Surprising Aussie island makes top travel list
Hidden off the coast of NSW, an island sanctuary awaits. A place so scenic, it has been lauded as one of the world's top travel destinations for 2020.
As the only Australian location featured in the Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2020, Lord Howe Island wowed writers and editors who composed the list, citing the island as a must-visit destination for the upcoming year.
Sitting just 600km off the NSW coast, the island ranked fifth in the world's top 10 regions list in Lonely Planet's Best In Travel 2020 book.
But despite being just a two-hour flight from Sydney, the "unspoilt paradise" can be quite expensive to get to - and even more costly to stay.
For the 15th year in a row, Lonely Planet narrowed down the list after speaking with writers, editors, authors and even online communities about their favourite destinations.
Sitting east of Port Macquarie in the Tasman Sea, the tiny island placed fifth in the global travel gurus' top 10 regions. The exclusive island allows just 400 people to visit at any one time.
"Parked in the middle of nowhere 600 kilometres off the Australian coast, this visually stunning island makes an instant impact on the senses with its jaw-dropping World Heritage-listed beauty," Lonely Planet wrote.
"Two soaring green mountains overlook a perfect lagoon and the world's southernmost coral reef; perfect crescents of beach and splendid hiking trails through the lush forest add to brilliant outdoors possibilities."
Minister for Tourism Stuart Ayres said the recognition was a massive win for NSW and would boost the island's profile among international travellers in particular.
"There's something special about Lord Howe Island and it's fantastic that Lonely Planet's spotlight will encourage the rest of the world to discover this beautiful place too," Mr Ayres said.
"The natural beauty and charming remoteness of the island make Lord Howe a 'must-visit' destination for all kinds of travellers including luxury seekers and nature lovers.
"These visitors often extend their journey in Sydney before or after their island escape, and many are high-yield travellers who contribute significantly to the state's economy."
Topping the list for Lonely Planet's top 10 regions 2020 was the Central Asian Silk Road, followed by Le Marche in Italy, Tōhoku in Japan, and Maine in the United States.