Queensland on top as Australian Traveller reveals Peoples Choice Award winners for 2016

Last week, The Australian Traveller People’s Choice Awards crowned their 2016 winners, with Queensland coming out on top, winning in six categories – including three for Hamilton Island, best beach for Whitehaven, best family holiday spot for the Gold Coast) and sexiest hotel pool for Palazzo Versace in Surfers Paradise (pictured above).

Meanwhile, the recently revealed TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Awards named Australia’s most popular holiday destinations as Sydney and the Gold Coast, respectively. This is all good news for the holiday destination, following the accident at popular theme park Dreamworld, which has had the Gold Coast in the news for all the wrong reasons.

Eager to use this recognition as an opportunity to change the dialogue (and fairly so), Gold Coast Tourism CEO Martin Winter said, “…speak to any local and they will tell you there is just so much happening on the Gold Coast. Trendy new restaurants are opening every week, investment is revitalising our city and our events are gathering some serious ground swell. There’s an infectious optimism within our city, making it a really is a great place to be right now.”

NSW followed behind Queensland with four awards, including Best Annual Festival going to Vivid in Sydney, and QT Sydney being awarded the Best Boutique Hotel. Meanwhile, Chin Chin in Melbourne was named the must-visit city restaurant, as one of Victoria’s three awards. National locations were considered in all categories, and the only State or Territory that wasn’t represented in the list of final winners was the ACT.

The full list of awards are listed below.

Queensland Winners:
Best beach: Whitehaven Beach, Qld
Most desirable island escape: Hamilton Island
Sexiest hotel pool: Palazzo Versace, Surfers Paradise
Best luxury hotel or resort: qualia, Hamilton Island
Most romantic escape: qualia, Hamilton Island
Best family holiday spot: Gold Coast

New South Wales Winners:
Best boutique hotel: QT Sydney, NSW
Best walk: Bondi to Bronte, NSW
Best annual festival: Vivid Sydney
Best guided tour? BridgeClimb Sydney, NSW

Victoria Winners:
Best city for a short break: Melbourne
Most scenic road trip: The Great Ocean Road
Must-visit city restaurant: Chin Chin, Melbourne, Vic

Northern Territory Winners:
Ultimate Dream Experience Winner 2016: The Kimberley
Best outback destination: Uluru
Best outback adventure: Uluru, NT

Tasmania Winners:
Cosiest winter destination: Tasmania
Best historical site: Port Arthur, Tas

South Australia Winners:
Best regional escape: Barossa Valley

West Australian Winners:
Best food and wine region: Margaret River, WA

Other Winners:
Best value hotel chain: Accor
Best cruise line that operates out of an Australian port: P&O

For more details on all the winners, head to the official Australian Traveller website.


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Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.