The lure of barramundi has made a novel Queensland fishing attraction quite the catch for mature-age travellers.
The Les Wilson Barramundi Discovery Centre and Hatchery Karumba in the Gulf of Carpentaria has scooped the top gong at the 2020 Grey Nomad Awards.
The visitor centre-cum-hatchery is the only place in the world dedicated to sustainable breeding of the Southern Gulf strain of this iconic fish.
It was announced as the Best of the Best Grey Nomad Award winner after taking out the Best Grey Nomad Attraction or Tour category at the award ceremony on Queensland's Sunshine Coast recently.
The Grey Nomad Awards shine a light on the best stays, attractions, tours and events on offer for older travellers throughout regional Australia.
In total seven tourism experiences were named as the best in Australia for mature-age visitors.
An outback station known for its sunset artesian baths, a caravan park with an onsite dessert van and a quirky pub with bar stools shaped like horse's back ends and cowboy's bottoms also secured top honours.
The awards are judged by tourism leaders from across the country who offer valuable insights and detailed feedback to each entrant, ensuring nominees have practical tips to improve their tourism offering for the future benefit of their business, their community, the tourism industry and visitors.
Over-55s represent one of the biggest opportunities in domestic tourism recovery, possessing alsmost a third of Australia's disposable income along with the flexibility and motivation to travel.
Despite travel restrictions, 42.4 million nights were spent caravanning or camping in the 12 months up to September 2020, generating $5.7 billion.
Of that total, mature-age travellers contributed $2.508 billion, equating to 44 cents in every dollar spent.
Awards director Kim Morgan said the awards helped guide seniors' decisions on where to visit.
"Australians have long enjoyed epic road trips, starting in the post-war period when economic prosperity and the launch of the first Holden collided.
"That love of wide, open spaces has never dimmed, but Australia is a big country so knowing where to visit to experience something extraordinary is valuable," Ms Morgan said.
Commenting on the awards, the judges said: "This year's nominees reflect the extraordinary and exceptional experiences on offer to mature-age travellers across the country".
"Each nominee is playing a small yet critical role in assisting the Australian tourism sector to recover from the imposed 2020 downturn," the judges said.
2020 Grey Nomad Award Gold Winners
- Best Grey Nomad Attraction or Tour: Barramundi Discovery Centre & Hatchery Karumba, Qld
- Best Grey Nomad Community Stay: CMCA RV Park, Temora NSW
- Best Grey Nomad Council Free Stay: Kimba Recreation Reserve, SA
- Best Grey Nomad Farm or Station Stay: Charlotte Plains Outback Magic, Cunnamulla Qld
- Best Grey Nomad Pub Stay: The Wellshot Hotel, Ilfracombe Qld
- Best Grey Nomad Small Caravan Park: Mt Larcom Tourist Park Qld
- Best Grey Nomad Large Caravan Park: Riverbend Caravan Park, Renmark SA
2020 Grey Nomad Awards Silver Winners
- Best Grey Nomad Attraction or Tour: Paronella Park, Mena Creek Qld
- Best Grey Nomad Community Stay: Berri Riverside Holiday Park SA
- Best Grey Nomad Council Free Stay: Nindigully Tourist and Visitor Area Qld
- Best Grey Nomad Small Caravan Park: Point Turton Caravan Park SA
2020 Grey Nomad Award Bronze Winners
- Best Grey Nomad Attraction: Busselton Jetty, WA
- Best Grey Nomad Tour: Mary Valley Rattler, Gympie QLD
- Best Grey Nomad Small Caravan Park: Charters Towers Tourist Park Gday park
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