Lord Howe Island named in National Geographic's 'Best of the World 2021' travel list

 National Geographic has named Lord Howe Island among its best destinations for 2021 in its annual 'Best of the World' list.

The list features under-the-radar destinations that National Geographic hope will inspire future journeys and remind us why we love to travel.

Around 600 kilometres off Australia's east coast, and closed for the best part of 2020 due to COVID-19, World Heritage-listed Lord Howe is perhaps the closest most Australians will get to going "overseas" for the foreseeable future.

Remnants of a volcano that erupted millions of years ago, the island is surrounded by Lord Howe Island Marine Park where the southernmost coral reefs on the planet are found. It's home to more than 500 fish species, as well as protected and threatened marine species, including the whale shark, great white shark, and the hawksbill turtle. Near to the island is the world's largest sea stack, Ball's Pyramid. On the island itself is the critically endangered Lord Howe Island Phasmid, or "walking sausage," a stick insect thought to be extinct until 2001. 

Balls Pyramid

Balls Pyramid

Lord Howe Island Tourism Association Executive Officer Trina Shepherd said the island was "an ideal destination for travellers seeking a pristine natural wonderland with plenty to do outdoors, from hiking to snorkelling the world's southernmost coral reef."

"There's so much to discover on Lord Howe and with visitor numbers limited to just 400 at any one time, the island's incredible ecosystem is protected now and for the future as 'the world's last paradise'," Ms Shepherd said.

Bran Castle, Transylvania, Romania.

Bran Castle, Transylvania, Romania. Photo: iStock

National Geographic also listed Romania's Transylvania, which a country Traveller has named as one of Europe's most underappreciated destinations. Named for its pastoral, old Europe feel, Romania is off the edge of familiar Europe's map. Beset with out-of-date notions of vampires, dictators and dismal orphanages, what you'll actually find is a spruced-up, optimistic country of cultural density and lovely landscapes, far from the tourist tumult that overwhelms many European destinations.

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Svaneti, Georgia.

Svaneti, Georgia. Photo: iStock

Close by Georgia's remote Svaneti Region was named for its Svan culture which has evolved over the centuries in isolation from the rest of Georgia, developing a unique language and unusual rituals. Best of all, however, is its hospitality, where parties, toasts and alcohol are the order of the day.

Closer to home, and possibly a more likely travel destination for Australians in 2021, the French territory of New Caledonia also featured in the list. Inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008, New Caledonia's lagoons represent one of the most extensive reef systems in the world, with pristine waters and more than 9000 marine species, which the island nation is working hard to protect.

New Caledonia.

New Caledonia. Photo: Stephane Ducandas

National Geographic Travel Executive Editor George Stone said the list was well timed ahead of a new year and the promise of return to travel.

"We are eager to share these 25 timely tales of timeless places that will define our future itineraries," Mr Stone said.

"Reported by the global editors of National Geographic Travel and framed by five categories (Adventure, Culture and History, Nature, Family, Sustainability), these superlative destinations speak of resilient communities, innovative conservation efforts, and thrilling opportunities for future explorations," he said.

National Geographic's 25 "Destinations on the rise for 2021"

  • Katmai National Park, Alaska
  • Lord Howe Island, Australia
  • Dominica
  • Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina
  • Svaneti Region, Georgia
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Pueblo Nations, New Mexico
  • Guam
  • Gyeongju, Republic of Korea
  • Vitoria-Gasteiz, Basque Country, Spain
  • Tonglu, China
  • Isle Royale, Michigan
  • Cerrado, Brazil
  • Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada
  • Indigenous British Columbia, Canada
  • Space Coast, Florida
  • England Coast Path, UK.
  • Hortobágy, Hungary
  • Transylvania, Romania
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Alonissos, Greece
  • Gabon
  • New Caledonia
  • Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Freiburg, Germany

See also: Going 'overseas'? Why Australia's island paradise is the best destination

See also: Twenty reasons to visit this heavenly French paradise

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