Winners and Finalists

Winners and Finalists of the Victorian Tourism Awards are determined by achieving a score of 75% or above.

The winner is the highest scoring entrant in each category.

Hall of Fame is awarded to an entrant that has won the same category over 3 consecutive years.

2016 Tourism Award winners

  • 01. Major Tourist Attractions
  • 02. Tourist Attractions
  • 03. Major Festivals and Events
  • 04. Festivals & Events
  • 05. Ecotourism
  • 06. Cultural Tourism
  • 07. Qantas Awards for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Island Tourism
  • 08.Specialised Tourism Services
  • 09. Visitor Information Services
  • 10. Business Event Venues
  • 11. Major Tour & Transport Operators
  • 12. Tour & Transport Operators
  • 13. Adventure Tourism
  • 14. Destination Marketing
  • 15. Tourism Restaurants & Catering Services
  • 16. Tourism Wineries, Distilleries & Breweries
  • 17. Caravan & Holiday Parks
  • 18. Hosted Accommodation
  • 19. Unique Accommodation
  • 20. Self Contained Accommodation
  • 21. Standard Accommodation
  • 22. Deluxe Accommodation
  • 23. Luxury Accommodation
  • 24. New Tourism Business
  • 25. Excellence in Food Tourism
  • 26. Tourism Education and Training
  • 27. Local Government Award for Tourism
  • 28. Outstanding Contribution by an Individual
  • 29. Outstanding Contribution by Volunteers
  • 30. Young Achievers Award
  • RACV People's Choice Favourite Metro Attraction
  • RACV People's Choice Favourite Regional Attraction
  • All

Category


01. Major Tourist Attractions


Winner

Sovereign Hill

Sovereign Hill

 

Sovereign Hill brings to life the excitement of Australia’s great 1850s gold rushes. Named Australia’s best ‘Major Tourist Attraction’ three times, most recently in 2015, Sovereign Hill provides a unique Australian experience and a full day of entertainment.

From the excitement of the diggings where there’s real gold to be panned in the creek – and it’s ‘finders keepers’, to the bustling Main Street where costumed ladies and gents parade their new-found wealth.

Journey underground on a gold mine tour, see a spectacular $150,000 gold pour and meet goldfields characters including blacksmiths, candlemakers and confectioners.



Other Winners:

Silver: Puffing Billy Railway
Bronze: Phillip Island Nature Parks
Finalist: Falls Creek Resort Management

 

Category


02. Tourist Attractions


Winner

Creswick Woollen Mills

 

Creswick Woollen Mills sits on the outskirts of Creswick, a Goldfields town 20 minutes northeast of Ballarat and 120kms from Melbourne. Founded in 1947 it is now the last coloured woollen spinning mill remaining in Australia. The site has been transformed into a popular tourist destination which includes the interactive exhibit A Very Fine Yarn and a large natural fibre retail store, which now includes a café. The Mills’ resident alpacas are the most popular animals in the meet and greet areas. This attraction is successfully meeting a growing demand of Asian visitation to Victoria.



Other Winners:

Silver: Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park
Bronze: Rich River Golf Club Ltd
Finalist: Shepparton Motor Museum and Collectibles Limited
Finalist: Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit
Finalist: twistED Science at Play

Category


03. Major Festivals and Events


Winner

Australian Grand Prix Corporation

 

Since 1996, the Formula 1® Australian Grand Prix has played a pivotal role in positioning Melbourne as the sporting capital of the world.

Each year in March, thousands of fans flock to the picturesque Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit to see the star studded line-up of motorsport world champions, while our great city is beamed to millions of viewers around the globe.

With its future secured until 2023, the Formula 1® Australian Grand Prix showcases Melbourne like no other event, combining world-class international sport with premium hospitality, fine wine, food and entertainment to provide an unforgettable experience and lasting memories.



