The travel guide has released its Best in Travel 2024 hotlist, which covers 50 must-visit destinations around the world and top 10 categories.
The Southern Lakes and Central Otago in the South Island were named one of the 10 “best value” places to visit.
It's here you'll find tourist hot spots like Queenstown, Arrowtown and Wānaka alongside quieter towns like Cromwell and Clyde.
These areas may be best known for luxury wineries, world-class golf courses, and premium snow sports but Lonely Planet said what was truly “extraordinary” was the landscape - something people can freely enjoy.
“A commitment to environmental stewardship and the appreciation of natural wonders through cycling and hiking offer a more sustainable and accessible way for visitors to engage with this extraordinary landscape,” Chris Zeiher, senior director of trade sasles and marketing said.
There is no shortage of beautiful, natural places in the Southern Lakes and Central Otago region from Glenorchy township and Lake Hāwea to Lindis Pass or Ben Lomond.
“This acknowledgement celebrates the effort community and business put into delivering outstanding experiences that benefit both our visitors, our communities and local environmental initiatives across Central Otago and the Southern Lakes,” she said.
“The Southern Lakes and Central Otago are very special places, and through the profile generated from awards such as this, we can share our love of place with visitors and inspire them to treat our environments with care and respect and encourage visitors to delve deeper into our region and engage more with our communities.”
O’Donnell said the “Best Value” title called out how biking was one of the best low-cost, low-impact ways to explore the region and its attractions.
This was the only place in New Zealand to feature in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2024, which will be available in print as well as online.
How to enjoy the Southern Lakes and Central Otago
So, how can Kiwis best enjoy the value these regions offer? You could tackle the new Central Otago Touring Route, or take one of these top family holiday activities in Cromwell, Clyde and Central Otago.
Keen on getting away for a restful, relaxing break? Check into a luxury eco-holiday in a dome at Lake Hāwea, Wānaka.
Other best value places
Other entries on the Top 10 Best Value list were America’s Midwest, Poland, Nicaragua, Romania’s Danube Limes, Normandy in France, Egypt, Ikaria in Greece, Algeria and Europe’s night trains.
Australia also made the Best in Travel 2024 list but in the ‘Top 10 Regions’ category.
South Australia’s Kangaroo Island was considered one of the best regions in the world to visit in 2024. After an impressive recovery from the 2020 bushfires, the region has become one of Australia’s top ecotourism destinations, rich in local produce, wildlife and pristine beaches.
According to Lonely Planet, the top countries, regions, cities, sustainable travel destinations and best-value locations were selected depending on “topicality, unique experiences, ‘wow’ factor and its ongoing commitment to sustainability, community, and diversity”.
Top 10 list
• The Midwest, USA
• Danube Limes, Romania
• Normandy, France
• Ikaria, Greece
• Southern Lakes & Central Otago, New Zealand
• Night trains, Europe
Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2024 is available at all bookstores nationally for $29.99 RRP.