Australia’s Scenic Rim named among top destinations for 2022 by Lonely Planet

Back view of male silhouette sitting on fallen tree trunk against valley under blue sky, Gold Coast

With travel back on the agenda, Lonely Planet has unveiled its top picks for 2022 destinations, with the Asia-Pacific region claiming the number-one ranking for two of the three categories.

The iconic travel guide publisher has released its Best in Travel 2022 guide, the 17th iteration of Lonely Planet’s annual collection of the world’s hottest destinations and the must-have travel experiences for the year ahead.

This year, the remote and proudly independent The Cook Islands – one of the world’s smallest countries – claimed the coveted spot as the number-one country to seek out in 2022, while Norway places second and Mauritius third.

Auckland, New Zealand was named the number-one city to visit next year, recognised for its blossoming cultural scene where the spotlight is on local creativity; while Taipei, Taiwan is second-ranked; with Freiburg, Germany in third place.

Closer to home, Queensland’s Scenic Rim has been named the number eight region to visit – an exciting coup for the region and Australia.

Muri Lagoon at Rarotonga, the main island in the Cook Islands (image source: iStock/DarrenTierney)

This edition places particular emphasis on the best sustainable travel experiences — ensuring travellers will have a positive impact wherever they choose to go.

Lonely Planet’s Chris Zeiher said the Scenic Rim was chosen based on its status as an “untouched and diverse eco-based” Australian destination.

“From the amazing food and wine, to the incredible rainforest and bush walks and memorable places to stay, this is an unexpected pocket of Australia that has it all,” he said.

“Having Auckland as the number-one city and travel neighbour, Australians can discover even more about this great city. Many may not know that within the city’s boundaries there are 53 volcanoes, more than 50 islands, three wine regions and numerous beaches.”

Lonely Planet’s number-one region for 2022 was Westfjords, Iceland; a region of the island nation untouched by mass tourism where communities are working together to protect and promote their spectacular landscapes.

Isafjordur town, in the Westfjords region, Iceland (iStock/RnDmS)

Each year, Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel lists start with nominations from the publisher’s vast community of staff, writers, bloggers, publishing partners and more.

The nominations are then whittled down by its panel of travel experts to just 10 countries, 10 regions and 10 cities. Each is chosen for its topicality, unique experiences, ‘wow’ factor and its ongoing commitment to sustainable tourism practices.

According to Lonely Planet’s vice president of experience, Tom Hall, the release of Lonely Planet’s annual “hot list” of destinations and travel experiences could not be timelier.

“After an enforced hiatus, it’s time to take those long-postponed travel plans off the shelf and make them a reality,” he said.

“From the lagoons and forests of the Cook Islands to the waterfalls and mountains of Iceland’s Westfjords, via Auckland’s natural and urban delights.”

Here’s a rundown of each top 10 list:

Top 10 countries

  1. Cook Islands
  2. Norway
  3. Mauritius
  4. Belize
  5. Slovenia
  6. Anguilla
  7. Oman
  8. Nepal
  9. Malawi
  10. Egypt

Top 10 regions

  1. Westfjords, Iceland
  2. West Virginia, USA
  3. Xishuangbanna, China
  4. Kent’s Heritage Coast, UK
  5. Puerto Rico
  6. Shikoku, Japan
  7. Atacama Desert, Chile
  8. The Scenic Rim, Australia
  9. Vancouver Island, Canada
  10. Burgundy, France

Top 10 cities

  1. Auckland, New Zealand
  2. Taipei, Taiwan
  3. Freiburg, Germany
  4. Atlanta, USA
  5. Lagos, Nigeria
  6. Nicosia/Lefkosia,Cyprus
  7. Dublin, Ireland
  8. Merida, Mexico
  9. Florence, Italy
  10. Gyeongju, South Korea

Featured image source: iStock/Gabriel Roldan

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