The very best accommodation, festivals, events and experiences across Victoria

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The very best accommodation, festivals, events and experiences across Victoria

Alpine Nature Experience. Credit: Max Homer

Indulge in the best of what Victoria has to offer.

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 winners were announced in December 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!

Alexandra Hotel – Hall of Fame

Winner of Tourism Restaurants & Catering Services

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!

This heritage building in the heart of town has wonderful character. All rooms are beautifully styled and have all the comforts you need to enjoy your stay. Alexandra Hotel is a Ride High Country accredited business.

The hotel is open seven days for accommodation, and the award-winning Restaurant is open Thursday to Sunday. The team at Alexandra Hotel aim to exceed guest expectations and hope to welcome you soon!

Billson’s Brewery

Winner of Tourism Wineries, Distilleries & Breweries

Originally founded in 1865, Billson’s is one of Australia’s oldest breweries, located in the historic ‘Gold Rush’ town of Beechworth.

Nathan and Felicity, a young couple from Melbourne, fell in love with Beechworth’s charm and purchased the dishevelled brewery in 2017. Renovation efforts quickly commenced to restore the building to its former glory as they set about increasing production and offerings.

Just five years on, Billson’s now employs 120 local staff members, and the 157 year old brewery is home to their production factory, brewery, distillery, family-friendly restaurant, Speakeasy bar, retail shop and tasting room experience.


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BIG4 Bendigo Marong Holiday Park

Winner of Caravan and Holiday Parks

BIG4 Bendigo Marong Holiday Park is a year-round country holiday oasis for families, couples and groups in the heart of the Victorian Goldfields, just minutes from beautiful Bendigo. Glamping, luxury cabins, flexible interlocking studio units and shady caravan and camping sites.

Enjoy an active, adventurous holiday with nature on your doorstep or relax in the park with a beautiful swimming pool. Enjoy fishing, swimming and water sports on nearby Crusoe Reservoir, bushwalks and cycling all year round and fun attractions nearby for kids.

Tallawarra Homestead

Winner of Hosted Accommodation

Tallawarra Homestead is an award-winning 5-star property at the gateway to Gippsland. The hosts are driven to exceed guests’ expectations with country hospitality. Surrounded by native bush parcels and gentle pastures, the area is blessed with native wildlife and numerous bird varieties. Tallawarra is Aboriginal for “come and sit” – they welcome you to Tallawarra.

Alpine Nature Experience

Winner of Unique Accommodation

Alpine Nature Experience offers intimate and sustainable nature-based experiences in Victoria’s High Country, aiming to create memorable moments for guests while reconciling tourism and sustainability.

Alpine Nature Experience was founded in 2017 with a clear goal: to create an exclusive and adventurous snow experience unlike any other in the Australian Alps. This unique winter offer combines a snowshoe walk, a French cheese fondue dinner and a night under the stars.

Building on its success, Alpine Nature Experience now operates year-round at its fully sustainable, off-grid eco-village offering exclusive overnight experiences and bespoke curated hikes.

The Woods Ocean Grove

Winner of Self Contained Accommodation

Cockatoos squawk overhead and the ocean roars in the distance as the sun sets over another day on the Bellarine Peninsula. Nestled in underneath the 100 year-old gum trees, meandering pathways lead you through tranquil bushland to two studio cabins known as The Woods, a quiet retreat located 5-10 minutes’ from the buzzing town centre of Ocean Grove, surf beach and wineries. Here you will spend time reconnecting with nature; being swallowed up by luxurious linen and spoiled with delights from local makers.

Owned by a fourth-generation Ocean Grove family, you’ll experience true local magic to take home.

Urban Camp Melbourne

Winner of 3-3.5 Star Accommodation

Urban Camp Melbourne is a school camp facility located in Royal Park, on the land of importance to the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples of the Kulin Nation, 3 kilometres from the centre of Melbourne.

Urban Camp offers an unrivalled school camp experience from which students explore Melbourne’s dynamic cultural, educational and recreational attractions.

School camps are a formative experience in a young person’s life, providing opportunities for independence and growth away from the classroom and home. Urban Camp uniquely enables young regional people to thrive through Melbourne city experiences while providing safe and comfortable facilities, accommodation, and nutritious meals.

Quality Hotel Wangaratta Gateway

Winner of 4-4.5 Star Deluxe Accommodation

Located in Victoria’s High Country, Quality Hotel Wangaratta Gateway provides a AAA-rated 4.5 star guest experience, with 77 suites and apartments, signature restaurant Atrium, bar and lounge, heated pool, spa, gym and event facilities for up to 400 delegates.

