Winners of the 2012 Australian Golden Backpack Awards announced

Independent travel sector companies of Australia and New Zealand were recognised at the 2012 TNT Golden Backpacks Awards in Sydney on the 8th of November.

Adventurer and TV presenter Peter Wells hosted the gala event for 360 guests at Dockside in Cockle Bay Wharf. Like in 2011, it culminated with a live performance by Dr. Karl and The Waiting Room, while the Side Bar remained busy long into the night.

The TNT Magazine Golden Backpacks are the only awards directed at the independent travel industry in Australia and New Zealand. About 80 thousand votes were cast online on the TNT website to choose the winners.

The producer of the event, Thomas Wheeler, said: “I am absolutely elated by the response from both the consumer and our industry. Yet again, the event was a night to remember for all involved and I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did. A big thanks to our sponsors for the evening, Peter Wells and of course Dr Karl’s waiting room who finished the evening with a bang!”

The winners and finalists were:

Queensland Awards

Best Hostel: Bunk

Finalists: Gilligan’s, Bunk, Greenhouse Backpackers Cairns, Base Airlie Beach, Nomads Cairns.

Best tour/activity: AJ Hackett Bungy Cairns

Finalists: Whitsunday Sailing Adventures, True Blue Sailing, AJ Hacket Cairns, Passions of Paradise, Pro Dive Cairns.

Best Backpacker Night: Full Moon Down Under Base

Finalists: The Woolshed, Birdee Num Nums,  Full Moon down under (Base), Gilligans, The Down under bar and grill, Airlie Beach.

Tasmania Awards

Best Hostel: The Pickled Frog, Hobart

Finalists: Launceston Backpackers, Bicheno Backpackers, The Pickled Frog, Central City Backpackers, Cradle Mountain Lodge.

Best tour/activity: Jump Tours

Finalists: Adventure Tours, 6-day Taste of Tasmania, Under Down Under, Jump Tours, Tours Tasmania ‘one day tour’, Cradle Mountain Canyon Tours.

Best Backpacker Night: The Pickled Frog

Finalists: BBQ night – Strahan YHA, Pickled Frog, Backpacker Hub, Lloyds Hotel, Republic Bar & Cafe

Northern Territory awards

Best Hostel: Toddy’s Backpackers

Finalists: Annie’s place, Youth Shack, Melaleuca On Mitchell, Toddy’s Backpackers, Banyan View Lodge.

Best tour/activity: The Rock Tour

Finalists: Rock Tour, Adventure Tours, Crocosaurus Cove, Topdeck, Wayoutback Kakadu.

Best Backpacker Night: The Rock Bar

Finalists: Bojangles Saloon & Dining Room, Annie’s Place, The Rock Bar, Melaleuca On Mitchell, Shenanigan

Western Australia Awards

Best Hostel: Old Swan Barracks

Finalists: Billabong Backpackers Resort, Witches Hat, Emperors Crown, The Old Swan Barracks, Perth City YHA

Best tour/activity: Western Xposure

Finalists: Red Earth Safaris, Aussie Wanderer, Nullabor Traveller, Western Exposure, Easy Rider Tours.

Best Backpacker Night: Mustang

Finalists: Mustang Bar, Hip-E Club, Kimberley Club Broome, Old Swan Barracks, Night Cruiser Party Bus.

Victoria Awards

Best Hostel: Habitat HQ

Finalists: Greenhouse Backpackers, Space Hotel, Urban Central, Habitat HQ, Coffee Palace.

Best tour/activity: Groovy Grape, Great Ocean Road

Finalists: Bunyip, Great Ocean Road, Autopia Tours, Great Ocean Road, The Official Neighbours Tour, Wildlife Tours, Great

Best Backpacker Night: The Official Neighbours Night

Finalists: The Official Neighbours Night, Habitat HQ open mic night, Turf Bar (Hit The Turf), Blue Moon Bar, Red Eye Bar.

