Nine of the world’s all-time best places to visit are in New Zealand, according to leading global travel authority Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist, published today.
More than 40 years in the making, Ultimate Travelist is Lonely Planet’s first definitive wish-list of the 500 most thrilling, memorable and interesting places in the world – ranked in order of brilliance.
The nine NZ mega-sites and gems as ranked in Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist are Fiordland National Park (at #17, beating Australia’s #33-ranked Uluru), Abel Tasman National Park (#35), Franz Josef & Fox Glacier (#81), Lake Wanaka (#94), Stewart Island (#125), Bay of Islands (#130), Whakarewarewa (#276), Waitomo Caves (#280), and Te Papa Tongarewa (#285).
How did Lonely Planet rank the 500 best places in the world?
The longlist was compiled from all the highlights found in every Lonely Planet guidebook over the years. Each attraction and sight recommended by Lonely Planet authors was included, before being whittled down to a shortlist. Everyone in the Lonely Planet community was then asked to vote on their 20 top sights. The results were weighted in favour of sights that received consistently high votes, leading to the 500 top-ranked places published in Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist.
The top 10 places in Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist are:
1. Temples of Angkor, Cambodia: “Angkor isn’t just an interesting ruin – it’s a spiritual epiphany in stone.”
2. Great Barrier Reef, Australia: “This vital ecosystem enthrals all who visit, with abundant bird life and countless tropical islands and beaches.”
3. Machu Picchu, Peru: “No-one really knows what happened here. Wander wide-eyed around the mysterious mountain metropolis in a liberating knowledge vacuum”
4. Great Wall of China: “A few rugged souls trek the entire length of the wall, but even if you pick just one section, you’ll be humbled by its aura of indestructibility.”
5. Taj Mahal, India: “There’s no other building in India that so perfectly encapsulates the attitudes and atmosphere of its era.”
6. Grand Canyon National Park, USA: “Come here to hike, to raft the wild Colorado River, to spot condors, black bears and elk, or simply to marvel.”
7. Colosseum, Italy: “Two millennia on, the hold it exerts over anyone who steps foot inside is as powerful as ever.”
8. Iguazú Falls, Brazil - Argentina: “Big? These falls are mind-bogglingly mighty: tourist boats that ply the foaming plunge pools below look like matchsticks.”
9. Alhambra, Spain: “Put simply, this is Spain’s most beautiful monument.”
10. Aya Sofya, Turkey: “Like the beautiful city in which it stands, Aya Sofya represents a unique crossroads of continents and faiths.”
LONELY PLANET’S ULTIMATE TRAVELIST
360pp, full colour, 270mm x 230mm, NZ $36.99