Family owned and managed since 1993, a team of dedicated and passionate hospitality professionals deliver a warm, memorable welcome. The hotel is a perfect base for guests to stay and discover the surrounding High Country’s wine, beer, artisan produce and providores, historic towns, villages and stunning rural vistas.

Carmel at Sorrento

Winner of 5 Star Luxury Accommodation 

Carmel at Sorrento is an exclusive and stylish luxury accommodation for those seeking a sophisticated coastal vacation. Situated in the heart of Sorrento Village, dining, shopping and outdoor leisure are 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 holiday apartment presentation at its finest.

Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria – Hall of Fame

Winner of Major Tourist Attractions

Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria delivers exceptional tourism experiences over two iconic attractions: a city-based garden sanctuary at Melbourne Gardens and an award-winning Australian sculptural landscape at Cranbourne Gardens. Both Gardens offer exceptional experiences that highlight the intersection of art, nature and wellbeing for visitors of all abilities and ages.

Reinvigorating the program in 2022, new sensitive digital technologies have been developed to enhance the ‘in real life’ gardens and nature experiences.

After more than two years of heavy restrictions, visitors are now showing a renewed love affair with one of Australia’s most prized tourism attractions.

Adventure Park Geelong

Winner of Tourist Attractions 

Adventure Park is Victoria’s biggest water theme park, located just over an hour’s drive from Melbourne on the beautiful Bellarine Peninsula, near Geelong and the Great Ocean Road.

Visitors can experience world-class water rides and classic dry rides during their summer season, and delight at the sight of more than 2.7 million light installations in their Christmas Festival of Lights events.

2022 Tesselaar KaBloom

Winner of Major Festivals & Events

Kabloom is a million colourful reasons to get excited…magnificent, colourful, magical, an explosion of colour!

This exciting 24 day event debuted in autumn 2018 and is now an annual event at Tesselaar. Whilst the star attraction remains the fields of autumn flowers, visitors can also enjoy bespoke entertainment, culinary delights, souvenir shops, lawn games, a guided tractor ride or a pleasant fresh mountain air stroll around the fields.

Each year the festival brings the small town of Silvan into the spotlight with a kaleidoscope of colour and an infiltration of over 70,000 visitors.

Macedon Ranges Autumn Festival

Winner of Festivals and Events 

The Macedon Ranges Autumn Festival is a month-long celebration and regional exploration of events, nature experiences, autumn produce and creativity across nine unique and colourful villages in the stunning Macedon Ranges region.

Delivered by Macedon Ranges Shire Council, in collaboration with over 100 local tourism businesses, artists, producers and community groups, the festival is a joyous celebration of life in the Macedon Ranges enjoyed by over 15,000 visitors.

Alpine Nature Experience

Winner of Ecotourism 

Alpine Nature Experience offers intimate and sustainable nature-based experiences in Victoria’s High Country, aiming to create memorable moments for guests while reconciling tourism and sustainability.

Alpine Nature Experience was founded in 2017 with a clear goal: to create an exclusive and adventurous snow experience unlike any other in the Australian Alps. This unique winter offer combines a snowshoe walk, a French cheese fondue dinner and a night under the stars.

Building on its success, Alpine Nature Experience now operates year-round at its fully sustainable, off-grid eco-village offering exclusive overnight experiences and bespoke curated hikes.

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 organisation’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.


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Zoos Victoria – Healesville Sanctuary

Winner of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Island Tourism Experiences

Ever wondered which Indigenous plant has leaves that can be used as soap? Perhaps you’d like to hear a local Dreaming Story about how the Lyrebird came to speak in the language of many other animals.

Learn a little language as Murrundindi welcomes you onto Country at Healesville Sanctuary with a friendly Womenjika; listen to the sounds of the didgeridoo; stop to have a yarn; hear local stories, and be amazed at his mastery, making that Boomerang really fly!

Red Hill Candle Co.

Winner of Tourism Retail & Hire Services

Red Hill Candle Co. Factory Experience and Store opened in December 2020. Visitors are offered a unique opportunity to delve into the world of fragrance with in-store activities, interactive workshops, and a retail space featuring regional makers, allowing guests to enjoy a journey of inventiveness unlike any other in Australia.

Located on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, Red Hill Candle Co. provides memorable moments designed to bring people together, inspire creativity and spark joy. Visitors are taken beyond exploring the sights and tastes of the region and provided an enriching sensory activity that is educational, experimental and a whole lot of fun.

