New figures show New Zealand's accommodation prices rose 5 per cent in the past year, with high demand from overseas continuing to put pressure on capacity.

The hotel price index from Hotels.com shows Auckland prices averaged $213 a night in 2017, up 8 per cent on the previous year. During the past three years prices in Auckland have increased by 27 per cent.

The average price paid at 20 top New Zealand destinations was $185 a night.

Napier prices increased by the highest percentage — 14 per cent — to $181.

Special events such as the World Masters Game in April and British and Irish Lions Tour in June and July helped lift occupancy during what can be quiet months.

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David Spasovic, marketing manager, Australia and New Zealand of the Hotels.com brand, said that with just a 0.3 per cent increase in accommodation capacity last year there were consistent room-rate increases across the board

''Hoteliers thrived in the key markets, while smaller cities also prospered.''

International travellers were prepared to pay and chose scenic beauty over penny-pinching, Hotels.com said.

Of the top 50 most popular destinations, international travellers paid most at Waiheke Island, paying $323 per night — up from $295 in 2016.

The second-highest room rate was in Mount Cook, where they paid $292 per night, up 33 per cent on 2016.

Meanwhile, visitors looking to explore beyond the major cities were able to stay in Wanganui ($119, up 2 per cent from 2016), National Park Village ($120, down 4 per cent), Westport ($127, down 3 per cent) and Waitomo Caves ($133, up 6 per cent).

Last year, large numbers of New Zealanders travelled abroad too, departing on 2.7 million trips overseas, up 11 per cent on 2016.

Expensive destinations were particularly appealing, with 10 of the top 20 least affordable destinations appearing in the list of most popular holiday spots for Kiwis. These included the Hawaii town of Lahaina, New York and Hollywood.

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Hotel prices in Nadi, Fiji, jumped 11 per cent to $283 a night.