An aerial shot of a snow blanketed Greenland fishing village has been chosen as the top travel photograph of 2019 by National Geographic.

Chinese photographer Weimin Chu was awarded the US$7500 ($11500) grand prize, for his image Greendlandic Winter of the village of Upernavik, on a small island in west Greenland.

Covered in a blue tinged snow mist, Chu notes the brightly coloured paint jobs on the Upernavik buildings are used to designate which store was which in the punishing climate — "a useful distinction when the landscape is blanketed in snow", Chu said.

Entries were divided into the categories of nature, cities and people. A black and white photo of a dolphin in the deep canyons of Kaikoura won third place in the nature category.

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Dusky. Photo / Scott Portelli
Dusky. Photo / Scott Portelli

Australian photographer Scott Portelli took the Dusky Dolphins shot in the South Island tourist spot and said he "waited on the bow of the boat as the Dusky dolphin almost broke [through the surface]. They glide through the ocean effortlessly, coming up only to breathe".