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The preferred holiday spots of Aussie adventurers

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2013 – September 2015 (n=20,840).

When asked what they did on their last trip, 2.7% of Australia’s 12.9 million holiday-makers reported engaging in some kind of adventure activity, such as rock-climbing, bungee-jumping, white-water rafting or hot-air ballooning, the latest findings from the Roy Morgan Holiday tracker reveal. People whose last trip was overseas were substantially more likely to have done something adventurous while they were away than those who holidayed in Australia.

Compared with people whose last holiday was domestic, folks who went overseas on their last trip were more than twice as likely to have taken part in at least one adventure activity (5.3% vs 2.2%) – with some dramatic variations depending on their destination.

For example, more than one in four (28.5%) Australians who visited Latin America (Mexico, Central and/or South America) on their last holiday engaged in adventure activities while they were there – making the region the number-one destination for thrill-seekers.

People who visited Canada (14.0%), the South Pacific (9.0%), Bali (8.2%) and New Zealand (7.7%) on their last trip were also markedly more likely than the average overseas traveller to do something adventurous during their holiday.

Top 10 overseas destinations for adventure activities


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2013 – September 2015 (n=20,840).

New Zealand: where the action is!

Attracting some 284,000 holidaying Aussies in an average 12 months, New Zealand is the third-most popular overseas destination among Australian travellers after the US and the UK — but attracts the highest proportion of adrenalin junkies of the three destinations. Indeed, drilling down to specific regions, it becomes apparent that the Land of the Long White Cloud has a lot to offer the adventurous traveller.

The obvious example is Queenstown (widely known as the ‘adventure capital of the world'), where 23.2% of visiting Aussies who went there on their last trip engaged in some kind of adventure activity. And no wonder! Queenstown offers everything from bungy-jumping and white-water rafting, to rock-climbing, zip-line rides and skydiving.

With thrilling options like hot-air ballooning, quad-biking and the aptly named ‘Adrenalin Forest’, Wellington also attracts an above-average proportion of adventurous types (19.8%).

Angela Smith, Group Account Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“While many people prefer lazing on a beach or hitting the shops when they’re on holiday, a select group like to test their mettle with adventure activities such as bungee-jumping, rock-climbing and the like. In fact, adventure activities are more popular among holidaying Aussies than visiting casinos, going to the theatre, playing golf, skiing/snowboarding, or attending sporting events.

“Travel agents and tourism operators wishing to reach this niche segment of the market would benefit from an in-depth understanding of the type of person who likes to get their adrenalin pumping on holiday. Perhaps not surprisingly, these travellers tend to be aged under 25, and are slightly more likely to be male than female. They are environmentally conscious, being considerably more likely than the average Australian to avoid staying at accommodation that doesn’t have genuine environmental policies. Many also agree that they’d like a total ecotourism experience on their next holiday.”

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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%