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Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Has Been Named One of 2020's Ultimate Travel Experiences

The Northern Territory site came in third in Lonely Planet's new list, with the UNESCO Heritage Site of Petra in Jordan nabbing the top spot.
By Sarah Ward
October 09, 2020
By Sarah Ward
October 09, 2020

Travel isn't just about spending some time in a different patch of turf, escaping work and earning a reprieve from your usual routine. It ticks all those boxes, but it's really about seeing the world in all of its glory. In other words, it's an experience. And, after 2020's year of staying home and mostly just experiencing our own four walls, you can be forgiven for hankering for a holiday that'll truly make you realise that you're somewhere instantly and overwhelmingly special.

Travel guide Lonely Planet has put together a lineup of places that'll achieve that exact aim, which it has dubbed its Ultimate Travel List. Announcing its second edition, the publication has some great news for Aussies eager for a getaway, too — especially given international travel bans are still in place — with the Northern Territory's Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park coming in third out of a whopping 500 locations.

The only Australian spot in the top ten, the 348-metre-tall Uluru received ample praise from the publication, which compared the eye-catching monolith's appearance to "a ship on fire in a desert sea". Crucially, the towering rock formation hasn't been singled out on the list, but rather the entire park around it has been recognised. Seeing Uluru isn't something that anyone forgets, of course, but there's plenty more to do in the region — with taking tours with park rangers to see sacred waterholes, spotting the onsite wildlife and visiting the park's cultural centre to learn about the area's Indigenous Australian history and significance, and learn from the local Aṉangu people, all mentioned as well.

What's not mentioned is the below Field of Light, which is located at the base of Uluru and definitely worth a visit while you're there.

Field of Light by Tourism Australia

In earning third spot, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park moved up 30 places from its 2019 ranking, when it came in at number 33. It sits behind the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Petra in Jordan, which nabbed the top placing, while the Galápagos Islands ranked second.

Also in the top five: the Okavango River in Botswana, plus the USA's Yellowstone National Park. As for the rest of the top ten, it includes Lake Bled in Slovenia; Iguazú Falls, which mark the boundary between Argentina and Brazil; Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni, aka the world's biggest salt lake; and Nepal's Annapurna massif. In the entire 500-location list, a huge 200 entries differed from last year.

Accordingly, both close to home and overseas, you now have some new travel inspiration and then some. At present, the Northern Territory's borders are open to Australians, without quarantine, unless you're travelling from an 'active coronavirus hotspot' — which currently covers all of Victoria. Until Friday, October 9, it also included the Greater Sydney area; however, that's set to be removed today.

You can check out Lonely Planet's full Ultimate Travel List via its website.

Top image: Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park by Tourism Australia

Published on October 09, 2020 by Sarah Ward
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