According to Lonely Planet, Kangaroo Island in South Australia has been ranked as the second top destination to visit in 2024, coming in just behind the Trans Dinarica cycle route in the Western Balkans.
Kangaroo Island/Karta Pintingga, which is still recovering from bushfires that burned through 38% of the island in 2020, was picked for its food, wine, wildlife and beaches.
According to Chris Zeiher, author of the Kangaroo Island section in Lonely Planet, the destination boasts stunning beaches, delectable cuisine, and opportunities to indulge in wine and spirits. It also promises exciting outdoor activities.
“And, of course, there is the diverse animal life!”
KI is Australia’s third biggest island, accessible by a 45-minute ferry ride across Backstairs Passage, which lies between Fleurieu Peninsula, south of Adelaide on the Australian mainland, and Dudley Peninsula.
In the previous year, KI was chosen by Lonely Planet as one of the top 20 travel experiences in Australia, and earlier this year, Tourism Australia recognized Stokes Bay as the best beach in the nation.
Leon Bignell, a Labor MP, saved his kelpie named Dusty from the 2020 fires when he was only five weeks old.
According to the previous minister of tourism, Stokes Bay was his preferred location on Kangaroo Island.
“He mentioned the presence of signs that direct towards the beach. Despite the initial lack of appeal, one eventually makes their way through narrow crevices in the rocks. On the other side awaits a breathtaking beach.”
According to Bignell, the farming industry has improved following the fires and the economy of the island has also received a boost from an increase in local and intrastate tourists during the pandemic.
He mentioned that there are 550km of coastline, and even during the busiest time of summer, it is possible to discover a location where you can have complete solitude or minimal human presence.
Despite the devastation of their habitat by bushfires, it seems that the Kangaroo Island dunnarts, an endangered species, are experiencing a resurgence. However, the Ligurian honeybee continues to face challenges.
By 2030, there is a proposal to eliminate the population of wild cats on the island in order to benefit the dunnarts, native birds, Kangaroo Island echidnas, and southern brown bandicoots.
There are many kangaroos in addition to wallabies, sea lions, and platypuses.
Researchers are actively working to attract the at-risk glossy black cockatoo back to the South Australian mainland, where it has been absent for many years.
The number of koalas is abundant, exceeding the amount of vegetation available. As a result, the state government is contemplating options such as sterilization, contraception, and relocation.
Rebekha Sharkie, a member of the political party Centre Alliance and a local representative in the federal government, visited Kangaroo Island during her childhood. She believes that people are drawn to the unspoiled natural beauty of the island. Despite being the same size as the mainland portion of her electoral district, Kangaroo Island is home to only 4,500 permanent residents (although this number increases significantly with the addition of tourists).
“You can just be walking down the road and an echidna crosses in front of you. And the pristine beaches … I can’t pick a favourite spot. It’s just a glorious place.
When you traverse over water, you experience a sense of escape from everything.
According to Zeiher, the luxurious Southern Ocean Lodge will be reopened and a new visitor centre will be opened for Flinders Chase National Park, making 2024 a significant year for KI.
In 2024, Mongolia was selected as the top destination to visit, while Nairobi in Kenya was named the best city. Spain was recognized as the most environmentally-friendly destination, and the US Midwest was deemed the most affordable option.
The Southern Lakes and Central Otago regions of New Zealand ranked ninth on the list of top value destinations.
Next year, the Trans Dinarica cycle route spanning 2,000km will connect Slovenia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, Albania, and Kosovo.