REVEALED: 2024 Wotif Aussie Town of the Year winner and finalists

Aussies love exploring their own backyard. So much so that more than half plan on taking a local getaway during the school holidays this year and one in five are planning a trip during the Easter long weekend.*

The upcoming school holidays and long weekends are the perfect excuse to plan your own local getaway. And why not check out this year’s Aussie Town of the Year winner and finalists for some inspiration?

For the seventh year in a row, we’ve crunched the numbers to find the top 10 Aussie destinations for the year – each offering the perfect mix of great value and fantastic experiences.** Let’s count them down from 10 to one, starting with…

10. Coober Pedy, SA

Australia’s opal capital, Coober Pedy is an underground town in the heart of the desert, boasting a sun-baked lunar landscape, fascinating history and a unique way of life. Beneath the ground, visitors can explore underground houses, churches, museums and even shops. You can even choose a hotel underground for the full experience! Above ground, travellers can try their luck fossicking for opals, watch a movie at SA’s last drive-in or take an outback tour in a 4WD to one of the many surrounding natural wonders.

Stay at: Mut Hut Motel

9. Exmouth, WA

Image credit: Shire of Exmouth

Exmouth is home to the culture and country of the Nyinggulu’s First Nations people. When you visit, you can take in the ancient wilderness landscapes of the region. It’s a mecca for divers and snorkelers, and offers the world’s largest fringing reef with an incredible coastline and some of the most unforgettable marine life encounters.

Stay at: Exmouth Escape Resort

8. Stanley, TAS

Image credit: Jason Charles Hill

Take a stroll through time in this coastal town with its preserved cottages and historic landmarks. Explore the 1830s Highfield Historic Site, wander the Stanley Heritage Walk, and delve into the Stanley Discovery Museum to learn about the area’s history. All while the iconic Stanley Nut provides the perfect backdrop. Don’t forget your camera!

Stay at: Hanlon Guest House

7. Griffith, NSW

Image credit: Visit Griffith

Griffith has the highest proportion of Italian ancestry of any Local Government Area in Australia, due to the high number of Italian immigrants that settled in the area in the 1930s and in the postwar period. This influence remains strong in Griffith today, and is seen in the city’s vibrant café, restaurant and wine making scene as showcased in the ‘A Taste of Italy Griffith’ program which is a seven-day celebration that occurs in August each year, honouring the Italian culture and heritage that is unique to Griffith.

Stay at: The Gem Hotel

6. Tanunda, SA

Image credit: Nick Rains

Known as the ‘red heart’ of the Barossa, Tanunda sits in a prime position. From iconic heritage buildings to the beauty of the Barossa ranges and surrounding vineyards, its name is thought to be derived from an Aboriginal word for watering hole, the Peramangk being the original owners of the land. The town of Tanunda also boasts a strong European history thanks to the German immigrants who settled in the town in the 1800s.

Stay at: Barossa Weintal Hotel

5. Bathurst, NSW

Image credit: Warren Lloyd – @warrenlloydphotography

As Australia’s oldest inland colonial settlement, there is a wealth of history and heritage to experience including visiting authentic gold rush villages and gold panning. Bathurst is also the home of Australian Motor Sport with the iconic Mount Panorama/Wahluu right on its doorstep. The Bathurst region has something for everyone, experience the thrill of v8 Supercars during major races, drive around the circuit for free, or visit one of four world-class museums right in the CBD.

Stay at: Rydges Mount Panorama Bathurst

4. Katherine, NT

Image credit: Tourism NT

Marking the point where the traditional lands of the Jawoyn, Dagoman, and Wardaman Aboriginal Peoples converge, Katherine is home to spectacular sandstone country, majestic gorges, misty waterfalls and authentic Aboriginal experiences. Katherine also boasts a thriving art scene: from vibrant street art to the Barunga Festival and galleries like Godinymayin Yijard Arts and Culture Centre.

Stay at: Beagle Motor Inn

3. Stanthorpe, QLD

Image credit: Southern Queensland Country Tourism

Nestled in Queensland’s south-west corner is Stanthorpe, 2.5 hours west of Brisbane, home to one of the state’s two recognised wine-growing regions. Stanthorpe’s cooler climate and high altitude make it perfect for a winter escape and wine tasting with 50+ cellar doors to take your pick from. Beyond wine, food experiences range from apple and strawberry picking in warmer months to truffle hunts in winter. Outdoor enthusiasts can hike trails in Girraween National Park or take a self-guided walk to appreciate Stanthorpe’s vibrant street art.

Stay at: Loggers Rest

2. Broken Hill, NSW

Image credit: Destination NSW

Famously featured in the iconic 1994 Australian movie, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Priscilla’s spirit lives on with the Broken Heel Festival, a five-day event that celebrates the film. Visitors can also enjoy contemporary works by leading Aboriginal artists at the oldest regional gallery in NSW – the Broken Hill City Art Gallery. If you prefer to head outdoors visit the ruggedly beautiful landscapes, just outside of Broken Hill in Mutawintji National Park. While you’re here, you can visit one of Australia’s most sacred Aboriginal Historic Sites with superb ochre hand stencils and rock engravings.

Stay at: Gateway Motor Inn

1. Bendigo, VIC

Image credit: City of Greater Bendigo

Nestled in central Victoria, Bendigo is renowned for its gold rush legacy, dating back to the 1850s where visitors can explore below ground at the Central Deborah Gold Mine. Bendigo also offers spectacular cultural experiences, including the Djaa Djuwima First Nations Art Gallery and the Bendigo Art Gallery, one of Australia’s largest and most innovative regional galleries. Lastly, Bendigo’s exciting cultural and food and beverage scene led to the city being recognised as Australia’s first UNESCO Creative City and Region of Gastronomy.

Stay at: Hotel Ernest Bendigo

Congratulations to Bendigo and all our amazing finalists! If you’d like to experience any (or all) of them for yourself, check out some of these great deals.


Behind the stats:

*About the research:

Wotif research commissioned in collaboration with YouGov. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,048 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 4 – 8 January 2024. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Australian adults (aged 18+).

**About the 2024 Wotif Aussie Town of the Year Award index:

  • Trending traveller interest: Based on accommodation searches on in 2023, compared to 2022
  • Affordability: Based on the average daily rate for accommodation demand on Wotif from January to September 2023
  • Accommodation: Based on accommodation quality and quantity on Wotif in 2023
  • Reviews: Based on the average traveller review rating on Wotif for each destination in 2023
Previous Get away with these AMAZING Aussie nature escapes
Next Getaways three hours (or less) from your capital city