Over a million Kiwis left our main centres over the Christmas holiday break - but most didn't go far.

New research from Spark, using the network's anonymous mobile usage data, showed that most of us prefer destinations that are within a three-hour drive from home.

The top five places for Aucklanders to escape to were the Waikato, Northland, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, and Rotorua regions.

Wellingtonians preferred to head to Kapiti-Horowhenua, Auckland, Waikato, Hawkes Bay, and Christchurch.


Down in Christchurch, locals chose to visit South and North Canterbury, Auckland, the West Coast, and Queenstown.

During the peak holiday period between December 25 and January 5, mobile data use showed the highest increase in rural areas, with a 101 per cent increase on the Kaikoura Coast, an 86 per cent increase in both Central Otago and Northland.

However, the popularity of the Coromandel was backed up by the statistics, with 150,000 visitors contributing to a 231 per cent spike in mobile data usage.

These spikes were evened out by drops in mobile data usage in the main centres, with a 20 to 25 per cent drop over the peak holiday period.

- nzherald.co.nz