The best accommodation and experiences across Victoria to elevate your next getaway 
07.03.2022

The best accommodation and experiences across Victoria to elevate your next getaway 

Balgownie Estate Bendigo

With restrictions now a thing of the past, it’s time to get out and experience the best of what Victoria has to offer.

There are hundreds of spots across our great state that offer unique stays and experiences, with some truly going that extra mile.

Each year, the Victorian Tourism Awards recognise and reward excellence in the VIC Tourism Industry. The Award Categories cover the diverse range of tourism products and services that provide the extraordinary tourism experiences that our vibrant state has to offer, from five-star international hotels to bed and breakfasts, festivals, events and wineries.

The latest round of winner were announced last month and as always, were a true celebration of excellence in Victoria’s tourism and events industry.

So, if you’re planning to visit any of these destinations in the future, check out these award-winning operators to discover why they’ve achieved such high accolades!

Carmel at Sorrento

Winner of 5 Star Luxury Accommodation

Carmel at Sorrento is exclusive, stylish and perfectly positioned luxury accommodation for those who are seeking a sophisticated coastal vacation. Situated in the heart of Sorrento Village with dining, shopping and outdoor leisure at your fingertips.

Escape, relaxation and luxury add-ons are all part of the Carmel at Sorrento exquisite holiday experience. Six sleek fully appointed apartments each with its own balcony provide a home away from home, while the exclusive penthouse suite offers optimum privacy with restricted elevator access and a generous outdoor entertaining area is a holiday apartment presentation at its finest.

Stay up to date with what’s happening in and around the region here

Anchors Port Campbell

Winner of 4-4.5 Star Deluxe Accommodation

Anchors Port Campbell provides couples a self-contained luxury accommodation experience, maintained to a National standard of 4.5 Stars. Situated in the heart of Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, and only minutes from the iconic 12 Apostles, Anchors is perched in rural land overlooking the coastal village of Port Campbell.

A family-operated business committed to providing a truly memorable experience with a focus on excellence in customer service. Explore world-class nature at your doorstep and indulge in gourmet delights with 12 Apostles Food Artisan produce.

Anchors three upscale villas with valley and Southern Ocean views will instantly put you at ease.

Alexandra Hotel

Winner of 3-3.5 Star Accommodation

Alexandra Hotel is located 2 hours North East of Melbourne CBD and offers old-world charm infused with fresh style – it is the perfect escape!

The joy of a heritage building – what they lack in floor space they make up for in character. All rooms are beautifully decorated, comfortable, all with their own ensuites and locally made toiletries.

Alexandra Hotel is an accredited cycle friendly business with lock-up storage and workshop area. The hotel is open seven days for accommodation, and the award-winning Restaurant is open Thursday to Sunday.

Golton in the Gap

Winner of Self Contained Accommodation

Wake up to the tranquility of the Grampians in luxury accommodation, the perfect place to relax and unwind.

Nestled in the heart of Halls Gap, Golton in the Gap is a modern, architecturally designed home, comfortably accommodating up to eight guests in three spacious and luxurious bedrooms. North facing windows in the large living area, frame spectacular mountain views, which open out to the expansive deck, perfect for alfresco dining and relaxation.

Golton in the Gap has been designed for couples, families, and friends to comfortably stay and reconnect in the majestic surrounds of the Grampians National Park.

 

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Balgownie Estate Bendigo

Winner of Unique Accommodation

Located in the heart of the Goldfields region, Balgownie Estate Bendigo offers luxury accommodation, high-quality dining, and award-winning wines. First established in 1969, Balgownie Estate is Bendigo’s oldest working winery.

The property offers a range of accommodation types, including luxury glamping tents, self-contained cottage suites, as well as newly renovated rooms located in the property’s original farmstead. Surrounded by scenic vineyards and serene bushland, Balgownie Estate Bendigo is the perfect location to escape and relax, or to use as a base when exploring Bendigo and the wider Goldfields region.

Heytesbury House – Hall of Fame

Winner of Hosted Accommodation

Located in the hinterland region of Victoria’s iconic Great Ocean Road, Heytesbury House provides 4.5 star luxury in magnificent historic surrounds.

Providing four individually styled suites and beautifully manicured gardens, this property presents an opportunity to experience old world charm with all the modern day conveniences.

Since falling in love with the place back in 2010, Kathryn and Andrew have restored this Edwardian beauty to her former glory, ensuring its heritage and cultural significance will stand for many years to come.

