Lonely Planet reveals Australia’s top 500 travel destinations and experiences


Australia’s domestic tourism is on the road to recovery as confidence grows in local travel, and we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to amazing destinations.

If you’re looking for ideas, travel gurus Lonely Planet have just released The Ultimate Australia Travel List, featuring 500 experiences and sights.

Chris Zeiher from Lonely Planet explains more about the list in the video above

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“We’ve never done anything like this in any of the 50 year history, so compiling 500 destinations was a little overwhelming,” Chris Zeiher from Lonely Planet told Sunrise.

“Where we started was, we looked at all the highly recommended places in Australia that we put throughout all of our products – that came to the thousands.”

There’s little surprise Uluru was among the top destinations in Australia. Credit: LUKAS COCH/AAP

“Then we put it into a big voting spreadsheet and asked all our authors that are on the road as staff and some members of our key community to vote on their top 20 experiences.

“From there, the list was born and we went from 500 to a really clear number one.”

Lonely Planet Ultimate Travel List Top 10

  1. Uluru – Northern Territory
  2. MONA Museum – Hobart, Tasmania
  3. The Great Barrier Reef – Queensland
  4. The Great Ocean Road – Victoria
  5. Three Capes Track – Port Arthur, Tasmania
  6. Bungle Bungles – Kimberley region, Western Australia
  7. Daintree National Park – Queensland
  8. Kangaroo Island – South Australia
  9. Dark Sky Park, Warrumbungle – Coonabarabran, NSW
  10. Vivid Festival – Sydney, NSW

MONA Museum

It may be a surprise to see a museum so high on a list of travel destinations, but according to Zeiher, MONA is quite unique.

“The Museum of Old and New Art down in Hobart has completely changed the kind of cultural fabric of Tasmania, which was always known as a great place to kind of visit for outdoor experiences.

“But it’s really reshaped to the reason to go down there and that’s one of the reasons why it’s so high up in the list.”

The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart. (File image).The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart. (File image). Credit: LUKAS COCH/AAP

“It’s such an experience to get there, going on the boat, climbing up the stairs, exhibitions change all the time.”

MONA is Australia’s largest private museum, built by David Walsh, and featuring three levels of underground galleries, plus outdoor galleries, wineries, a brewery and bars and restaurants.

Not just sights to see

While The Ultimate Australia Travel List features plenty of great places to see, it also includes plenty of experiences to enjoy.

“We don’t want people to be passive sightseers, we want people to go and experience destinations,” said Zeiher.

Experiences form a large part of the list.Experiences form a large part of the list. Credit: Jeff Hunter/Getty Images

“The number one destination in the list is Uluru, and it’s a place that where you can cycle around the rock, get to know (and) speak to the Indigenous landowners there and understand their art, look at the skies and get an interpretation of the night sky via the Indigenous owners there.

“It’s about the experiences to have in a particular destination, rather than just taking a snap for Instagram.”

Surprising experiences

Some of the experiences on the list include:

  • worship the Gods of sport at the MCG – Melbourne, Victoria
  • tour wineries – Mclaren Vale, South Australia
  • rock and roll at the Esplanade Hotel – St Kilda, Victoria
  • ride the Parramatta Ferry, Sydney NSW
  • enjoy the Aboriginal Art at the East Pilbara Arts Centre – Newman, Western Australia

Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Australia Travel List is out now.Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Australia Travel List is out now. Credit: Supplied

Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Australia Travel List – Top 500 Experiences in Australia … Ranked is available now in bookstores and online.


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