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  • Cheesy jaffles, iced vanilla slices and gold-tier status hot chips: Australia has spoken, revealing the best of the best

    Wednesday, 27 October 2021 (Sydney, Australia) – Today, leading travel site Wotif.com announces the winners of this year’s Uniquely Aussie Awards – the annual guide to Australia’s best local secrets, as nominated by Aussies.

    Celebrating quintessential Aussie travel experiences across six categories, the awards highlight the unique joys synonymous with local travel – hot chips on the beach, regional bakeries serving up nostalgic baked goods, country pubs full of colourful characters, and stunning hotel pools in iconic Aussie settings. In addition, this year’s awards also set out to profile the many local legends, businesses and attractions that make communities tick and represent what travelling in Australia is all about.

    Now in their fourth year, the awards aim to encourage Aussies to explore their own backyard and support their favourite businesses – more relevant than ever following the continued challenges faced by the tourism and hospitality industries over the past 18 months.

    For the nearly four in 10 Aussies (38%)* who feel that they have only touched the surface when it comes to Australian travel, the promise of eased travel restrictions this summer means that, whether you’re looking to taste test the country’s best hot chips, or relax in a cabana beside a hotel pool, it’s a great time to get out and explore the underrated gems that Australia does best.

    Raking in thousands of nominations from all over the country, it’s clear the little things in life often stir the greatest debate. Whether you prefer chicken salt or gravy on your chips, call it a snot block over a vanilla slice, or demand a savoury rather than sweet jaffle, this year’s awards continue to uncover some of Australia’s best kept local secrets.

    Wotif 2021 Uniquely Aussie Award National Winners –

    • Best Jaffle: Miss Jaffles, Cronulla, NSW – With 15 different jaffles on the menu, there’s one for every occasion, like the Miss Pizzeria or the decadent dessert jaffle Miss Biscoff – think caramilk, biscoff, strawberries and ice cream with the crimped toasted bread we all know and love.
    • Best Vanilla Slice: Bridgewater Bakehouse, Bridgewater on Loddon & Bendigo, VIC – Melt in your mouth goodness can be found at Bridgewater Bakehouse, with their famous vanilla slice offering the perfect ratio of silky-smooth custard and crisp (never soggy) pastry, topped with a “can’t help yourself” layer of icing.
    • Best Country Pub: Beechwood Hotel, Beechwood, NSW – It’s all about the people you meet when visiting a country pub, and Beechwood Hotel is said to be at the heart of its community. With friendly service, great food and a true-blue history (if you feel like ditching the car, there’s a spot out front for your horse), this humble pub offers some of Australia’s best country hospitality.
    • Best Hot Chips: Chicken Chef, Blair Athol, SA –Said to have mastered the crispy on the outside, soft on the inside requirement of any good hot chip, Chicken Chef’s “mouthwatering” hot chips and famous salt are beloved by locals. The secret to their winning recipe? No short cuts. Hand-made with the freshest potatoes and double cooked for that signature crunch.
    • Best Hotel Pool: JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa, Gold Coast, QLD – The “magical lagoon” at this Gold Coast resort is anything but your average hotel swimming pool. Whether it’s snorkeling with tropical fish, gliding down the waterslide or cocktails in your cabana, everyone’s a winner here.
    • Best National Park: Kakadu National Park, Jabiru, NT – Australia’s largest national park is also the best according to Aussies, thanks to its historical and cultural significance, beautiful scenery and incredible wildlife. A “truly spectacular experience” that every Aussie needs to do.

    Wotif Managing Director, Daniel Finch said: “Country charm, cheesy jaffles and creamy vanilla slices – no one does them quite like Australia, and the thousands of nominations we received this year shows Aussies are a passionate bunch. There’s so much to love and discover about Australia, and with a really exciting summer period ahead, we hope to inspire and encourage Aussies to plan their next adventure and support local businesses.”

