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Little Gray Field Journey Awards 2021 Winners!


It has been a wierd and unsure yr with journey alternatives few and much between. Nonetheless, we discovered ourselves with alternatives to discover our stunning house state, Queensland, and reap the benefits of the New Zealand journey bubble whereas it was open. Actually, it was a yr that was removed from best and one which introduced quite a lot of challenges personally and professionally. However there’s a lot to be pleased about.

The Little Gray Field Journey Awards are our approach of displaying our immense gratitude and slightly further love and help for the fantastic individuals who make the yr’s finest journey moments potential. We simply need to say an enormous thanks to every particular person 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!

Best Australian Destination: Rainbow Beach

Finest 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 possibility to take pleasure in it as soon as extra and see how a lot its grown! Boasting stunning seashores, unbelievable 4WD-ing spots and a few unbelievable new eateries, this seaside spot is equal elements beautiful, enjoyable and enjoyable.

Runner-up: Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Queensland
Honourable point out: Noosa, Queensland

Best Overseas Destination: Wanaka

Finest Abroad Vacation spot

Winner: Wānaka, New Zealand

It’s superb we have been in a position to get abroad this yr and I nonetheless can’t consider how fortunate we’re that Australia and New Zealand are so shut! Of all of the spots we visited on our highway journey via the north and south islands, Wānaka stands out probably 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

Finest Below-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 power 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 infrequently seeing one other soul.

Runner-up: Kenilworth, Australia
Honourable point out: Tin Can Bay, Australia

Best Luxury Accommodation: Cross Hill Domes

Finest Luxurious Lodging Expertise

Winner: Cross Hill Lodge & Domes, New Zealand

Our keep in a decadent Cross Hill Geo Dome was a journey dream come true! Nevertheless it wasn’t simply the distinctive and splendid lodging that made this keep so particular. Set in opposition to spectacular Lake Hawea, it’s the sense of heat and welcome that oozes via all the private touches and moments of connection you expertise throughout your keep. It is a spot that may stick with me for a very long time to come back!

Runner-up: Cordis Auckland, New Zealand
Honourable point out: Meriton Surfers Paradise, Australia

Best Budget Accommodation: Highlands Farmstead

Finest Funds Lodging Expertise

Winner: Highlands Farmstay (Government Barn), New Zealand

From time to time you unearth a gem on Airbnb and, this yr, we discovered probably the most unbelievable spot in Twizel. Set inside the Darkish Sky Reserve this inexpensive lodging spot boasts an epic bathtub good for stargazing in freezing temperatures. Outfitted with every little thing you might want for a soothing, self-contained keep its additionally house to quite a few pleasant livestock, providing loads of enjoyable issues to do throughout your go to.

Runner-up: The ‘Previous Glenroy Dairy’ (Airbnb), Australia
Honourable point out: House 5 (Airbnb), New Zealand

Best Beach Experience: Piha Beach

Finest 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 approach throughout the sand, rain drizzling from time to time, gazing on the rugged shoreline whereas tucking into heat soup and toasty bread. It was completely totally different to what I often go to the seashore for and, someway, so soul nourishing!

Runner-up: Rainbow Seaside, Australia
Honourable point out: Kings Seaside, Australia

Best Food Experience: Social Eating House

Finest Meals Expertise

Winner: Social Consuming Home + Bar, Australia

We have 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, stunning 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

Best Breakfast Experience: Bumbles Cafe

Finest 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 sincere! A really cosy neighbourhood spot standard with locals, it served up the most effective espresso I had all yr. The inside seems like a whimsical e book retailer and the menu boasts an incredible 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

Best Restaurant Experience: Etsu Izakaya

Finest Restaurant Expertise

Winner: Etsu Izakaya, Australia

For those who 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 skin and you might simply stroll proper previous it. Enterprise inside and also you’ll discover an attractive restaurant serving up probably 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

Best Cafe Experience: Nodo

Finest Cafe Expertise

Winner: Nodo, Australia

I reside 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 beautiful with a menu that makes it onerous to decide on only one dish. Along with their scrumptious meals Nodo additionally boasts distinctive espresso and the most effective donuts within the recreation. An added bonus – the whole place is Gluten Free!

