Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 Brolga Northern Territory Tourism Awards which were announced at a gala ceremony at the Alice Springs Convention Centre on Saturday 11th November:
Major Tourist Attraction – Kakadu National Park
Visitors to Kakadu National Park experience one of the world’s most outstanding natural and cultural attractions. Covering nearly 20,000 square kilometres of exceptional natural beauty and unique biodiversity, Kakadu is one of Australia’s iconic destinations. Generations of Bininj/Mungguy have lived on and cared for this country for tens of thousands of years and they welcome visitors to share in this living cultural landscape. Kakadu attracted 180,000 visitors last year, and is recognised as offering world class tourism experiences. Kakadu is jointly managed by Bininj/Mungguy and Parks Australia.
Tourist Attractions – Curtin Springs
Curtin Springs provides a diverse jigsaw of experiences, offering visitors an appreciation of the deeply layered mosaic of landscape, culture, production and environmental features of Central Australia. The well-established Curtin Springs Wayside Inn appeals to an array of visitors worldwide. Curtin Springs Paper and Curtin Springs Walks offer up Curtin Springs as a destination for those visitors wishing to experience a closer connection to the intricacies of the landscape. Located just 100km east of Uluru, Curtin Springs offers a perfect base from which to visit Uluru and Kings Canyon area
Festivals & Events – Uluru Camel Cup
In the shadows of Uluru the dirt, dust, glitz, glamour and great times are what the Uluru Camel Cup is all about. Now in its sixth year the annual weekend event is held in May at Yulara with festivities starting at the Outback Pioneer Hotel & Bar where punters bid on a favourite camel at the Camel Cup Calcutta, followed by the Uluru Camel Cup Race Day before attending The Frock Up and Rock Up Ball.
Ecotourism – World Expeditions
Since its inception in 1975, World Expeditions has earned an outstanding reputation as a world leader in small group adventure holidays. It offers more than 500 stand-alone itineraries, escorted by expert leaders and meticulously designed for travellers who prefer the ‘paths less travelled’. It was the first operator to offer commercial walks on the Larapinta Trail in 1995 and today operates 12 itineraries offering walkers unsurpassed levels of comfort utilizing the facilities of its exclusive, architect designed campsites. World Expeditions is committed to Responsible Travel, via its industry leading policies on issues including animal welfare and child protection.
Cultural Tourism – Venture North Australia
Venture North Australia offer guided cultural and nature based tours throughout the Top End and Kimberley. They specialise in tours off the beaten track into some of the more remote and hard to access regions. Through excellent relationships with Traditional Owners they have been granted access into Arnhem Land where they employee local Indigenous guides on every tour. Venture North also operate Cobourg Coastal Camp; an eco-tourism and fishing camp on the Cobourg Peninsula in northern Arnhem Land. This remote camp offers an array of pristine wilderness experiences, cultural activities as well as world class fishing.
Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Tourism – Nitmiluk Tours
Nitmiluk Tours is a 100% Indigenous owned tour operation offering a variety of tours and accommodation options for guests to explore the spectacular Nitmiluk National Park -a region of rugged beauty, iconic landscapes and an ancient Indigenous culture with Nitmiluk Gorge as the centrepiece. Cruise, canoe, walk, fly, swim or embrace the Indigenous culture - no visit to the Northern Territory is complete without visiting the spectacular destination of Nitmiluk.
Specialised Tourism Services –Ayers Rock Uluru Chinese Tour
Ayers Rock Uluru Chinese Tour is the largest dedicated Chinese touring company in the Northern Territory. Offering a range of short breaks from 2 days up to 8 day packages, day trips and the new once in a lifetime experience for pre-wedding couples with Uluru Wedding Photography. Dedicated and highly trained Mandarin and Cantonese speaking tour guides deliver exceptional customer service with visitors numbers continuing to increase year on year to Uluru, Kings Canyon and Alice Springs. Their commitment to the industry is evident through continuous investment in marketing, fleet and product development.
