Inviting, accessible urban centers and stunning natural beauty go hand in hand in these popular destinations, voted best in the world by T+L readers.
“Please go there!” This comment from a voter sums up how T+L readers feel about Sydney, the city they’ve consistently chosen as the best in Australia for the past 23 years. Other readers called out the outstanding beaches close to the city center and the friendly people who take justifiable pride in their metropolis. The compact and accessible neighborhoods, the inventive restaurant culture, and the stunning architecture — including, of course, the iconic Opera House — all made an impression. And for one reader, a visit to Sydney gave her the chance to cross a major item off her bucket list: “I got to take a selfie with a koala, and my life was complete.”
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe— to share their opinions on the top cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated cities on their sights and landmarks, culture, cuisine, friendliness, shopping, and overall value.
Related: The 2018 World's Best Awards
Of course, Sydney isn’t the only antipodean city to shine. Melbourne has many of the same assets as its sibling, including intriguing architecture, world-class dining, and proximity to the shore. But it also has a hip, scrappy edge, including a vibrant street-art presence. “I loved Melbourne, especially the people,” said one reader. “I stopped someone on the street to ask for directions and spent 15 minutes talking with them.”
New Zealand continues to intrigue travelers who’ve swooned over its cinematic natural beauty in The Lord of the Rings and A Wrinkle in Time. Queenstown, on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, is a year-round haven for adventure lovers, with opportunities for skiing, jet boating, ziplining, and bungee jumping. Auckland is the largest city in this compact country, as well as one of its most multicultural. The capital city of Wellington is also New Zealand’s creative hub, with a buzzing food scene, craft breweries, and interesting museums such as Te Papa, home to fossils, contemporary art, and Maori cultural artifacts. “There are many little suburbs and districts to experience,” wrote in one reader.
Read on to see how all these remarkable cities scored.