Other Winners:

Silver: Christmas in July
Bronze: 2016 Victorian Caravan, Camping & Touring Supershow

Category


04. Festivals & Events


Winner

Queenscliff Music Festival

 

Queenscliff Music Festival – The contemporary Australian Music Festival that inspires… through excellence, discovery and community spirit is a not-for-profit community based festival that has kick started the summer each last-weekend-in November for 20 years! QMF takes over the picturesque seaside village, with acts programmed throughout the festival grounds and spilling into the classic township of Queenscliff. The beach backdrop sets the perfect scene for an atmosphere like no other. The festival appeals to all ages and prides itself as a family friendly event. Held on the last weekend in November, QMF attracts over 14,000 festival attendees annually.

Category


05. Ecotourism


Winner

Peninsula Hot Springs

 

Peninsula Hot Springs connects visitors to the environment, to wellness and to each other in an intimate, immersive ecotourism experience. The natural geothermal mineral springs enable that connection in all seasons, all weather, every day. Bathing gives opportunity for all ages and abilities to be aware of and connect with the spectacular indigenous flora, fauna and skyscape of Peninsula Hot Springs. Our unique destination promise is to ‘connect with your pure nature’.



Other Winners:

Silver: Eco-Logic Education & Environment Services

 

Category


06. Cultural Tourism


Winner

Bendigo Tramways

 

There is still no better way to explore Bendigo’s fascinating heritage than aboard one of Bendigo Tramways’ iconic Vintage Talking Trams. Sit back and relax as your tram shares entertaining stories about a city founded on one of the world’s richest goldfields, step aboard the Anzac Centenary Tram to hear the story of Bendigo as it was during WW1, and explore Australia’s oldest operating Tram Depot where you will discover the colourful history of Bendigo’s tram fleet and will be astounded to see how each tram is meticulously restored by hand.



Other Winners:

Silver: Port of Echuca Discovery Centre
Bronze: Cape Otway Lightstation
Finalist: McClelland Sculpture Park + Gallery
Finalist: Pioneer Settlement Swan Hill

Category


07. Qantas Awards for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Island Tourism


Winner

Worn Gundidj @Tower Hill

Worn Gundidj Boomerang

 

Worn Gundidj  @Tower Hill offers a unique cultural, heritage and nature based experience, linking Aboriginal culture to geology, nature and the environment.  Located in the heart of a dormant volcano, and operating out of a heritage listed building, Aboriginal guides provide the visitor with an experience and understanding of Aboriginal culture, focusing  on the history, stories, and connection to the land of the original inhabitants.  Along with the remarkable story of the degradation and subsequent restoration of the reserve, and the reintroduction of native flora  and fauna, the visitor is left with a truly memorable experience.



Other Winners:

Silver: Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre

Category


08.Specialised Tourism Services


Winner

SkyBus

 

SkyBus have delivered an outstanding express service for over 38 years. Our express service runs to and from the heart of the city, St Kilda, the peninsula and surrounding bayside areas direct to Melbourne Airport. Our Melbourne,  Auckland and NZ operations, transport just over 4.5 million business travellers, residents and visitors 24/7. We offer a convenient, frequent, stress-free and reliable express service with Free City Transfers to drop off and pick up points throughout the CBD, Southbank and Docklands precincts.



Other Winners:

Silver: Business Events Victoria

Category


09. Visitor Information Services


Winner

Phillip Island and Bass Coast Visitor Information Centre Network

 

The four centres of the Phillip Island and Bass Coast Visitor Information Centre Network are located 90 minutes South East of Melbourne. The region encompasses Phillip Island, Inverloch and Wonthaggi where the centres are located. The Visitor Information Centres are the lynch pin of the tourism industry in the region, offering tickets, accommodation and souvenirs for purchase. As well as maps and brochures, we offer a place to recharge and assistance in making sure visitors get the most out of their visit. Our team is knowledgeable, professional and enthusiastically welcomes visitors to our region.



