It has been a wierd and unsure yr with journey alternatives few and much between. Nonetheless, we discovered ourselves with alternatives to discover our lovely house state, Queensland, and make the most of the New Zealand journey bubble whereas it was open. Actually, it was a yr that was removed from best and one which introduced plenty of challenges personally and professionally. However there’s a lot to be thankful for.
The Little Gray Field Journey Awards are our method of exhibiting our immense gratitude and slightly further love and help for the fantastic individuals who make the yr’s finest journey moments doable. We simply wish to say an enormous thanks to each individual we met and labored with this yr. With out additional ado, listed here are the Little Gray Field Journey Award Winners (and, I suppose, our journey highlights) for 2021!
Greatest Australian Vacation spot
Winner: Rainbow Seaside, Queensland
Rainbow Seaside has been near each our hearts for a really very long time and, revisiting this yr, we obtained the prospect to take pleasure in it as soon as extra and see how a lot its grown! Boasting lovely seashores, unbelievable 4WD-ing spots and a few unbelievable new eateries, this seaside spot is equal elements attractive, enjoyable and stress-free.
Runner-up: Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Queensland
Honourable point out: Noosa, Queensland
Greatest Abroad Vacation spot
Winner: Wānaka, New Zealand
It’s wonderful we had been in a position to get abroad this yr and I nonetheless can’t imagine how fortunate we’re that Australia and New Zealand are so shut! Of all of the spots we visited on our street journey by means of the north and south islands, Wānaka stands out essentially the most. It’s, with out hesitation, my favorite place in New Zealand. A spot brimming with beautiful surroundings, unbelievable meals, outside adventures and the loveliest locals.
Runner-up: West Auckland, New Zealand
Honourable point out: Mackenzie Area, New Zealand
Greatest Underneath-the-Radar Vacation spot
Winner: West Auckland, New Zealand
Nothing fairly ready me for the uncooked and staggering great thing about the West Auckland shoreline. Having been so journey starved for therefore lengthy, the wild vitality of Karekare Seaside and Piha Seaside took my breath away. We had an unforgettable day exploring coastal trails, visiting waterfalls, consuming on the black sand seashores and barely seeing one other soul.
Runner-up: Kenilworth, Australia
Honourable point out: Tin Can Bay, Australia
Greatest Luxurious Lodging Expertise
Our keep in a decadent Cross Hill Geo Dome was a journey dream come true! Nevertheless it wasn’t simply the distinctive and opulent lodging that made this keep so particular. Set towards spectacular Lake Hawea, it’s the sense of heat and welcome that oozes by means of all the non-public touches and moments of connection you expertise throughout your keep. It is a spot that can stick with me for a very long time to come back!
Runner-up: Cordis Auckland, New Zealand
Honourable point out: Meriton Surfers Paradise, Australia
Greatest Funds Lodging Expertise
Every so often you unearth a gem on Airbnb and, this yr, we discovered essentially the most unbelievable spot in Twizel. Set throughout the Darkish Sky Reserve this inexpensive lodging spot boasts an epic bathtub good for stargazing in freezing temperatures. Outfitted with the whole lot you might want for a soothing, self-contained keep its additionally house to plenty of pleasant cattle, providing loads of enjoyable issues to do throughout your go to.
Runner-up: The ‘Outdated Glenroy Dairy’ (Airbnb), Australia
Honourable point out: House 5 (Airbnb), New Zealand
Greatest Seaside Expertise
Winner: Piha Seaside, New Zealand
Most years it’s a sun-drenched spot that takes the cake however I couldn’t assist falling in love with wild Piha Seaside. On a cool winter day we made our method throughout the sand, rain drizzling on occasion, gazing on the rugged shoreline whereas tucking into heat soup and toasty bread. It was completely completely different to what I often go to the seashore for and, one way or the other, so soul nourishing!
Runner-up: Rainbow Seaside, Australia
Honourable point out: Kings Seaside, Australia
Greatest Meals Expertise
We had been grateful to expertise some really fantastic, native meals in 2021 and one we gained’t quickly overlook is Social Consuming Home + Bar. This understated spot delivers a real meals expertise combining unbelievable service, nice atmosphere, an thrilling menu, lovely plating and, most significantly, spectacular meals. From begin to end it was pure perfection! We’re so fortunate to have this spot inside driving distance of house.
