New Zealand has been ranked the world's fifth-best country to visit in the latest Lonely Planet Best in Travel list.
The 2018 travel guide highlights New Zealand's appeal for thrill seekers and nature lovers.
“Twenty-five years ago, long before it was retrofitted to resemble Middle-earth, New Zealand began actively attracting adventure-seekers,” the guide book said.
“A sweet suite of trails, the Great Walks, encouraged exploration of the country's exquisite topography, taking tramping travellers through some of the world's most extraordinary wilderness.”
The new Paparoa Track also gets a mention in Lonely Planet. The new Great Walk will be built next year, the first since the network of nine trails was launched. The track will include the Pike29 Memorial Track.
“This 55km route, which commemorates 29 miners killed in 2010, wends between Blackball and Punakaiki on the South Island's West Coast, passing through Paparoa National Park, and will offer hikers and mountain bikers a sensational experience.”
New Zealand comes in behind Chile, South Korea, Portugal and the African country of Djibouti. It has been eight years since Lonely Planet last ranked New Zealand in the top ten spots to visit.
Previously New Zealand ranked in the top ten in 2010, with paragliding over Queenstown and kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park among the “life-changing experiences” recommended.
Christchurch has previously been named a top city and in 2015 Waiheke Island was named the fifth best region to visit in the world.
Lonely Planet's Top 10 Countries 2018 are: 1 Chile, 2 South Korea, 3 Portugal, 4 Djibouti, 5 New Zealand, 6 Malta, 7 Georgia, 8 Mauritius, 9 China, 10 South Africa.
Pictured: Via Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2018 awards - The eighth wonder of the world? Rudyard Kipling thought so: Milford Sound, on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island © Marconi Couto de Jesus / Shutterstock
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