Surprising Aussie island No.2 in the world

Kangaroo Island Begins Recovery Process Following Devastating Bushfire Season
Lonely Planet said South Australia’s Kangaroo Island ‘dazzles, bewilders and intoxicates’. Picture: Lisa Maree Williams / Getty Images

A surprising part of Australia has been named one of the world’s must-visit travel destinations for 2024.

Lonely Planet lists Kangaroo Island off South Australia’s southern coast in its 50 must-visit spots, coming in at No.2 for the regions section.

The travel gurus say there is an “otherworldliness” to Kangaroo Island that “dazzles, bewilders and intoxicates”.

“A mere 40-minute flight from Adelaide, Australia’s third-largest island is surprisingly isolated,” Lonely Planet states in its introduction to the island.

“Deceptively vast with a ridiculous amount of stunning coastline, Kangaroo Island invites guests to indulge in its unique local produce, encounter adorable wildlife and discover some of the country’s best beaches.”

Freedom in nature
Kangaroo Island holds the epic Flinders Chase National Park. Picture: Supplied

Lonely Planet highlights gin tasting at distillery KI Spirits and the narrow cave system at Stokes Bay as two memorable experiences on offer to travellers.

In taking out second place, Kangaroo Island tops globally renowned destinations such as Tuscany in Italy, which came in third.

South Australian Tourism Minister Zoe Bettison is ecstatic at the global recognition.

“We know Kangaroo Island is one of the best destinations in the world and now it’s official,” she said.

“With new major attractions on their way such as the rebirth of Southern Ocean Lodge and The Cliffs Kangaroo Island golf course, it is the perfect time for the region to get this global recognition and for visitors worldwide to start planning their trip.”

Tourism on Kangaroo Island suffered from twin shocks of the 2020 pandemic and a brutal 2019-20 bushfire that burned up nearly half of the island.

Lonely Planet praised Kangaroo Island’s ‘otherworldliness’ in its write-up of the relatively unknown travel spot. Picture: Tourism South Australia
Lonely Planet praised Kangaroo Island’s ‘otherworldliness’ in its write-up of the relatively unknown travel spot. Picture: Tourism South Australia

But Ms Bettison said the island had already bounced back with a record-breaking $294m visitor spend and by exceeding targets set for 2025.

A $55m rebuild of Southern Ocean Lodge on the west coast of the island will open to guests in early December and a new multimillion-dollar golf course, called The Cliffs Kangaroo Island, is set to open in 2024.

Kangaroo Island is the only Australian destination to make the cut for 2024.

The Western Balkans’ Trans Dinarica Cycling Route takes out top spot for the regions.

Other regions on the list include Donegal in Ireland and the Swahili Coast in Tanzania.

Must-visit cities include Prague in the Czech Republic, Jakarta in Indonesia and Paris in France.