, visit historical houses or buildings, and go to zoos/wildlife parks in an average three months.

“Armed with an in-depth understanding of the kind of people who visit national parks on holiday, regional tourism bodies and travel agents are better placed to tailor their communications accordingly and reach this important niche market.”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%