An island paradise, two luxury getaways and Air New Zealand have been recognised in this year’s Travel + Leisure magazine World’s Best awards.
In the Best Islands category of the reader-voted awards, Waiheke was named in fifth place ahead of exotic rival destinations Mauritius, the Galapagos Islands and Maui.
It’s the second year in a row that Waiheke, 30 minutes from Auckland in the Hauraki Gulf, has made the final 15.
It topped the list of favourites from the region of Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific, beating the Australian state of Tasmania into second.
“This 12-mile-long island can be reached in less than an hour by ferry from Auckland, yet it feels far from the madding crowd,” gushed the magazine write-up.
“Visitors call its beaches unrivalled and praise its verdant beauty, stellar vineyards, and artsy scene.”
“A lovely day trip from Auckland to visit the wineries,” said one reader.
“You can consider a stay at the bohemian, three-room Oyster Inn, or book yourself into luxury at Delamore Lodge, which has its own helipad for easy commuting.”
Three Indonesian islands were named best in the world – Java, Bali and Lombok in first, second and third place respectively. Fourth went to The Maldives.
On the Top Ten International Airlines list, Air New Zealand made fifth place behind Singapore Airlines at top spot, then Emirates, Qatar Airways and Japanese Airlines.
Taupo‘s Huka Lodge was placed 27th on the prestigious Top 100 Hotels list, while The Farm at Cape Kidnappers in Hawke’s Bay was tied for 80th place with Qualia on Australia’s Hamilton Island.
Huka Lodge was also named the best resort hotel in Australia and New Zealand, with The Farm at Cape Kidnappers again tied with Qualia for third place.
Topping the list of best hotels was the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan in Indonesia.
The luxury retreat in the Ayung River is reached via a suspension bridge that hovers over coconut trees and rice fields, with each guest villa including a meditation space and lily pond on the roof.