The island 112km southwest of Adelaide was the only Australian destination to make Lonely Planet’s 2024 Best in Travel list.
The index, compiled by a panel of Lonely Planet travel experts, ranks the top 10 countries, regions and cities to visit and the top destinations for sustainable and value tourism.
Kangaroo Island placed second on the regions list – pipped only by the Trans Dinarica Cycling Route in the western Balkans, a more than 4000km cycling route that connects Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo and Serbia.
Kangaroo Island ranked above Tuscany, Italy (3rd); Donegal, Ireland (4th); and the Basque Country autonomous region in Spain (5th). A full list of winners is available below.
Chris Zeiher, Lonely Planet’s senior director trade sales and marketing, said Kangaroo Island “provides such a quintessential Australian travel experience”.
“It is blessed with amazing beaches, offers delicious food, wine, and spirits experiences, and delivers on the drama when it comes to outdoor adventures,” he said in a statement.
“And then there’s the wildlife!
“It’s been much lauded of late but 2024 is the year that Kangaroo Island will be set to capitalise on all of the accolades.”
Kangaroo Island is still recovering from the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires, which burnt around 38 per cent of the island’s land mass.
Zeiher highlighted that the Southern Ocean Lodge, a luxury accommodation centre on the Island destroyed in the fires, is set to reopen at the end of the year along with the new Flinders Chase Victor Centre scheduled for completion in early 2024.
“Get there before the rest of the world works it out – 2024 is the year to pop KI on your travel list,” Zeiher said.
Mongolia, India and Morocco ranked as Lonely Planet’s top three countries, while Naroibi, Paris and Montreal took out the top three in the cities category.
Lonely Planet’s top regions
- Trans Dinarica Cycling Route, Western Balkans
- Kangaroo Island, Australia
- Tuscany, Italy
- Donegal, Ireland
- Pais Vasco, Spain
- Southern Thailand
- Swahili Coast, Tanzania
- Montana, USA
- Saalfelden Leogang, Austria
- Far North Scotland, UK.
- St Lucia.
- Nairobi, Kenya
- Paris, France
- Montreal, Canada
- Mostar, Bosnia
- Philadelphia, USA
- Manaus, Brazil
- Jakarta, Indonesia
- Prague, Czech Republic
- İzmir, Turkey
- Kansas City, Missouri.
- Patagonia, Argentina and Chile
- Wales’ trails
- The Portuguese Way/Caminho Português Way de Santiago
- Hokkaido, Japan
- Baltic Trails of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania
- Eco-lodges in South Africa.
- The Midwest, USA
- Danube Limes, Romania
- Normandy, France
- Ikaria, Greece
- Southern Lakes & Central Otago, New Zealand
- Night trains, Europe.
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