Travel bible Lonely Planet has lauded New Zealand as one of the most ‘inclusive and progressive’ gay-friendly tourist destinations in the world.
The travel guide company released its Top Travel Lists for 2015 on Tuesday, awarding Washington DC the best city, Gallipoli the best region and Singapore the best country.
New Zealand missed out on a spot among the top accolades but it was honoured with second spot after Denmark for being among the most gay-friendly places on the planet.
Lonely Planet author Chris Zeiher said the country offers a ‘brilliant network of gay-and lesbian-friendly homestays’ and is home to Gay Ski Week in Queenstown, which has become a perennial favourite on the international queer calendar.
The nation was praised for ‘actively promoted same-sex marriage tourism to the likes of Australia and other Pacific nations where equality laws are less progressive’.
New Zealand also won awards recognising the sheep-shearing industry, Waikatos Waitomo Caves, Aucklands Coast to Coast walkway and the 60th anniversary of Lord of the Rings.
The biggest regional prize went to Tasmania, Australias island state which was ranked fourth best region in the world, packed with a ‘lifetimes worth of adventures’.
Top 2015 awards for New Zealand and its neighbours:
* Most gay-friendly places on the planet – NZ 2nd
* Sheepish travel encounters for the Chinese year of the sheep – Sheep shearing, NZ 7th
* Top workouts – Coast to Coast walkway, Auckland 10th
* The worlds most illuminating experiences – Glow worms, Waitomo 9th
* Special anniversaries – The Lord of the Rings turns 60 8th
* Best regions – Tasmania 4th
* Best places to propose – Antarctica 10th
* Best value destinations – Samoa 4th, Bali 5th
* Unforgettable family travel experiences – Sailing the Whitsundays, Australia 3rd