Aussie town tops APAC best list

Margaret River has been named the number one Asia-Pacific destination for 2019.

“Asia Pacific has it all,” says Lonely Planet media spokesperson Chris Zeiher. “Its food delights the senses, its forests and seas teem with life, and its cities fizz with culture and creativity. Our experts have explored this vast region’s highlands, islands and everything in between to find the best places to visit this year.”

Lonely Planet last week announced the Best in Asia Pacific awards, naming Margaret River and Southern Western Australia as the places to be in the year ahead.

Lonely Planet’s Best in Asia Pacific 2019 are:

1. Margaret River and Southern WA, Australia

“Take one look at Meelup Beach and you’ll wonder where it’s been all your life: the West Australian bush parts to reveal ocean the hue of a Bombay Sapphire bottle, which is typical of the coastline stretching from Margaret River to the state’s south,” states Lonely Planet.

“Beyond the sand, some of the country’s slickest wineries, breweries and restaurants lie between tracts of tall-tree forest and kangaroo-dotted farmland.

“Locals have long felt their turf rivals the east coast travel trail; now, 17-hour direct flights from London to capital city Perth put it at Europe’s fingertips. Adding to the argument are coveted food and culture-amped festivals, from Gourmet Escape to Truffle Kerfuffle and Taste Great Southern. There’s also amazing surf, whales aplenty and DIY coastal hikes with paved sections, improving accessibility for all.”

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2. Shikoku, Japan

 

“This somewhat off-the-beaten-path haven is finally being discovered by non-Japanese visitors, with an increasing number of international flights winging into the main cities of Takamatsu and Matsuyama.”

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3. Bay of Islands and Northland, New Zealand

 

“Northland is the cradle of the country’s culture and history – both for the indigenous Maori people and for the European settlers who followed them. The two formally came together with the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in the Bay of Islands, and 2020 sees the 180th anniversary of that key nation-building event.”

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4. Singapore

 

“Singapore was one of the brightest stars in the 2018 movie blockbuster Crazy Rich Asians, and the Lion City is hipper and hotter than ever. 2019 offers a chance to participate in the city’s bicentennial, but also to celebrate more than 700 years of Singapore’s rich, diverse history.”

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5. The Cook Islands

 

“A visit to the Cook Islands, 15 tiny islets, far-flung over a swathe of the deep-blue, breezy Pacific Ocean, is bound to rejuvenate even the most jaded. And locals on the main island, Rarotonga, are welcoming visitors off an increasing number of international flights to their Polynesian paradise.”

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6. Central Vietnam

 

“Hue’s vibrant cuisine showcases the city’s imperial legacy, while south in Hoi An’s storied laneways, local dishes include fragrant cao lau noodles. Seafood stars in nearby Danang, and the city alongside the Han River is becoming one of Vietnam’s most exciting urban destinations.”

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7. Fiji

 

“From solar-powered resorts that serve locally harvested food to coral reef restoration projects and limited plastic usage, this vulnerable island nation has moved headlong into eco-tourism. October 10, 2020, will mark the island nation’s 50th year of independence, called ‘Fiji Day’

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8. Palawan, Philippines

 

“These are the heady days when new air routes and upgraded roads make it easier than ever to explore the dramatic seascapes and wildlife-laden jungles of the slender 400km-long main island (also called Palawan) before it inevitably becomes more developed.”

9. Beijing, China

 

“Beijing is changing fast as the new decade approaches. In a bid to battle the smog, an eco-friendly bike-sharing scheme has launched, and the rapidly expanding subway is expected to reduce traffic congestion. High-speed links will soon race passengers to the extraordinary, Zaha Hadid-designed, starfish-shaped Beijing Daxing International, the world’s largest airport, which is slated to open later this year.”

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10. Cambodia

 

“The skyline of Phnom Penh is on the up, bringing sky bars and designer dining; the Southern Islands are generating a beach buzz thanks to new boutique and luxury resorts; colonial-era vestiges are under restoration in Battambang and Kampot; and in remote areas like Koh Kong and Mondulkiri, wildlife spotting is drawing visitors off-the-beaten track. New airlines are making connections between Siem Reap and the South Coast smoother, with hydrofoils whisking people to the islands.”

To celebrate this year’s Best in Asia PacificLonely Planet is giving you the chance to win a tour of their choice to explore the region with small group adventure travel specialists, G Adventures. There are over 250 tours to choose from across Asia and Pacific, and the winner will receive a $5000 voucher from G Adventures to spend on their favourite, plus $4000 towards two return flights. To enter, simply explain – in 25 words or less – where in Asia Pacific you’d like to go and why.

Have you been to Margaret River? Would you recommend it to our members? Which destinations in the top 10 would you recommend?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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