New South Wales Awards

Best Hostel: Wake Up! (STAY WYSE member)

Finalists: Bounce, Art Factory Byron Bay, Sydney Harbour, YHA Woodduck (Boomerang), Wake Up!

Best tour/activity: Mojosurf

Finalists: Sky Dive the Beach , Oz Snow Adventures, Surf Camp Australia, OZIntro, Mojosurf

Best Backpacker Night: Scary Canary 

Finalists: Spot X Mojo Surf, Oz Party Bus, Scary Canary, Side Bar, Scubar.

South Australia Awards

Best Hostel: Shakespeare Backpackers

Finalists: Barossa backpackers, Shakespeare Backpackers, Backpack OZ Adelaide, Nomads Traveller’s Inn Adelaide, Adelaide Central YHA

Best tour/activity: Groovy Grape, Barossa Valley

Finalists: Groovy Grape, Adventure Bay Charters, Sealink SA, Nullarbor Traveller, Shark Cage Diving – Calypso Star Charters

Best Backpacker Night: Backpack OZ

Finalists: Adelaide Pub Crawl , Adelaide Central YHA, Bar 108, P.J.O’briens Irish Pub, BackpackOZ

New Zealand Awards

Best Hostel: Nomads Queenstown

Finalists: Base Queenstown, Jucy Hotel, Auckland, Nomads Wellington, Nomads Queenstown, Downtown Backpackers Wellington

Best tour/activity: AJ Hackett Bungy, Queenstown

Finalists: JUCY Cruize Milford Sound, Shotover Canyon Swing, Zorbing Rotorua, MojoSurf NZ, AJ Hacket Bungy

Best Backpacker Night: Big Night Out, Queenstown

Finalists: Base Queenstown, Globe Bar (Base Auckland), The World Bar, Queenstown, Big Night Out, Queenstown, Minus5 Ice Bar


Australia National Awards

Best Car / Campervan Rental Australia: Spaceships

Finalists: Hippie Camper, Jucy Rentals AUS, Spaceships, Travellers Auto Barn, Wicked Campers.

Best Car / Campervan Rental New Zealand: Jucy

Finalists: Escape Rentals, Mighty Cars and Campers, Jucy Rentals NZ Hippie Camper, Spaceships

Best Tour Operator Australia: Oz Experience

Finalists: Mojosurf Australia, Oz Experience, Adventure Tours Australia, Topdeck, Wildlife Tours Australia

Best transport company Australia: Greyhound Australia

Finalists: Great Southern Rail, Greyhound Australia, Jet Star, Oz Experience, Premier Motor Service, Virgin Australia

Best Tour / Transport Operator New Zealand: Kiwi Experience

Finalists: Kiwi Experience, Stray, Magic Travellers Network, Jucy Cruise.

General Awards

Best large travel agent: Peterpans Adventure Travel

Finalists: Adventure Travel Bugs, Backpackers World Travel, Peterpans Travel Adventure, Tribal Travel, Mad Travel Shop.

Best small travel agent: Cairns Tribal Travel

Finalists: Cairns Tribal Travel, Ultimate OZ, Duck Travel Shop Sydney, Mr Travel.com, Airliebeach.com

Best Backpacker Website: Hostelworld (STAY WYSE member)

Finalists: Hostelbookers (STAY WYSE member), Hostelworld (STAY WYSE member), Stayatbase.com, peterpans.com.au, TNTdownunder.com

Best Recruitment Service: Travellers at Work

Finalists: Travellers at Work, The Job Shop, Down under jobs (hotel discovery), TNT down under jobs, Australian Backpacker Jobs.

Best  Indigenous Cultural Experience: Tamaki Maori Village, Rotorua

Finalists: Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, Mitai Maori Village, Rotorua, Whakarewarewa Thermal Village Tours, Rotorua, Tamaki Maori Village, Daintree Dreaming.

Innovation Award

Presented to Hostelworld.com (STAY WYSE member)

Outstanding Achievement Award

Presented to Peter Ovenden