Lonely Planet 'best of' travel guide puts NZ at the top

- Posted in New Zealand by Visa Bureauon 24 September 2008

The Lonely Planet is a worldwide travel guide company that encourages independent travellers, especially backpackers, to make a positive impact during their travels. 

The 2009 travel guide recommends New Zealand as a destination for travellers because of its unique natural surroundings and commitment to sustainability in tourism. 

In particular, the guide recommends New Zealand’s whale watching, hiking, internationally-acclaimed wineries, and world-famous bungy jumping.  Queenstown, Auckland, Cape Reinga, Lake Taupo, Rotorua and Queen Charlotte Sound were all targeted as must-see destinations in New Zealand. 

Most travellers to New Zealand using the guidebook will be British backpackers on a New Zealand Working Holiday visa.  British tourists make up the second largest group of international tourists to New Zealand (after Australia), and tens of thousands of British backpackers apply for working holiday visas for New Zealand every year.

In mid-August, Lonely Planet urged New Zealand to protect its "green" status and conserve its country’s natural beauty. 

"There are few countries on this lonely planet as diverse, unspoiled and utterly, utterly photogenic," writers commented in the New Zealand guidebook, adding that New Zealand’s "outlandish scenery, fabulous festivals, superb food and wine, and magical outdoor experiences" make it a unique destination for international travellers.

The travel-guide company prides itself on providing unbiased reviews of travel destinations, and in its 14th New Zealand edition remains full of praise for its natural surroundings, city-centres and country towns. 

Travellers are encouraged to "rock into Wellington for a big city hit" and experience its "red-hot arts scene", while writers explained Auckland can "justifiably respond to its detractors, 'Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful'".

New Zealand country towns have been described as "cute as a button" (Naseby), "best-kept secret" (Opoutere), and "laid-back to near horizontal ... dreadlocked types rub shoulders with hardened farmers and crusty fishermen in equilibrium: the bike shop sells guitar strings; the pub serves chai" (Takaka).

The Bay of Islands and Blenheim copped a punch from the guide, which said the Bay is beautiful but over-hyped, and Blenheim can only offer a gate-way to the famous Marlborough wine region.

The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people emigrate to New Zealand.

Article by Jessica Bird, New Zealand Visa Bureau.