New Zealand is backpackers' latest nirvana

THAILAND, INDIA and Nepal are passe. Asia has been replaced by far-flung New Zealand, Chile and Namibia as the backpackers' favourites. And Stansted Airport in Essex has been voted the best European airport in a poll of 1,200 independent travellers.

The southern hemisphere took the main prizes in the Readers Awards announced last night by Wanderlust magazine and The Body Shop. New Zealand, the most distant nation from Britain, just edged out Chile for first place, while the traditional backpackers' destinations in Asia failed even to make the top 10.

New Zealand has launched a big campaign to lure visitors and the authorities will be pleased that Australia achieved only seventh spot, with Guatemala.

Chile led a strong contingent of Latin American nations; Peru took fifth place, while the former Inca capital, Cuzco, in Peru, which lies two miles up in the Andes, was voted top city worldwide. "Cuzco was a big surprise to us," said Lyn Hughes, editor of Wanderlust. "Peru's publicity usually focuses on the likes of Machu Picchu and the Inca trail."

Southern Africa performed strongly, with Namibia and Zimbabwe in third and fourth place respectively. The highest-rated European country is Scotland, in sixth place overall, but its capital, Edinburgh, achieved only 18th place among favourite cities.

Half the top 10 favourite cities are European destinations: Venice, Bruges, Prague, Rome and Barcelona. The no-frills Go airline starts flights to Barcelona and Prague tomorrow; it already serves Rome and Venice. Its home base is Stansted.

Neither Go nor any of its rivals made the top 10 in the airlines category. This bears a strong similarity to polls in other publications, with Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways and Emirates taking the leading three places. Singapore's airport, Changi, was voted best worldwide. The highest-placed British carrier is Virgin Atlantic, placed sixth. British Airways was 19th.

Cuba will be disappointed it did not make the top 10 and that its airline was voted worst worldwide: "Cubana are in a class of their own," said Ms Hughes.

Another notable failure was the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, voted worst city in the world. "This suggests its nickname of `Nairobbery' is still in popular use among travellers," Ms Hughes said.

WHERE'S HOT

New Zealand

The backpackers' paradise, where you can bungee jump to your heart's content - and all the safety instructions are in English

Chile

This thin slice of South America is still a hot place for Britons, despite the awkward matter of the former dictator, General Augusto Pinochet

Namibia

Tried Timbuktu? Peered at the pyramids? Done Capetown? If you want to get in to Africa, then Namibia is the next hip destination

WHERE'S NOT

Thailand

It seems there is only so much Alex Garland and Leonardo DiCaprio a traveller can take

India

A country that has gone down in independent travel history and, more recently, in popularity

Nepal

Past its peak, according to Wanderlust readers, but Nepal's popularity will undoubtedly rise again

Suggested Topics
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
people
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

1st line call logger/ User access administrator

£9 Per Hour: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Warrington a...

Shine Night Walk 2014 - 'On the night' volunteer roles

Unpaid Voluntary Work : Cancer Research UK: We need motivational volunteers to...

Accounts Assistant (Accounts Payable & Accounts Receivable)

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Accounts Assistant (Accounts Payable...

Senior IT Trainer - Buckinghamshire - £250 - £350 p/d

£200 - £300 per day: Ashdown Group: IT Trainer - Marlow, Buckinghamshire - £25...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star