These Travello Users Have Become International Stars

These Travello Users Have Become International Stars

Over the last couple of days, Travello users, Tom Cunningham and Natalie Otto, have appeared in international news that has been published in countries such as the UK, Poland, Germany, France and China, to mention some. In the news, they wrote about how the two went on a 5 week trip together, as strangers. They were the winners of Travello’s Ultimate Oz competition, that aimed to bring two strangers together on a trip worth 25,000 AUD for 5 weeks. The international media found new angles to portray the trip that was organized by Travello…. 

It started with an international competition, and the goal was to find two strangers who would travel together. To many people this might sound like a crazy idea, to spend so much time with a person you have not even met before, but Travello wanted to show that strangers can have the trip of a lifetime together. 

However, popular news sites, such as the Daily Mail and Unilad, portrayed the trip a bit differently…


The stories published on the Daily Mail and Unilad quickly made their way to news sites in countries such as; France, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Australia, China, Vietnam and several others – talk about international coverage! 

Have a look here:

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But no matter how the media portrayed their journey, Natalie and Tom both agree that the Travello trip was the adventure of a lifetime, and they are both very happy that they took the chance to travel with a stranger and got to discover some of the best places Australia has to offer.

Even before Natalie and Tom started the journey they appeared on the popular Australian TV show, the Today Show, to talk about traveling together as strangers. They were even brought on TV for an interview – in separate locations! 

Have a look at the interview below; 


With the exposure on TV, there were plenty of people eager to see how they would get along, so the pressure was on when they both arrived in Cairns and finally met in person.They had both been a bit nervous beforehand, but quickly relaxed when they finally met and realized they would get along. They set out on the road and started their journey that would take them from Cairns and all the way down to Sydney.  

During the trip they both slept in the JUCY camper van; a car that is fitted with a bed, fridge and a pop-up tent on the roof, so that they each had their own place to sleep in. When they didn’t sleep in the car, they stayed at a range of different accommodations. From the social and popular YHA hostels, to luxurious private villas in Whitsundays – they got to experience it all! 

Many people who followed their journey were wondering if there were any romantic sparks between Natalie and Tom, considering all the time they spent together, but Natalie has a boyfriend, so they just became very good travel mates.

“Nothing happened, and the only romantic elements were the locations we stayed in. But what I will say, is if she was single, I would ask her out in a heartbeat after this trip” Tom said when asked about any romantic moments during the trip.

But the lack of romance didn’t stop the two of them from having an amazing time together. During their trip along the coast they experienced everything from skydiving over Byron Bay, to snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, flying in a seaplane over the Whitsunday islands, and abseiling off cliffs in Brisbane, just to mention some. The many hours in the car was a great way to get to know each other, and when it finally was time to say goodbye in Sydney 5 weeks later, it was with tears in their eyes and a promise to stay in touch.

Solo traveling is increasing as traveling is becoming more available to people around the world, and thus the global travel community that is offered in the Travello app is helpful for travelers who are keen to meet locals or other travelers in different destinations. Who knows, maybe you will find a new friend on your next trip and together create the adventure of a lifetime! Sign up on Travello to find out… 


Tom Cunningham

Tom is from country Victoria and currently living in Sydney. He recently returned from a trip to Utah in the US. Tom is a great photographer, videographer and drone operator, so he's looking forward to capturing some amazing footage for your all t o share across your socials as well. Make sure you check out some of his footage he shot from Kokoda and PNG for taste of whats to come!

Natalie Otto

Natalie is from the USA but has recently moved to Melbourne! She is a former TV news reporter in the US so she is certainly comfortable in front of the camera telling her stories about the adventures with you all. She is also an avid video producer and videographer as well, so you can expect some interesting edited videos from Natalie at some point a long the journey when they get a break!

