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A trail along sand dunes.
Photograph: Rebecca Walsh | Unsplash | Kangaroo Island

This stunning Australian island beat Tuscany to be named one of the world's best places to visit

South Australia’s Kangaroo Island claimed the second spot on Lonely Planet's must-visit regions for 2024 list

Written by
Ashleigh Hastings

The (second best) travel gurus have spoken and we bet you’ll like what they have to say. Global travel guide Lonely Planet has released its Best in Travel rankings for 2024, and Kangaroo Island (aka Karta Pintingga) in South Australia has made the number two spot for must-visit regions.

As Australia’s third largest island, this sequestered treasure of a holiday spot boasts an abundance of native wildlife (yes, including a bunch of kangaroos), as well as a staggering length of scenic coastline. The shores of Kangaroo Island stretch more than 540km, and the island itself is six times larger than Singapore, yet has a tiny population of about 4,800.

Lonely Planet cited Kangaroo Island’s “otherworldliness”, “unique local produce” and “adorable wildlife” as key drawcards, alongside a “ridiculous amount of stunning coastline”. Despite its remote feel, the island is actually pretty easy to reach, sitting 112km southwest of Adelaide and 13km off the closest inland shoreline. You can fly to Kangaroo Island from Adelaide in just 30 to 40 minutes, or hop on the ferry from Cape Jervis and you’ll be in paradise in just 45 minutes.

Once you’re there, you can enjoy the local food and wine scene, natural wonders galore, get your adrenaline pumping with quad-biking, sand-boarding or your adventurous activity of choice. Alternatively, follow in Zac Efron’s footsteps and go swimming with dolphins, as he did for his Netflix docuseries Down to Earth with Zac Efron: Down Under

A new 3,364km transnational cycling route was the only region to beat Kangaroo Island in the Lonely Planet rankings this year. The Trans Dinarica Cycling Route will link all eight countries in the Western Balkans (including Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia) when it opens next year, so you’d best start training now if you want to check it out. Third place in the region rankings went to Tuscany in central Italy, followed by Donegal in Ireland and Pais Vasco in Spain. 

Kangaroo Island is still on the road to recovery after devastating bushfires burnt around 38 per cent of the island during the Black Summer of 2019-20. Combined with the impact of the pandemic, it’s safe to say the island has had a rough few years. So this new accolade will likely help with an influx of keen travellers ready to stimulate the local economy. 

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