Six destinations have been shortlisted for the 2020 Beautiful Awards in New Zealand, which celebrate the environmental excellence of communities, businesses, schools and individuals across the country.

Aerial view of a small pier on Waiheke Island and a ferry ready for departure
Waiheke Island has been shortlisted in the Most Beautiful Small Town category © Dmitri Ogleznev/Shutterstock

The annual awards are run by Keep New Zealand Beautiful, an organisation that has been committed to driving environmental change through the education, inspiration and empowerment of communities for over half a century. There are 13 award categories, and each finalist in the location-based categories must demonstrate sustainable and environmentally-conscious behaviors across four key areas: litter prevention and waste minimisation, community beautification, recycling projects and sustainable tourism.

Bridge over a gorge in the jungle at Whanganui National Park
Whanganui has been shortlisted for Most Beautiful City award © Sebastian93/Shutterstock

According to the recently-announced shortlist, Whanganui and Hamilton are battling it out for the Most Beautiful City award, while Cambridge and Hastings are going head-to-head in the Most Beautiful Large Town category. Waiheke Island and Arrowtown are duking it out to be named the Most Beautiful Small Town. One of these six destinations will be named the Supreme Towns & Cities winner, and will receive a mural to help beautify their community up to the value of NZ$10,000 (US$6633).

Sunrise at Te Mata Peak in Hastings
Hastings has been shortlisted in the Most Beautiful Large Town category © Martin Vlnas/Shutterstock

“We have had some amazing nominations this year that show, by working together, we will come out of this COVID-19 pandemic a stronger community and a stronger nation, with a more sustainable future," says Keep New Zealand Beautiful CEO, Heather Saunderson. "All of the towns and cities finalists have worked hard to secure a spot in the top six. Celebrating environmental excellence, small wins and beautiful behaviour, whether personal or professional, is now more important than ever.”

Further information on the Beautiful Awards is available from the Keep New Zealand Beautiful website here.

Lockdowns are easing globally as the planet adjusts to a new normal. Find out how COVID-19 is changing travel.

You might also like:

Sustainable travel: 6 ways to make a positive impact on your next trip
10 incredible sustainable travel experiences

Explore related stories


The best places to visit in January 2024

Nov 17, 2023 • 5 min read