Travellers’ bible, Lonely Planet, has announced its top 10 cities for the year 2012. And guess what? Little old Australia features with a very random city.

How much attention should you pay to Lonely Planet? If you’re in a foreign country with one of its current guide books, then a hell of a lot. The guidebooks and the other travel publications are brilliant. But what about some of its lists published on the Lonely Planet website? With a grain of salt, we would say. Newcastle ended up making it into a list of top cities you should visit once upon a time. Yes, Newcastle, New South Wales, not England. Sure, Newcastle is nice, but a holiday destination for foreign visitors when the Hunter is just around the corner?

Now Lonely Planet has announced its top 10 cities to visit in 2012. No surprises at all that London tops the charts thanks to the Olympics, but there are certainly a few shocks in there. In at number two is Muscat, Oman. Why? A massive push by the government to attract tourists has resulted in fantastic shops, great hotels and some serious atmosphere that is relatively safe. But does that push really put it ahead of places such as Paris, New York and all the other staples of modern travel?

Other shocks include Bangalore in at three (The “Elvis of South Asian megacities”), Cadiz at four (nope, us neither – it’s in Spain apparently) and Darwin at number 10 – “the triumph of Australia’s ‘Top End’” says Lonely Planet. Possibly because there is nothing else up there…

For the full list, head to Lonely Planet.