Here are the places AT’s editor, Elisabeth Knowles, wants to give special shout-outs to for 2011:

FAVOURITE CITY OF THE YEAR
Hobart: “I love visiting friends in Melbourne and living in Sydney, but Hobart is the city I have loved most as a solo traveller this year – it is so much fun. I’d go there just to visit MONA but the eating is what makes it extra special. Tassie has such brilliant produce, which can be sampled at Sunday’s Farm Gate Market, Saturday’s Salamanca Market in Salamanca Place and in regional-food inspired restaurants like Garagistes.” discovertasmania.com

FAVOURITE TOWN OF THE YEAR
Walhalla: “A tiny Victorian mountain town with a big history. The locals are so passionate about keeping the heritage alive here, with a historic railway, goldmine tour, scenic graveyard, museum, fire station, Australia’s least accessible cricket pitch and excellent 4WD, horseriding, cross-country skiing and bushwalking trails. This West Gippsland gem is honestly one of the prettiest towns in Australia.” visitwalhalla.com

MOST AMAZING ARCHITECTURE OF THE YEAR
Saffire-Freycinet: “It’s like someone’s sci-fi fantasy come true – a giant, shiny, sculptural, stingray-shaped building come to rest amidst stunning coastal Tasmanian wilderness. The workmanship inside that stingray is just incredible – local timber and granite is shown in its best light, while glass walls create an artwork of the view. Tasmanian architects Circa Architecture (previously Morris Nunn and Associates) must be so proud of that building. And it’s not just nice to look at, it’s nice to be in.” saffire-freycinet.com.au

TUB OF THE YEAR
The Louise: “This boutique luxury lodge is an amazing place to stay. Its home-away-from-home-style villas overlook Peter Lehmann Wines’ vineyards in the Barossa, and it has a truly fantastic fine-dining restaurant, Appellation, which champions regional produce. I got a real kick out of going into the wine cellar and seeing all the meat hanging there – hams, salamis etc. But the bath! It’s so oversized that you feel like a little kid when you’re in it. It even comes with a giant rubber duckie to play with. And there’s a TV in the bathroom, too, which is where I saw the Qantas drama unfold. Oh, and one more thing about the bathroom – a glass door in the indoor shower leads to an outdoor shower. Brilliant!” thelouise.com.au

MOST RELAXING MOMENT OF THE YEAR
“While staying in a Hayman Island Beach Villa in the Whitsundays: reading a book; then, when it got too hot, rolling off the queen-size outdoor daybed into my own private plunge pool. If I were able to copy any holiday villa design in the world for a home of my own, it would be this one. A wonderful layout with a bedroom pavilion on one side of the courtyard pool, and a huge bathroom pavilion with freestanding tub on the other.” hayman.com.au

MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT OF THE YEAR
“Driving a quad bike as if it were a golf cart along the 4WD tracks in Freycinet National Park after heavy rain. We never made it to our destination, Friendly Beaches, because I was too slow. I hear it’s really nice there.” saffire-freycinet.com.au

MOST THRILLING MOMENT OF THE YEAR
“On the way to find a secret waterfall, a helicopter pilot at El Questro asked if the AT team had ever been heli-mustering, then promptly descended to just above the Kimberley treetops, swooping about as if we were airborne drovers directing invisible cattle. It was the best fun of 2011.” elquestro.com.au

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