2019 winners

Major Tourist Attraction – Nitmiluk National Park

Located in Australia’s Top End of the Northern Territory, Nitmiluk National Park is located 300km south of Darwin. A timeless landscape rich in Jawoyn culture and unique natural features including ancient rock art, crystal swimming holes, tropical savannah and the majestic 13 gorge system through which the Katherine River flows. Nitmiluk attracts more than 263,000 visitors annually who enjoy award winning experiences; heli-touring to remote locations, canoeing and swimming in pristine waterfalls and cascades, boat cruises and dining, awe inspiring rock art and cultural tours, all set amongst one of Australia’s most inspiring landscapes.

Tourist Attraction – Katherine Outback Experience

Owned by multiple Golden Guitar winner and horseman, Tom Curtain, Katherine Outback Experience celebrates the magic of the Northern Territory through real horse-starting and working dog demonstrations, entwined with live music and humorous bush stories. There is dust and chaos, it is raw and real, and this outdoor experience provides amazing insight into life on a working farm 3 ½ hours south of Darwin. Visitors can experience the romance of the real Australian outback in a 90 min show or as part of the team’s Australian road show tour that shares the stories of Outback Australia. 

Major Festivals and Events – 2018 Darwin Festival

Gracing the Darwin event calendar each August, Darwin Festival is one of Australia’s hottest winter arts festivals. Celebrating the multicultural aspects of the Northern Territory lifestyle, the festival combines warm outdoor festivities with a program rich in local, regional and international talent. Outdoor concerts under the stars and fun family events transform Darwin for 18 dazzling days and nights. Workshops, theatre, dance music, comedy, cabaret, film and visual arts make this one of Australia’s leading international arts festivals celebrating the quintessential spirit and energy of Darwin with its’ laid back and friendly lifestyle. 

Festivals and Events – 2018 Rotary Henley on Todd

The only dry river regatta globally, the iconic Rotary Henley on Todd is held annually under the eucalypts on the sandy bed of the Todd River in Alice Springs, Central Australia. Attracting visitors internationally, this one-day event is a fun, quirky and eclectic ‘boat’ race where teams hilariously compete in a Flintstone style ‘boat’ race. Seemingly sane people race bottomless ‘kayaks’, ‘oxford tubs’, rowing 8s’ and ‘yachts’ through the coarse sand and crowds are delighted when motorised battleships send flour bombs flying and spray water cannons. Boasting an almost 60 year history, this event has raised $1.7 million for charity.

Ecotourism – World Expeditions | Australian Walking Holidays – Classic Larapinta Trek 

One of Australia’s iconic desert walking treks, the Classic Larapinta Trek, is an extended 223km walking trail near Alice Springs in Australia’s Northern Territory. This awe-inspiring trek inspires visitors with immersion in stunning rocky outcrops, the high ridgelines of the West MacDonnell Ranges, and magnificent outback landscapes. World Expeditions was the first to offer commercial walks on the Larapinta Trail in 1995. Now operating over 12 award winning Larapinta Trail itineraries, walkers enjoy unsurpassed levels of comfort utilising exclusive, architect designed campsites and experience meticulous ‘path less travelled’ environmentally sustainable itineraries.

Cultural Tourism – Venture North Safaris

Venture North Safaris offers guided cultural and nature-based tours throughout the Top End and Kimberley regions of the Northern Territory. Specialising in off the beaten track and remote and hard to access regions, Venture North has developed exceptional relationships with Traditional Owners. This enables visitors to access Arnhem Land where local Indigenous guides lead every tour. Venture North operates the 'Cobourg Coastal Camp'; an eco-tourism camp on the Cobourg Peninsula, in northern Arnhem Land. This remote camp provides an award-winning array of cultural and wilderness experiences and world class fishing.

