Victoria just became the only Australian destination to make Nat Geo’s ‘Cool List’ for 2024

It’s official: our humble state is now considered one of the most exciting places to visit next year

Leah Glynn
Written by
Leah Glynn
Melbourne Editor
People bathing in a rocky hot spring in scrub land
Photograph: Visit Victoria | Peninsula Hot Springs

Just when we were beginning to settle down after the news broke that Brunswick East is officially the sixth coolest neighbourhood in the world, it’s time to pop the champers again, because National Geographic’s annual ‘Cool List’ has been revealed for 2024, and Victoria is the only Aussie destination to make the cut. Has someone checked on NSW yet?

The 30 must-visit hotspots on the revered travel magazine’s round-up include a whopping 15 European locations (like the Albanian Alps, Belfast in Northern Ireland and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pompeii), while the Americas were featured nine times with places like the Atacama Desert in Chile, the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico and the good ol’ US state of Texas – yee-haw, indeed.

Africa and Asia scored three mentions apiece with places like Akagera in Rwanda and Sikkim in India, with Victoria being the sole representative for all of Australasia. Now that’s not bad company, if you ask us.

So what exactly makes Victoria so cool right now? According to Nat Geo, the southern state made the cut thanks to having “the country’s steamiest new road trip”. The Great Victorian Bathing Trail is a new tourism route that will link up thermal pools, hot springs and sea baths from across the state to create the ultimate 900-kilometre wellness road trip.

Six sites are already included on the trail: Metung Hot Springs, Alba Thermal Springs and Spa, Peninsula Hot Springs, Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa, Geelong Eastern Sea Baths and Deep Blue Hotel and Hot Springs. Joining them in 2024 will be Phillip Island Hot Springs and the ultra-luxe 12 Apostles Hot Springs and Resort

“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,” states the magazine.

Well, you know what that means – it’s time to fire up the group chat and get planning, before all these relaxation havens book out. We’ll see you out there for a soak.


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