The many attractions of rural and regional Queensland are once again stamping their mark on the 2021 Grey Nomad and Art Tourism awards.
Finalists for both awards were announced this week and in the Grey Nomad section, 11 things to see and do in Queensland have made the list, while eight stay options are hopeful finalists.
In the Art Tourism category, Queensland attractions feature seven times, including installations at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs at Winton, and the Pelicans on Patrol sculpture at Yeppoon.
Awards director Liz Rivers said smart communities promoted their street and outdoor art as a unique landmark - an attraction that visitors can see in only one place - which made their destination immediately identifiable, highly attractive and a drawcard for art-loving tourists.
Arts tourists from within Australia are high value visitors, staying 42.8 per cent longer and spending 55.9pc more when travelling than domestic tourists overall.
The Australian Age of Dinosaurs museum is a finalist in two categories, for best sculpture park or trail, and for best street art tour.
Sitting on top of one of the region's characteristic mesas, it showcases prehistory through an outdoor gallery of custom-created prehistoric creatures.
According to Ms Rivers, it was the exhibits and tours of the multi-faceted Dinosaur Canyon at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs that secured the awards' judges admiration.
A Dinosaur Canyon experience tour introduces visitors to life-sized prehistoric sculptures that accurately depict the creatures that once roamed our country.
The AAOD will be up against the underwater sculpture world, 'Coral Greenhouse' created by the Museum of Underwater Art on the Great Barrier Reef off Townsville.
Along with the pelican lifeguards dubbed Hughie, Dewey and Louie installed at the Yeppoon Lagoon on Queensland's Capricorn Coast, Maryborough's mural trail will represent regional Queensland, in the best street art trail category.
Officially launched in 2015, the two-kilometre mural trail boasts 39 pieces among Maryborough's heritage-listed streetscape.
Favourites from previous years, Charlotte Plains at Cunnamulla, Ilfracombe's Wellshot Hotel, tropical North Queensland favourite Paronella Park, and the G'day Charters Towers Tourist Park, feature once again in the latest awards, along with new entries from Dirranbandi, Charleville and the Burdekin River.
REWIND TO LAST YEAR: Regional Queensland tourism struts national stage
Charlotte Plains features in three award categories - its historical property tour in the best grey nomad tour category, the overall experience in the best attraction section, and the accommodation in the best station stay award.
On the tour, visitors learn about the Great Artesian Basin and bores, the 134-year-old shearing shed, Jack's Hut and its two unlikely occupants, the historic station cemetery, and a plethora of 'things' from Robyn and her forebears, who have lived on the property for 98 years.
As well as the Charters Towers Tourist Park being a finalist in the best grey nomad small caravan park category again, the new Sunset Experience on Towers Hill is in the running in the best tour category.
Operating from the tourist park, the tour was the culmination of a vision to introduce visitors to an often-bypassed highlight of Queensland's largest gold rush city.
Visitors can experience a guided tour to the highest point in the historic centre before enjoying a magnificent sunset while indulging in a gourmet platter and quality beverages.
Paronella Park, a Cassowary Coast must-see, was a silver winner last year and is back again, in the best attraction and best historic attraction sections.
It features Queensland's first hydro-electricity plant and acres of lush gardens, fountains and waterfall walks that were built in the 1930s by José Paronella, a Spanish pastry chef with a huge dream.
The stunning memorial honouring Duncan Chapman, the first Allied soldier to step ashore at Gallipoli, was a winner in the street art awards last year, but this year the whole Gallipoli to Armistice Trail at Maryborough is a finalist in the best grey nomad trail category.
The eight-metre-high steel representation is of the three ridges of ANZAC Cove, sculptures, flora and audio immersions.
The Wellshot Hotel at Ilfracombe and its themed public bar is vying for the honour of being named best grey nomad pub stay.
Among those contesting the best grey nomad small caravan park prize are the Dirranbandi Retreat and Caravan Park, the Evening Star Tourist Park at Charleville, and the Groper Creek Caravan Park, situated at the mouth of the Burdekin River.
Finally, the Mary Valley Rattler, which gives the public access to a heritage rail experience from Gympie's railway station, is a finalist in the best historic attraction category.
The winners of all awards will be announced on March 4 during an online celebration.
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