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.

2017 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
  • All

Category


01. Major Tourist Attractions


Winner

Sovereign Hill

Sovereign Hill Hero

 

At Sovereign Hill, the story of an important time and place in Australian history, and the people who lived in it, lives on. Visitors can find real gold in the creek – and it’s ‘finders keepers’, see $150,000 worth of molten gold poured into a gleaming bar, and take in the rich program of activities, shows and demonstrations. On Main Street there are working shops, manufactories, hotels and a theatre – all based on original Ballarat businesses.

Visitors can watch traditional trades in action, tour the township in a horse-drawn coach and venture underground on a gold mine tour.



Other Winners:

Silver: Puffing Billy Railway
Bronze: Falls Creek Alpine Resort 
Finalist: Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)

Category


02. Tourist Attractions


Winner

A Maze’N Things

A Maze'N Things hero pic

 

A Maze’N Things Pty Ltd is owned by Geoff Moed and Sandy Bell who have been in tourism since 1985. In 2016, A Maze’N Things opened a new 530 sq m magical extension after they discovered Karel’s Magic Manor, which had lay hidden for over 110 years. It has been described as Australia’s best permanent Magic Exhibition and extends the themes of mazes, puzzles and illusions, and added magic, in a truly spectacular way.

A Maze’N Things is Phillip Islands’ leading fun destination and plays an important role in broadening the Islands tourism experience.



Other Winners:

Silver: Creswick Woollen Mills
Bronze: Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit 
Finalist: Maru Koala and Animal Park

 

Category


03. Major Festivals and Events


Winner

2017 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix

2017 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix Hero

 

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® Rolex 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 – Winter Wonderlights at Sovereign Hill
Bronze: Tesselaar Tulip Festival

Category


04. Festivals & Events


Winner

Riverboats Music Festival

Riverboats Music Festival Hero

 

The Riverboats Music Festival is the Murray River’s premiere contemporary music event. Staged in the twin-towns of Echuca-Moama on the third weekend of February each year, Riverboats takes place under towering river red gums in a natural amphitheatre next to the mighty Murray.

Historic paddlesteamers meander past all weekend, and occasionally the corellas get a bit raucous at sunset. We have one stage and plenty of room for dancing, brilliant artists and some of the best food trucks going round. Come and join us for a weekend on the river.



Other Winners:

Silver: 2017 TAB Warrnambool May Racing Carnival
Bronze: Shepparton Festival
Finalist: Craft Markets Australia – Yarra Glen Racecourse Market
Finalist: The Man From Snowy River Bush Festival

Category


05. Ecotourism


Winner

Peninsula Hot Springs

Peninsula Hot Springs Hero

 

Entering the bathing area is like stepping into another world, a sanctuary where the mind and body are calmed by the steam, soothing aroma and the sound of running water. It’s a place where time is forgotten and lingering is part of the code of harmony.

An hour’s drive south of` Melbourne on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula, natural hot mineral waters are flowing from deep underground into the pools and private baths at Peninsula Hot Springs. Bathe, massage, dine and relax in the Spa Dreaming Centre and Bath House at this tranquil costal environment.


 

Category


06. Cultural Tourism


Winner

State Library Victoria

State Library Hero

 

Taking up an entire city block in the heart of Melbourne, State Library Victoria is one of this city’s premier heritage destinations and attracts more than 2 million visitors each year. As the oldest public library in Australia, it’s one of Victoria’s cultural icons and is dedicated to history, culture, creativity and learning. With its majestic domed ceiling and original heritage furniture the iconic La Trobe Reading Room takes visitors’ breath away.

Free exhibitions and tours showcase treasures including Ned Kelly’s armour and Burke and Wills relics, telling the story of the people, places and events that have shaped Victoria.



Other Winners:

Silver: Port of Echuca Discovery Centre
Bronze: Eerie Tours

Category


07. Qantas Awards for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Island Tourism


Winner

Worn Gundidj @Tower Hill

Tower Hill Hero

 

Driven by a passion to share Australia’s unique environment, wildlife and indigenous culture, Worn Gundidj provide tours and educational experiences from the Visitor Centre at the Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve in South West Victoria. After 50 years of re-vegetation and re introduction of native species, Tower Hill provides visitors with an unequalled opportunity to enjoy the tranquility of the Australian bush, and to observe our native wildlife roaming free in their natural habitat.

