Australian Gourmet Traveller 2012 Travel Awards
It’s that time again…
Drum roll please: it’s the winners of the Gourmet Traveller 2012 Travel Awards, the cream of Australia’s travel crop from the outback to the coast and beyond.
The past 12 months may well go down in the annals of travel industry history as the year of the Aussie dollar, a heady period when we flocked overseas in record numbers flush with the buying power of our once humble currency. But while our attention may have been distracted elsewhere, there was plenty happening on the home front too.
Aboriginal-operated tourism received a major fillip when the Indigenous Land Corporation bought the Ayers Rock Resort and the elite Longitude 131 luxury wilderness camp in the Red Centre, then added the Kimberley’s Home Valley Station to the fold. Park Hyatt Sydney, renowned the world over for its rock-star harbour-front location (with service to match) emerged from its biggest-ever renovation looking more seductive than ever. And culture buffs continued to flock to Hobart in droves to witness the city’s new cool, nowhere more evident than at the confrontational, inspirational Museum of Old and New Art.
These are just a sample of the achievements celebrated in the 2012 Gourmet Traveller Travel Awards, our annual effort to take the pulse and mark the milestones of our national travel industry. Now in their sixth year, the awards have become a distinguished fixture on the Australian tourism calendar and a welcome chance to look back on its accomplishments. But we couldn’t do it without you, our readers.
Each year our handpicked panel of travel experts drafts a shortlist of finalists in at least a dozen categories, which are then put to the vote by readers of Gourmet Traveller and viewers of the Nine Network’s Getaway program. In 2012 our online poll drew more than 22,000 votes, from which we collated this year’s winning holiday experiences. (The bumper voter turnout may have had something to do with the prize on offer this year, courtesy of boutique hotel gurus Mr & Mrs Smith – a five-night escape to Shanghai worth $11,250, including return airfares with Qantas and accommodation at The PuLi Hotel and Spa.)
Highlights of the 2012 awards include the revamped Lizard Island, which returns to the winners’ circle as our Best Resort or Lodge (and scooped the most votes of any of our finalists), and the debut of new categories such as Best Weekend Away and Best Stopover City – take a bow, Melbourne and Singapore.
In the expert awards, decided by our panel of travel writers, editors, photographers and independent industry professionals, South Australia’s Arkaba Station takes the title of Best Outback Experience, Qualia wins Best Australian Island Resort and MONA is honoured for the second consecutive year as the Standout Australian Travel Experience. London, naturally, is our Hottest International City of 2012. Nothing else will hold a candle – far less an Olympic torch – to the English capital this year.
The 2012 Gourmet Traveller Travel Awards, proudly presented in association with Nespresso, once again give us ample reason to celebrate the exceptional travel experiences waiting in our own backyard.
Check out the full list of winners here.
WORDS KENDALL HILL