Saturday, June 22, 2024

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 benefit from the New Zealand journey bubble whereas it was open. Truthfully, it was a yr that was removed from superb and one which introduced a number of challenges personally and professionally. However there’s a lot to be thankful for.

The Little Gray Field Journey Awards are our method of displaying our immense gratitude and somewhat 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 prospect to get pleasure from it as soon as extra and see how a lot its grown! Boasting stunning seashores, unbelievable 4WD-ing spots and a few incredible new eateries, this seaside spot is equal elements attractive, enjoyable and stress-free.

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

Best Overseas Destination: Wanaka

Finest Abroad Vacation spot

Winner: W?naka, New Zealand

It’s wonderful 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 by the north and south islands, W?naka stands out probably the most. It’s, with out hesitation, my favorite place in New Zealand. A spot brimming with gorgeous surroundings, unbelievable meals, out of doors adventures and the loveliest locals.

Runner-up: West Auckland, New Zealand
Honourable point out: Mackenzie Area, New Zealand

Finest Beneath-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 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 opulent lodging that made this keep so particular. Set in opposition to spectacular Lake Hawea, it’s the sense of heat and welcome that oozes by all the non-public touches and moments of connection you expertise throughout your keep. This can be a spot that can stick with me for a very long time to return!

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

Best Budget Accommodation: Highlands Farmstead

Finest Price range Lodging Expertise

Winner: Highlands Farmstay (Government Barn), New Zealand

Once in a while you unearth a gem on Airbnb and, this yr, we discovered probably the most unbelievable spot in Twizel. Set throughout the Darkish Sky Reserve this reasonably priced lodging spot boasts an epic bathtub excellent for stargazing in freezing temperatures. Geared up with the whole lot you could possibly want for a calming, self-contained keep its additionally house to plenty of pleasant livestock, providing loads of enjoyable issues to do throughout your go to.

Runner-up: The ‘Outdated Glenroy Dairy’ (Airbnb), Australia
Honourable point out: Condo 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 method 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 completely different to what I normally 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

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 incredible 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 common with locals, it served up the very best espresso I had all yr. The inside looks like a whimsical ebook retailer and the menu boasts an excellent mixture of classics and artistic 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

When 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 could possibly simply stroll proper previous it. Enterprise inside and also you’ll discover an exquisite 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 dwell 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 laborious to decide on only one dish. Along with their scrumptious meals Nodo additionally boasts distinctive espresso and the very best donuts within the sport. An added bonus – your complete 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 gorgeous, 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 effectively!

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

Once in a while you get the chance to do one thing you’ve by no means achieved earlier than and it awakens one thing in you! For me, it was an unrealised love of climbing all because of Wildwire Wanaka. Hanging off the facet of a cascading waterfall, soaking in views over Wanaka was completely magical. Getting outside and hands-on with the uncooked great thing about this area is the proper strategy 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 Beneath 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 prospect to do it for the primary time in a Duffy boat with Duffy Down Beneath. 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

Best Multi Day Tour Experience: Outdoor Aussie Adventures

Finest Multi-Day Tour Expertise

Winner: Jeep & Caravan Self Drive (with Outside Aussie Adventures), Australia

This yr we obtained the prospect to expertise one thing we by no means have earlier than – the caravanning way of life! Setting off with zero expertise, the workforce at Outside Aussie Adventures taught us the whole lot 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 method and, for those who 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: ?miki Tours

Finest Day-Tour Expertise

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

Whereas visiting Christchurch this yr I needed to try to discover experiences to assist me join higher with the town and ?miki Excursions did simply that. The Kai (meals) Safari Tour takes you out into the center 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. When you ever go to Christchurch a tour with ?miki 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 center 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 top off on fudge and sweets for the journey house and an excellent 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 be capable to fly!

Best Bucket List Moment: 4WD Rainbow Beach

Finest Bucket Checklist Second

Winner: Driving a 4WD alongside Rainbow Seaside, Australia

Having visited many instances over time the 4WD experiences of Rainbow Seaside had all the time eluded us. However we lastly obtained to tick it off our bucket lists and it was definitely worth the wait! We beloved driving by the luxurious rainforest then zooming alongside broad 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 high.

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

Finest Journey Tech

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

That is a kind 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 Simify and so they made our whole 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 grow to be the very best factor ever! Good for any journey on a chilly day we grew to become obsessive about filling ours with espresso or tea and stopping someplace stunning for a spot of morning tea, paired completely with goodies sourced from an area bakery.

Runner-up: The Cozy Authentic
Honourable point out: Allocacoc PowerCube

Best Travel Instagrammed: CJ Explores

Finest Journey Instagrammer

Winternal: 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 pictures for his or her Instagram and creating incredible content material for YouTube they spent the yr exploring Queensland earlier than setting off on their huge lap round Australia. They’re splendidly gifted and really pretty folks so make sure to test them out!

Finest 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 mother and father out on this planet having a beautiful time and I can’t 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 be aware 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 sources in your subsequent journey!

When you discovered this submit helpful, I’d be grateful for those who used the affiliate hyperlinks beneath. I’ll make a small fee at no further price to you. Relaxation assured, these are the services and products I like and use. Thanks in your help! – Matt

Learn the disclaimer for extra data.

Agoda – motels
Reserving.com – motels
Cowl-Extra – insurance coverage
Motorhome Republic – RVs
RentalCars.com – leases
Simify – SIM playing cards
Skyscanner – flights
Surfshark – VPN
TourRadar – excursions
Welcome Pickups – transfers




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