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In the early days of long-haul travel, companies would entice customers with idyllic and colourful posters advertising exotic shores with the promise of warm sun and tropical scenery.


Australia, once known as New Holland (1644-1850s) after the Dutch seafarer Abel Tasman who discovered the island, is a country of ancient indigenous history. Like its neighbour New Zealand, it was claimed by European explorers to form new colonies and empires.

Qantas Airways, the flag carrier of Australia and the largest airline in the world by fleet size, was founded in 1920 - its name an acronym for Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services. It was, for many years, the sole carrier for Australian air travel.

Qantas 1950s Poster

Super service at your command (1950s)
This poster was launched in the mid-1950s in collaboration with British airline BOAC and Tasman Empire Airways. Air travel was expensive and often reserved for the affluent classes.

BOAC Qantas poster 1950s

BOAC Qantas (1950s)
Another BOAC Qantas poster by F. Nanninga advertising travel to Australia exclusively to British holidaymakers, with the promise of warm, sunny shores.

ANTA 1935 poster

Great Barrier Reef (1935)
An early example of modernist graphic design, this poster by Gert Sellheim for the Australian National Travel Association depicts a simplistic arrangement of the unique natural environment of the Great Barrier Reef.

Sail Matson to Australia

Sail Matson (1931)
Before the convenience of air travel, the journey to the tropical shores of Australia was a lengthy voyage for travellers. The journey from Britain to the western coast of Australia could take up to eight weeks by steam-powered ocean liner. Matson Lines "White Fleet" consisted of four luxury ocean liners; SS Mariposa, SS Monterey, SS Malolo and SS Lurline.

New Zealand

Beyond Australia lies New Zealand, worlds away in distance but similar weather! Inhabited by Maori people since about 1200, the islands were first visited by Europeans in 1642. Dutch explorer Abel Tasman had a perilous encounter with local people and so the Europeans didn't visit again until Captain Cook's voyage in 1769.

NZ Queenstown poster

Get in the queue for Queenstown (c1950)
This was an advertisement for New Zealanders to visit Queenstown by rail. Queenstown is a resort town sitting on the shores of Lake Wakatipu on the South Island.

New Zealand Haere Mai (welcome)

Haere Mai (Welcome) (1920)
Depicting a traditional Maori woman cooking food in a boiling pool with another woman and baby, this poster uses the Maori language to welcome travellers to New Zealand.

New Zealand Map of Attractions

Map of attractions (1950s)
Although this poster looks rather modern, the forward-thinking government commissioned this poster in the 1950s. It features some of New Zealand's most prominent tourist attractions, mostly natural landmarks.

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Cover image: The Tallest Trees in the British Empire (1930)