Australian Traveller’s first-ever Readers’ Choice Awards for 2011; results for Favourite Australian Travel Experience.
A WEEKEND IN SYDNEY
Overseas and interstate readers alike waxed lyrical about the historic buildings, pubs and markets to be found around the Rocks and Circular Quay, the beauty of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Bondi Beach, and the awe-inspiring views as seen from harbour-front hotels, along coastal walks, on board ferries, yachts and seaplanes, and, of course, from the best seats in the house – under the Harbour Bridge at Quay Restaurant or on top of it during the BridgeClimb. Many interstate visitors came to Sydney for the weekend to see one of the year’s big shows – musicals such as Doctor Zhivago and Mary Poppins, and exhibitions such as the Art Gallery of NSW’s First Emperor: China’s Entombed Warriors. Sydney’s festivals are becoming more popular all the time, too. Drawing record crowds are Sculpture by the Sea, Vivid, Chinese New Year, the gay and lesbian Mardi Gras, the Writers’ and Film Festivals, and the big one – Sydney Festival (held city-wide from January 7 to January 29, 2012). It seems this big, brash, bold and beautiful city has finally figured out how to show itself in its best light to visitors. And, according to one Australian Traveller, “Sydney’s op shops are amazing!” Who knew?!
2 TASMANIAN DRIVING HOLIDAY
Once the most ignored state in Australia, now the Apple Isle is attacting more and more travellers on a voyage of discovery. discovertasmania.com.au; puretasmania.com
3 MELBOURNE SHOPPING TRIP
It’s always been the best place for a girlie weekend away – it has the best boutique shopping in Australia, hands down. visitmelbourne.com
4 GOLD COAST THEME PARKS
An absolute winner for families with kids aged 5-16, the Gold Coast offers more fun than anyone could possibly fit into one holiday. Dreamworld, Movie World, Whitewater World, Sea World – check out all possible worlds at visitgoldcoast.com
5 KIMBERLEY ROAD TRIP
Outback WA is all about extremes – from the spectacular coastline at Cable Beach to the dramatic red gorges and lush green oases along the Gibb River Road. For those of you who drove through the Kimberley this year, it was a life-affirming experience. australiasnorthwest.com