The Kimberley is the only place in Australia to make New York Times’ ‘52 places’ list for 2020

Sep 23, 2020

The New York Times’ annual list of must-see destinations has been published for 2020, and just one Australian destination has made the cut.

The 52 places list is The New York Times’ yearly must-see of travel destinations around the world, essentially spruiking one destination for every week of the year.

But while the Great Barrier Reef, Sydney’s Bondi Beach and even Uluru are some of our most synonymous “Aussie” travel destinations – Times travel editor Amy Virshup has pulled out the Kimberley region as being our “must visit” place for the year.

Coming in at number five, Western Australian region stood out for its “bucket list of natural wonders” as well as its “sustainability and the pull of history”.

The Bungle Bungle Range in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park, the waterways of the mighty Ord River and Lake Argyle (one of the largest freshwater lakes in the southern hemisphere) and El Questro’s waterfalls, gorges and epic landscapes were some of the standout features, according to the publication.

“There are new itineraries, too, including Narlijia Experiences’ history tours highlighting Aboriginal culture and Kingfisher Tours’ outings to the unique and soon-to-close Argyle Diamond Mine,” the listing read.


Western Australia, Talbot Bay

Virshup also noted that Broome’s Chinatown had been “revitalised”, meaning the region now extended to encourage “foodie” tourists to visit.


Also joining the Kimberley region on The New York Times list is Christchurch, landlocked Lesotho as a South Africa alternative, Greenland and Tokyo.

This is the year Germany has two entries including “Uber cool” Leipzig (aka “The New Berlin”) at 35 and the alpine town of Oberammergau at 42.

However, 2020 is the year to visit Spain and the mountainous cider region of Asturias (25), the island of Minorca (41) and Spanish ski slopes of Val d’Aran (46). With three entries on the list, 2020 is the year to add an Iberian destination to your bucket list.


The 52 places list is The New York Times’ yearly must-see list of travel destinations. One for every week of the year.

When asked how they chose the list, Virshup said the most important factors were “sustainability and the pull of history”.

The desire to highlight changeable areas has backfired on the publication more than once. Last year the list was cut down to just 51 after journalist Sebastian Modak was denied entry to Iran, as Tehran no longer became a viable tourism destination. Hong Kong’s unrest also caused problems for travellers since being named in the 2019 list, and it was questioned if the paper should endorse it as a travel destination.

For the past two years, the US newspaper has been sending a travel writer to spend a week in each of the 52 places. While writing and travel photography are must-have skills, stamina is the top quality for any aspiring travel blogger.

“It wasn’t just reporting skills they were after. Most of all they were looking for someone who wouldn’t burn out,” Modak told the New Zealand Heraldas he completed his year of travel for the 52-places column.


1. Washington

2. British Virgin Islands

3. Rurrenabaque, Bolivia

4. Greenland

5. Kimberley Region, Australia

6. Paso Robles, Calif.

7. Sicily

8. Salzburg, Austria

9. Tokyo

10. Caesarea, Israel

11. National Parks, China

12. Lesotho

13. Colorado Springs

14. Krakow, Poland

15. Jodhpur, India

16. Western Sweden

17. Egypt

18. La Paz, Mexico

19. Grand Isle, La.

20. Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

21. Jevnaker, Norway

22. The Bahamas

23. Kampot, Cambodia

24. Christchurch, New Zealand

25. Asturias, Spain

26. Haida Gwaii, British Columbia

27. Austin, Texas

28. Sabah, Malaysia

29. Churchill, Manitoba

30. Uganda

31. Paris

32. Lake District, England

33. Tajikistan

34. Antakya, Turkey

35. Leipzig, Germany

36. Lima, Peru3

7. Molise, Italy

38. Copenhagen

39. Richmond, Va.

40. Mount Kenya

41. Minorca, Spain

42. Oberammergau, Germany

43. Plymouth, England

44. Atlantic Forest, Brazil

45. Belle-Île, France

46. Val d’Aran, Spain

47. Mongolia

48. Juliana Trail, Slovenia

49. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

50. Transylvanian Alps, Romania

51. Urbino, Italy

52. Glacier National Park and Whitefish, Mont.

– with the New Zealand Herald