Visitor Information Services – Alice Springs Visitor Information Centre
Alice Springs is the base from which to ‘Do the Red Centre’ of Australia; a destination where nature, the outback, pioneering heritage and cultural experiences are intertwined. Located in the centre of town, Tourism Central Australia’s Alice Springs Visitor Information Centre offers friendly and fully trained staff and volunteer Ambassadors to provide comprehensive information, booking services and advice to enhance and extend visitor’s length of stay, encourage dispersal and increase expenditure. The nationally accredited Visitor Information Centre assists with over 90,000 travel enquiries annually, employs 11 staff and 13 Ambassadors and is open seven days a week.
Business Event Venues – Darwin Convention Centre
Located on the spectacular Darwin Harbour, the world class Darwin Convention Centre is an iconic landmark in the tropical harbour city of the Northern Territory. Managed by global venue specialists AEG Ogden this architecturally stunning facility boasts multi-purpose and flexible event spaces to accommodate up to 1,200 conference delegates, high profile business summits, large scale exhibitions, ceremonies, gala dinners, concerts, meetings and seminars, complete with outstanding dining experiences and excellent service. With close connections to Asia, year round tropical weather and unique Top End experiences, Darwin Convention Centre guarantees an event experience like no other.
Major Tour & Transport Operator – AAT Kings Northern Territory
As Australia’s premier tour operator AAT Kings has been showcasing the NT’s experiences and destinations to visitors for more than 30 years. From the renowned icon of Uluru to the wonders of Kakadu guests are able to select their ideal journey from a collection of 75 Day Tours, Short Breaks and Guided Holidays exploring all major regions, from half day options to more than a week. No other tour and transport operator can lay claim to visiting more destinations with a greater dispersal of visitors throughout the NT.
Tour & Transport Operator – Outback Elite Tours
Outback Elite Tours is a small tour operator based in Alice Springs that runs charters for maximum 10 passengers around Central Australia. As depicted in their company name they want their clients to feel elite. Transported in modern and luxurious air conditioned 4WD vehicles, guests receive delicious food served during the day, starting from fresh brewed Italian coffee, homemade jams and marmalades, high quality products and tailor-made tours enjoyed by clients at their own pace led by an expert guide.
Adventure Tourism – Uluru Camel Tours
Uluru Camel Tours is an owner operated tour business based in the heart of Australia, the Red Centre. They are the largest camel farm in Australia - home to over 60 beautiful camels. Offering camel experiences that can’t be beaten anywhere in Australia, with stunning views of World Heritage listed Uluru and Kata Tjuta. They have a fully working saddlery with a detailed historical display outlining the 130 year history of camels in Australia and the tough Afghan Cameleers who played a vital role in opening up the outback. Guests leave with lifelong memories of Uluru and the Outback
Tourism Restaurants & Catering Services – AAT Kings Uluru BBQ
The Uluru BBQ Dinner has been operating in Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park as part of AAT King’s suite of products for over 25 years. It is a unique nightly outdoor dining experience in the shadows of Uluru. Guests relax at a typical Aussie BBQ, enjoying a range of quality menu items. They meet other travellers and swap stories in this once in a lifetime experience. The Uluru BBQ Dinner operates within the National Park setting and is designed to be set up and dismantled without a trace each day, protecting the beautiful fragile desert environment.
Caravan Parks – Big 4 MacDonnell Range Holiday Park
BIG4 MacDonnell Range Holiday Park, the most awarded holiday park in the NT, has been providing memorable holiday experiences in Alice Springs for over 30 years. Famous for its Sunday pancake breakfast as well as its hospitality the holiday park offers a wide range of accommodation options from deluxe villas to cabins to large grassed camping sites. Set at the foot of the majestic MacDonnell Ranges, the park has tranquil landscaped gardens and an amazing array of facilities, recreation options and entertainment.
