Top 500 places on the planet: NZ takes 9 spots

18 August 15


After 40 years, the Lonely Planet has released a list of the top 500 places in the world to visit - and New Zealand is on there nine times.

The book called Ultimate Travelist defines a wish-list of the most thrilling, memorable and interesting places in the world – ranked in order of brilliance.

The longlist was compiled from all the highlights in every Lonely Planet guidebook over the years, before being whittled down to a shortlist, and then Lonely Planet members were asked to vote on their 20 top sights.

Results were weighted in favour of sights that received consistently high votes.

So where do New Zealand sites feature?

The places listed were:

Fiordland National Park (at 17, beating Australia's 33-ranked Uluru)

The highest ranking New Zealand site, Fiordland National Park is described in the book as "untouched".
"Visiting Fiordland is like travelling back to a time before humans," the book says."It is a landscape of jagged peaks, glacial valleys, pristine lakes and sheer fjords. Ancient forests drip green and twitch with such birds as kiwi and takahe."

Abel Tasman National Park (35)

Abel Tasman National Park, is a "pleasuredome". The book says it's "a place where you can swim, sunbathe, kayak and kick back, enjoying all the fun of a beachbum holiday"

Franz Josef & Fox Glacier (81)

"Two tongues of ice permanently point from the mouth of the mountains towards the Tasman Sea, as though the land is absorbed in a Māori haka".

Lake Wanaka (94)

"Wanaka town is New Zealand's alternative adventure hub – a smaller, cuter Queenstown."

Stewart Island (125)

"This is the kingdom of the kiwi, New Zealand's endangered national icon. Numbering some 20,000, they outnumber locals by more than 50 to one, and are so relaxed they will head out before sundown despite being nocturnal and usually shy."

Bay of Islands (130)

"It's natural beauty that makes the Bay of Islands so appealing, with 150 undeveloped islands sprinkled across hidden coves awash in shimmering turquoise waters."

Whakarewarewa, Rotorua (276)

"An eye-popping combo of authentic Maori culture and geothermal wonders that bubble from beneath the central North Island's crust.

Waitomo Caves (280)

"Proving you don't have to rocket into space to discover alien landscapes, Waitomo Caves are all the more surprising for their location under workaday New Zealand farmland."

Te Papa Tongarewa (285)
And finally: "The national art collection is a fitting finale to a visual feast that includes such freakishness as a blue-whale heart that the kids can clamber through, and a colossal squid preserved in formaldehyde. Fun, friendly and multicultural, Te Papa is how New Zealanders like to see themselves."

Grand Pacific Tours feature most of these wonderful sights & attractions on their range of New Zealand Coach Holidays. Click here to order a 64 page brochure. 

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