BIG4 Castlemaine Gardens Holiday Park

Winner of Caravan & Holiday Parks

BIG4 Castlemaine Gardens Holiday Park is a peaceful retreat in the heart of the vibrant and eclectic historic town of Castlemaine in Central Victoria’s goldfields, just a 90 minute journey from Melbourne. Overlooking Castlemaine’s beautiful Botanical Gardens, guests enjoy sweeping views of magnificent trees from the decks of their luxury Glamping Tent, Safari Tent or Glamtainer, a luxuriously converted shipping container.

There are also five-star Villas, comfortable Studios and picturesque caravan and camping sites. It’s an ideal base for exploring the region’s wineries, restaurants, galleries and parks or simply enjoying an escape from the everyday with friends or family.

Starward Whisky Distillery

Winner of Tourism Wineries, Distilleries & Breweries

Some distilleries choose a peat bog or a bubbling brook. Starward Whisky chose Melbourne’s CBD.

Starward’s distillery and whiskies are just as innovative as the city they call home. They craft their whiskies in Port Melbourne, from local ingredients, mature in barrels from the famed Australian wine regions, and harness Melbourne’s infamous weather to make a distinctly Australian spirit.

Starward’s urban distillery welcomes whisky experts and newbies equally. They create award-winning whisky, beside a fully-stocked bar and indulge their guest’s whisky cravings with distillery tours, masterclasses and tastings.

Alexandra Hotel

Winner of Tourism Restaurants & Catering Services

Alexandra Hotel chef and owner Patrick Browning has created a destination dining experience with his produce-driven menu in this wonderful food region, 2 hours North East of Melbourne, just past the Yarra Valley heading into the Victorian High Country.

The team at Alexandra Hotel welcomes guests like good friends to enjoy the hospitality – the connection they have with the producers comes through on the menu and in the stories.

Alexandra Hotel has boutique accommodation and an award winning restaurant – it really is the perfect escape!

Wilsons Promontory Cruises

Winner of New Tourism Business

Launched in September 2019, Wilsons Promontory Cruises is the only cruise operating from Wilsons Promontory National Park. Guests travel in the world’s first, custom-built, amphibious boats on a 2.5-hour wilderness cruise of Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park. They witness South Point, the southernmost tip of mainland Australia and explore the remarkable granite coastline including the iconic granite monolith, Skull Rock and search for abundant coastal wildlife.

Wilsons Promontory Cruises is the latest addition to the award-winning Pennicott Wilderness Journeys yellow boat ecotours.

Melbourne Cable Park

Winner of Excellence in Accessible Tourism

Melbourne Cable Park is a world-class outdoor adventure centre, located in tranquil parklands just 35 minutes from the CBD in Melbourne’s southeast.

Open all year round, the Park is an “activity hub” for the energetic, with spectacular panoramic views of Melbourne. Whether you are an adventure-seeking traveler or organising a catchup with family and friends, the Park offers a choice of exciting and challenging water and non-water based activities, suitable for all ages & abilities (including an accessible wakeboard program).

Guaranteed to create lasting memories, the Park is a “must do” for visitors to Melbourne.

Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park – Hall of Fame

Winner of Ecotourism

Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park invites you to visit and get an up-close look at Australia’s amazing animals.

During the day you can explore the bushland while feeding kangaroos and wallabies, petting friendly koalas and enjoying encounters with wombats, pythons, dingoes and other animals including endangered species. At night, Moonlit Sanctuary comes alive with lantern-lit tours. Join this unique wildlife safari and meet some amazing animals in their natural nocturnal environment and their passionate carers.

With over 70 Australian species and over 400 animals, Moonlit Sanctuary is the ideal place to learn more about the fascinating animals that call Australia home.

Absolute Outdoors/Grampians Peaks Walking Company

Winner of Adventure Tourism

Absolute Outdoors and Grampians Peaks Walking Company are quality tourism accredited and provide a range of outdoor recreation and educational experiences to a wide range of individual/small groups of tourists and larger client groups such as schools, corporates and other tourism operators.

These popular adventure tourism activities are run here in the Grampians and include day/overnight hiking on the Grampians Peak Trail, mountain biking, trail running, canoeing, rock climbing and abseiling. Absolute Outdoors also runs a retail shop (and local post office!) which has a targeted range of premium outdoor adventure gear to support adventure tourism activities in the Grampians.

Melbourne Boat Hire

Winner of Tour & Transport Operators

Melbourne Boat Hire is Melbourne’s premium, eco-friendly electric self-drive boat hire and boat tour operator on the iconic Yarra River. Melbourne Boat Hire offers self-drive and skippered cruises for up to 12 people, or you can enjoy one of their lunch and dinner cruises which can be chartered for up to 35 people.

