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NZ by Train, Tasmania and Brisbane Are Three of the Best Places to Go in 2024 According to 'The New York Times'

The three Down Under destinations feature on a list topped by North America's path of totality, where a total solar eclipse will be take over the skies in April.
By Sarah Ward
January 10, 2024
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By Sarah Ward
January 10, 2024
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The beginning of a new year isn't solely about deciding how you'd like to change your life for the better. That's just one January tradition. Another: plotting out where around the world you'd like to travel to across the 12 months to come. Arriving mere days into 2024, The New York Times' annual '52 Places to Go' list is a handy guide for inspiration — including for Down Under spots earning global recognition.

After 2023's list included Auckland, Kangaroo Island and Australia's Red Centre to soak in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park's wonders, 2024's counterpart features New Zealand by train, the entire state of Tasmania and Queensland capital city Brisbane. Experiencing Aotearoa's charms by rail placed fourth, while the Apple Isle came in at 29 and Brissie took 39th spot.

The NYT gave a 17-day journey across NZ some love for being "a simpler and more sustainable way" to see the country, calling out stops at "transcendent sites like the volcanic peaks of Tongariro National Park and Te Papa Tongarewa Museum" to begin with. Also earning a mention: getting the ferry to the South Island, then taking "a ride through world-class vineyards and along the jagged coast", plus whale- and dolphin-watching in Christchurch, before hitting the Southern Alps for "views to white-capped peaks, rushing rivers and alpine lakes".

Tasmania earned its placing for enabling visitors to get out in nature via guided walks, celebrate Indigenous culture and focus on local produce. Taking a three-day trek across Bruny Island, foraging for wattle seeds and pepperberries, and chef Analiese Gregory's wild-cooking dishes all scored a specific callout.

Brisbane keeps popping up on lists like this lately — see also: travel guide Frommer's, which also named the city one of 2024's best spots to visit; TIME, which put it on its world's greatest places list for 2023; and the World's Best 50 Hotels, which picked The Calile as its only Australian and Oceanic entry in its inaugural countdown in 223 — and the obvious reason was called out in the NYT's first sentence. Yes, that'd be hosting the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Queen's Wharf precinct and its towering Sky Deck, restaurant Agnes and the Brisbane Powerhouse — including eating dinner hanging off the side of the building at vertical dining experience Vertigo, and the upcoming Melt OPEN queer arts fest — all were singled out. So was The Calile, which is clearly Brissie's most-famous hotel.

Markus Ravik

Topping the '52 Places to Go' rankings for 2024: North America's path of totality, where a total solar eclipse will be take over the skies in April, followed by Paris — the host of the 2024 Olympics — and Yamaguchi in Japan. Maui in Hawaii rounded out the top five, while Baaj Nwaavjo I'tah Kukveni in Arizona (the sacred Indigenous land around the Grand Canyon), Singapore, O'Higgins in Chile, Ladakh in India and Geneva in Switzerland filled the rest of the top ten.

Across the full 52 picks, Manchester in England, Negombo in Sri Lanka, Morocco, Lake Toba in Indonesia and Ireland's Waterford also featured. So did Mustang in Nepal, Vienna in Austria, the Albanian Alps and Flamingo in Florida — and plenty more spots to instantly put on your must-visit list.

For The New York Times' full 52 Places to Go list for 2024, head to the publication's website.

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Published on January 10, 2024 by Sarah Ward
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