WITH any new year come new resolutions, new interests, new dreams. Whether used as the basis for a 30-hour plane trip or as a virtual tour from the comfort of an armchair, Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist is an inspirational and educational profile of 500 of the world’s most intriguing places.
Every continent is part of this superbly illustrated, coffee-table-style guide whose content ranges from deserts such as Valle de la Luna in Chile and Death Valley National Park in the US to manmade attractions as diverse as Icehotel in Sweden, Tsukiji fish market in Japan and the Acropolis in Greece. Religious buildings – Spain’s Mezquita, Ethiopia’s Churches of Tigray, Finland’s Temppeliauko Kirkko and England’s York Minster, among them – are numerous, as are palaces, museums, galleries and monuments.
The US is represented by 30 entries; France is a distant second with 17.
The top 10 – the Temples of Angkor, the Great Barrier Reef, Machu Picchu, the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, Grand Canyon National Park, the Colosseum, Iguazu Falls, the Alhambra and Aya Sofya – are world-famous but sit comfortably beside dozens of lesser-known treats including Lake Baikal, Russia; Seyðisfjörður, Iceland; Kolmanskop, Namibia; Persepolis, Iran; Stingray City, Cayman Islands; Borobudur, Indonesia; Lisbon’s Alfama, Portugal; and Cimètiere du Père Lachaise, France.
Local readers keen to tick at least one of the top 500 off their ‘must see’ list this year can do so within a half-day’s drive of home – number 12, according to Lonely Planet, from an original field of thousands of candidates is the Great Ocean Road, ranked between two heritage-listed cities: Fez Medina, Morocco, and Petra, Jordan.
Tasmania has three drawcards: Cradle Mountain, the Museum of Old & New Art (MONA) and Port Arthur; other Australian attractions include Blue Mountains National Park, the Sydney Opera House, Uluru, Kakadu National Park and Ningaloo Marine Park.