The annual National Geographic list of cool places to hit up in 2024 has been released and only one Aussie state made the cut. And I’ll tell ya what – it’s a hit to the location-based egos of Sydneysiders.
In case you missed it, each year the National Geographic Traveller (UK) releases a list of the 30 most exciting destinations to visit in the following year. And while I’m sure many Sydneysiders would think that watching seagulls scramble over discarded over-priced chippies might just be enough to score Bondi a mention, it turns out that the only place in Australia that scored a coveted spot on the list was the lovely state of Victoria.
“Why?” I hear Syd-based people like me ask, our tears falling into our long blacks.
Well, my dear friends, it’s because of a new tourism route which the magazine calls “the country’s steamiest new road trip”.
The Great Victorian Bathing Trail is a new addition to Victoria’s tourism circuit. It’s a 900km route which connects a bunch of luxe hot springs, mineral springs and sea baths across Victoria’s coastline.
Inspired by other iconic bathing trails like New Zealand’s Thermal Explorer Highway, The Great Victorian Bathing Trail was designed with the hopes that it’ll bring tourists to some of the gorgeous yet lesser-known spots that the state has to offer.
It currently has six locations officially listed as part of the trail but as it’s a pretty new addition, there are still more locations in the works.
“Australia’s beaches feature high up on many travellers’ itineraries, but Victoria’s lesser-known hot springs might be about to tempt travellers away from the surf and sand,” National Geographic Traveller (UK) wrote.
Honestly, sign me the fuck up. This trail sounds like a dream.
While Australia only had one mention, Europe was mentioned a whopping 14 times!
And after checking out the list, I can’t blame the continent for being so goddamn beautiful.
Some highlights were Nordland in Norway for the gorgeous glaciers, remote villages and the Northern Lights, Pompeii in Italy for the new direct train making it easy to visit the Eternal City and, if you’re a fun generalist, the list also included “Europe by train”.
I’ve never been to Europe but you better believe that these locations are going straight on my to-do list.
From the Americas, nine places were listed including places I’ve actually been!! How exciting (and validating!!!)
Some special mentions go to the driest place on Earth — the Atacama Desert in Chile — which was one of the most beautiful things my globular eyeballs have ever seen. And the Iberá Wetlands in Argentina which feature a whole smorgasbord of fun and interesting animals to gawk at.
Then, there were three beautiful spots in Africa.
Sierra Leone made the cut for its upgraded airport, making tourism easier than ever before. Madagascar’s Andrefana Dry Forests were heralded as a “unique environment” to be marvelled at. And Akagera in Rwanda was referred to as a “shining example of safari success”.
Finally, there were two spots in Asia: Taiwan’s oldest city Tainan, which turns 400 this year, and Xi’an in China which houses the Terracotta Army. After years of strict COVID-related travel restrictions, the Nat-Geo team feels that we have a lot of catching up to do travelling through China.
Well, there you have it. To read more about the recommendations, head to National Geographic Traveller (UK)‘s cool list here.
I hope everyone is feeling super inspired by these gorgeous locations. But most importantly, I hope us Sydneysiders can use this humbling experience to keep our egos in check.