Natalie OttoYouTubeEmail


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Annette VogtThese Travello Users Have Become International Stars
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Travello’s Ultimate Aussie Adventure | Wk 1 Tropical Nth Queensland

Travello’s Ultimate Aussie Adventure | Wk 1 Tropical Nth Queensland



Follow Tom & Natalie’s Adventure across Travello and our Instagram Stories

Click on the image below to view them:


The two winners of the Travello contest, Natalie & Tom, have an amazing journey ahead of them in Australia. They started off, on Friday the 19th of October, when they met up in Cairns, in Queensland. So how did it go when two complete strangers met up to embark on an epic adventure, and at the same time sleep in the same car?

However, the day before they flew out to meet up in person for the first time they were actually interviewed on LIVE national television on Australia’s leading morning show The Today Show. Watch the full interview below, it is pretty funny.

So here’s an update on what they have been up to on their first week:

Overview map of where and what Tom & Natalie got up to this week!

[google_map_easy id=”1″]

725 kms

Plane, Jucy Van, Boats, Hot Air Balloon

Jucy Van, Safari Lodge, YHA Cairns, YHA Mission Beach, Bungalow Bay YHA Koala Village

Barrier Reef trips, Daintree Tour, Cape Tribulation Tour, Hot Air Ballooning, White Water Rafting, Koala Cuddles

Cairns, Cape Tribulation, Daintree, Great Barrier Reef, Port Douglas, Atherton Tablelands, Mission Beach, Magnetic Island, Townsville



After finally meeting each other on the day of their arrival in Cairns, both Natalie and Tom could quickly tell that they would get along just fine (which would then save them from some awkward 47 days together). Before starting their journey, Kate from Tourism Tropical North Queensland gave them a rundown of their destination, Cape Tribulation, and what to see and do there. She also explained that that Cape Tribulation is the only place in the world where you can experience two world heritage sites meeting, the two world heritage sites being the Wet Tropics Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef.

Jucy gave them the keys for their new home for the next weeks – a Jucy van Champ. This is a fully equipped van that comes with a small kitchen sink, fridge, gas cooker, a bed inside the car and on top of the roof, in a pop-up tent. With the Jucy van packed and ready, Natalie and Tom drove a bit further up north before they crossed a river with a ferry to reach Cape Tribulation. Here, they tucked in for the night at the Safari Lodge campground, in their Jucy van pop-up tent. 


Cape Tribulation

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After some tips of what to see and do from the guys at Ocean Safari, Natalie and Tom explored Cape Tribulation and its beautiful beaches. Cape Tribulation is a headland within the Daintree National Park, which is famous for its remote and stunning beaches. Tom found a waterhole where he enjoyed a rope swing into the water, whilst Natalie explored the rainforest further as she found a colorful cassowary to follow. The cassowary is the third-tallest bird in the world and can be quite dangerous if provoked, but Natalie managed to keep herself safe whilst taking in the sight. After enjoying the beaches and the tropical rainforest, they spent the second night at the Safari Lodge campground. 


The Great Barrier Reef

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Natalie and Tom got to see the magnificent Great Barrier Reef, which is the world’s largest coral reef. It can even be seen from space! The tour was organised by Reef Magic Cruises, who took them out to explore the outer reef.  They went snorkelling and managed to get up and close with colourful fish and sea turtles.

The next stop on their itinerary was Port Douglas. They got to explore the town, and Tom introduced Nat to a very Australian activity – cane toad racing! These races are organised at several bars, and you can take part in it by placing your bet on a toad. The toads are placed in the middle of a dance floor, and the first toad that leaves the dance floor is the winner. They say that if you kiss the toad it brings luck!


Daintree Rainforest

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Natalie and Tom got to explore the Daintree Rainforest with the tour company Daintree Tours (with Raging Thunder). The Daintree Rainforest is part of the Wet Tropics Rainforest, which is the oldest surviving rainforest in the world. After venturing through the rainforest they were taken to a beach to enjoy some morning tea, before continuing on a crocodile cruise where they spotted a crocodile on the riverbank. They ended the trip with a stop at the Mossman Gorge where they enjoyed a dip in the cool water. Back in Port Douglas they checked out the boutiques, bars and restaurants before going to bed in their Jucy van pop-up tent.