Worn Gundidj tours engage guests with this extraordinary natural world, whilst educating and informing them of the centuries old indigenous culture and practices of the lands original inhabitants.


 

Category


08.Specialised Tourism Services


Winner

Parks Victoria

Parks Victoria Hero

 

Parks Victoria manages a diverse estate of national parks, marine sanctuaries, wilderness areas and much of Victoria’s coastline. In recent years, Parks Victoria’s through its Healthy Parks Healthy People philosophy of Access for All, has made parks a destination of choice for visitors with disabilities. As a result, Parks Victoria has been recognised within Australia and around the world, as leaders in Inclusive and Accessible Tourism.

New innovations include customised visitor information, accessible accommodation at Wilsons Promontory National Park and a suite of specialised services that enables inclusive recreation in Victoria’s more remote and treasured natural environments.


 

Category


09. Visitor Information Services


Winner

Greater Shepparton Visitor Centre

Greater Shepparton Hero

 

Greater Shepparton Visitor Centre welcomes visitors to the heart of Victoria’s Goulburn Valley with friendly regional hospitality served up by passionate experts with intrinsic knowledge of the region.

Staff and volunteers are committed to delivering the ultimate visitor experience through a wide variety of information services including face to service in the Centre and at major events, through tour guiding, and digital and social media. Their knowledge and enthusiasm provides travellers a real flavor of the destination and is an integral part of the tourist experience, generating business to tourism attractions and enterprises throughout Greater Shepparton.



Other Winners:

Silver: Phillip Island & Bass Coast Visitor Information Centre Network
Bronze: Geelong and Bellarine Visitor Information Service 
Finalist: Bendigo Visitor Centre

Category


10. Business Event Venues


Winner

Holmesglen at Eildon

Holmesglen at Eildon Hero

 

A 660 acre property with purpose built Business Event Venue catering for Conferences, Function and Events. It truly reflects the natural surrounds with accommodation for 150, flexible function rooms, boardrooms and wide range of entertaining spaces. Culinary experiences await you; their ‘Low Miles’ food philosophy sees all catering prepared in house from their kitchen gardens, own farmed Angus beef, locally sourced fresh water salmon and trout, berries, olive oil, poultry and more.

Their sustainable ethos and involvement in the local community and tourism industry is a credit to this Business Event Venue that has grown immensely since it commenced operation.


 

Category


11. Major Tour & Transport Operators


Winner

SkyBus

SkyBus Hero

 

SkyBus is a convenient, frequent, reliable and cost-effective major tour and transport operator. We operate high frequency, express transfers kerbside to/from Melbourne Airport (T1, T3, T4) to Southern Cross Station in the CBD and Auckalnd Airport to the city, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Our Avalon Express services to the CBD or Geelong operates daily, meeting every flight.

SkyBus offers an express service to St Kilda, Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula. We offer a free city hotel transfer service, onboard free WiFi in all our vehicles, seniors discounts and family tickets offering our children travel free policy.



Other Winners:

Silver: Bunyip Tours
Bronze: AAT Kings
Finalist: Coach Tours of Australia

 

Category


12. Tour & Transport Operators


Winner

Autopia Tours

Autopia Hero

 

Autopia Tours offer some of Australia’s most unique, entertaining and interactive tour experiences and are internationally recognised as a market leader in small group adventure travel. With a vision to provide customers with memories that excite and last a lifetime we showcase the best mix of natural beauty, wildlife, culture and foodie delights while exploring the extraordinary diversity of Melbourne, regional Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia.

The success of this company is thanks to an incredible team of life-long travellers, driven by a passion for travel adventures, respect of the land and the future of Tourism.