Other Winners:

Silver: The Geelong and Bellarine Visitor Information Service
Bronze: Sunbury Visitor Information Centre
Finalist: St Kilda Tourism & Events
Finalist: Echuca Moama Visitor Information Centre

Category


10. Business Event Venues


Winner

Holmesglen at Eildon

 

Purpose built – truly a Hidden gem of the Goulburn River Valley – picture perfect location in Eildon for Corporate Conferences, Retreats, Functions & Events. Holmesglen at Eildon offering so much more than a modern conference facility  – beautifully presented accommodation for delegates, conferencing rooms, function rooms, large decks, gardens, and recreation precinct – versatile spaces with modern technology including wifi throughout. Seasonal menus, created in-house by catering team using local produce enhancing their sustainability practices with own farmed beef, kitchen gardens & orchard produce. Established wildlife, agro forestry zones & diverse range of Outdoor Recreation on 660acres.



Other Winners:

Silver: The Pier Geelong
Bronze: Yarra Valley Estate

Category


11. Major Tour & Transport Operators


Winner

Bunyip Tours

 

Bunyip Tours has been operating tours to Victoria’s premier destinations for over 12 years. Tours include the spectacular Great Ocean Road and Grampians, as well as Phillip Island, the Penguin Parade, Wilsons Promontory National Park and the Mornington Peninsula. Tours are operated in modern, air-conditioned  mini coaches with a maximum of 24 people, ensuring personalised, educational and interactive experiences for all guests. Bunyip Tours is very proud of its standing as a 100% carbon balanced business, which encompasses its entire operation.



Other Winners:

Silver: AAT Kings Melbourne

Category


12. Tour & Transport Operators


Winner

Global Ballooning Australia

 

Global Ballooning Australia has operated for 24 years and is an award-winning company, priding itself on being Australia’s most professional hot air ballooning company, with a strong focus on providing a sustainable adventure experience along with passengers comfort, safety and enjoyment.

There are few major cities around the world that can be traversed by hot air balloon – in the early morning light our balloons drift by city icons that make Melbourne the world’s most liveable city or think the Bordeaux in France or Tuscany in Italy – the Yarra Valley is a world class wine region with stunning scenery!



Other Winners:

Silver: Murray River Paddlesteamers, Echuca
Bronze: Wildlife Coast Cruises
Finalist: Bay Fish N Trips Pty Ltd
Finalist: Phillip Island Helicopters
Finalist: Autopia Tours Pty Ltd
Finalist: Walk Melbourne Tours

Category


13. Adventure Tourism


Winner

Auswalk Walking Holidays

 

Auswalk Walking Holidays is a Victorian adventure tourism company with 21 years experience operating guided and self-guided inn-to-inn walking holidays. An experienced team organises and provides detailed walking itineraries, luggage transport, meals and comfortable accommodation, allowing walkers to unplug and experience Victoria’s greatest landscapes the healthy way.  Auswalk’s professional expertise and experience affords walkers the opportunity to achieve personal goals, experience nature at its best and connect with like-minded people seeking authentic, nature-based adventure experiences.



Other Winners:

Silver: Go Ride a Wave
Bronze: Seals By Sea Tours

Category


14. Destination Marketing


Winner

Bendigo Art Gallery & Twentieth Century Fox present Marilyn Monroe

Giant Marilyn Monroe at Bendigo

 

Bendigo Tourism partnered with Bendigo Art Gallery to market their exhibition Bendigo Art Gallery and Twentieth Century Fox present Marilyn Monroe as the headline event of it’s Autumn campaign in 2016. The Marilyn exhibition was used to build on Bendigo’s brand as a leading art and cultural heritage destination. The campaign was successfully marketed locally, across regional Victoria, Melbourne, Interstate and International to attract visitors to the region, with 143,500 attending the exhibition. Bendigo Tourism worked with key industry operators, sponsors and 3rd parties to generate national exposure, civic pride and encourage yield across the region.



Other Winners:

Silver: Mornington Peninsula Regional Tourism
Bronze: Yarra Ranges Tourism
Finalist: Visit Ballarat
Finalist: Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine

 

Category


15. Tourism Restaurants & Catering Services


Winner

Masons of Bendigo

 

Since opening Masons of Bendigo in March 2012, Nick and Sonia Anthony’s goal has been to showcase the best of Central Victorian produce within comfortable, modern surrounds. With forty years of cooking and business experience between them (both locally and internationally), they are proud to return to Bendigo to highlight the best food, wine and beer that the region has to offer with a shared plate experience that lets  local ingredients shine. As Bendigo’s only “hatted” restaurant, Masons also support a range of visitor experiences including foodie tours, a produce pantry and specialty catering.

