Tourists spent an estimated $26 billion throughout the country in the year to December - up 8.3 per cent on the previous year.
Latest monthly figures released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment today show the sharpest growth was in the Lake Wanaka area, up 18.3 per cent to $460 million.
Spending in Auckland climbed to $7.5b for the year, up eight per cent compared with the year to December 2015.
The ministry's manager of sector trends Peter Ellis said during this latest year, international visitors spent $4b (up 11 per cent compared with the year to December 2015), and domestic tourists spent $3.5b (up five per cent).
Spending in Auckland for the month was $794 million - up 9.2 per cent on the previous year.
Tourism is booming as more airlines come to the country, which is regarded as a relatively safe destination. All regions experienced growth during the year.
Queenstown, the second most popular destination, enjoyed a 12.6 per cent rise in spending to $2.1b.
The Kaikoura earthquake on November 14 had a limited overall impact on national tourism expenditure.
However, the quake made a significant impact on the total spend locally in North Canterbury, which includes Kaikoura and Hurunui Districts.
Spending in December in North Canterbury plunged 28 per cent to $27m.
Other regions in the South Island have recovered from the impact of the earthquakes in November, with international and domestic tourism spending at or higher than levels seen in December 2015, the ministry said.