Other Winners:

Silver: Wildlife Coast Cruises
Bronze: Hidden Secrets Tours
Finalist: Bay Fish N Trips
Finalist: Murray River Paddlesteamers, Echuca
Finalist: Phillip Island Helicopters
Finalist: Gourmet Pawprints

Category


13. Adventure Tourism


Winner

Auswalk Walking Holidays

Auswalk Hero

 

Auswalk have been perfecting Australian walking holidays for over 21 years. Based in Melbourne Victoria, Auswalk offer guided and self-guided walking holidays in superlative natural landscapes and areas of natural beauty across each Australian state and territory. Auswalk walking holidays include accommodation, meals, transfers and expert knowledge of a wide variety of environments including tropical rainforests, remote outback, alpine regions, isolated coastlines, idyllic islands and rugged mountain ranges.

Auswalk’s mission is to help people unplug and explore natural landscapes in comfort and provide guests with an experience that’s both memorable and indulges all the senses.



Other Winners:

Silver: The Summit

Category


14. Destination Marketing


Winner

Mount Hotham ‘The True Spirit of Alpine Australia’

Mt Hotham True Spirit Hero

 

Proudly representing one of Australia’s highest alpine villages and the characterful community that makes it truly unique, the Mount Hotham Alpine Resort Management Board was established in 1998 to manage the mountain’s extensive ski resort and the crown land upon which it lies. It is supported through government grants and the funding of its members (84 dedicated site holders who operate businesses on the mountain).

The Mt Hotham RMB’s role includes the promotion of Mt Hotham to the general public, supporting businesses through the generation of visits, and the co-ordination of the general operations of the mountain.



Other Winners:

Silver: Prom Country Regional Tourism 

Category


15. Tourism Restaurants & Catering Services


Winner

Royal Mail Hotel

Royal Mail Hotel Hero

 

Using their exceptional dining experience to position the Royal Mail Hotel as a destination in itself has proven very successful for the Grampians based business. By offering immersive food and wine experiences where visitors get behind the scenes and meet the chefs, kitchen gardeners and sommeliers provides a great opportunity to extend stays in this stunning regional tourism destination.



Other Winners:

Silver: Yea Peppercorn Hotel

Category


16. Tourism Wineries, Distilleries & Breweries


Winner

Bright Brewery

Bright Brewery Hero

 

Bright Brewery is a family owned and operated brewery, bar and restaurant, producing MountainCrafted beers in the spectacular alpine town of Bright, Victoria. A renowned tourism driver for the town, Bright Brewery is a vibrant and growing business that brews and serves beers showcasing the Victoria’s high country.

Bright Brewery is a hub for visitors and locals to gather. The multipurpose venue offers a family friendly destination to soak in all Bright has to offer.Driven by our founder’s values to be authentic and sustainable in all that we do, Bright Brewery embraces active lifestyles celebrated with great beer.



Other Winners:

Silver: Crittenden Estate Wine Centre
Bronze: Mornington Peninsula Brewery
Finalist: Little Creatures Brewery Village – Geelong
Finalist: Sedona Estate

Category


17. Caravan & Holiday Parks


Winner

BIG4 Inverloch Holiday Park

BIG4 Inverloch Hero

 

BIG4 Inverloch Holiday Park is located in the coastal town of Inverloch in South Gippsland, just 90 minutes southeast of Melbourne. The park features “Surfari Splash Zone” the first indoor heated water park in a holiday park in Australia. Loved by families and groups, children race to explore the thrills and spills in the splash park, whilst adults enjoy tennis or a swim in the indoor heated pool.

Set in pristine grounds opposite a safe beach, BIG4 Inverloch offers accommodation to suit relaxed holidays from caravanning and camping sites to luxury three-bedroom spa villas to glamping in self-contained Eco Tents.


 

Category


18. Hosted Accommodation


Winner

Harmony Bed and Breakfast

Harmony B&B Hero

 

Harmony Bed and Breakfast is situated in Fingal, a tranquil and green wedge protected part of the Mornington Peninsula Victoria. Harmony is a traditional Bed and Breakfast set within five acres of rural gardens. 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.

