Today, leading travel site Wotif.com announces the winners of this year's Uniquely Aussie Awards – the annual guide to the country's most underrated gems.
With ongoing travel restrictions due to COVID-19, recent months have seen Aussies opt for local destinations to get their immediate travel fix, a behaviour Wotif has coined a state-cation. So, with intrastate trips more relevant than ever, this year's awards, now in their third year, celebrates all there is to love about a classic local getaway, helping to inspire Aussies to plan their next state-cation when the time is right.
Wotif Managing Director, Daniel Finch said: "Whether it's visiting one of Australia's 150+ oversized roadside attractions or discovering a local market, the thousands of votes received this year made clear that every Aussie knows a local gem worthy of the spotlight. With the Australian sense of community at an all-time high, this year Wotif is encouraging Aussies to fuel this pride by taking the time to discover and support as many local businesses as possible on their next Aussie adventure."
Wotif 2020 Uniquely Aussie Award National Winners –
- Best Potato Scallop: Blue Lips Fish & Chips, Exmouth, WA – We're talking serious potato business here – home made with mashed potato, leek and cream, Blue Lips don't mess around.
- Best Bowls Club: Merthyr Bowls Club, New Farm, QLD – Said to have the best view in Brisbane, this Bowls Club isn't your run of the mill bowlo, with a delicious menu to boot.
- Best Markets: Eumundi Markets, Eumundi, QLD – Voters sure had a lot to say about Eumundi – the quality, variety, delicious food, vibing entertainment and locally-made wares are just a few reasons to visit, plus did we mention it's a short drive to the beach?
- Best Big Thing: The Big Banana, Coffs Harbour, NSW – An Australian icon, as many put it. Australia's first Big Thing and one that continues to reinvent itself with its toboggan, laser tag arena and water park. Plus, you can't go past those choc-covered bananas.
- Best Holiday Park: BIG4 West Beach Parks, Adelaide, SA – The perfect family spot, located on the beach with endless activities for the kids and walking steps to great eateries and shops.
- Best Schnitty: Schnithouse, Adelaide, SA – With a dish called 'Schnit Faced' and over 20 varieties on the menu, you know these guys are serious about their schnitty, with gluten-free options also available.
Aside from these deserving winners, those that voted were also quick to set the record straight –
- "Crispiness of the crumb" and "crunch of the schnitty" are mandatory. Size also matters, with many preferencing a big schnitty!
- The chips accompanying your schnitty are also a deal breaker – chips underneath, or chips on the side so that they don't get soggy? The ruling is yet to be decided.
- Who knew so much skill was involved in frying a potato? Well, potato scallops must be crisp and fluffy, should melt in your mouth, but shouldn't be too greasy.
- Friendly hospitality, great lunch deals and cheap drinks are what we all expect from our local bowlo.
- Holiday parks must be family-friendly and affordable, with a decent dose of nostalgia.
- Markets were the most popular category, proving Australia's community markets punch well above their weight and are home to some of the best producers and artisans in the world.
- Finally, and arguably most importantly, Australians are proudest of their Big Things – consistently referred to as national icons, where selfies are obligatory, if not a rite of passage.
With so many Australians feeling the effects of 2020 and travel restrictions expected to be in place for some time, alongside the national winners, this year Wotif is also revealing each state's finalists. It comes as new research reveals 70% of Aussies plan to take a road trip, with virtually all (92%) believing it's the best way to discover local businesses and communities*.
Although this year has proven to throw a curveball at many Aussie's holiday plans, it has given Aussies the opportunity to get back to basics and appreciate the 'hyper-local' experiences within reach. From our city centres to our regional hubs, it's these underrated gems that almost all Aussies agree (86%) are what make a local trip so great, with 2 in 5 Aussies (40%) loving Australia's true-blue hospitality and a further 34% fond of the unique quirks you discover when holidaying in Australia*.
Finch continued: "By now, many Aussies have realised travelling further afield is currently off the cards, however what 2020 has highlighted is the incredible local hospitality available in their own backyard.
"The bowlo, fish and chip shop and Big Things may not be as far flung and worldly as a trip overseas, but they sure are uniquely Aussie experiences that Aussies are privileged to have in this country. With summer in reach, many of these businesses need Australia's support so for those that can, now is the time to start planning your next local state-cation."
Wot if you went on an impromptu road trip this weekend, Wot if you spent the day being a tourist in your own backyard and Wot if you truly made the most of this year at home? To discover this year's best Uniquely Aussie experiences and to plan your State-cation head to wotif.com/aussieawards.