Just in: Bendigo has been crowned Victoria’s best tourism destination

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Just in: Bendigo has been crowned Victoria’s best tourism destination

Time to start planning your next weekend getaway.

If you’re looking for some inspiration on where to go for your next weekend away, the Victorian Top Tourism Town Awards has just unveiled the best destination our state has to offer.

Previously only known as the hub of Victoria’s gold rush, the regional city of Bendigo has carved itself a strong reputation in recent years as being a centre for food, bars, art galleries and natural treasures, so much so it’s just been recognised as Victoria’s Top Tourism Town for 2022.

That’s right, Bendigo – with a population of over 5,000 – has been named the state’s BEST tourism destination.

The key takeaways

  • Bendigo was named the winner of Victoria’s Top Tourism Town Award
  • Port Fairy took out the Top Small Tourism Town Award
  • Bendigo will now represent Victoria in the National Top Tourism Town Awards

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Launched last year by the Victorian Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) where Ballarat took out the top gong, this tourism award recognises towns that deliver amazing visitor experiences and are committed to growing visitation to their destination. The awards are decided through both a judging panel and a public online vote and are a strong indication of Bendigo’s ongoing development as a fantastic tourism destination for the rest of Victoria.

“We are thrilled to have won these awards, which recognise the importance of tourism to regional communities,” Bendigo Mayor Cr Andrea Metcalf says.

“Our visitor economy has roared back to life, with our Elvis: Direct from Graceland exhibition leading the charge to draw people back to our region. Over many years the City of Greater Bendigo and the local industry have worked hard to build our arts and culture brand and it is wonderful to see these efforts rewarded again.”

This award follows news that Bendigo Visitor Centre has been recognised by Tripadvisor as a 2022 Travelers’ Choice award winner, celebrating businesses that have received great traveler reviews from around the globe on Tripadvisor over the last 12 months.

The best pubs and bars in Bendigo

Joining Bendigo on the podium was Port Fairy who took the win, for the second year, for the Top Small Tourism Town Award (population between 1500 and 5000), which now inducts them into the Hall of Fame. This year also saw the introduction of a new category, Top Tiny Tourism Town (population under  1,500), which was awarded to Mount Macedon.

Earning themselves the crown in their respective categories, these towns all demonstrate a strong commitment to encouraging tourism; offer an excellent visitor experience; and exhibit collaboration between tourism operators, local businesses and the community to make their town the best destination it can be.

Looking to the runners up and still worthy of being on your bucket list, Echuca took the Silver award for Top Tourism Town, followed by Frankston which was awarded Bronze. For the Top Small Tourism Town, Sorrento came second (awarded Silver), and Heathcote third (awarded Bronze). For the inaugural Top Tiny Tourism Town award, Timboon was awarded Silver, followed closely by Noojee which achieved Bronze recognition.

These awards showcase the diverse range of unsuspecting regional destinations in Victoria and the economic impact tourism brings to these towns.

“Tourism is the lifeblood of our regional towns and centres across Victoria. The reliance on the  visitor economy was brought home during extended lockdowns when all businesses, not just tourism  businesses, were deeply impacted,” says VTIC Chief Executive, Felicia Mariani.

“These awards celebrate the commitment of destinations right across Victoria to delivering the very  best experiences, ensuring they create magical memories for their visitors to cherish.”

The three Victorian Gold winners will now go on to compete for the coveted title of Australia’s Top  Tourism Town in their respective categories, which will be announced in the next few months.



Read more about these top tourism towns here