Qantas award for excellence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Tourism – Nitmiluk Tours

Nitmiluk Tours is located in Australia’s Top End of the Northern Territory, 300km south of Darwin. One of the very few 100% Indigenous owned tourism operations in Australia, Nitmiluk Tours shares a proud and proven record of Indigenous employment and training with authentic Indigenous culture showcased through every aspect of the operation. The traditional owners; the Jawoyn people, manage 2,900sq km where visitors enjoy adventure tours, cruises, cultural presentations, and scenic helicopter tours over Nitmiluk Gorge. Enriching this experience is unique accommodation, camping, fully equipped cabins, and the luxurious 18 room Cicada Lodge and gourmet restaurant.

Specialised Tourism Services – Ayers Rock Uluru Chinese Tours 

A specialist in conducting tour services in Mandarin, Uluṟu Chinese Tours is the Northern Territory's premier Chinese inbound tour operator and travel centre. Th development of customised tourism experiences for the Chinese domestic and international market with delivery predominantly through Chinese platforms and the use of fluent Chinese speaking guides, has seen visitors offered experiences including two, three and four-day itineraries in the Red Centre, day trips in Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park and an Uluru Astro Tour, offering some of the best stargazing in the world. 

Visitor Information Services – Alice Springs Visitor Information Centre

Embodying integrity, engagement, adaptability and consideration, the accredited and award-winning team at the Alice Springs Visitor Information Centre focus on providing free, friendly local knowledge and booking services for visitors to #RedCentreNT. Visitor experience is paramount with connection points available through on-site air-conditioned comfort, touchscreens, live chat, website and phone or email. An extensive range of retail products includes the licensed ‘Do the Red Centre’ Monopoly game, souvenirs, clothing, books and more. Visitors enjoy free Wifi, maps and brochures and the passionate team make every visitor encounter memorable.

Business Event Venues – Doubletree by Hilton Esplanade Darwin 

Overlooking the famous Darwin Esplanade and offering stunning ocean views, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Darwin is within walking distance of all major corporations and government offices in the city, the Darwin Convention Centre, Bicentennial Park and bustling leisure, dining and shopping opportunities. Recently refurbished, the hotel features over 1,200sq m of multi-function event spaces and a Grand Ballroom catering for up to 410 guests. A further 7 function rooms can be found on a dedicated event floor designed to host small meetings, large residential conferences, weddings and social events, off-site catering and events on Esplanade Park. 

Major Tour and Transport Operator – Uluru Camel Tours 

The largest camel farm in Australia is located in the Red Centre, Northern Territory. It is home to Uluru Camel Tours and over 60 beautiful camels. Offering award winning tours amidst a backdrop of stunning views of the World Heritage listed Uluru and Kata Tjuta National Park, Uluru Camel Tours provide 1.5hr express tours and 2.5hr sunrise and sunset camel experiences. Combined with a fully working saddlery and detailed display outlining the 130 year history of camels and the tough Afghan Cameleers who opened up the Outback in Australia, Uluru Camel Tours creates lifelong memories for visitors.

Tour and Transport Operator – NT Bird Specialists

NT Bird Specialists' offer award-winning birding, wildlife and photography tours exploring the tropics and outback Australia. Specialising in small group tours and charters, visitors depart Darwin for 1-23 days in luxury 4WDs and minivans. Widely recognised as one of Australia's best bird guides, visitors join Luke Paterson on world-class birdwatching and ecotourism experiences across the Northern Territory. Guests are professionally guided and immersed in ancient wilderness while searching for some of the region’s 400+ endemic, rare and migratory bird species, iconic wildlife and cultural experiences unique to the Top End, Kimberley and Sri Lanka. 

Adventure Tourism – Uluru Camel Tours 

The largest camel farm in Australia is located in the Red Centre, Northern Territory. It is home to Uluru Camel Tours and over 60 beautiful camels. Offering award winning tours amidst a backdrop of stunning views of the World Heritage listed Uluru and Kata Tjuta National Park, Uluru Camel Tours provide 1.5hr express tours and 2.5hr sunrise and sunset camel experiences. Combined with a fully working saddlery and detailed display outlining the 130 year history of camels and the tough Afghan Cameleers who opened up the Outback in Australia, Uluru Camel Tours creates lifelong memories for visitors.

