New Zealand makes Lonely Planet top 10

Last updated 14:57 02/11/2009

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New Zealand has been chosen as one of the top 10 destinations to visit next year by the authors of the Lonely Plant travel guides.

Others countries included in Lonely Plant's Best in Travel Publication for 2010 were El Salvador, Germany, Greece, Malaysia, Morocco, Nepal, Portugal, Suriname and the United States.

Writer Nigel Wallis, who compiled the section on New Zealand, joked that readers might think he had run out of ideas in recommending New Zealand again – "too obvious, right?"

"But there's wisdom in the old saying, `If it ain't broke, don't fix it', and the last time we checked the land of Maori and hobbits, certainly they didn't need repairing," he said.

"NZ's checklist of essential experiences remains as strong as ever."

Wallis' suggestions for life-changing experiences included exploring the Tongariro National Park's "pulsating volcanic landscape" and "the ultimate heart-stopper" of paragliding over Queenstown.

Also on the should-do list were kayaking around the "blissfully deserted beaches, coves and bays" of Abel Tasman National Park and taking in Fiordland, with its "cinematic majesty" and "jaw-dropping wilderness".

The Otago Peninsular route was rated among the top-10 cycle journeys for its mixture of "scenery and sweat", while Dunedin was regarded as one the best places to walk a dog.

Wallis also moved to soothe the concerns of long-distance travellers worried about their carbon footprint.

He said New Zealand was spearheading the eco-travel revolution and winning international accolades for its ethos towards responsible travel.

This included minimising visitor impact and involving locals in sustainable tourism practices.

"When you're gawping at the spine-tingling vistas, it's good to know they'll still be there for future generations."

Tourism New Zealand chief executive George Hickton described New Zealand's inclusion in Lonely Planet's top-10 list as "an astonishing result".

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