Short-stay Chinese visitors are spending up large in Auckland and Queenstown but snubbing some of the country's biggest cities for the cultural hot-spot of Rotorua.
This was the term used by the chief executive of the Tourism Industry Association, Chris Roberts, to describe the three destinations of Auckland, Rotorua and Queenstown.
Mr Roberts said the Golden Route was very popular with Chinese group visitors, "who typically have less than a week in New Zealand".
He said the number of independent Chinese travellers was growing "very strongly", however, and they would be more likely to visit other regions.
The tourism spending estimates, sourced from the Regional Economic Activity Report, are presented by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) in a visualisation created by Wellington's Dragonfly Data Science and hosted on Herald Insights.
It shows Australian visitors leading tourism spending in almost every territorial authority in New Zealand, including in the Super City.
Our transtasman neighbours spent $726 million in Auckland in the year to March 2014, with Chinese visitors spending the next highest amount at $466 million.
Mr Roberts said despite Australia being "by far" New Zealand's biggest visitor market - with 1.3 million arrivals a year and 45 per cent of all arrivals - China was the second biggest and fastest growing.
The Rest of Asia category was third on the Auckland tourism spending list with $275 million and after that was Rest of Europe ($235m), the United States ($222m), and Britain ($207m). Then there was Rest of Oceania, Japan, Germany, Republic of Korea, Africa and Middle East, Canada and Rest of Americas.
The next-highest earner from Chinese tourists outside of the City of Sails was Queenstown-Lakes with $150 million.
Third-place holder was Rotorua with $49 million - attracting more Chinese spending than most of New Zealand's biggest cities.
Wellington had $13.4 million spent in it, Christchurch had $43.3 million and Dunedin had $8.5 million.
Westland, with $20.5 million, had more money spent by Chinese tourists than Whangarei, Hamilton, Tauranga, Gisborne, Napier and Hastings, New Plymouth, Whanganui, Palmerston North, Nelson, and Invercargill put together.
Six of those 11 cities had less than $1 million spent in them by Chinese visitors during that period.
Mackenzie in the South Island had higher spending at $10.6 million than all those 11 cities individually and so did the Southland district with $10 million.
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development tourism manager Jason Hill said Ateed had been specifically targeting high-net wealth individuals in China, using Auckland's natural assets to attract them through their hobbies - namely golf, sailing and horses.
Ateed plans to spend about $300,000 this year on "very targeted" activities in China, visiting and forming relationships with golf and sailing clubs, as well as horse groups and investors.