Photo: Benjamin Goode
Choice Hotels Asia-Pac has unveiled its 2020 list of the top 100 hidden regional travel destinations and experiences from across Australia and New Zealand, with the aim of supporting and showcasing regional communities as we reignite our love for domestic travel.
Taking inspiration from Choice Hotels’ more than 180 hotel locations that stretch far and wide across both Australia and New Zealand, the inaugural 100 Untold Stories list shines light on the hidden gems, intriguing stories, fascinating people and must-visit experiences that are the beating heart of regional areas.
From Japanese monkeys found in Launceston, Tasmania, to the crystal clear waters of Lake Entrance in Victoria’s Gippsland region; Crocosauras Cove in the Top End and the Underground Opera in Rockhampton Queensland; the carefully curated list of 100 Untold Stories includes adventures across themes of food and wine, nature, sport, art, culture and many more fascinating and wonderful things to explore.
In South Australia alone 10 destinations, locations and experiences have made the 100 Untold Stories list cut, with a spotlight shone on areas including an entirely underground hotel sculptured from an original opal mine located in Coober Pedy, as well as Mount Gambier with an awe-inspiring Blue Lake.
- Coober Pedy (2)– Book your stay inside a hidden cave and opal mine turned memorable, at the Coober Pedy underground hotel experience
- Flinders Ranges – Take an adventure through the rugged beauty of the South Australian Outback
- Victor Harbour – Explore seaside charm at one of the most popular coastal playgrounds in SA
- Adelaide – Tantalise your taste buds on a gourmet Breakfast Tour, at Adelaide’s 150-year-old market
- Adelaide – Grape graze at the National Wine Centre of Australia
- Adelaide Hills – As you approach the rolling vision of the Adelaide Hills you’ll immediately appreciate the true appeal of this stunning region which is located only a hop and skip from the city.
- Victor Harbor – All aboard the locomotive! The Victor Harbor region in South Australia is home to The Cockle Train Experience – a historical journey venturing along the oldest steel railed railway in Australia, dating as far back as 1887.
- Mount Gambier – Take a trip to the turquoise waterhole in the heart of Mount Gambier
- Barmera – Known as The Jewel of the Riverland, Barmera is a regional hotspot located on the shores of freshwater Lake Bonney. Lake Bonney is a tranquil vision, perfect for visitors seeking a sense of relaxation and recreation.
Trent Fraser, CEO of Choice Hotels Asia-Pac said: “No doubt, 2020 has been a tough year for our communities. As we begin to emerge from the devastating impact of recent bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic, regional tourism is more important than ever in helping these areas get back on their feet and thrive again, safely, and securely.
“With international travel on the back burner for the foreseeable future, there is no better time to consider taking a short break to explore our own backyard and ultimately feed tourism back into regional areas again – instead of that big international trip why not take 3-4 short breaks and explore our beautiful country,” he added.
According to the research more than 80 per cent of Australians say they feel revitalised after a short break, three out of four feel they get balance back in their life, most are happier and more than one-third have a closer connection with their family after enjoying a short break together.
Despite this, Australian travellers only take an average of two short breaks per year with one in four not taking a break at all and more than one-third saying that work related concerns are a big barrier to taking more breaks.
Data has also shown as of the end of 2019 Australians had accrued the largest total amount of annual leave for years, with 146 million days of annual leave waiting to be used – this, coupled with Australia’s easing of restrictions as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, represents a supreme opportunity to reinvigorate Aussies to take time off, especially when the health and wellbeing benefits associated with short breaks are evident.
With more people transitioning to a work-from-home set-up for the foreseeable future, it’s even more essential for people to switch off and manage their work-life balance. Recent discussions across New Zealand around the concept of a ‘four day work week’, in light of the learnings on flexible work in the last few months will also facilitate more people to take advantage of a longer weekend, and get away for a short break.
Data obtained by Choice Hotels has revealed cancelations have tapered off significantly since the announcement of restrictions easing, with new bookings outpacing cancelations. In May, reservations increased by 58%, with revenue up by 142%. Similarly, in New Zealand, reservations increased by 68%, and revenue is up by 95%.
So, what do we want out of a short break? The research by Choice Hotels uncovered the top three motivations for Australians to take a short break holiday are to spend time with family (39 percent), visit a new destination (28 percent) and try something new or different (23 percent).
“We want people to feel optimistic, excited and safe about the upcoming reopening of domestic travel and give them the opportunity to book with confidence and have something to look forward to – it’s our intention that 100 Untold Stories list will become a great source of inspiration for travel at home ”, said Fraser.
As part of its response to ensuring guests feel safe and secure when travelling on their short breaks, Choice Hotels has implemented its Commitment to Clean initiative which involves enhanced protocols and best practice guidance for cleaning, disinfecting, hygiene, and social
To encourage Australians to book a short break away, Choice Hotels is running a limited time offer with up to 30 percent off accommodation bookings made between June 10 and July 20, for stays through to 31 December 2020. To take advantage of this offer head to www.choicehotels.com.au.
For inspiration on where to spend your next short break holiday and to see the full list of 100 Untold Stories visit www.100UntoldStories.com