    While everyone thinks their favourite haunt is the best, there are a few things it seems all Aussies can agree on:

    • Move over vegemite: vanilla slices are the unofficial delicacy of Australia, and perhaps most contentious, generating the largest number of nominations.
    • If the vanilla slice doesn’t “melt in your mouth” from the first bite, you’re not doing it right. The “creaminess of the custard” and the “flakiness of the pastry” needs to be spot on. Size really does matter, with Aussies wanting a slice that’s “big enough to share” (not that you'd want to).
    • The humble Aussie jaffle has sure come a long way. These days, it’s all about variety, with “cool flavour combos” and “fancy fillings” the deciding factor between amateur and gold-tier status.
    • When it comes to country pubs, “country characters” and “solid vibes” are mandatory. Good, cold beer on tap and a schnitty certainly don’t hurt either, along with flat screens to show the footy.
    • The best hot chips have got to have that crunch factor while remaining fluffy on the inside, of course. As for size? While thin chips were slightly more popular, what Aussies are really after is the goldilocks of chips, “Not too thin, but not too fat”.
    • As for national parks, this is where Aussies really showed their pride, appreciative of the country’s incredible natural spaces, sometimes scary wildlife, and rich cultural history.

    Finch continues: “With an increased appetite for domestic exploration, and to satisfy Australia’s ongoing (friendly) state rivalries, this year Wotif is again revealing each state’s finalists. For those wanting to take their time exploring or unable to travel interstate right now, we’re excited to recognise the top contenders from around Australia, proving that no matter where you are in Australia, there’s a local gem worthy of the support.”

    As Aussies gear up for an epic summer, the awards are a reminder that often the best holiday memories are made by taking your time and enjoying the underrated travel experiences. Over four in 10 (42%) Aussies agree that doing so, allows you to get a better feel for the area, discover new things and connect with locals, while 40% of Aussies also say the laid-back, friendly nature of Australia makes travelling domestically a refreshing experience*.

    To discover this year’s best Uniquely Aussie experiences head to www.wotif.com/aussieawards.

    Wotif Uniquely Aussie Awards – National Finalists

    Best Jaffle

    Best Vanilla Slice

    1. Miss Jaffles, Cronulla, NSW

    1. Bridgewater Bakehouse, Bridgewater on Loddon & Bendigo, VIC

    2. Foxtrot Unicorn, Perth, WA

    2. Ross Bakery Inn, Ross, TAS

    3. TINY of Beechworth, Beechworth, VIC

    3. Banana Boogie Bakery, Belair, SA

    4. Union Kiosk, Melbourne, VIC

    4. Vanilla Slice Café, Sorrento, VIC

    5. Bad Frankie, Fitzroy, VIC

    5. The French Lettuce, Carlton, VIC

    6. Jaffle Shack, Geraldton, WA

    6. Flinders Vanilla Slice, Cheltenham, VIC

    7. Jaffelato, Rockingham, WA

    7. Gumnut Patisserie, Mittagong, Bowral & Berrima, NSW

    8. Hendrik’s Cognac and Wine Bar, Crows Nest, NSW

    8. Preece’s at the Jetty, Redcliffe, QLD

    9. Stairwell Coffee, Surfers Paradise, QLD

    9. Café Bear & Scoobs, Geelong, VIC

    10. Waffles and Jaffles, Coonalpyn, SA

    10. Bourkies Bake House, Woodend, VIC

    Best Country Pub

    Best Hot Chips

    1. Beechwood Hotel, Beechwood, NSW

    1. Chicken Chef, Blair Athol, SA

    2. Royal Hotel, Mendooran, NSW

    2. Pelican Rocks Seafood Restaurant & Café, Greenwell Point, NSW

    3. Daly Waters Pub, Daly Waters, NT

    3. Kingsley’s Chicken, Canberra, ACT

    4. Victoria Hotel, Bathurst, NSW

    4. Varsity Bar, WA

    5. Settlers Tavern, Margaret River, WA

    5. Cripps Bakehouse, Bellerive, TAS

    6. Mount Warning Hotel, Uki, NSW

    6. Sotos Fish Shop, Semaphore, SA

    7. Nindigully Pub, Nindigully, QLD

    7. Chicken Cave, Fulham Gardens, SA

    8. Meringandan Pub, Toowoomba, QLD

    8. Super Rooster, Toowoomba, QLD

    9. Northcliffe Hotel & Motor Inn, Northcliffe, WA

    9. The Yeeros Shop, Marrickville, NSW

    10. Noojee Hotel, Noojee, VIC

    10. Parkdale Free Range Charcoal Chicken, VIC

    Best Hotel Pool

    Best National Park

    1. JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa, Gold Coast, QLD

    1. Kakadu National Park, NT

    2. Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas, Port Douglas, QLD

    2. Litchfield National Park, NT

    3. Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection Resort, Cairns, QLD

    3. Royal National Park, NSW

    4. Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour, Sydney, NSW

    4. Karijini National Park, WA

    5. Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove Resort, an IHG Resort, Hope Island, QLD