Hosted Accommodation – Curtin Springs
Curtin Springs provides a diverse jigsaw of experiences, offering visitors an appreciation of the deeply layered mosaic of landscape, culture, production and environmental features of Central Australia. The well-established Curtin Springs Wayside Inn, with 27 accommodation rooms, campground, bar and restaurant areas appeals to an array of visitors worldwide. Curtin Springs Paper and Curtin Springs Walks allow visitors to experiences a closer connection to the intricacies of the landscape. Located just 100km east of Uluru, Curtin Springs offers a perfect base from which to visit Uluru and Kings Canyon areas.
Self-Contained Accommodation – Darwin Waterfront Luxury Suites
Darwin Waterfront Luxury Suites offers the best place to stay and play at Darwin's iconic Waterfront Precinct: a Luxury One-Bedroom Apartment with magnificent harbour views from the balcony – and even better, a free car! The apartment has everything guests need, inside and out including luxuriously furnished, bright, cool spaces with a choice of bedding, unlimited wifi and Foxtel. Downstairs guests will find the popular wave pool, year-round swimming lagoon, new children's playground and adults' water playground – plus 10 restaurants, bars and cafes. Friendly staff are always available to assist with anything else guests may need.
Standard Accommodation – Palms City Resort
Palms City Resort is a 3.5 star property located on the picturesque Esplanade in Darwin City. The resorts location is the best in Darwin with the green leafy outlook of The Esplanade and within walking distance to all the tropical city has to offer. With 50 Standard and Superior Hotel Rooms, 26 Garden Bungalows, 7 Tropical Villas and 6 Executive Villas all surrounded in lush tropical gardens the property’s design is unique amongst the other city accommodation choices. The friendly and professional long term team at the resort contribute to the holiday resort ambience of this city hotel.
Deluxe Accommodation – Crowne Plaza Alice Springs Lasseters
Crowne Plaza Alice Springs Lasseters lies in the heart of Australia, surrounded by the spectacular Central Australia landscape and scenery. The 4 ½ star rated property is the perfect option for accommodation offering spacious rooms and suites. Guests are spoilt for choice with four restaurants onsite, heated resort pool, spa and sauna, Day Spa, health and fitness facility and complimentary use of mountain bikes to explore Alice Springs.
Luxury Accommodation – Cicada Lodge
Cicada Lodge is a unique luxury lodge overlooking the Katherine River within the Nitmiluk National Park. Designed as a base from which guests can experience the Top End, Cicada Lodge gives offers the opportunity to explore the cultural and natural landscapes of Nitmiluk, traditional lands of the Jawoyn people. Guests can immerse themselves in ancient and authentic terrains and cultures - visiting rock art sites, cruising the waters of Nitmiluk Gorge, or swimming in private waterholes accessible only by helicopter. The Jawoyn people welcome visitors to encounter spectacular landscapes through the experience and luxury of Cicada Lodge.
New Tourism Product – Royal Flying Doctor Service Darwin Tourist Facility
The Royal Flying Doctor Service Darwin Tourist Facility provides an insight into the history of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the Bombing of Darwin Harbour. See, experience and learn through the wonder of technology as this facility brings history to life. Life size story telling holograms, interactive story telling ghosts, a decommissioned RFDS Pilatus PC 12 aircraft, touchscreen portals, pedal radio, virtual reality of the bombing of Darwin Harbour, full size replica of Japanese Zero aircraft. The RFDS tourist facility provides an immersive window of 1942 that comes to life, with a replica of Camilla the flying boat and informative story boards.
Food Tourism – Crazy Acres Mango Farm and Café
Crazy Acres is a family owned 25 acre mango farm south of Darwin in Berry Springs. With a rustic and open air cafe onsite open during the beautiful Northern Territory dry season, Crazy Acres brings you a wonderful array of mango inspired dishes and products including their famous homemade mango ice cream. Stay a while and savour their delicious menu of homemade delights beneath the shady trees or fill your picnic basket with treats to enjoy as you explore the Peninsula Way.
