New York Times names top, bottom of Australia in 2018 hot list

The top and bottom of Australia have been named in The New York Times list of top "52 Places to Go in 2018".

Just missing out on a top-10 position, the Northern Territory's Top End sits at No. 12 on the list. The aboriginal communities, history and natural beauty of the region have contributed greatly to tourism in the territory and are celebrated by The New York Times.

As well as giving special mention to the 2017 Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, The New York Times made note of all of the scenic tours available to visitors: "Exclusive access tours to Aboriginal Homelands of Kakadu National Park and Arnhem Land, expands with a second camp dedicated to visitors seeking cultural experiences and indigenous rock art, while Aboriginal-owned Pudakul Tours opens a six-room camp perched on a crocodile-filled billabong."

The Top End's small cities, including Darwin, Palmerston, and Katherine, are also given a notable mention. Where the territory's natural landscape offers visitors a glimpse at never-before-seen beauty, city-hubs give insight into the diverse cultures Australia has to offer.

Further down the list at No. 33 is Tasmania. Tassie is honoured for its oysters, sparkling wines and "booming culinary scene".

Head chef of Hobart-based restaurant Franklin, David Moyle is credited with sparking Tasmania's food revolution, paving the way when he opened his restaurant in 2015. Special mentions also go to restaurants Dier Makr and the Agrarian Kitchen Eatery & Store, both celebrated for their use of fresh Tasmanian ingredients and unique take on local culture.

This year's top spot was given to New Orleans - "a one-of-a-kind American city".

An amalgamation of European, Carribean, Latin American, African and indigenous cultures, New Orleans has been attracting visitors for 300 years with its music, food and language. Although 2005's Hurricane Katrina left the city less vibrant than usual, it's back on it's feet and as bustling as ever.

For those seeking adventure, the No. 2 destination is the place to go - Colombia. Natural beauties like the Pacific Coast rainforests and the rainbow-colour river Cano Cristales are worth adding to (and crossing off) any bucket list.

Ever a world-favourite, Italy comes in at No. 3. Specifically, the southern region of Basilicata. Full of caves, beaches, forests and mountains, it's described as Italy's hidden gem: not many people know about it but, according to The New York Times, everyone should.

Filling spots four and five on the list are two destinations that couldn't be more different. The Caribbean and Vierwaldstattersee in Switzerland. Summer and winter. The Caribbean's many tropical islands, including Dominica, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin and the United States Virgin Islands, are a must-see with their crystal blue waters. While the New York Times insists a visit to Stoos, a "scenic alpine resort and home to 21 miles of piste, a new lady bug-themed hiking trail, cheese markets, and yodeling and alphorn concerts", is a must when in Vierwaldstattersee.

Unique destinations filling others spots on the list include Estonia, which sits at No. 16. The Estonian National Museum is recommended as especially worth visiting. Described as "a stunning, [350-metre-long] glass structure set on a Soviet-era airbase runway in the city of Tartu" it is a symbol of national spirit and pride.

The young-at-heart might like to know that Disney Springs in Florida also made the cut. No. 41 on the list, is noted for being a surprisingly sophisticated destination despite it's affiliation with Walt Disney World. Visitors are invited to "trade corn dogs for cocktails" when visiting Disney Springs as the neighbourhood boasts an impressive and grown-up culinary line-up. "Rick Bayless, Masaharu Morimoto, Wolfgang Puck and Art Smith have all opened restaurants here, and George Miliotes is launching a wine bar in spring 2018 that will be the only master sommelier-led wine bar in the state."

It seems food is a theme common throughout most of the New York Times' selections this year. Destinations that have recovered from past disaster also appear frequently as do tropical locations, such as Fiji and the Cambodian Coast.

The complete list of 52 destinations can be viewed here.