Gotcha! Australian and New Zealand attractions revealed amongst worst tourist traps in the world

Close-up of Auckland's Sky Tower on a beautiful sunny day, blue sky with puffy clouds.
Edited by Travel Weekly

    Some of Australia and New Zealand’s most popular tourist attractions have been listed amongst the worst tourist traps in the world, according to USA Today, which analysed 23.2 million Google reviews in search of the most overpriced and overrated attractions.

    In July 2023, USA Today analysed 23.2 million Google reviews of the 500 most popular tourist attractions in the world, spanning 65 countries in six continents.

    For each attraction, it asked a simple question: How frequently do the reviews mention the terms “tourist trap,” “overrated” or “expensive”?

    Amongst the list of top tourist traps:

    • Hobbiton Movie Set (#36),
    • Waitomo Glowworm Caves (#55) and
    • Larnach Castle (#94)

    Australiasian locations on the list of the most overpriced attractions worldwide based on the frequency of user reviews mentioning the word “expensive”.

    • Larnach Castle (#17),
    • Hobbiton Movie Set (#30),
    • Sky Tower (#34),
    • Waitomo Glowworm Caves (#36),
    • Taronga Zoo (#38),
    • Port Arthur Historic Site (#41),
    • Wellington Zoo (#51),
    • Puzzling World (#76) &
    • MONA (#100)

    Australiasian locations on the list of the most overrated tourist attractions worldwide, based on the frequency of user reviews mentioning the word “overrated.”

    • MONA (#8),
    • Hobbiton Movie Set (#56),
    • Taronga Zoo (#65),
    • Waitomo Glowworm Caves (#80),
    • Wellington Zoo (#88) &
    • Three Sisters (#93)

    Credit: USA TodayKey findings

    • The Four Corners Monument (in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah) is the No. 1 tourist trap in the world, according to analysis
    • The Blue Lagoon in Iceland and Penang Hill in Malaysia are the top tourist traps in Europe and Asia
    • The Great Mosque of Mecca in Saudi Arabia had 397,905 reviews on Google, as of our analysis, and not a single one mentioned “tourist trap.”
    • The California Academy of Sciences, Elvis Presley’s Graceland and the South Carolina Aquarium are the most overpriced attractions in the United States.
    • Voodoo Doughnut in Portland, Oregon, is the most overrated tourist attraction in the world.

    Top 100 tourist traps worldwide

    • With the distinction of being the only place where four states meet — Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah — the Four Corners Monument sounds pretty cool. It’s also 30 miles from the closest gas station, so it might appeal to travellers seeking to get away from the hustle and bustle of modern life. However, this attraction also topped our list in terms of the percentage of disgruntled reviews. Of 10,839 reviews analyzed, 139 flagged this spot as a tourist trap.
    • Meanwhile, Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin got the most mentions of “tourist trap” in the reviews we analysed of any tourist attraction in the world, with 400 out 76,269 reviews flagging it as one. This spot is a popular stop for travellers because of its historical significance as a border crossing during the Cold War, when the city was split in half between West Germany and East Germany.

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