New Zealand no longer in Lonely Planets list of top countries to visit

life 24/10/2018

Lonely Planet's list of the best countries to visit in 2019 has been released, and New Zealand isn't on it.

In 2018, Aotearoa placed fifth on the list, before slipping off the latest completely - but we're not alone. Every country that made this year's list of must-visit destinations appears to have fallen out of favour with the popular travel brand.

Sri Lanka has been placed at number one on the 2019 list, being labelled 'a country revived'.

"Even the north and east - including areas previously off-limits, difficult to reach or lacking in services - deliver new discoveries," says Lonely Planet.

Zimbabwe came in third, despite suffering civil unrest. New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) has an advisory for Kiwis travelling to Zimbabwe to exercise 'increased caution'.

"Violent crime occurs, such as muggings, armed robbery and home invasion. There are reports that foreign residents have been targeted due to their perceived wealth," the ministry says on its Safe Travel website.

Lonely Planet says Zimbabwe makes headlines for "all the wrong reasons" and contradicts the travel advice offered by officials.

"Not only is it one of Africa's safest destinations, it's one blessed with ultra-friendly locals," says Lonely Planet.

Kyrgyzstan came in fifth. Following on from its successful hosting of the World Nomad Games, the country is pushing for community-run tour experiences.

MFAT tells potential Kiwi visitors to "avoid non-essential travel to the Ferghana Valley and areas bordering Uzbekistan and Tajikistan due to the uncertain security situation and the presence of landmines."

Jordan and Indonesia are placed sixth and seventh - both countries that have official warnings about the threat of terrorism.

Lonely Planet suggests taking a 650km long hike which takes 36 days in Jordan, but those game should probably avoid the Syrian border. The country has been locked in a brutal civil war since 2011 that has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands.

Here's the full list of countries in Lonely Planet's top ten:


1. Sri Lanka
2. Germany
3. Zimbabwe
4. Panama
5. Kyrgyzstan
6. Jordan
7. Indonesia
8. Belarus
9. Sao Tome and Príncipe
10. Belize


1. South Africa
2. China
3. Mauritius
4. Georgia
5. Malta
6. New Zealand
7. Djibouti
8. Portugal
9. South Korea
10. Chile