Destination Marketing – Airnorth

Airnorth is a home-grown Northern Territory regional airline operating to 21 destinations, 10 within the Northern Territory. Launching a new seasonal route servicing the Gold Coast to Darwin in its’ 40th year, Airnorth designed a marketing campaign to promote travel from Queensland to the Northern Territory and increase visitation numbers. Using a strong collaborative approach with partners across the tourism industry, the campaign featured a series of branding initiatives supported by a mix of traditional marketing initiatives and targeted digital strategies. The result was a significant increase in visitation numbers to and from these regions.

Tourism Restaurants and Catering Services – Cicada Lodge Restaurant

The multi-award winning Cicada Lodge Restaurant is one of Australia’s most exciting food destinations. Located near the majestic deep water gorge in Nitmiluk National Park, Cicada Restaurant combines exceptional Australian food and wine experiences with world-class nature and wildlife. Visitors indulge in 5 star service on the Nabilil Dreaming Sunset Dinner Cruise against a backdrop of stunning scenic beauty. At Cicada’s nightly chefs table, local and native ingredients showcase the unique provenance of the region. In 2019, a new river-side dining experience was developed for groups and a third sell-out regional food event; The Spirited Traveller was delivered.

Tourism Wineries, Distilleries and Breweries – Alice Springs Brewing Co.

Alice Springs Brewing Company is the Northern Territory’s only operating brewery. Founded by long-time local, Kyle Pearson in 2018, the Alice Springs Brewing Company brews all beers on site and offers locally made beverage products matched with flavoursome food options. An intimate bar on the brewing floor provides a terrific space for visitors to sample a range of boutique beers, Australian craft wines and spirits with a focus on Gin, Vodka and Whisky.

Caravan and Holiday Parks – Big4 MacDonnell Range Holiday Park

Located in Alice Springs on 11 acres at the foot of the majestic MacDonnell Ranges, the 4.5 star BIG4 MacDonnell Range Holiday Park provides excellence in the holiday park sector. Catering for domestic and international visitors, the park boasts 330 sites, 52 cabins and a bunkhouse. As 30 year veterans in the industry, this family run business focuses on the delivery of exceptional customer service, welcoming outback hospitality and superior facilities. The park provides for a wide range of travellers including luxury to budget, groups and families as well as the growing grey nomad sector. 

Self-Contained Accommodation – Darwin Waterfront Luxury Suites 

Offering modern accommodation with the perfect waterfront location, Darwin Waterfront Luxury Suites provide a series of 4.5 star AAA rated self-contained apartments. These deluxe properties are located on the vibrant Darwin Waterfront precinct, a premier location just five minutes’ walk from the city centre. Featuring large contemporary lounge/dining areas and bedrooms, fully equipped kitchens, laundry facilities, and balconies with stunning water views overlooking the harbour, the apartments are recognised for exemplary service and extra comforts.

Standard Accommodation – Palms City Resort

Featuring a unique tropical design, Palms City Resort is the only 3.5 star accommodation located in the heart of Darwin City. Lush tropical gardens surround all accommodation options including low rise Hotel Rooms, Garden Bungalows and Tropical Villas. Featuring private outdoor spas, the Executive Villas are a unique feature of the property. "Just a little touch of paradise... in the heart of Darwin City" is what Palms City Resort is renowned for and a focus on superior service ensures visitors enjoy 24 hour reception, a breakfast cafe, a fantastic swimming pool and relaxing BBQ area. 

