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KANGAROO ISLAND, often dubbed ‘KI’ by those in the know, is a place where, as its name suggests, kangaroos outnumber people. Where rugged coastlines meet pristine beaches, wineries abound, and with just about every turn, you’ll find the kind of scenery that would’ve inspired Shakespeare not to compare women to summer days but to KI vistas.

Only a brief 45-minute ferry ride from the mainland, and within day-tripping distance of Adelaide, Kangaroo Island has long been a prized destination for South Australians, but the isolated tourist attraction could be getting busier soon, as it’s just been announced as Lonely Planet’s second-best region to visit in 2024.

Be assured, Lonely Planet’s picks aren’t just the manifestation of an overworked travel writer cramming together a list with little to no prior personal experience or research on the selected locations. The organisation’s rankings are meticulously researched—and people take them very seriously. So don’t be surprised if Australia’s best kept secret soon becomes another stop on the bucket list for tourists around the world.

What’s so good about Kangaroo Island?

Kangaroo island, also known by the traditional Indigenous name of Karta Pintingga, has a surplus of natural wonders, impeccable eateries, and world class accommodation. But if you don’t believe us, allow Lonely Planet’s Chris Zeiher, who wrote the entry on Kangaroo Island, to paint you a picture. “It’s blessed with amazing beaches, offers delicious food, wine, and spirits experiences, and delivers on the drama when it comes to outdoor adventures,” he said. “And then there’s the wildlife!”

Vast swaths of native wildlife are one of Kangaroo Island’s main draws, and there’s more than just Kangaroos. Wallabies, platypuses, echidnas, sea lions and even colonies of penguins frequent the area. The birdlife is bountiful, with dozens of species endemic to the island, including the endangered glossy black cockatoo, which has been extinct on the mainland for decades. Koalas are also plentiful, so much so that there’s too many of them for the available vegetation. The government is trying to sterilise and relocate the creatures, but if you’re looking for an almost guaranteed sighting of a koala in the wild, Kangaroo Island is your best bet.

INSTAGRAM | @authetickangarooisland
INSTAGRAM | @authentickangarooisland

The beaches of Kangaroo Island are nothing to sniff at either. Stokes Bay, tucked away on the island’s North Coast, was named the nation’s best beach earlier this year by Tourism Australia. There’s a litany of other coves, bays and shores lining the coast of Kangaroo Island too, and there’s only 4,500 permanent residents, making it both a picturesque and secluded seaside destination.

In addition to its natural beauty, Kangaroo Island is also famed for the quality of its produce. Officially listed as a wine region, the island is dotted with wineries offering a range of delectable drops.

How do you get to Kangaroo Island?

There are two methods of getting to Kangaroo Island, and both have starting points in Adelaide. The island is essentially within arm’s reach for residents of Adelaide, but interstate visitors will first have to stop off in the city of churches. Once you’re there, you can either embark on a 45-minute ferry ride from Cape Jervis, or a 30-minute flight from Adelaide airport to Kingscote airport.

INSTAGRAM | @authentickangarooisland

How are Lonely Planet’s rankings determined?

The process in which Lonely Planet decides its rankings for the hottest travel destinations is far more complex than simply throwing darts at a world map while blindfolded. More than 200 travel experts are surveyed on their predictions for the upcoming year’s most prized destinations. These predictions are collated and analysed to determine which destinations offer the ideal mix of affordability, desirability, uniqueness, and pre-existing popularity.

What are Lonely Planet’s best regions to travel to in 2024?

Kangaroo Island was surpassed only by a cross country cycling route in the Balkans. There is one caveat here though, as the 2,000km Trans Dinarica cycle route, which will connect Slovenia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, Albania and Kosovo, doesn’t open until next year. So if you were wanting to jump the gun on premier 2024 travel destinations and can’t wait a few more months, Kangaroo Island is the best region you can visit right now. At least according to Lonely Planet.

Here’s the rest of the top ten:

  1. Western Balkans’ Trans Dinarica Cycling Route
  2. Kangaroo Island, South Australia
  3. Tuscany, Italy
  4. Donegal, Ireland
  5. Pais Vasco, Spain
  6. Southern Thailand
  7. Swahili Coast, Tanzania
  8. Montana, USA
  9. Saafelden Leogang, Austria
  10. Far North Scotland

What are Lonely planet’s best cities to travel to in 2024?

  1. Nairobi, Kenya
  2. Paris, France
  3. Montreal, Canada
  4. Mostar, Bosnia
  5. Philadelphia, USA
  6. Manaus, Brazil
  7. Jakarta, Indonesia
  8. Prague, Czech Republic
  9. Izmir, Turkey
  10. Kansas City, Missouri

What are Lonely Planet’s best countries to travel to in 2024?

  1. Mongolia
  2. India
  3. Morocco
  4. Chile
  5. Benin
  6. Mexico
  7. Uzbekistan
  8. Pakistan
  9. Croatia
  10. St Lucia

What are Lonely Planet’s best value travel destinations for 2024?

  1. The Midwest, USA
  2. Poland
  3. Nicaragua
  4. Danube Limes, Bulgaria and Romania
  5. Normandy, France
  6. Egypt
  7. Ikaria, Greece
  8. Algeria
  9. Southern Lakes and Central Otago, New Zealand
  10. Night trains of Europe

What are Lonely Planet’s most sustainable travel destinations for 2024?

  1. Spain
  2. Patagonia, Argentina and Chile
  3. Greenland
  4. Wales Trails
  5. The Portuguese Way, Caminho Portgues de Santiago
  6. Palau
  7. Hokkaido, Japan
  8. Ecuador
  9. Baltic Trails of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania
  10. South Africa’s Eco Lodges
INSTAGRAM | @authentickangarooisland


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