The Kimberley makes top five of New York Times top 52 places to go list

Western Australia's Kimberley region has been named one of the world's top five places to visit in 2020 by The New York Times.

The newspaper described the remote location as the "least touristy part of Australia" in its annual 52 Places to Go list for 2020.

The Times reassured visitors to the Kimberley they would be unaffected by the bushfire crisis ravaging the east of the country.

"New air service from the region, which is far from the bushfires in eastern Australia, includes direct flights from Melbourne and Darwin to Kununurra," the article stated.

Highlights featured by the Times included Lake Argyle, one of the largest freshwater lakes in the Southern Hemisphere, and the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park, known for the unique beehive dome formations of the Bungle Bungles.

Tours by Narlijia Experiences, offering insight into the region's rich Aboriginal history were also featured. The company offers trips that allow visitors to experience activities like mud crabbing and spear fishing, trying local bush tucker, and hearing local Dreamtime stories. 

The "uncomplicated" north-west region has the perfect balance between adventure and relaxation according to Natasha Mahar, CEO of Australia's North West Tourism, who "had no idea" the region would make it on to the Times' list.

"The Kimberley simply casts a spell on you, as it did to me, it's the best of both worlds," she said. "We are hoping that the exposure will lead to more enquiries about visiting and people will book a holiday to our magic Kimberley so they too can experience what we already know to be true."

The No.1 spot on the list went to Washington DC, with the Times recognising it not only for its political significance, but also for the booming dining scene, historic theatres and events.


Rounding out the top five were the British Virgin Islands (No.2), the small Bolivian town of Rurrenabaque (No.3) and Greenland (No.4).

Italy was particularly popular with three of its regions listed in the top 52. Siciliy (No.7) was recognised for its beaches and its efforts at tackling the island's pollution problem; the south-central region of Molise (No.37) for its pristine coastline; and Urbino (No.51), which is marking the 500th anniversary of Renaissance painter Raphael, who called the city home.

Many destinations on the list were selected for overcoming tragedies and making efforts to restore cultural identity. Christchurch, New Zealand (No.24), was acknowledged for its efforts to recover from the 2010 earthquake and last year's terrorist shooting, which killed 51 people.

Christchurch "continues to prove itself as a global symbol of resilience," according to the Times. "While earthquake destruction remains visible, downtown has been animated by recent building and restoration."

Six highlights of the Kimberley:

  • Cable Beach - Ride a camel train at sunset along the 22-kilometre beach.
  • The South Sea pearl - the largest cultured pearls in the world
  • Discover an ancient piece of history with the dinosaur footprints located at Gantheaume Point
  • Sun Pictures - the oldest operating outdoor cinema in the world
  • Matso's Brewery - one of the most remote breweries in the world, overlooking Roebuck Bay
  • Kimberley cruising - visit remote waterfalls and gorges, ancient rock art, boab trees and swim in breathtaking water holes.

See also: Australia's weirdest natural wonder, according to Attenborough

See also: The 10 best ways to see the Kimberley