Category


16. Tourism Wineries, Distilleries & Breweries


Winner

Pizzini Wines

 

Pizzini Wines is an inspiring family-owned winery located in the heart of the King Valley wine region in Victoria’s High Country. Pizzini is considered pioneers and leaders in the production of Italian wine varieties such as Sangiovese and Prosecco in Australia.

The family’s cellar door is one not to be missed. The commitment to excellence in service, design and presentation and product quality is at the forefront of the King Valley wine region being known as the home of the Italian spirit in Australia. Cellar door boasts A tavola! Cooking School, exciting food and wine events and vineyard accommodation.



Other Winners:

Silver: Bright Brewery
Bronze: Crittenden Wine Centre
Finalist: Little Creatures Brewery Geelong

Category


17. Caravan & Holiday Parks


Winner

BIG4 Beacon Resort

 

BIG4 Beacon Resort is located in Queenscliff, a coastal township 100km southwest of Melbourne. A holiday park resort set amongst native gardens opposite the beach, there’s extensive year round facilities to suit a variety of holiday styles. Popular with families, children love the free daily activities and indoor playground, whilst adults appreciate the onsite day spa’s massage and beauty treatments, the indoor heated pool and function room for groups. Luxury one, two and three bedroom villas, contemporary, self-contained cabins, motel rooms plus caravan and camping sites provide the ideal base to explore Port Phillip Bay and the Bellarine’s many attractions.



Other Winners:

Silver: Echuca Holiday Park
Bronze: RACV Cobram Resort
Finalist: BIG4 Bellarine Holiday Park
Finalist: 
BIG4 Inverloch Holiday Park

Category


18. Hosted Accommodation


Winner

Harmony Bed and Breakfast

 

Harmony Bed and Breakfast is situated in Fingal, a protected and tranquil area of the Mornington Peninsula.

Harmony is a traditional Bed and Breakfast set within five acres of rural gardens offering 3 ensuite guest rooms, each with their own distinct charm and décor and include a private outdoor sitting area, lounge and breakfast room. Harmony is the perfect choice for those wishing to escape to the country and enjoy the bayside and ocean beaches, golf courses, wineries and shopping of the magnificent Mornington Peninsula.



Other Winners:

Silver: Heytesbury House

Category


19. Unique Accommodation


Winner

All Seasons Houseboats

 

All Seasons Houseboats is one of Australia’s leading houseboat companies with a commitment to providing their customers with a unique, relaxing and enjoyable holiday experience. Offering a fleet of 14 luxury vessels, the difference is in the detail and they work hard to ensure you have the most amazing holiday.

All Season Houseboats is located on the Dockside Marina, Mildura, an enviable tri-state location that is easily accessible by road and by air.

Category


20. Self Contained Accommodation


Winner

Lakeside Villas at Crittenden Estate

 

Offering an oasis of luxury and tranquility, the Lakeside Villas at Crittenden Estate present the ultimate vineyard escape.

The 3 boutique villas are constructed entirely over a vineyard lake providing a sense of floating among the vines. Each 4.5 star accredited villa comprises a fully self-contained experience with a well-equipped kitchen adjoining a dining area and expansive living room. The separate king size bedroom adjoins a large bathroom, while other features include an authentic wood fire, deep spa bath and a BBQ on your private deck.

Meander around the lake to dine at the on-site restaurant, and visit the innovative Crittenden Wine Centre.



Other Winners:

Silver: Isabella at Kyneton
Bronze: The Churches

Category


21. Standard Accommodation


Winner

Cave Hill Creek

 

Cave Hill Creek hosts camps, hikes and celebrations for groups. Guests can stay in our unique glamping and lodge accommodation, in a stunning lake and bush setting at the foot of the Mt Cole Range in Beaufort, just two hours from Melbourne. Abseil, canoe, hike the scenic Beeripmo Walk, catch a trout in the lake, spot our resident platypus and native wildlife, or simply socialise and soak up the view by the magnificent open fires. Cave Hill Creek is the perfect location to “Live the Outdoors”.



