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Wellington and Dunedin’s Special Attraction

Wellington and Dunedin’s Special Attraction

Record numbers rediscovering traditional locations

New Zealand holiday locations with historic features, from Larnach Castle to the cable car, continue to compete with adventurous destinations, drawing backpackers in record numbers.

In 2002 Wellington City YHA added more than 100 beds to its facilities to accommodate 300-plus travellers. This year the hostel has welcomed 79 percent more overnight guests than last year (YTD Feb 2003), registering 97 percent occupancy for the month of March.

Likewise, Dunedin’s Stafford Gables YHA has seen a 31 percent increase in overnights over last year (YTD Feb 2003). The Otago hostel has not grown, but demand certainly has.

Travellers Martin, Faith, Margaret and Kim are among the 160,000 UK-based travellers who have stayed with YHA New Zealand this year (YTD Feb 2003). That number represents a 23 percent increase for UK overnights from 2001-2002.

“We had heard it (Dunedin) was lively due to the huge population of students.” They also cited the music scene as a main attraction.

Australian travelers Peter and Jacquie agree. “Everyone we've met so far has been really friendly and helpful.” The couple recently spent 16 months in Antarctica and were interested in visiting Otago University as well as seeing local wildlife. As keen trampers, “we thought Dunedin would be a good place to start from.”

While countries such as Denmark and Sweden have also represented strong growth in New Zealand YHA overnights, the network’s market is extremely diverse and has included some special Kiwi guests in the past month as well.

The 2002 YHA Young Conservationist Awards, in partnership with the Department of Conservation, included an entry from Wellington student Julia Wells, whose project was titled Looking After the Little Blue Penguins of Balaena Bay and Little Karaka Bay.

Julia and her classmates were treated to a guided tour of the Balaena Bay penguin-nesting site, led by the Department of Conservation and Wellington City YHA Manager Hamish Allardice.

In addition, as part of her special prize, Julia and her father received a trip for two to Stafford Gables YHA and the Dunedin albatross colony last week, sponsored by YHA and DOC.

Overnights with YHA by New Zealand guests have also increased by 11 percent over the past year (YTD Feb 2003). Photos of the hostels are available on request About YHA As a not-for-profit organisation, YHA New Zealand focuses on a commitment to education through travel and environmental conservation. Its mission is to provide overseas and New Zealand members, a wide range of experiences through hostels, travel and activities, in order to enable them to increase their awareness of the world and its people, and contribute to their educational development. YHA was founded in New Zealand in 1932, developing over seven decades into a unique network of 64 hostels nationwide with around 28,000 New Zealand members. YHA has been built by the efforts of volunteers who raised funds, personally constructed and managed many of the facilities. In 2001/02 the network recorded 500,000 guest overnights, around 85 percent from international travellers. YHA New Zealand is a full member of the International Youth Hostels Federation, which is represented by the Hostelling International brand. Comprising over 4,500 hostels in 60 countries, this international focus allows members to enjoy the benefits and culture of a truly global network, whether travelling locally or overseas.

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