The 2018 travel guide hypes up New Zealand's appeal for thrill seekers and nature lovers.

New Zealand has been ranked the world's fifth-best country to visit in the latest Lonely Planet Best in Travel list.


"Twenty-five years ago, long before it was retrofitted to resemble Middle-earth, New Zealand began actively attracting adventure-seekers," the guide book says.


"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."


Lonely Planet also mentions a new Great Walk to be built next year - the first since the network of nine trails was launched.


"The Paparoa 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 slots in behind Chile, South Korea, Portugal and the African country of Djibouti.


Although New Zealand consistently features in must-see tourism rankings, it's been eight years since Lonely Planet last ranked our country in the Top 10 spots to visit.


The guide instead aims to promote countries that go under the radar but have plenty of travel potential - such as the small African country of Botswana, which took the top spot last year.


Big events and buzz happening in a country could also bump it up the list. This year, Canada was rated best country to visit, because of a combination of a weak Canadian dollar and wild celebrations that were planned to mark 150 years since the country was founded.


In 2010 New Zealand was ranked in the top 10, when paragliding over Queenstown and kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park were among the "life-changing experiences" recommended by the guide.


The Best in Travel guide also issues the Top 10 Cities and Top 10 regions to visit. In the past, Christchurch has 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


Original article by NZ Herald

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