NZ named 'favourite country'

New Zealand has been named the ''favourite country'' in the world at the Telegraph Travel Awards in the United Kingdom for the second year running.

The awards attracted a record 75,000 votes from well-travelled Telegraph newspaper readers in a tourism market yet to recover from the global financial crisis.

In its commentary on New Zealand winning `favourite country', the Telegraph said: ''Is there any surprise that New Zealand has topped this category for another year?

"The Land of the Long White Cloud casts its spell over many people in many places, but seems to exert a special hold over British travellers with its mix of old-fashioned Englishness, stunning alpine scenery, vibrant Polynesian culture and obsession with extreme sport.

''The fact that it also produces some of the world's best sauvignon blanc and pinot noir adds to its charm, while the quality (and freshness) of Kiwi cuisine continues to impress.

''Apart from its sheer physical beauty, New Zealand is also a very compact country, which is fully geared to the needs of time-poor visitors, whether you're enjoying a family camper-van trip or staying at a top-notch country lodge.

''The roads are well maintained and largely free of traffic and there's a modern air-transport system for those who want to pack even more into their travel itinerary.

''But the country's single biggest tourism asset is surely its people, who are friendly, relaxed and a little eccentric. Passionate travellers themselves, New Zealanders are the world's most natural hosts.

''No wonder so many Brits regard this plucky, outdoorsy and rugby-loving nation as their second home.''