Now in our fourth year, it’s always a privilege to announce the winners of the Aussie Town of the Year Awards but after a rocky 12 months for tourism, this year’s awards are more important than ever. Especially as some of our most beloved holiday destinations areas are reporting up to a 90% profit loss* during the height of the pandemic. When it comes to the Aussie travel industry, we at Wotif always like to ask: wot can we do to help?
Well, we think now’s the perfect time to recognise and celebrate the people and communities of our finest tourism destinations with our fourth annual Aussie Town of the Year Awards! We’ve whittled it down to a fabulous top 10 and this year’s shortlist has been chosen based on all-important factors like accommodation quality, affordability and traveller satisfaction. They’ve also made an effort to meet the changing needs of travellers over the last year by offering increased flexibility, good-value deals and appealing activities and attractions.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the top 10 and find your next Aussie getaway destination – if you can choose just one!
10. The Entrance, NSW
A relaxing family favourite on the Central Coast where the lake meets the ocean, The Entrance has plenty of water-centric activities to enjoy, from fishing, hiring a boat or simply exploring one of the many wonderful local beaches on offer.
9. Port Macquarie, NSW
This seaside spot is the ultimate all-rounder. Home to some of NSW’s best beaches, as well as excellent eateries, the beloved Koala Hospital, a buzzing city centre and plenty of potential for adventure in the surrounding areas, Port Macquarie is always an excellent choice.
8. Exmouth, WA
You know Exmouth for its unrivalled diving experiences on Ningaloo Reef, but there’s even more to discover about this stunning part of Australia – it’s the perfect base for an adventure getaway both in and out of the water. Head to Cape Range National Park and you’ll find breathtaking canyons as well as some incredible wildflowers.
7. Hervey Bay, QLD
How can you go wrong with a place that locals describe as the best address on earth? Visit Hervey Bay for its reliable sunshine, whale watching, incredible diving experiences and location near Fraser Island, just a short ferry ride away.
6. McLaren Vale, SA
Cheesemaking, wine blending, a cyclable Shiraz trail, 31 kms of pristine coastline and over 70 cellar doors, just 40 minutes out of Adelaide. The toughest decision to make in McLaren Vale is where to begin your adventure!
5. Lakes Entrance, VIC
The water is where you want to be when visiting Lakes Entrance – where the Gippsland Lakes meets the Bass Strait and the Tasman Sea. Spend your day kayaking, fishing or swimming, and your evenings dining at one of the many great restaurants in and around town.
4. Mudgee, NSW
Mudgee offers country hospitality at its finest. Sip your way around the many world-class wineries, visit a farm, a neighbouring heritage village or just sit back and admire the sense of community in this humble regional town.
3. Apollo Bay, VIC
You’ll come to Apollo Bay for the great outdoors but you’ll stay for the delicious fresh produce! Surrounded by endless beaches, walking trails and the Great Otway National Park, Apollo Bay is a top place to base yourself while exploring the Great Ocean Road.
2. Pokolbin, NSW
If it’s indulgence and relaxation you’re after, then the rolling hills and picturesque vistas of Pokolbin in the beautiful Hunter Valley region are the ideal setting for some R&R, just a short drive from Sydney.
1. Cairns, QLD
What could be better than being the gateway to one World Heritage site? Being on the doorstep of two, of course! While in Cairns, spend some time exploring the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree National Park, as well the lesser known gems of the Cassowary Coast and the Atherton Tablelands, all within reach of some truly stunning coastline.
So, wot are you waiting for? I don’t know about you, but I think it’s time to start planning a trip!
*Based on feedback from the finalist councils and tourism boards, collected by Wotif in December 2020
Heads up! Due to COVID-19, government restrictions are in constant review and travel guidelines may change. We strongly recommend that all travellers seek further information about destinations and attractions before scheduling trips or making bookings, take extra care and follow all rules.