South-west ventures among the winners at Victorian Tourism Awards

Celebrate: Paul Wright, Terry O'Keefe, Tinika Clifford and Chris Sheppard at the tourism awards in Melbourne.

Celebrate: Paul Wright, Terry O'Keefe, Tinika Clifford and Chris Sheppard at the tourism awards in Melbourne.

A visitor program that gives people an in-depth view of a south-west landmark was among the winners at the Victorian Tourism Awards.

Worn Gundidj @Tower Hill claimed the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Tourism award for its work.

Member Terry O’Keefe said the group was thrilled to win, in what was the first time they had entered the awards.

“We’re very pleased,” he said.

Mr O’Keefe said Worn Gundidj @Tower Hill helped give visitors an overview and understanding of Tower Hill, while also incorporating the indigenous culture, stories and connection to the land.

“What we do is run the visitor centre and have a lot of interpretive information and artifacts. We run two tours a day that caters to the tourism market and we also often host school groups,” he said.

Worn Gundidj was among the list of south-west winners and finalists at the state awards.

Port Fairy’s Drift House claimed the best luxury accommodation for the third year in a row, giving it a place in the Victorian Tourism Awards Hall of Fame.

Owner John Watkinson described it as “overwhelming”.

“We are absolutely thrilled with this award. We’ve only been in operation for a little over three years so to be presented with such an amazing accolade so early in our history is overwhelming,” he said.

The Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld won the deluxe accommodation category. Seals By Sea tours at Cape Bridgewater won bronze in the hotly-contested adventure tourism category.

Cobden’s Heytesbury House B&B claimed silver in the hosted accommodation section and Apostle Whey Cheese was a finalist in the excellence in food tourism section.

Corangamite Shire claimed a silver in the Local Government Award for Tourism.

The awards were announced in Melbourne late last week.

Winners will automatically progress to judging on the national stage with the Australian Tourism Awards.

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