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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Western Australia dominates 'Australia’s Top 10 Destinations to Experience'


The states of Western Australia and Queensland have dominated an annual consumer poll conducted by leading travel experience provider Experience Oz highlighting Australia's top 10 spots to visit for 2015, with WA's Kimberley region clocking in at #1.

'Australia's Top 10 Destinations to Experience', a major international and domestic poll now in its third year, has revealed the public voted the Western Australian Kimberley Region as the country's top destination for 2015, closely followed by QLD's popular island chain the Whitsundays in second place, and another QLD reef hotspot, Cairns, in third.

The list was dominated by destinations from Western Australia and Queensland, with each landing 4 destinations in the top 10 finalists. Tasmania, New South Wales, and the ACT did not receive any finalists despite several destinations from each state being nominated.

The top 10 list was rounded out by Uluru, NT; Port Douglas, QLD; the Gold Coast, QLD; Ningaloo/Exmouth, WA; and finally Kangaroo Island, SA in the 10th spot from a shortlist of 50 iconic destinations.

A first-time nominee on the list and famous for its rugged diversity of both coastal and outback nature, the Kimberley Region of WA's blend of distinctive rock formations, unique natural phenomena and exotic appeal was enough to capture the imaginations of the voting public.

Western Australia's coastal areas also took centre stage in the poll, with scenic Rottnest Island (#4), Ningaloo Reef (#8) and Margaret River (#9) all examples of destinations that offer waterfront experiences.

In conducting the survey, which ran for two months, Experience Oz received over 5000 votes from a mixed audience of Australian and international respondents.

Tourism Western Australia CEO Stephanie Buckland welcomed the news that four WA destinations had been voted as the best in Australia.

"We're thrilled that Western Australia is home to four of the top 10 destinations," Ms Buckland said.

"The four destinations together show the breadth and depth of the extraordinary experiences WA has to offer.

"One of the world's last true wilderness areas, the Kimberley is home to extraordinary outback experiences including the unique beehive formations of the Bungle Bungle Range in World Heritage Purnululu National Park and the world's only Horizontal Waterfalls at Talbot Bay.  It  is also rich in Aboriginal culture with many Aboriginal tourism experiences on offer."

"Rottnest Island is a truly unique destination. The island is an A class reserve and boasts 63 beaches, some of which are the most pristine and beautiful in the world. It also the only place in the world where you can take part in the phenomenon that is the "quokka selfie". Quokkas are small marsupials found on Rottnest and are reportedly second only to cats when it come to the internet's most clickable animal and the hashtag #quokkaselfie is a big hit on Instagram and Twitter.

"WA's Ningaloo Reef is regarded as one of the best locations in the world to swim with whale sharks these gentle giants – because of the clarity of the water, regularity of the whale sharks and professionalism of the tour operators. Easily accessible from shore, World Heritage listed Ningaloo Reef is also home to manta rays, sea turtles and dugongs.

"The Margaret River Region is one of the only wine regions in the world where you can also experience beautiful beaches, forests and wildlife.  It is also home to Margaret River Gourmet Escape, which is growing a reputation as being the country's best food and wine festival."

Glen Chidlow, CEO of Australia's North West Tourism, said that the accolade not only reflects the natural attractions of the Kimberley, but is also recognition of the outstanding tourism product on offer in the region.

"Adventure expedition cruising, wilderness resorts and lodges, scenic flights along the Kimberley Aerial Highway, engagement with Aboriginal culture, and outback travels along the iconic Gibb River Road are just some of the experiences available which makes the Kimberley so special," Mr. Chidlow said.

'The Kimberley has amazing waterfalls and gorges, rugged roads with outback towns, and a stunning coastline that attracts travellers from all over the world."

"The operators who share their knowledge with the region's many visitors do an outstanding job in providing a world-class holiday experience," he said.

Poll participants were asked to consider among other factors, the typical "Aussie"-style nature of the destination, its unique natural highlights, the area's cultural, historic and architectural features, the variety of activities on offer, whether it was over-commercialised, and if it was simply considered objectively "beautiful".

With regional destinations rounding out the list, the work of local tourism operators and key influence groups in providing quality imagery played a large role in establishing their appeal to online audiences.

Experience Oz Marketing Manager Matt Hobbs said 'Australia's Top 10 Destinations to Experience' consumer poll was a great opportunity to identify hotspots to visit in Australia from the public point of view, rather than the simply "telling people where to go" approach other similar lists follow.

"This year due to previous demand we expanded the list of nominees to 50 to include more regional destinations in Australia, and a regional spot such as the Kimberley region being voted in at #1 reflects a trend we've seen towards a desire to visit more uncharted parts of the country," Mr. Hobbs said.

"Both Western Australia and Queensland are home to locations that typically fare strongly in these polls – that is, beautiful coastlines and/or elements of the Outback – so the overall results were not entirely surprising.

"The absence of major cities such as Sydney and Melbourne in the finalists is largely due to most voters having either already visited – or currently living – in these cities, and thus turning their eyes further afield for travel adventures," he said.

Interestingly, the gap between the Australian travel aspirations of domestic and international voters was quite large, with a Top 10 for overseas participants that shook out quote differently to Australian voters as Queensland's Gold Coast took out the #1 spot, and Victorian capital Melbourne registered #2.

Please visit to view the full list of 'Australia's Top Ten Destinations to Experience 2015' and read why each spot made the grade.

Australia's Top Ten Destinations to Experience 2015 (TOTAL VOTES):

1. Kimberley Region, WA
2. Whitsundays, QLD
3. Cairns, QLD
4. Rottnest Island, WA
5. Uluru, NT
6. Port Douglas, QLD
7. Gold Coast, QLD
8. Ningaloo, WA
9. Margaret River, WA
10. Kangaroo Island, SA

Australia's Top Ten Destinations to Experience 2015 (DOMESTIC VOTES):

1. Kimberley Region, WA
2. Cairns, QLD
3. Whitsundays, QLD
4. Rottnest Island, WA
5. Port Douglas, QLD
6. Lord Howe Island, NSW
7. Ningaloo, WA
8. Uluru, NT
9. Margaret River, WA
10. Kangaroo Island, SA

Australia's Top Ten Destinations to Experience 2015 (INTERNATIONAL VOTES):

1. Gold Coast, QLD
2. Melbourne, VIC
3. Cairns, QLD
4. Whitsundays, QLD
5. Uluru, NT
6. Kimberley Region, WA
7. Sydney, NSW
8. Great Ocean Road, VIC
9. Adelaide, SA
10. Rottnest Island, WA

Experience Oz offers a comprehensive catalogue of tours, attractions and activities with no booking or credit card fees and unbiased reviews all on a secure online booking site.

Over 3000 products including theme park tickets, attraction tickets, day tours, hot air ballooning, jet boating, whale watching and great dinner and show packages are all on offer at Experience Oz with customers able to skip the queues at most attractions and save valuable holiday time.

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