New Zealand Wins Best Country In The World
New Zealand has taken out the title of the best country in the world for the fourth year in a row.
More than 75,000 readers voted in this year's Telegraph Travel Awards, which recognised the world's best destinations, airlines, tour operators and cruise lines.
New Zealand emerged the clear winner in the world's best country category, followed by the Maldives and South Africa.
In an accompanying article titled 26 reasons why New Zealand is the world's best country, the Telegraph praised New Zealand's landscapes that "make you want to applaud", "strong ties to Britain", and "magnificent Maori culture".
Also highlighted were the facts the country had one of the world's finest walks (the Milford Track), was home to the "extraordinary" kakapo, had 90-mile beaches (well, sort of 90 miles), geysers, volcanoes, great wines, was the birthplace of the bungy...and it looked fantastic from space.
Naturally, the Lord of the Rings got a mention - "It really does look like Middle Earth" - as did the All Blacks, who were described as "one of the most extraordinarily successful sporting dynasties on the planet."
Even Kiwi cuisine came in for praise, with the Telegraph quoting UK journalist Dame Jenni Murray complimenting The Grove restaurant in Auckland.
She said while she's eaten in some of London's best restaurants, "I don't think I've ever had a better meal than the one I had there: crayfish followed by a wonderful chocolate pudding."
Air New Zealand took away a bronze medal in the best long-haul airline category, coming in behind Emirates and Singapore Airlines.
The awards have been described as the widest-ranging travel survey of its kind.
New Zealand has enjoyed its winning streak in the category since 2012. The previous winner was the United States.