At Harmony Bed and Breakfast we offer three ensuite guest rooms each with their own distinct charm and decor, private outdoor sitting area and sun lounges as well as a guest lounge and breakfast room.



Other Winners:

Silver: Heytesbury House
Bronze: Tallawarra Homestead

Category


19. Unique Accommodation


Winner

All Seasons Houseboats

All Seasons Houseboat Hero

 

All Seasons Houseboats continue to be one of Australia’s leading houseboat cruising companies. They have an absolute focus and commitment to providing their customers with unique, relaxing and memorable holiday experiences on Australia’s great Murray River. Their fleet of 14 modern, purpose designed luxurious vessels define a brand committed to excellence in service, cruising and tourism. All Seasons also lead with environmental solar powered houseboats creating industry benchmarks without compromise of quality modern features.

Located at the Dockside Marina, Mildura, they have the enviable tri-state location that’s easily accessible by road and by air. All Seasons Houseboats…Now that’s a Holiday!



Other Winners:

Silver: Murray River Paddlesteamers, Echuca

Category


20. Self Contained Accommodation


Winner

The Churches

The Churches Hero

 

The Churches is a beautifully renovated, award winning holiday house perfect for guests to settle in and enjoy the Heart of Victoria. Beautiful interiors, a unique charming setting and outstanding customer service by the hosts is what sets The Churches apart.The fully self contained venue inspires visitors to slow down and relax with spacious living areas and gorgeous gardens with BBQ and small playground. The kitchen and bathrooms have all that is needed for a weekend, or a week!

This four star three bedroom, two bathroom home away from home offers the luxury of privacy in a rural location but is close to local shopping and attractions.



Other Winners:

Silver: Lakeside Villas at Crittenden Estate
Bronze: Aquabelle Apartments
Finalist: Anchors Port Campbell
Finalist: The Dacha

Category


21. Standard Accommodation


Winner

Cave Hill Creek

CaveHillCreek Hero

 

Award-winning Cave Hill Creek hosts camps, walks and weddings for groups. Guests 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. Join us at Cave Hill Creek to live the outdoors!


 

Category


22. Deluxe Accommodation


Winner

Royal Mail Hotel

Royal Mail Hotel Hero

 

Located at the southern tip of the majestic Grampians National Park in western Victoria, the Royal Mail Hotel is an ideal place to rest, reconnect and indulge. Featuring deluxe accommodation, a range of dining options, including the recently opened destination restaurant, Wicken’s at Royal Mail Hotel and immersive experiences, the property is often referred to as one of regional Australia’s leading properties.



Other Winners:

Silver: Quality Hotel Wangaratta Gateway

Category


23. Luxury Accommodation


Winner

Alkina Lodge

Alkina Hero

 

Offering an exclusive and intimate experience, Alkina is private luxury accommodation for 2-24 guests. Our three, four-bedroom lodges are self-contained and fitted with luxury features, magnificent Australian art, bespoke fireplace, and fine furniture.
Guest service is 24/7, including the availability of locally sourced food and wine hampers or a personal chef.

Designed by Australia’s most internationally awarded architect, Glenn Murcutt and his partner Wendy Lewin, Alkina Lodge has been created with sensitivity to the natural environment. The stunning use of light and space brings a touch of the outdoors inside.
Discover the art of indulgence at Alkina Lodge, the closest luxury accommodation to the iconic Twelve Apostles, just off the Great Ocean Road.


 

Category


24. New Tourism Business


Winner

Arthurs Seat Eagle

Arthurs Seat Eagle Hero

 

Board a state-of-the-art gondola at the Arthurs Seat Eagle and fly over the State forest to the highest point of the beautiful Mornington Peninsula where the views will take your breath away. The Eagle offers visitors a quality tourism experience, steeped in history and immersed in nature. The gondola extends from the base of Arthurs Seat to the summit, traversing Mornington Peninsula National Park and offering uninterrupted views over Port Phillip Bay from Melbourne to the headlands of Point Nepean and beyond.