Runner-up: White Picket Fence, Australia
Honourable point out: No Title Lane, Australia

Best Bar Experience: Edgewater Dining & Lounge Bar

Finest Bar/Drinks Experince

Winner: Edgewater Eating and Lounge Bar, Australia

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 have been the drinks right here visually beautiful, they have been scrumptious too and completely accompanied by stunning 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

Best Adventure Experience: Wildwire Wanaka

Finest Journey Expertise

Winner: Lord of the Rungs Climb (with Wildwire Wanaka), New Zealand

From time to time 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 technique 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

Best Unique Experience: Duffy Down Under

Finest Distinctive Expertise

Winner: Comfortable Traditional Self Drive (with Duffy Down Below Boat Rent), Australia

Having lived near the Gold Coast most of my life I used to be shocked to understand I’d been lacking out on exploring the waterways! Seems, it was definitely worth the wait as we obtained the possibility to do it for the primary time in a Duffy boat with Duffy Down Below. Combining consolation, enjoyable and exquisite surroundings this expertise is ideal for everybody! We spent a very good few hours placing alongside gently, seeing the world 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

Best Multi Day Tour Experience: Outdoor Aussie Adventures

Finest Multi-Day Tour Expertise

Winner: Jeep & Caravan Self Drive (with Out of doors Aussie Adventures), Australia

This yr we obtained the possibility to expertise one thing we by no means have earlier than – the caravanning life-style! Setting off with zero expertise, the workforce at Out of doors Aussie Adventures taught us every little thing we would have liked 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 approach and, if you happen to 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.

Best Day Tour Experience: Āmiki Tours

Finest Day-Tour Expertise

Winner: Kai Safari Dinner Tour (with Āmiki Excursions), New Zealand

Whereas visiting Christchurch this yr I needed to try to discover experiences to assist me join higher with the 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 approach, expertly led by heat and welcoming locals. For those who 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

Finest Airport Expertise

Winner: Queenstown Airport, New Zealand

We have 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 may fill up on fudge and sweets for the journey house and an incredible Japanese restaurant.

Finest Airline Expertise

Winner: Qantas, Economic system Class

There was just one airline we flew with this yr and I gotta say, we have been grateful to even have the ability to fly!

Best Bucket List Moment: 4WD Rainbow Beach

Finest Bucket Listing Second

Winner: Driving a 4WD alongside Rainbow Seaside, Australia

Having visited many instances over time 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 definitely worth the wait! We beloved driving via the luxurious rainforest then zooming alongside extensive 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.

Runner-up: Taking an epic North to South Island Highway Journey, New Zealand

Finest Journey Tech

Winner: Pay as you go Journey Sim (from SimsDirect)

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 complete journey simpler. From trying up eating places and cafes on the fly to discovering instructions, staying related and altering flights on the final minute, they have been invaluable.

Runner-up: Apple Watch
Honourable point out: Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wi-fi Noise Cancelling Headphones

Finest Journey Accent

Winner: Insulated Journey Flask

After speaking about all of it yr we lastly purchased a journey flask/thermos and it has turn out to be the most effective factor ever! Excellent for any journey on a chilly day we turned obsessive about filling ours with espresso or tea and stopping someplace stunning 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

Best Travel Instagrammed: CJ Explores

Finest Journey Instagrammer

Winterior: Cory & Charlotte (@cjexplores)

In a yr the place journey alternatives have been restricted, Cory and Charlotte of CJ Explores have been a beacon of sunshine and inspiration! Capturing stunning 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 large lap round Australia. They’re splendidly proficient and really pretty individuals so make sure to examine them out!

Finest Journey Vlogger

Winner: Beth and Paul (YouTube)

No different channel impressed pleasure for us in fairly the identical approach as Beth and Paul’s. It’s like watching your finest pal’s mother and father out on this planet having a beautiful time and I can not get sufficient of them! They’re so candy, real and entertaining and I discover them so humorous even after they’re not making an attempt to be. They’re only a delight!

Only a fast word 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!

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Helpful journey assets to your subsequent journey!

For those who discovered this submit helpful, we’d be grateful if you happen to thought of utilizing the affiliate hyperlinks beneath. We’ll make a small fee at no further price to you. Relaxation assured, these are the services and products we love and use ourselves. Thanks to your help! Phoebe and Matt x.

Agoda – for reserving lodges (& properties)
Reserving.com – for reserving lodges
ING Financial institution– $100 reward (DUJ652) + $0 intl transaction charges + extra
Motorhome Republic – for RV leases
RentalCars.com – for automobile leases
SimsDirect – for pay as you go journey SIM playing cards
Skyscanner – for reserving flights
Surfshark – for on-line safety & VPN (Watch 30+ Netflix libraries!)



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