Deluxe Accommodation – Crowne Plaza Lasseters Alice Springs

Located in the Red Centre of Australia, the 4.5 star Crowne Plaza Alice Springs Lasseters enjoys picture-perfect surroundings beneath the stunning MacDonnell Ranges, alongside the banks of the Todd River, and adjoining the Alice Springs Golf Course. Featuring 205 deluxe rooms the hotel is surrounded by a range of entertainment options including two bars, three restaurants including Juicy Rump Bar and Grill, Tali featuring contemporary Australian cuisine, and Tempo an exclusive tapas, wine and cocktails bar. The hotel is complimented by an international standard casino, 24-hour health facility, Lavish beauty salon and day spa, all providing outstanding customer experiences. 

Luxury Accommodation – Cicada Lodge and Nitmiluk

Cicada Lodge delivers a luxury travel experience like no other! Anticipatory service staying in elegant, quality accommodation with unique access to the majesty of Nitmiluk Gorge and a truly authentic interaction with the unique indigenous culture. Located in Nitmiluk National Park, 300km south of Darwin, Cicada Lodge is 100% owned by the Jawoyn people ensuring an authenticity of experience that no other property of its kind can offer. Visitors have the chance to learn, feel, and explore in a setting that mixes luxury with relaxation and warmth, and the authenticity of experience that high-end travellers today seek.

Excellence in Food Tourism – Sea Darwin Fish N Chips Tour 

As the sun sets every night in the Top End, Sea Darwin takes to take to the water to deliver a scrumptious serving of fresh Northern Territory fish and chips aboard a sunset cruise. Accompanied with a complimentary drink, this Australian favourite is the centre piece of a trawler to tour experience, where quality fresh, local wild caught fish are sourced from local fishermen, then cooked to perfection by local food identities. With a story to tell, the meal is delivered to the boat piping hot ensuring visitors enjoy food with a view and a truly Territorian experience. 

NT only and individual categories

Skal Tourism Industry Employee – Dean Lambert

Dean Lambert has been a tour guide for 30 years, predominantly in Central Australia. He has a deep passion for the Outback, his knowledge of the region is unparalleled and his customer service exemplary. Dean has been a tour guide with Emu Run since August 2017, where he has been a great asset to the company, to his colleagues and to the tourism industry. His professionalism, dedication and integrity have made him a very well-respected tour guide in the community. 

George Dunne Outstanding Contribution by an Individual – Grant Whan

Grant Whan is a born and raised Territorian commenced his own tour operation at the age of 19 and now has over 30 years tourism experience in Central Australia.   Grant has been the Manager of the Alice Springs School of the Air, Hermannsburg Heritage Precinct, and Royal Flying Doctor Service and has also been a Tourism Development Officer with Tourism NT, Department of Business, Parks & Wildlife and now the Business Enterprise Centre.  Grant is a passionate, caring and dedicated professional whose enthusiasm for the Red Centre and tourism is second to none and a worthy recipient of the George Dunne Award for 2019.

Tourism Minister’s Perpetual Trophy – Jawoyn Association

As joint management partners of majestic Nitmiluk National Park, the Jawoyn Association in 2019 celebrated 30 year milestone with the handback of Nitmilik to their traditional ownership.  The Jawoyn’s sharing of their country since it was handed back to them in 1989 is an outstanding example of local people managing their lands, protecting their culture and delivering sustainable aboriginal tourism in a way that will benefit generations to come.

NT Visitor Experience Award - Royal Flying Doctor Service Darwin Tourist Facility

Providing visitors with a deep understanding of the Royal Flying Doctors Service history, its’ current aeromedical operations and the story of the Bombing of Darwin Harbour, The Royal Flying Doctor Service Darwin Tourist Facility brings history to life through modern visual and experiential technology. Located in central Darwin, visitors are enthralled by story-telling holograms, a decommissioned RFDS Pilatus PC 12 aircraft, touchscreen portals, pedal radio, virtual reality of the bombing of Darwin Harbour, a full-size replica of Japanese Zero aircraft, window to 1942 that is connected to a bombing floor, a replica of the flying boat Camilla and informative storyboards.