Other Winners:

Silver: Jetty Road Retreat
Bronze: Ibis Styles Melbourne, The Victoria Hotel
Finalist: Gariwerd Motel
Finalist: Best Western Hamilton Lakeside Motel

Category


22. Deluxe Accommodation


Winner

Royal Mail Hotel

 

The Royal Mail Hotel, Dunkeld, is a destination that celebrates and showcases its beautiful location in Victoria’s west. The majestic Grampians National Park provides a stunning backdrop to the property. The Royal Mail Hotel’s Dining Room has been awarded ‘2 hats’ by the Age Good Food Guide 2015 & 2016 recognising  excellence for its seasonal, locally grown, produce inspired menus, complemented by an award winning wine collection. Guests relax and recharge in beautiful four-star accommodation, set in landscaped Australian gardens. Other guest services include wedding and conference facilities, wine bar and immersive guest experiences.



Other Winners:

Silver: Quality Hotel Wangaratta Gateway

Category


23. Luxury Accommodation


Winner

Drift House

 

Opened in December 2013, Drift House has quickly established a reputation as a must-see destination for luxury seekers. Located in the beautiful coastal town of Port Fairy in South West Victoria, it sets a new standard of design for luxury accommodation; one that relates to the history of the site and the place, but from a contemporary perspective. With an imposing Victorian façade and a strikingly modern addition to the rear, it is already an icon of the town’s streetscape. Drift House appeals to those looking for a luxury escape that is a little more individual and interesting.



Other Winners:

Silver: RACV Torquay Resort

Category


24. New Tourism Business


Winner

The Wellness Manor

 

At The Wellness Manor everyone’s unique beauty is honoured and enjoyed. This is a unique haven, free from judgement, where guests are treated as precious and unique. No Expectations. No impossible standards, just personal respect. The Wellness Manor is a health and wellness retreat on the Mornington Peninsula. Offering state-of-the art medi-spa and relaxation treatments, full and half day retreats, workshops, spa, yoga, and overnight packages, the Wellness Manor is fast becoming a key destination for health and wellness visitors to Victoria.



Other Winners:

Silver: Grampians Helicopters
Bronze: Birchgrove in Daylesford

Category


25. Excellence in Food Tourism


Winner

Green Olive at Red Hill

 

At Green Olive at Red Hill we love great food – food that nurtures your heart and soul.

We grow olives, grapes, herbs and veggies, raise sheep and chooks and turn amazing produce from our farm and local farmers into a selection of goodies visitors love. Our 27-acre farm is located one hour from Melbourne at Red Hill, in the wine-growing region of the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria.

Visitors to our farm can enjoy a wide range of food tourism experiences such as farm produce tapas dishes, wine from our vineyard, cooking classes, farm tours and farm gate produce tastings.



Other Winners:

Silver: Rich Glen Olive Estate
Bronze: Great Ocean Road Brewhouse
Finalist: Baringo Food and Wine Co.
Finalist: Apostle Whey Cheese

Category


26. Tourism Education and Training


Winner

Melbourne Tourism Industry Leaders Program

 

Destination Melbourne is an independent, not-for-profit tourism organisation empowering Melbourne’s visitor industry to continually enhance the visitor experience and inspiring visitors to explore and enjoy Greater Melbourne.

Our focus is on visitors, encouraging them to explore Greater Melbourne and helping them to have a positive experience. We achieve this through the production of Melbourne’s official visitor resources and delivery of industry development programs and marketing campaigns.

We deliver industry development programs and creative marketing solutions for Melbourne’s visitor industry. We promote excellence, encourage collaboration and drive positive and valuable visitor experiences.