Runner-up: Edgewater Eating & Lounge, Australia
Honourable mentions: Amigos Wanaka, New Zealand
Greatest Breakfast Expertise
Winner: Bumbles Cafe, Australia
I didn’t count on this humble Gold Coast cafe to throw down fairly prefer it did, I’ve to be trustworthy! A really cosy neighbourhood spot widespread with locals, it served up the very best espresso I had all yr. The inside seems like a whimsical e book retailer and the menu boasts an amazing mixture of classics and inventive bites to pattern. I’m obsessed with crumpets and was blown away by the scrumptious sourdough crumpets and granola with ultra-wobbly pannacotta! YUM!
Runner-up: Morning After, Australia
Honourable point out: Relishes Cafe, New Zealand
Greatest Restaurant Expertise
Winner: Etsu Izakaya, Australia
In the event you can’t inform already, the Gold Coast was the hero of our foodie adventures this yr and Etsu Izakaya was a transparent standout. True to the izakaya you’ll discover in Japan, Etsu is completely understated from the surface and you might simply stroll proper previous it. Enterprise inside and also you’ll discover a lovely restaurant serving up essentially the most scrumptious Japanese meals I’ve skilled exterior of Japan. To not point out, the service is impeccable!
Runner-up: Margo’s Queenstown, New Zealand
Honourable point out: Social Consuming Home + Bar, Australia
Greatest Cafe Expertise
Winner: Nodo, Australia
I stay for breakfast and my favorite cafe of the yr was Brisbane’s personal native gem, Nodo. The fit-out of the Hawthorne cafe is simply attractive with a menu that makes it arduous to decide on only one dish. Along with their scrumptious meals Nodo additionally boasts distinctive espresso and the very best donuts within the recreation. An added bonus – your entire place is Gluten Free!
Runner-up: White Picket Fence, Australia
Honourable point out: No Identify Lane, Australia
Greatest Bar/Drinks Experince
One other Gold Coast gem, Edgewater is completely positioned overlooking the glittering waterways round Surfers Paradise. The service right here was a standout, reminding me of the type of service you obtain in a brasserie in Paris. Not solely had been the drinks right here visually beautiful, they had been scrumptious too and completely accompanied by lovely waterfront views. It’s simply the icing on the cake that meals is spectacular as nicely!
Runner-up: Granddad Jack’s Craft Distillery, Australia
Honourable point out: O.G.B, New Zealand
Greatest Journey Expertise
Every so often you get the chance to do one thing you’ve by no means finished earlier than and it awakens one thing in you! For me, it was an unrealised love of climbing all due to Wildwire Wanaka. Hanging off the facet of a cascading waterfall, soaking in views over Wanaka was completely magical. Getting open air and hands-on with the uncooked great thing about this area is the right option to expertise it and I can’t wait to return and do that one once more.
Runner-up: Canyon Swing (with Shotover Canyon Swing), New Zealand
Honourable point out: The Mountain Expertise (with The Cardrona), New Zealand
Greatest Distinctive Expertise
Having lived near the Gold Coast most of my life I used to be shocked to grasp I’d been lacking out on exploring the waterways! Seems, it was well worth the wait as we obtained the prospect to do it for the primary time in a Duffy boat with Duffy Down Underneath. Combining consolation, enjoyable and exquisite surroundings this expertise is ideal for everybody! We spent a very good few hours placing alongside gently, seeing the realm from a brand new perspective and having fun with a waterfront lunch.
Runner-up: All Blacks Expertise, New Zealand
Honourable point out: Mauao (Mount Maunganui) Summit Stroll, New Zealand
Greatest Multi-Day Tour Expertise
This yr we obtained the prospect to expertise one thing we by no means have earlier than – the caravanning life-style! Setting off with zero expertise, the staff at Outside Aussie Adventures taught us the whole lot we wanted to know, helped us settled in and hooked us up with the Jeep and the caravan and an unbelievable itinerary. It was so enjoyable travelling in a brand new method and, should you noticed my Insta-Tales, you’ll know Matt took to it like a duck to water and is formally able to be a gray nomad.
