Tasmania's Bay of Fires has been named the world's "hottest" travel destination for 2009 by international guide book Lonely Planet.
- Bay of Fires hot destination
- Lonely Planet chooses 'lonely' site
- 'Secret edge' of Tasmania
The Bay is described by Lonely Planet as "a castaway bay" with a 29 kilometres ribbon of sea and surf spooling out from the old whaling town of St Helens, on Tasmania's north-east coast.
"White beaches of hourglass-fine sand, Bombay Sapphire sea, an azure sky - and nobody," the guide says.
"This is the secret edge of Tasmania, laid out like a pirate's treasure map of perfect beach after sheltered cove, all fringed with forest.
"It's not long since the Bay of Fires came to international attention, and the crowds are bound to flock. Now is the time to visit."
Lonely Planet was expected to officially announce its annual Blue List "of emerging destinations and hip classic" in Australia on November 1.
But it has appeared on the UK's Times Online website.
The Bay of Fires tops the list ahead of the Basque country of France and Spain, Chiloe in Chile, Ko Tao in Thailand, Languedoc in France, Nam Ha in Laos, The Big Island of Hawaii, San Andres and Providencia in Colombia, Svalbard in Norway, and Yunnan in China.
Tasmania Tourism Minister Michelle O'Byrne today said the rating was a coup for the state.
"To have the Bay of Fires rated as the spot to visit anywhere in the world by such a respected guidebook publisher is a huge boost for Tasmania's global profile," she said.
The Bay of Fires, before this rating, had relatively little visitation compared to other Tasmanian destinations.
A four-day guided hike is considered the best way to experience its natural beauty.
However, the area can be also be enjoyed more easily via accessible beaches not far from St Helens and Binalong Bay.