George Dunne Award for Outstanding Contribution to Tourism – Chris Hill
Chris Hill turned his childhood passion for camels into a rewarding career. 27 years ago at just 16 years of age Chris launched his first tourism venture as owner/operator of McLaren Vale Camel Tours before establishing Uluru Camel Tours in 2011. Chris is a hands-on business owner sharing his experience and knowledge with staff. Chris dedicates many hours volunteering in his local community and is the co-founder of the award winning Uluru Camel Cup. Chris is a proud and passionate Territorian.
Skal International Darwin Tourism Employee – David McMahon
Dave is head guide for the tour company Venture North Australia. He has been working for Venture North for the past 5 years guiding expeditions throughout the NT and Kimberley. His enthusiasm and boundless energy is infectious and his quirky sense of humour makes any tour good fun! Dave regularly goes over and above the call of duty to make sure his guests have the best time possible. David is a true star in his field and an outstanding ambassador for the NT.
Department Trade Business & Innovation - Business Growth Award – Katherine Outback Experience
Katherine Outback Experience is the fusion of one man’s love and aptitude for training animals, coupled with singing, song writing and sharing stories of life in outback Australia. The passion to share a piece of the outback was the foundation of a unique tourism venture showcasing and celebrating station life. The 90-minute show comprises authentic horse-breaking and working dog demonstrations, humorous bush-tales and country music to entertain and educate guests about the Territory’s rich and colourful pastoral history. There is dust and chaos as things don’t always go to plan, but that is part of the romance of the real outback Australia.
First Time Entrants – Wetland Cruises
Wetland Cruises provide touring & transport services on spectacular wetlands at Corroboree Billabong, part of the Mary River system. Located 105km from Darwin, these scenic wetlands boast the largest concentration of saltwater crocodiles in the world and are home to a huge variety of birds and other wildlife. Passengers are provided a nature based experience, cruising pristine wetlands while viewing wildlife in its natural habitat. Tour options include a one day tour from Darwin and five daily cruises. Passengers have excellent photo opportunities whilst enjoying amazing sunrises, lunch on the wetlands or spectacular sunsets.
Chairman’s Choice for Tourism Excellence – Curtin Springs
Curtin Springs provides a diverse jigsaw of experiences, offering visitors an appreciation of the deeply layered mosaic of landscape, culture, production and environmental features of Central Australia. The well-established Curtin Springs Wayside Inn appeals to an array of visitors worldwide. Curtin Springs Paper and Curtin Springs Walks offer up Curtin Springs as a destination for those visitors wishing to experience a closer connection to the intricacies of the landscape. Located just 100km east of Uluru, Curtin Springs offers a perfect base from which to visit Uluru and Kings Canyon areas.
Tourism Minister’s Perpetual Trophy – Peter Severin
Peter and Dawn Severin with their son Ashley took over the pastoral lease of Curtin Springs in 1956, long before tourism started at Ayers Rock (as it was then known). In their first year Peter and Dawn saw only six people drive down what was then the Peterman Road. The Curtin Springs Roadhouse Inn became the first tourism operation outside Alice Springs and was the first diversified pastoral business in the region. In 1957 a tour operator would bring a bus load of sightseers past the station on a two day trip from Alice Springs to Ayers Rock once a week. A fuel dispensing pump and a 500 gallon underground tank were installed and the first liquor licence obtained in 1958. Peter and Dawn started serving tea and scones to passing travellers in 1959-60. At this stage Ayers Rock did not provide services and Curtin Springs offered water, fuel, food, fresh milk, bread, meat, a cold beer and hospitality. The first tourism staff were employed in 1964 followed by budget accommodation and family rooms installed in 1980. They offer tours around nearby Mount Connor and the unique salt flats of the area, conduct Curtin Springs Paper Making Experience Tours and Curtin Springs Walks. Peter Severin may have now handed over the running of Curtin Springs to son Ashley and his wife; however he is still never far away.