Australia's Great Barrier Reef is the second best place on the 'ultimate' travel list

The 2,300km-long Great Barrier Reef has been listed at No. 2 on a list of the 500 best places in the world on the Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist, published today.

Ten of the world’s all-time best places to visit are in Australia, according to the publisher.

Victoria’s 12 Apostles along the Great Ocean Road come in at No. 12, with Hobart’s weird and wonderful MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) beating London’s Tate Modern for a top 20 spot. The Sydney Opera House ranks at 57, just behind Kakadu National Park (56), with Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain at 32 and Uluru at 33.

Rounding out the Australian entries are the Blue Mountains National Park (202), Ningaloo Marine Park off Western Australia (265) and the former Tasmanian convict colony of Port Arthur (416), where 35 people were murdered by a lone gunman in 1996.

The Ultimate Travelist is the first time Lonely Planet has compiled the best places in the world and ranked them. The travel guide company, founded in 1972 by Australians Tony and Maureen Wheeler, is now owned by American billionaire Brad Kelley, who bought it from the BBC in 2013. The 360-page guide is $34.99.

The top 10 places in Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist are:

1. Temples of Angkor, Cambodia: “Angkor isn’t just an interesting ruin – it’s a spiritual epiphany in stone.”

Angkor Wat. Photo: Ian Walton/Getty Images

2. Great Barrier Reef, Australia: “This vital ecosystem enthrals all who visit, with abundant bird life and countless tropical islands and beaches.”

3. Machu Picchu, Peru: “No-one really knows what happened here. Wander wide-eyed around the mysterious mountain metropolis in a liberating knowledge vacuum.”

Macchu Pichu. Photo: Brent Stirton/Getty Images

4. Great Wall of China: “A few rugged souls trek the entire length of the wall, but even if you pick just one section, you’ll be humbled by its aura of indestructibility.”

The Great Wall of China. Photo: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

5. Taj Mahal, India: “There’s no other building in India that so perfectly encapsulates the attitudes and atmosphere of its era.”

Taj Mahal. Photo: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

6. Grand Canyon National Park, USA: “Come here to hike, to raft the wild Colorado River, to spot condors, black bears and elk, or simply to marvel.”

7. Colosseum, Italy: “Two millennia on, the hold it exerts over anyone who steps foot inside is as powerful as ever.”

The Colosseum in Rome. Photo: Simon Thomsen

8. Iguazú Falls, Brazil-Argentina: “Big? These falls are mind-bogglingly mighty: tourist boats that ply the foaming plunge pools below look like matchsticks.”

Iguacu Falls consists of 275 falls along 2.7km of the river, straddling the border between Brazil and Argentina. It’s one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature. Photo: David Silverman/Getty Images

9. Alhambra, Spain: “Put simply, this is Spain’s most beautiful monument.”

The Alhambra Palace was built between 13th and 15th centuries. Photo: Quim Llenas/Getty Images

10. Aya Sofya, Turkey: “Like the beautiful city in which it stands, Aya Sofya represents a unique crossroads of continents and faiths.”

Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images

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