Other Winners:

Silver: Golton in the Gap
Bronze: WaterMaarq
Finalist: Aquazone @lakemulwala

Category


25. Excellence in Food Tourism


Winner

Simply Tomatoes

Simply Tomatoes Hero

 

Mix green tomatoes, wheat and woolly sheep and what do you get? Find out at Simply Tomatoes!Turn off the highway and turn up the charm dial for the gorgeous old 1880’s homestead. Gracious hosts, Ian and Marilyn Lanyon share their evolving story of 50 years of farming innovation. From the seed of an idea with a beautiful old Italian recipe, sprang a gastronomic delight that spawned three manufacturing businesses.

Enjoy the warmest hospitality and delicious green tomato tastings whilst surrounded by beautiful gardens and even a few farm critters. Taste, tour and stay at Simply Tomatoes. You’ll love it!



Other Winners:

Silver: Rich Glen Olive Estate

Category


26. Tourism Education and Training


Winner

Tourism Greater Geelong & The Bellarine Professional Development

Tourism Greater Geelong & The Bellarine Professional Development Hero

 

Founded in 2014, Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine is the newest recognised regional tourism association in Victoria. They represent one of the most visited regions outside of Melbourne which includes Werribee, the Moorabool Valley, Bellarine Peninsula and Greater Geelong. They aim to raise professional standards within the industry by offering an extensive training and development calendar of events – both face-to-face and online.

Topics include confidence building, marketing, international visitation, corporate social responsibility, social media, familiarisation tours. Members are kept up to date with current tourism trends and making connections with other likeminded people through corporate communications and networking opportunities.



Other Winners:

Silver: Melbourne Tourism Leadership Program

Category


27. Local Government Award for Tourism


Winner

Bass Coast Shire Council

Bass Coast Shire Council Hero

 

Bass Coast offers a unique natural environment less than two hours drive from Melbourne. Our world famous attractions and events such as the Penguin Parade and the Australian MotoGP attract visitors from all across Australia and from overseas. Our many coastal villages offer different visitor experiences including great coffee, pristine beaches, scenic walks and an eclectic range of shopping. By protecting our natural environment and while encouraging economic growth, Bass Coast will continue to be a destination that everyone can enjoy.



Other Winners:

Silver: Greater Shepparton City Council

Category


28. Outstanding Contribution by an Individual


Winner

David Eaton

Mr David Eaton Hero

 

Mr David Eaton has been a dedicated and passionate ambassador for the Victorian tourism industry across three decades.During his 20 year stint as the Marketing Manager for the iconic Puffing Billy Railway, David launched campaigns that saw the Railway grow 69% in patronage from 180,000 annual passengers in 1988 to 260,000 in 2009. Along the way, helping transform this ‘little railway in the hills’ into one of Australia’s most highly visited tourism attractions.Never tiring of a Committee or Board role, David has been an active member of 12 different leadership teams, including Chairman of the Victorian Tourism Operators Association.


 

Category


29. Outstanding Contribution by Volunteers


Winner

Young Tourism Network

Young Tourism Network Hero

 

The Young Tourism Network (YTN) is a not-for-profit, member based organisation run by a dedicated committee of 13 volunteers from various sectors of the Tourism Industry. YTN’s mission is to enhance and foster the career development and professional excellence of students and young professionals, who in turn help to grow and strengthen the Victorian Tourism industry. YTN plays a vital role in the Victorian visitor economy, by preparing students and the future generation of professionals by providing them with opportunities for collaboration, professional development and stakeholder engagement.


 

Category


30. Young Achievers Award


Winner

Paul Beames

Paul Beames Hero

 

Paul Beames Founder/CEO of Get Lost Travel Group, one of Australia’s largest small group touring networks carrying nearly 84,000 passengers a year. GLT is a multi-award-winning touring group, employing more than 70 tourism industry professionals. Paul is a passionate leader, serial entrepreneur, with over 16 years contribution to tourism both here in Australia and overseas. He represents a commitment to continuous growth, unique innovation and development of an eco-friendly, sustainable tourism industry. Awarded Len Taylor Young ATEC Award for Leadership in Tourism, Paul also serves as Vice Chair of ATEC Victoria and is participating in the 2017 ELITE Program.


 

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