The Australian tourism industry is set to get a boost after iconic travel guide Lonely Planet released its list of the top 500 unmissable travel destinations and experiences down under.
The guide, “Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Australia Travel List,” is a regional follow-up to the bestselling “Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel List” and invites readers to learn about Australia’s Indigenous culture and traditions, interact with wildlife, explore the breathtaking natural landscapes, swim in turquoise waters at picture-perfect beaches, and savour local flavours at world-renowned eateries.
Lonely Planet’s Chris Zeiher told Sunrise that putting the list together was a daunting task but exciting at the same time.
“We’ve never done anything like this in our nearly 50-year history, so compiling 500 destinations was a little overwhelming,” he said.
“But where we started was, we looked at all the highly recommended places in Australia that we put through all of our products, but that came to the thousands, and then we put it into a big voting spreadsheet and asked all our authors that are on the road, our staff, and some members of our key community to vote on their top 20 experiences.”
Zeiher said the list was born from there, and then they went from 500 to a clear number one.
Coming in at number five on the list was the Three Capes Track in Tasmania, a 48-kilometre traverse across cliffs and through the wilderness in Tasmania’s southeast, while the Great Ocean Road in Victoria took the number four spot.
The iconic Great Barrier Reef in Queensland was voted third, the out of the ordinary Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Tasmania second, and, not surprisingly, Uluru in the Northern Territory was voted the top travel destination in the country.
Zeiher said that the Museum of Old and New Art was chosen because it has changed the “cultural fabric” of Tasmania, which had always been known as a great place to visit for its outdoor experiences like Cradle Mountain and Freycinet National Park.
“But it’s really kind of reshaped the reason to go down there, and that’s one of the reasons why it’s so high up in the list,” he said.
“And it’s such an experience to get there, going on the boat, climbing up the steps, exhibitions change all the time—a really great example of where one thing has completely reshaped and remade a particular destination.”
Zeiher went on to say that the idea of travel experiences rather than just sightseeing was the premise for the new guide.
He used the example of the number one destination, Uluru, where visitors can cycle around the rock, speak to the Indigenous landowners and understand their art, and get an interpretation of the night sky from an Indigenous perspective.
“It’s about the experiences to have in a particular destination rather than kind of just taking a snap for Instagram,” Zeiher said.
Also in the top ten were Western Australia’s Bungle Bungle Range, Queensland’s Daintree National Park, Kangaroo Island, South Australia, and a New South Wales duo of Dark Sky Park, Warrumbungle and Vivid Festival, Sydney.