The Best Places For Outdoor Enthusiasts To Travel In 2023, According To Air Quality - Men's Health Magazine Australia

The Best Places For Outdoor Enthusiasts To Travel In 2023, According To Air Quality

Looking for a breath of fresh air this holiday season? These are the top destinations for outdoor enthusiasts, according to new research.

After a year spent trapped in never-ending traffic, wading through busy crowds and battling through the soul-sucking force that is the urban architecture of concrete jungles, a getaway to the great outdoors could be just what you need. A new study from camping provider Hipcamp reveals the world’s best destinations for lovers of the outdoors. With New Zealand taking the crown and Australia not far behind.

Hipcamp’s ‘Fresh Air Living Index’ analysed the factors that nature aficionados find most important. By compiling data from seven different categories, Hipcamp was able to assign scores to different nations based on their performance over key areas. The categories assessed include environmental sustainability, natural UNESCO sites, air pollution levels and the prevalence of green spaces. Countries were ranked from best to worst according to the data and were then assigned a score.

While we live in a world full of travel possibilities, Hipcamp’s index shows that we have one of the best outdoor destinations right in our own backyard, with Australia ranked at number three. Australia scored highly for the quality of our green parks and spaces, low levels of pollution and a remarkable number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Australia has a total of 14 natural UNESCO heritage sites. That’s more than anyone in the top ten and is only narrowly behind China for the most of any country. But are we really surprised? Australia is renowned all over the world for its natural beauty. With locations like Uluru, the massive monolith at our red centre and the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s richest coral reef ecosystem, it’s not a shock to see Australia ranked so highly. Australian outdoorsmen rejoice, you don’t have to go very far to enjoy some the best planet earth has to offer.

Australia fared well in the index with a top-three ranking, but couldn’t compete with our neighbours across the Tasman Sea. New Zealand topped the rankings, with impressive scores in nearly every assessed category. The attractiveness of New Zealand’s natural assets were the highest in the entire study. That category measures how many tourists visit a country mainly to see its natural attractions. Despite our plethora of natural wonders, Australia was the worst of the top ten in that category. Must be because we also have more than our fair share of man-made wonders.

It’s hardly surprising to see New Zealand top the rankings. With a diverse natural landscape featuring hot springs, breathtaking mountain ranges and spectacular fjords, New Zealand deserves the top spot.

Switzerland scored the highest sustainability ranking with 5.63 out of 6. The Swiss have done a remarkable job in protecting their natural environment and resources while also actively remedying the impacts of climate change. But Switzerland barely managed to crack the top ten due to high air pollution and low online tourism demand.

If you’re all about checking off a bucket list of UNESCO heritage sites, head to China. China was the only nation to top Australia in the heritage site category with 15. To qualify for that prestigious UNESCO listing, a site needs some amazing natural value and China has it in excess. It isn’t all good news for China though, coming in at number 51 in the index, China has some of the highest air pollution levels and lowest natural sustainability of any country.

Perhaps the best part of stepping out into the wilderness is breathing in the fresh air. The kind of thick, crisp air that you can taste is bountiful in Finland, who scored the world’s lowest air pollution level. While the tiny central European nation of Slovenia took out the title of highest quality green spaces with a whopping score of 86 out of 100.

It seems that if you want to get in touch with nature, Europe is the place to be. 18 of the top 25 nations are in Europe, which as a continent, was head and shoulders above the rest. But there are a handful of nations scattered across the globe that also performed well, leaving outdoor adventurers and nature fanatics spoilt for choice this holiday period.

The Best Destinations for Outdoor Enthusiasts in Every Continent:

Africa: Kenya

Europe: Norway

South America: Brazil

Asia: Japan

North America: Costa Rica

Oceania: New Zealand

By Cayle Reid

Cayle Reid is a fan of everything sports and fitness. He spends his free time at the gym, on his surfboard or staying up late watching sports in incompatible time zones.

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