THE 2011 Australian Traveller Readers' Choice Awards have crowned Melbourne Australia's favourite city with Margaret River the best town in Australia.
Lauded by readers as the "culture capital of Australia", Melbourne won Best City for its history, sporting events, shopping and dynamic laneway bars and cafés.
Fierce rival Sydney was not completely overlooked by the more than 1000 Australian travellers who voted in 18 categories.
"A Weekend in Sydney" was declared Favourite Travel Experience in 2011. Sydney also collected gongs for Best Restaurant (Quay), Best Bar Or Pub (The Ivy) and Best Guided Tour (BridgeClimb Sydney).
Western Australia also received several awards. Margaret River won Best Town for its revered wineries, restaurants and farm gates, not to mention its rural charm and fierce surf breaks. Broome's Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa won Best Resort.
The awards are the only consumer awards for tourism in Australia.
Australian Traveller editor Elisabeth Knowles said: "These awards are voted for by the most important people in the industry - the travellers themselves. It's a real mark of what Australians really think about travelling in their own country.
"Despite all the doom and gloom about domestic travel, our readers tell us a very different and positive story. They are travelling regularly in Australia," Ms Knowles said.
The survey respondents reported travelling an average of 3.25 times for leisure in the first nine months of 2011 in Australia.
Good news for the embattled national carrier, Australian travellers voted Qantas Best Major Airline.
The full list of winners are:
- Favourite Australian Travel Experience - A Weekend in Sydney, NSW
- Best City in Australia - Melbourne, Vic
- Best Town in Australia - Margaret River, WA
- Best Resort in Australia - Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa, WA
- Best Luxury Hotel in Australia - Palazzo Versace, Qld
- Best Affordable Hotel Brand in Australia - Novotel
- Best B&B in Australia - Glass on Glasshouse, Qld
- Best Self-catering Stay in Australia - Peppers Balé Salt Kingscliff, NSW
- Best Caravan Park in Australia - Clarkes Beach Holiday Park, NSW
- Best Adventure Holiday Destination in Australia - Overland Track, Tas
- Best Guided Tour in Australia - BridgeClimb Sydney, NSW
- Best Restaurant in Australia - Quay, NSW
- Best Bar or Pub in Australia - The Ivy, NSW
- Best Road Trip in Australia - Great Ocean Road, Vic
- Best Cruise/Yachting Experience in Australia - Bareboating in the Whitsunday Islands, QLD
- Best Train Journey in Australia - The Ghan, SA/NT
- Best Major Airline in Australia - Qantas
- Best Regional Airline in Australia - Regional Express