Greatest Day-Tour Expertise
Whereas visiting Christchurch this yr I needed to attempt to discover experiences to assist me join higher with town and Āmiki Excursions did simply that. The Kai (meals) Safari Tour takes you out into the guts of Maori tradition, native historical past and distinctive meals. It’s an opportunity to style and expertise the area in a really highly effective method, expertly led by heat and welcoming locals. In the event you ever go to Christchurch a tour with Āmiki is a should.
Runner-up: Cruise ‘n’ Canoe (with Everglades Eco Safaris), Australia
Honourable point out: Coldie on the Goldie Brewery Tour (with Hop On Brewery Excursions), Australia
Greatest Airport Expertise
Winner: Queenstown Airport, New Zealand
We had been solely inside a few airports this yr however Queenstown simply takes the cake! Positioned a brief drive from the guts of Queenstown you continue to get to benefit from the surroundings from contained in the terminal. There are nice cafes, a lolly store so you’ll be able to refill on fudge and sweets for the journey house and an amazing Japanese restaurant.
Greatest Airline Expertise
Winner: Qantas, Economic system Class
There was just one airline we flew with this yr and I gotta say, we had been grateful to even have the ability to fly!
Greatest Bucket Record Second
Having visited many instances through the years the 4WD experiences of Rainbow Seaside had at all times eluded us. However we lastly obtained to tick it off our bucket lists and it was well worth the wait! We liked driving by means of the plush rainforest then zooming alongside large stretches of seashore bordered by the ocean. Driving previous the colored sands, gazing up on the Carlo Sand Blow and stopping on an empty seashore for a swim and a snack was the icing on prime.
Greatest Journey Tech
That is a type of issues I want we’d began doing sooner! Earlier than leaving for New Zealand we obtained pay as you go native sim playing cards from SimsDirect they usually made our whole journey simpler. From wanting up eating places and cafes on the fly to discovering instructions, staying related and altering flights on the final minute, they had been invaluable.
Runner-up: Apple Watch
Honourable point out: Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wi-fi Noise Cancelling Headphones
Greatest Journey Accent
Winner: Insulated Journey Flask
After speaking about all of it yr we lastly purchased a journey flask/thermos and it has develop into the very best factor ever! Excellent for any journey on a chilly day we turned obsessive about filling ours with espresso or tea and stopping someplace lovely for a spot of morning tea, paired completely with goodies sourced from a neighborhood bakery.
Runner-up: The Cozy Unique
Honourable point out: Allocacoc PowerCube
Greatest Journey Instagrammer
Winside: Cory & Charlotte (@cjexplores)
In a yr the place journey alternatives had been restricted, Cory and Charlotte of CJ Explores had been a beacon of sunshine and inspiration! Capturing lovely images for his or her Instagram and creating unbelievable content material for YouTube they spent the yr exploring Queensland earlier than setting off on their huge lap round Australia. They’re splendidly proficient and really pretty individuals so make sure you verify them out!
Greatest Journey Vlogger
Winner: Beth and Paul (YouTube)
No different channel impressed pleasure for us in fairly the identical method as Beth and Paul’s. It’s like watching your finest good friend’s dad and mom out on the earth having a stunning time and I can’t get sufficient of them! They’re so candy, real and entertaining and I discover them so humorous even once they’re not making an attempt to be. They’re only a delight!
Only a fast notice to substantiate the Little Gray Field Journey Awards are based mostly solely on our experiences. None of those spots has been paid for or requested by any of these included, it’s all legit love!
Helpful journey assets in your subsequent journey!
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Agoda – e book inns (& properties)
Reserving.com – e book inns
Motorhome Republic – RV leases
RentalCars.com – automotive leases
SimsDirect – pay as you go journey SIM playing cards
Skyscanner – e book flights
Surfshark – on-line safety & VPN (Watch 30+ Netflix libraries!)
TourRadar – e book excursions