Australia and New Zealand, though one thousand miles apart, are close in spirit and culture. Both were originally settled by people from England and Ireland, Wales and Scotland. Both are sparsely settled even today. They are each other’s largest trading and travel-exchange partners, and avid competitors in sports. Affectionately they refer collectively to themselves as Anzacs, but are not above poking fun at each other. New Zealanders call Australians POHMs, “Prisoners of His Majesty,” an acronym referring to the first settlers in Australia, who were mostly convicts shipped out from Britain. New Zealanders call themselves KIWIs after the nocturnal bird found nowhere else but in New Zealand.
Close to a million people visit Australia each year, about 100,000 of them from the United States. About a third of the visitors come from New Zealand. New Zealand receives about a half million tourists a year, almost 17 percent of them from the United States. Half of New Zealand’s visitors come from Australia. These numbers are growing as a result of reduced air fares and as the two countries become better known worldwide. “Aussies” are big international travelers. About 10 percent of the population aged over thirteen goes abroad each year.
One reason for the large percentage of foreign travel is the cost of internal travel. It has been cheaper for Australians to fly to Fiji, Singapore, or Bali than to fly between Perth and Sydney.