Top End at the Top End of New York Times' '52 Places to Go in 2018' List

  • Written by Jodi Clark

The Northern Territory's spectacular Top End has been ranked an impressive number 12 in The New York Times' annual 52 Places to Go list, one of only two destinations in Australia to be listed.

Each year, the Times compiles the hot list of 52 global destinations to inspire travellers for the coming year, including both well-known and off the beaten track destinations. This year's theme was somewhere that 'yielded something magical'.

The guide highlighted the Top End's incredible cultural experiences, with exclusive access tours to Aboriginal homelands in World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park and Arnhem Land with Venture North Safaris, as well as Pudakul Tours - perched on a crocodile-filled billabong as just some of many unique experiences available to travellers.

Michael Tennant, Acting CEO of the Department of Tourism and Culture said he was thrilled to see The Territory recognised by such a venerated publication.

“It's fantastic to see the Top End has been named as part of the 52 Best Places to Go in 2018, by the New York Times,” said Mr Tennant.

“The result is a testament to the NT as a truly world-class and extraordinary tourism destination. Although, with breathtaking and pristine scenery combined with authentic Aboriginal cultural experiences including the world's oldest indigenous rock art galleries, it's no surprise to us that the NT has made this list,” he said.

New York Times reporter Adam H. Graham wrote, “Australia's remote Top End – the northernmost hunk of the NT – is experiencing an uptick of tourism to its Aboriginal communities, the world's oldest civilisations, according to 2017 DNA analysis. The 2017 Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair saw record crowds, while new camps, tourism and indigenous partnerships are afoot in 2018.”

The Northern Territory's Top End spans Darwin, Kakadu and Arnhem Land in the north down to Katherine in the south and offers travellers a vibrant tropical experience underpinned by a blend of brilliant outdoor attractions, famous sunsets and a colourful calendar of outdoor events and festivals.

One operator recognised as part of the guide was Venture North Safaris, known for exclusive access tours to Aboriginal Homelands of Kakadu National Park and Arnhem Land.

Aboriginal-owned Pudakul Tours was also called out in the guide for its six-room camp perched on a crocodile-filled Billabong, while the Top End's small cities – Darwin, Palmerston and Katherine – were celebrated for their new markets and indigenous centres, giving visitors hubs to appreciate the vast region's diverse culture.

The NT is joined by Tasmania as the only Australian destinations to feature on the hot list, with Tasmania coming in at a respectable number 33. For information on the Top End and other incredible NT destinations, visit

The full list of the 52 Places to Go in 2018: 

  1. New Orleans, Louisiana (USA)
  2. Columbia
  3. Basilicata, Italy
  4. The Caribbean
  5. Vierwaldstattersee, Switzerland
  6. Route of Parks, Chile
  7. Gangwon Province South Korea
  8. Cincinnati, Ohia (USA)
  9. Bhutan
  10. Glasgow, Scotland
  11. East Cape, Los Cabos (Mexico)
  12. Top End, Australia
  13. Liuwa Plain National Park, Zambia
  14. Baltimore, Maryland (USA)
  15. Estonia
  16. Gansu, China
  17. Saskatoon, Canada
  18. Seville, Spain
  19. Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica
  20. Branson, Missouri (USA)
  21. Sao Tome and Principe
  22. Germany's Western States
  23. Fiji
  24. Chattanooga, Tennessee (USA)
  25. Oslo, Norway
  26. Honshu's West Coast, Japan
  27. Arles, France
  28. Keulap, Peru
  29. Downtown Denver, Colorado
  30. Kigali, Rwanda
  31. Belgrade, Serbia
  32. Tasmania, Australia
  33. Iceland
  34. Rogue River, Oregon (USA)
  35. Lithuania
  36. Buffalo, New York (USA)
  37. La Paz, Bolivia
  38. Prague, Czech Republic
  39. Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  40. Disney Springs, Florida (USA)
  41. Mageve, France
  42. Chandigarh, India
  43. Seattle, Washington (USA)
  44. Rotorua, New Zealand
  45. Ypres, Belgium
  46. Tangier, Morocco
  47. Ribera Del Duero, Spain
  48. Montgomery, Alabama (USA)
  49. Sudtirol, Italy
  50. Bristol, England
  51. Luang Prabang, Laos

For more information, view the New York Times 52 Places to Go in 2018 list here

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