Why the world is raving about this underrated Aussie spot

FORGET Sydney’s beaches, Melbourne’s night-life or our world-famous Outback — this quiet achiever is the only region in Australia the world wants to visit.

South Australia has been elevated to “must-see” status for global travellers after being ranked fifth on Lonely Planet’s influential Top Ten regions for 2017 list.

The rest of Australia was neglected in Lonely Planet’s lists of the top ten countries and cities in the world to visit.

But South Australia, which has struggled to attract international visitors in the same numbers as many other parts of Australia, managed to make the travel bible’s list for its broad tourist appeal.

“Its climate may be hot, but South Australia offers the coolest mix of brilliant wine country, abundant produce festivals, stark and stunning tracts of picturesque Aussie outback and crowd-free beaches that could make even the Bahamas jealous,” said Lonely Planet’s Chris Zeiher.

“The Queen Mary 2 is putting South Australia on her travel list in 2017, choosing to dock not only in its artistic capital, Adelaide, but also taking in the rustic charms of Kangaroo Island.”

The state finished behind Choquequirao, Peru — ranked the top region to visit in 2017; Taranaki on New Zealand’s North Island; The Azores in Portugal and North Wales.

Inclusion on the Lonely Planet list will serve as a great boost to South Australia which recorded a nine per cent increase in overseas visitors in the year to June 30.

State Tourism Minister Leon Bignell said investments made in Adelaide and the regions were delivering immediate results.

“We know South Australia is a great place to live and now more people from interstate and overseas are discovering what our state has to offer,” Mr Bignell said.

“Our visitor economy is at a record $5.95 billion as our state continues to attract record numbers of interstate and international visitors.”

Other Australian places to feature in the “best of” publication included Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula, ranked the world’s ninth “best value destinations”; and Sal Salis in Western Australia which was rated the fourth “best place to stay” in the world.

Tourism Geelong-Bellarine Executive Director Roger Grant said the international recognition for the Bellarine Peninsula was most welcome.

“We believe the sun is about to shine brightly on the Bellarine,” said Mr Grant.

“The golf courses, the wineries, the villages in particular do provide a compelling reason to visit and it’s affordable enough to stay for three days or more.”

Commercial manager of Sal Salis, Amanda Fisher, was blown away by the eco-resort’s listing as one of the best places in the world to stay.

“What to me is so hugely important, is that it validates the style of tourism we all believe in, and that’s a light footprint and an experience beyond the traditional comforts,” said Ms Fisher.

“It’s about being in the bush and teaching the message of conservation.”

Consisting of 16 tents and accommodating only 32 people at any one time, Sal Salis is located in the Cape Range National Park on Western Australia’s central coast.

“We feel enormously privileged to be in the national park. Without the natural environment in which we exist, we’re nothing,” Ms Fisher said.



1. Choquequirao, Peru

2. Taranaki, New Zealand

3. The Azores, Portugal

4. North Wales, UK

5. South Australia

6. Aysen, Chile

7. The Tuamotus, French Polynesia

8. Coastal Georgia, US

9. Perak, Malaysia

10. The Skellig Ring, Ireland


1. Bordeaux, France

2. Cape Town, South Africa

3. Los Angeles, US

4. Merida, Mexico

5. Ohrid, Macedonia

6. Pistoia, Italy

7. Seoul, South Korea

8. Lisbon, Portugal

9. Moscow, Russia

10. Portland, Oregon


1. Canada

2. Colombia

3. Finland

4. Dominica

5. Nepal

6. Bermuda

7. Mongolia

8. Oman

9. Myanmar

10. Ethiopia

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