New NT Aboriginal Tourism Award – Arnhem Land Coastal Camp

Arnhem Land Coastal Camp is the only Indigenous owned and operated tourism business in Garig Gunak Barlu National Park, Cobourg Peninsula. Offering visitors a wide range of experiences including Aboriginal cultural tours, birdwatching, sport fishing, hunting and a unique Araru Asia Package, Director Dwayne Wauchope and the Traditional Owners, the Agalda Clan are proud to share this very special part of the world. Visitors can stay in luxurious coastal lodges or comfortable budget accommodation, surrounded by nature and wildlife with sensational views of white sandy beaches, rugged ranges, coral reefs, mangroves and paperbark swamps. 

Digital Marketing - Charlotte's Web Darwin Chocolate Factory 

Charlotte's Web Darwin Chocolate Factory opened in Darwin in 2018 offering a range of fresh, local-made chocolate barks featuring fresh local fruits, ginger, nuts, berries and other toppings. Visitors enjoy chocolate factory tours as well as the ability to purchase products from the retail store. Hotel mini bars and small retail outlets in the greater Darwin region enjoy providing the chocolate barks for sale. The vision of local chocolate-lover Kirsty McInnes, Charlotte’s Web Darwin Chocolate Factory is built around principles of ethical sourcing of ingredients and sustainable production methods.

International Marketing – Uluru Segway Tours 

Uluru Segway Tours specialises in providing fun, small group interpretative Segway tours around the base of Uluru in the Northern Territory’s Red Centre. Travelling aboard their own Segway, guests experience Uluru up close and have the opportunity to take amazing photographs, learn about the World Heritage listed site and the ancient Aboriginal culture the region is famous for. In expanding the international market, Uluru Segway Tours launched a GPS triggered Audio Guide delivering interpretive content to visitors in 6 different languages with a focus on growing the Japanese market whilst providing exceptional service delivery.

Tourism Business Growth Award – Marksie’s Stockman’s Bush Tucker

Marksie's Stockman's Camp Tucker Night is a unique dining and entertainment experience located in Katherine, 3 ½ hours south of Darwin. The experience is set in the tranquil surroundings of the Katherine Top Didj grounds where visitors dine by camp fire under the clear, bright sky amid Northern Territory wildlife. In a tribute to all camp cooks visitors graze over a traditional camp oven meal cooked over a bed of hot coals flavoured with over 16 different native Australian bush herbs, spices, fruits and foods. Served with a flash bush damper, gem scones and gum leaf billy tea, Marksie’s Stockman’s Camp Tucker Night it is a truly unique experience.

First Time Entrants Award – Darwin City Hotel

Centrally located in the heart of the city, Darwin City Hotel is a boutique 4 star hotel located only a short walk to retail shopping, dining and entertainment and the premier Darwin Waterfront Precinct. The Darwin City Hotel is a family owned and operated property featuring 91 standard, deluxe, superior rooms and one and two bedroom fully self-contained apartments. Combining modern décor and design, all facilities are built to be a home away from home for guests.

Chairman's Choice – Nitmiluk Tours and Cicada Lodge (deemed the most outstanding entry in 2019)

With a proud and proven record of Indigenous employment and training, authentic Indigenous culture is showcased through every aspect of Nitmiluk Tours and Cicada Lodges operations. The traditional owners; the Jawoyn people, manage an area of 2,900 sq km where visitors can enjoy a range of tours, experiences, accommodation and dining.  Visitors to Cicada Lodge have the chance to learn, feel, and explore in a setting that mixes luxury with relaxation and warmth, and the authenticity of experience that high-end travellers today seek.  A well-deserved recipient of the 2019 Chairman’s Choice Award for all round Tourism Excellence.



Page last updated on 18 November 2022