Readers of the Daily Telegraph have named New Zealand the best country in the world for the fifth year in a row.

Announced today, the awards are based on the opinions of 90,000 readers and recognise tour operators, destinations and airlines that exceed guests' expectations.

New Zealand again took out the top spot in the list of the world's 50 greatest countries, as it has for five years running.

The Telegraph suggested that our country's ongoing popularity with British travellers was due to a reassuring combination of "familiarity and escapism", describing Aotearoa as "a home away from home – just that little bit warmer".

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"While the other countries topping your list of favourites are places where life and landscapes are distinctly different from those back home, New Zealand is a country where familiarity rules," the paper said.

"Sure, there are hot springs and some spectacular mountain scenery of Alpine proportions but sheep graze the rolling green hills of the North Island and there are cricket pitches and rugby posts, sandy bays and Victorian cathedrals."

The Maldives were named in second place and South Africa in third.

Air New Zealand was also named in the top 10 long-haul airlines, dropping one place from last year to fourth, with Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Qatar Airways taking out the top three.