    5. Cradle Mountain–Lake St Clair National Park, TAS

    6. Emporium South Bank, Brisbane, QLD

    6. Grampians National Park, VIC

    7. Intercontinental Hayman Island, QLD

    7. Daintree National Park, QLD

    8. Palazzo Versace Gold Coast, QLD

    8. Noosa National Park, QLD

    9. Mindil Beach Casino Resort, NT

    9. Wilsons Promontory National Park, VIC

    10. The Ville Resort & Casino, Townsville, QLD

    10. Freycinet National Park, TAS

    Wotif Uniquely Aussie Awards – State Finalists

    New South Wales

    Victoria

    Best Jaffle: Miss Jaffles, Cronulla

    Best Jaffle: TINY of Beechworth, Beechworth

    Best Vanilla Slice: Gumnut Patisserie, Mittagong, Bowral & Berrima

    Best Vanilla Slice: Bridgewater Bakehouse, Bridgewater on Loddon & Bendigo

    Best Country Pub: Beechwood Hotel, Beechwood

    Best Country Pub: Noojee Hotel, Noojee

    Best Hot Chips: Pelican Rocks Seafood Restaurant & Café, Greenwell Point

    Best Hot Chips: Parkdale Free Range Charcoal Chicken, Parkdale

    Best Hotel Pool: Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour, Sydney

    Best Hotel Pool: Art Series – The Chen, Box Hill

    Best National Park: Royal National Park

    Best National Park: Wilsons Promontory National Park

    Queensland

    Northern Territory

    Best Jaffle: Stairwell Coffee, Surfers Paradise

    Best Jaffle: The Black Russian Caravan Bar, Katherine

    Best Vanilla Slice: Preece’s at the Jetty, Redcliffe

    Best Vanilla Slice: Kurt’s Cakes, Darwin

    Best Country Pub: Nindigully Pub, Nindigully

    Best Country Pub: Daly Waters Pub, Daly Waters

    Best Hot Chips: Super Rooster, Toowoomba

    Best Hot Chips: Adelaide River Inn Pub & Bistro

    Best Hotel Pool: JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa

    Best Hotel Pool: Mindil Beach Casino Resort, Darwin

    Best National Park: Daintree National Park

    Best National Park: Kakadu National Park

    Western Australia

    Australian Capital Territory

    Best Jaffle: Foxtrot Unicorn, Perth

    Best Jaffle: Intra Café, Campbell

    Best Vanilla Slice: The Shearing Shed, Northampton

    Best Vanilla Slice: Dobinsons Bakery, Belconnen

    Best Country Pub: Settlers Tavern, Margaret River

    Best Country Pub: The Tradies, Dickson

    Best Hot Chips: Varsity Bar, Morley

    Best Hot Chips: Kingsley’s Chicken, Canberra

    Best Hotel Pool: Cable Beach Resort, Broome

    Best Hotel Pool: Knightsbridge, Kingston

    Best National Park: Karijini National Park

    Best National Park: Booderee National Park

    South Australia

    Tasmania

    Best Jaffle: Waffles and Jaffles, Coonalpyn

    Best Jaffle: St J's Deli, Hobart

    Best Vanilla Slice: Banana Boogie Bakery, Belair

    Best Vanilla Slice: Ross Bakery Inn, Ross

    Best Country Pub: Overland Corner Hotel, Overland Corner

    Best Country Pub: Derwent Bridge Wilderness Hotel

    Best Hot Chips: Chicken Chef, Blair Athol

    Best Hot Chips: Cripps Bakehouse Bellerive

    Best Hotel Pool: Hilton Hotel, Adelaide

    Best Hotel Pool: Aspect Tamar Valley Resort

    Best National Park: Belair National Park

    Best National Park: Cradle Mountain–Lake St Clair National Park

    - ENDS -

    For more information or interview requests, contact pr@wotif.com.

    *Wotif research commissioned in collaboration with YouGov, September 2021. Total sample of 1,045 Australian adults 18+. The data was weighted by age, gender and region to reflect the latest ABS population estimates.

    Wotif Uniquely Aussie Awards are based on public nominations via www.wotif.com from 13 – 24 September 2021.

    A note about COVID-19 and Travel: Before booking, travellers should consult the latest government restrictions for the area in which they wish to travel. Travellers should be mindful that government restrictions are in constant review and travel guidelines may change between booking and travel.

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