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Bendigo Named ‘Aussie Town of the Year’

Forget coastal escapes, Aussies are seeking cultural experiences closer to home this year, with regional towns taking the top spots in the 2024 Wotif Aussie Town of the Year Awards. Bendigo, Victoria, famed for its gold rush history and vibrant art scene, snagged the coveted title, reflecting a shift in travel preferences.

Also Read: The Best Pubs in Bendigo

Gold Rush Charm Meets Modern Gastronomy in Bendigo

Nestled in central Victoria, Bendigo boasts a rich history dating back to the 1850s, evident in attractions like the Central Deborah Gold Mine. But beyond its past, the town is a hub for contemporary art, showcased in the Djaa Djuwima First Nations Art Gallery and the Bendigo Art Gallery. Its innovative food and beverage scene earned it the distinction of Australia’s first UNESCO Creative City and Region of Gastronomy, making it a must-visit for culture and culinary enthusiasts.

Top 10 Unveiled: From Wine Country to Outback Wonders

Joining Bendigo on the podium are Broken Hill, NSW, known for its “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” connection, and Stanthorpe, QLD, a wine lover’s paradise. The full top 10 list reveals a diverse mix of destinations, including:

  • Katherine, NT: Immerse yourself in Aboriginal culture and majestic landscapes.
  • Bathurst, NSW: Experience gold rush history and the thrill of motorsports.
  • Tanunda, SA: Explore the heart of the Barossa Valley’s wine region.
  • Griffith, NSW: Discover Italian heritage and delicious cuisine.
  • Stanley, TAS: Step back in time with charming heritage architecture.
  • Exmouth, WA: Dive into the world’s largest fringing reef.
  • Coober Pedy, SA: Explore the unique underground opal-mining town.

Travel Trends: Culture Cravings and Local Gems

New research reveals that half of Aussies plan to travel domestically in 2024, driven by a desire for cultural experiences (51%). Exploring historical sites (89%), unique outback experiences (84%), and local arts scenes (76%) are top priorities. This shift aligns with the award winners, showcasing regional towns rich in history, natural beauty, and cultural offerings.

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