A recent study by adventure travel company Explore Worldwide has identified the most compelling places in Australia and around the world based on their main location mentions in over 1.2 million Wikipedia entries.
Wikipedia is one of the world’s leading online encyclopaedias with nearly one million unique visitors per month. Any Wikipedia article that highlights an event, structure or significant landmark in a particular location is labelled as a ‘primary location’. Explore’s experts examined the primary location tags of these 1.2 million Wikipedia entries as part of their extensive research.
To counterbalance the dominance of English-language references, an ‘interest weighting score’ was used. The results showed that, according to Wikipedia, the most interesting places in Australia are Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Swan Hill, Mount Isa and Maryborough also made the top ten.
Australia’s two largest cities take the top two spots as the country’s most interesting places, with Victoria’s capital Melbourne taking the crown with an Interest Score of 416. Melbourne is the subject of more than 438 Wikipedia articles, covering everything from its Aboriginal Victorian history to the city’s gold rush boom in the 1850s, its skyscraper architecture and its cultural significance as a global centre for sport, music, comedy and the arts.
After Sydney in second place and Brisbane in third, Alice Springs is the fourth most interesting place in Australia. It offers explorers an excellent base to explore some of Australia’s beautiful desert wildlife and landscapes, including Simpsons Gap.
Maryborough ranks fifth with an Interest Score of 208. Wikipedia articles explore the Gubbi Gubbi (Kabi Kabi) and Batjala (Butchulla) people, who were the original inhabitants of the Maryborough region at least 6,000 years ago, and the city’s role in the sugar trade.
Known as one of Australia’s wettest towns, the Wikipedia entries linked to Innisfail include articles on its banana and sugar trade, as well as its heritage listed sites and variety of temples and churches.
Swan Hill has a Wikipedia Interest Score of 180 and its history of river fishing is now commemorated by an oversized model of a giant Murray cod on display outside the railway station – a reminder of the large cod that were caught in the river before irrigation and drought affected their numbers.
Townsville is eighth on Australia’s list of interesting places to visit, with a tropical beachfront, Riverway lagoons, Reef HQ – the world’s largest living coral aquarium, a museum built around a sunken warship and Magnetic Island, a beautiful island made up mostly of national park land.
Mount Isa makes the top ten thanks to its mining successes. It is home to one of the most productive single mines in the world, producing lead, silver, copper and zinc.
Finally, in tenth place, Warwick makes the list thanks to the ‘Warwick Incident’, in which an egg was thrown at the then Prime Minister, leading to the eventual formation of the Australian Commonwealth Police.