New Zealand has missed out on being named the “greatest country on Earth” for the first time in a decade in the UK Telegraph readers’ poll.
Aotearoa has conquered the poll since 2012, but there is a new champ in town.
South Africa is the destination which pipped us to the post, with New Zealand taking out second spot in the poll which saw 30,000 people respond in 2023.
The poll was last conducted in 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic saw it put on hold for a few years. In that poll South Africa came in fifth place.
The reason for it surpassing New Zealand is thought to be the easier access Brits now have to the country.
“You can fly to two South African cities (Johannesburg, Cape Town) directly from the UK, and arrive free of jet-lag due to a near-identical time-zone,” the Telegraph wrote.
“Your reward for 12 hours in the air is a place of true beauty – Cape Town a supermodel at the foot of Table Mountain, the Garden Route a ribbon of road-trip nirvana, the wineries of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch crafting fine vintages, the landscape thrilling to the peaks and troughs of the Drakensberg range and Motlatse Canyon, Kruger National Park a roaring wildlife zone.”
According to the Telegraph the reason for New Zealand losing its iron-tight grip on the top spot was possibly due to the country being “exiled” during the pandemic.
“Its relative plunge can only, surely, be pinned to the fact that so few of you were able to visit it for so long. Is this the start of a downward trend, or a blip?”
However, the outlet then went on to list some positives still in play.
“Marlborough full of wine, Aoraki/Mount Cook clawing the sky, Milford South a geological marvel. The North is glorious too, Wellington resplendent at the waterside, Lake Taupō at its heart.”
Top 10: Telegraph Travel Awards – Best country
- South Africa (5)
- New Zealand (1)
- Maldives (3)
- Japan (2)
- Australia (8)
- Italy (10)
- Kenya (21)
- India (15)
- Costa Rica (11)
- Botswana (6)