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 visitors to uncover their own enriching Bendigo experience through inspirational, engaging and unbiased information, the 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.

MCG Events (Delaware North Australia)

Winner of Business Event Venues 

MCG Events was created to elevate the non-match day event experience. At MCG Events, they think beyond the stadium – transforming this traditional meeting place to be even more inclusive, connected and accessible for your next business event.

Searoad Ferries

Winner of Major Tour & Transport Operators

Searoad Ferries, Australia’s busiest car and passenger ferry service, has been connecting Victorians across the southern tip of Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay for over 34 years.

The 40-minute crossing aboard world-class vessels and sailing past spectacular scenery offers a continual coastal experience connecting the Mornington Peninsula and the Great Ocean Road.

Unwind, embrace fresh sea air, soak up the views, spot wildlife and relax in the lounge or an outside deck. Sailing between Queenscliff and Sorrento, travel can be as a foot passenger or with a car and is a great alternative to the drive around the bay.


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Gourmet Pawprints

Winner of Tour and Transport operators 

Take the lead and explore Victoria on Gourmet Pawprint’s unique dog-friendly experiences being chauffeured on Bella the Bus.

Boutique, small group tours are carefully designed to bring you an effortless adventure with your dog. Some of the scenic walks are only possible because Bella is waiting at the other end so weary paws can rest.

The talented and professional team are committed to ensuring a happy, healthy and safe experience because they get what it means to be a fur parent. All pooches get the window seat – where licking the scenery is encouraged!

Absolute Outdoors and Grampians Peaks Walking Company

Winner of Adventure Tourism 

Absolute Outdoors and Grampians Peaks Walking Company is a quality tourism accredited provider of outdoor recreational and educational experiences tailored to a range of visitors seeking adventure experiences.

From individuals and small groups, to larger schools and corporate groups, Absolute Outdoors and Grampians Peaks Walking Company offer day and overnight hiking on the Grampians Peaks Trail, mountain biking, trail running, and much more.

Absolute Outdoors also has a retail store in Halls Gap stocking a range of premium outdoor gear for your adventures.

Viva Bendigo

Winner of Tourism Marketing and Campaigns 

Located in central Victoria, Bendigo Tourism partnered with Bendigo Art Gallery to market the Australian exclusive exhibition Elvis: Direct from Graceland. Viva Bendigo, a destination campaign, was created and promoted across Australia, alongside the exhibition.

Bendigo Tourism’s team worked closely with the industry to create over 100 experiences, events, packages, products and shopfronts with the aim of encouraging visitors to stay longer in the region. The exhibition attracted 220,000 people, smashing previous records and injecting millions of dollars into the local economy. The Viva Bendigo program is Bendigo Tourism’s most successful campaign receiving over 90,000 views.


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CENTREPIECE at Melbourne Park

Winner of New Tourism Business

Located in the heart of Australia’s premier sports and entertainment precinct, and connected seamlessly to the CBD, CENTREPIECE at Melbourne Park is the most surprising new conference and gala venue in Melbourne.

Purpose-built to be best-in-class for sustainable, flexible venue design, CENTREPIECE offers a range of versatile spaces for events at any scale. Surrounded by breathtaking city views, the spaces comfortably scale up or down, from intimate dinners to the most extravagant special events.

Otao Kitchen Cooking Experiences

Winner of Excellence in Food Tourism 

Otao Kitchen Cooking School is the home to many world cuisines taught from the comfort of an urban kitchen just minutes away from Melbourne CBD. With over 6,500 guests and 400 classes each year, the space is designed for food discovery and social interactions focused on fascinating senses.

In-person and online cooking experiences provide an original and interactive way to learn, create, entertain and build relationships, organised with impeccable attention to detail, allowing guests to enjoy a stress-free experience whilst indulging their tastebuds with delicious food.

Tourism Greater Geelong & the Bellarine

Winner of Tourism Educations and Training

Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine is the Regional Tourism Board for the region which exists to build a resilient, sustainable and valued visitor economy through leadership, promotion and development.

Opportunities are provided to businesses in the sector to grow, receive support and, importantly, connect with others in the industry to collaborate to sustainably grow product, visitation and yield.

Melbourne Cable Park – Hall of Fame

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 traveller 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 and abilities (including an accessible wakeboard program).

Whether achieving a challenge or simply having fun, the Park is one of Melbourne’s best days out.

You can view the full list of winners and finalists here