Category


27. Local Government Award for Tourism


Winner

Nillumbik Shire Council

 

The Shire of Nillumbik is located less than 25 kilometers northeast of Melbourne and is known as the Green Wedge Shire. The collection of townships, each with their own unique identity and heritage, are set among bushland and rolling hills.

Nillumbik Shire Council has unified the local tourism industry under an umbrella marketing brand – The Artisan Hills – and delivered a comprehensive plan for the future in the 5 year Destination Management Plan and Marketing Plan. The new website provides visitors and residents with unprecedented access to local tourism information.



Other Winners:

Silver: Corangamite Shire
Bronze: Bass Coast Shire Council
Finalist: Greater Shepparton City Council

 

Category


28. Outstanding Contribution by an Individual


Winner

John McGaw

 

Over almost three decades John has made an outstanding contribution to the Victorian tourism industry and related sectors. He has held a variety of sales and business development roles and has been with Destination Melbourne since its formation in 2001, making him the organisation’s longest-serving team member. Over this time John has worked tirelessly within Melbourne’s visitor industry as a genuine grassroots contributor dedicated to the growth and sustainability of the Victorian tourism industry. He has assisted countless businesses and key organisations grow and succeed by connecting them with visitors and each other through DM’s forums, publications and programs.

Apart from his high professional standards, his unwavering commitment to customer service and friendly nature have earned him a well-deserved reputation amongst colleagues and stakeholders of being dedicated, trustworthy and committed to excellence.

Category


29. Outstanding Contribution by Volunteers


Winner

Puffing Billy Railway

 

Puffing Billy Railway, Australia’s Favorite Steam train is operated 364 days per year predominately by volunteers, all of whom contribute to the smooth and safe running of the Railway.

Without this incredible contribution and assistance of the volunteers to enhance the tourism experience for our 417000 passengers and guests visiting from world wide cities afar, our Railway would struggle to exist.

As a volunteer based organisation and as tourism leader for Australia, we have the unique privilege of having a workforce with 97% being on a voluntary basis.

Category


30. Young Achievers Award


Winner

Andrew Cyples

 

Andrew commenced his career in tourism through his studies at the University of Ballarat where he studied a Bachelor of Management, majoring in Tourism, Marketing and Human Resource Management. Since graduating, Andrew has continued to grow his knowledge and expertise in the Tourism sector through his employment, professional development and involvement in tourism committees and associations.

In Andrew’s current role as Tourism Marketing Coordinator at Queen Victoria Market, he has been instrumental in the development and delivery of an annual Tourism Strategy for the past 6 years to position Queen Victoria Market (QVM) as an iconic Melbourne experience, attracting 1.1 million international visitors in the year ending March 2016 positioning itself as the Number 1 attraction to visit in Victoria.

Category


RACV People's Choice Favourite Metro Attraction


Winner

Melbourne Zoo

Melbourne Zoo Meerkats

Melbourne Zoo is located in Parkville, Melbourne, Victoria and operates under Zoos Victoria.

Zoos Victoria operates world-class zoos on three sites – Melbourne Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary and Werribee Open Range Zoo and are committed to ‘fighting extinction’ and have a strong focus to connect visitors with the wildlife, inspiring them to take action to save wildlife and their environments while also offering unique animal interactions with their vast array of local and international residents.

Category


RACV People's Choice Favourite Regional Attraction


Winner

Sovereign Hill

Sovereign Hill Gold Panning

Sovereign Hill is situated in the gold rush town of Ballarat, an outdoor museum presenting the story of Australia’s history from the gold rush in 1861.

By day, you can tour the town by horse-and-coach, pan for gold, witness a gold pour, travel deep underground on a gold mining tour, shop 1850s-style, visit goldfields schools and cottages and meet costumed characters for a chat and a photo.

During the evening visitors to Sovereign Hill are able to dine while experiencing the drama of 1854 Eureka Rebellion and stay in the accommodation at the Comfort Inn Sovereign Hill.

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Winners Announced

View image gallery2016 Winners on Stage Celebrating

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  1. See who won
  2. Meet the judging panel
  3. View the photo galleries
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  5. Get ready for the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards