Forget a visit to Byron, a weekend in the Barossa or a trip to the Gold Coast – because the new list of where to visit in Australia has a few curveballs in the mix.
Online travel site Wotif has revealed the winners of its annual Aussie Town of the Year awards – which rank the top 10 destinations to visit in 2021.
With international borders set to remain closed for most of the year, all eyes are on where to go and what to see in our own backyard.
The awards, in their fourth year, decide on the top 10 ranking Australian destinations based on good affordability, well-rated accommodation and increasing traveller interest over the last 12 months.
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According to the booking platform, new to this year, the awards also recognise destinations that have met the changing needs of travellers over the last year, by offering increased flexibility, good-value deals and appealing activities and attractions.
With Coffs Harbour taking out the crown in 2020, this year the top gong went to Cairns because of its location on the doorstep of not one but two world heritage sites.
Cairns has grown in popularity given its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest – the oldest rainforest in the world.
“While the last 12 months have been less than ideal, this time has given Aussies the chance to re-evaluate how they live, work and play – a change of perspective that many now appreciate,” Wotif managing director Daniel Finch said.
“While an overseas getaway will always have its purpose and appeal, many Aussies do not realise the unique opportunity they have in front of them – to take advantage of having this enormous playground called Australia, all to themselves.”
Coming in second place was Pokolbin in NSW, with many of us seeking wine and food experiences while holidaying at home. In third place was Victoria’s Apollo Bay – surrounded by endless beaches, walking trails and the Great Otway National Park.
In 2020, the number one destination was Coffs Harbour, followed by Mackay in Queensland and Airlie Beach in third.
THE WOTIF TOP 10 TOWNS RANKING:
1. Cairns, QLD
2. Pokolbin, NSW
3. Apollo Bay, VIC
4. Mudgee, NSW
5. Lakes Entrance, VIC
6. McLaren Vale, SA
7. Hervey Bay, QLD
8. Exmouth, WA
9. Port Macquarie, NSW
10. The Entrance, NSW