Searoad Ferries

Winner of Major Tour & Transport Operators

Operating for over 34 years and enjoyed by over 950,000 passengers annually Searoad Ferries is Australia’s busiest car and passenger ferry, sailing Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay between Sorrento and Queenscliff. The 40-minute crossing connects the Mornington Peninsula with the Bellarine and Great Ocean Road and is a great alternative to the drive around the bay. Two world class ferries criss-cross all day, every day offering more time sightseeing and less time driving.

It is more than getting there, it is about the experience, to relax and unwind, take in the bay wildlife and scenery.

 

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Higher Mark – Geelong Cats

Winner of Business Event Venues

Boasting the largest event space in regional Victoria, Higher Mark is the epitome of class. The versatile venue has 32 premium event spaces that can be adapted to suit all event size requirements with facilities for two to 2,450 guests. The sophisticated spaces deliver the perfect venue for all types of events ranging from conferences, exhibitions, business meetings, to social functions, weddings and more.

At Higher Mark, their ambition is to take your event to the next level. With ‘exceptional’ as a benchmark, delivering premium, tailored experiences for their clients is a priority.

Bendigo Visitor Centre

Winner of Visitor Information Services

Welcome to Australia’s grandest Visitor Centre, in Bendigo, Central Victoria.

The Bendigo Visitor Centre continues to innovate and lead the way in the delivery of visitor servicing programs; collaborating with local and regional stakeholders to develop key strategic partnerships to drive economic growth across the region.

With a mission focused on assisting our visitors to uncover their own enriching Bendigo experience through inspirational, engaging and unbiased information, our team of staff and 60+ volunteers are passionate about sharing the stories of Bendigo. This approach has placed Bendigo Visitor Centre as one of the first stops on any Bendigo itinerary.

Geelong Gallery

Winner of Cultural Tourism

Celebrating 125 years, Geelong Gallery was established in 1896 and is one of the leading and oldest regional galleries in Victoria. As a major cultural institution in the City of Greater Geelong, the Gallery’s purpose is to provide an experience of art that will enrich people’s lives.

Demonstrating consistently strong growth in attendance and engagement, Geelong Gallery’s success is based on the excellence of its collection (focused on Australian landscape, printmaking and the evolution of Geelong); the capacity to deliver both popular and scholarly exhibitions; a commitment to lifelong learning, and a significant contribution to Geelong’s economic and cultural renewal.

Ballarat Heritage Festival

Winner of Festivals & Events

Ballarat Heritage Festival is a 24-day celebration of unique history, architecture, creations, and people that constitute the rich tapestry of Ballarat.

From humble beginnings as a heritage weekend over two days, the festival was revolutionised in 2021 by the City of Ballarat in collaboration with community and industry, to stage more than three weeks of accessible events and experiences in a COVID-safe environment.

With a spotlight on First Nations, the gold rush era and storytelling, the modern-day Ballarat Heritage Festival is a felicitous way to share Ballarat’s past, 90 minutes west of Melbourne.

Tesselaar Tulip Festival

Winner of Major Festivals and Events

The Tesselaar Tulip Festival is a 30-day festival celebrating the tulip, Dutch history, flower farming and offers a diverse cultural experience. In its 66th year, as a third-generation family business, the Tulip Festival employs around 90 staff, of which most are local residents, and the overall attendance has grown to over 100,000. The festival is held annually in Spring due to the flowering cycle of the tulip and the Victorian School holidays.

Each year the festival brings the small town of Silvan, Victoria into the spotlight with a kaleidoscope of colour and an infiltration of visitors. Definitely one for the bucket list.

Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria

Winner of Major Tourist Attractions

For 175 years, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria has delivered exceptional tourism experiences at two iconic gardens: a heritage-listed landscape in Melbourne and an award-winning contemporary native garden, set within remnant bushland at Cranbourne.

The organisation is known for innovative engagement programs that highlight the role of nature in community wellbeing, whilst fostering social inclusion for community benefit. It is also dedicated to stimulating conservation action, lifelong learning and unique memories for visitors of all ages.

With enhanced hospitality and retail services and many beautiful new landscapes, visitors are showing a renewed love affair with Victoria’s most prizes tourism attraction.

Cactus Country

Winner of Tourist Attractions

Assemble your amigos, stick on a sombrero and make your way to Australia’s largest cactus farm, less than 3 hours North of Melbourne!

Follow one of eight sandy trails through this 12-acre desert oasis to view everything from the smallest of succulents to the Valley of the Giants. Take in the views from the elevated lookout dome, ‘spike a pose’ among the cacti, and enjoy a fiesta at the café/bar. Families love the ‘Spotto’ scavenger hunt, and green thumbs will be in plant heaven exploring the onsite nursery.

This is the place to go to explore a little piece of Mexico on the Murray at Cactus Country.

 

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You can view the full list of winners and nominated businesses here