Atherton Tablelands/ Mission Beach

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Natalie and Tom woke up early for their hot air balloon tour with Raging Thunder, which started at 4 am., but the early wake-up call was worth it as they got to experience a beautiful sunrise from above. They flew over the Mareeba Valley on the Atherton Tablelands, which is in an area of Australia that has over 300 sunny days per year. They even spotted some wild kangaroos jumping across the valley below them! After the scenic flight, that lasted for about 30 minutes, they enjoyed a champagne breakfast back on the ground, which is included in the tour. After the tour they drove to Mission Beach where they set up camp for the night on YHA’s campground. 


Tully River/ Mission Beach

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”10″ gal_title=”Day 6 – Rafting/Mission Beach”]

Another action-packed day for Natalie and Tom as they embarked on a white-water rafting tour with Raging Thunder on the Tully River. The river is considered one of the best rafting spots in Australia, and has grade 3-4 level rapids, that go through the World Heritage Rainforest – a truly unique way to experience the Rainforest. After getting soaked and experiencing the exhilarating rapids, Natalie and Tom enjoyed a BBQ lunch with the group, which is also included in the tour. The night was spent in the Jucy van on YHA’s campground, along the beautiful Mission Beach.


Magnetic Island 

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”12″ gal_title=”Day 7 – Magnetic Island”]

Natalie and Tom drove their Jucy Van 240 km. to reach the Breakwater Marina in Townsville, from where the ferry goes to Magnetic Island. Magnetic Island is a World Heritage site, that is located on the Great Barrier Reef, and is known for its granite boulders all over the island. Natalie and Tom spent their afternoon exploring the island, feeding some rock wallabies they found among the boulders, and snorkeling by shipwrecks (a popular tourist attraction).  They checked into the YHA Bungalow Bay Koala, which is the only resort in Australia with its own wildlife park. At the park guests get to hold koalas and see wombats up close – the perfect Australian experience! 

Stay tuned on our blog to follow Natalie and Tom on Travello’s Ultimate Aussie Adventure… 

Thanks to this week’s featured prize partners:

Tom Cunningham

Tom is from country Victoria and currently living in Sydney. He recently returned from a trip to Utah in the US. Tom is a great photographer, videographer and drone operator, so he's looking forward to capturing some amazing footage for your all t o share across your socials as well. Make sure you check out some of his footage he shot from Kokoda and PNG for taste of whats to come!

Natalie Otto

Natalie is from the USA but has recently moved to Melbourne! She is a former TV news reporter in the US so she is certainly comfortable in front of the camera telling her stories about the adventures with you all. She is also an avid video producer and videographer as well, so you can expect some interesting edited videos from Natalie at some point a long the journey when they get a break!

Natalie OttoYouTubeEmail


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Annette VogtTravello’s Ultimate Aussie Adventure | Wk 1 Tropical Nth Queensland
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Would You Travel With A Complete Stranger?

Would You Travel With A Complete Stranger?

It’s a question which does stir up quite a bit of debate. However, many backpackers all around the world actually embark on a journey all the time with a stranger that they may have only just recently met.

You only need to Google “Travel with a stranger” to find hundreds of links to blogs and articles outlining the benefits of travelling with strangers and how travellers have met great new travel buddies and mates for life from doing so.

We need to point out though, we are talking more so about organic travel experiences that bring two strangers together, not companion based/dating-type travel sites that attempt to put strangers together for companionship. No, we are talking about the experiences where travellers find themselves in situations where fate brings the two together and they decide to take the plunge and travel together. That could be two travellers or even just a traveller that has met a local too.

Solo travel is a hugely popular category, and in fact female solo travellers are well supported all around the world with likeminded groups, forums and of course apps. Travello also caters for this segment of solo travellers of course but also female travellers with a private Female Travellers group too, connecting females that are travelling now or in destinations where they will be travelling to as well.

Our latest competition is an invitation to the adventurous at heart. We would love to match two individual strangers together for a trip of a lifetime around Australia. However entrants are actually open to both individuals who would love to win and travel with a stranger as well as two mates or even couples as well. It’s one heck of a trip from Cairns down to Sydney and the Adelaide up to Uluru on a 4-6 week adventure together!

It includes Airfares, accommodation mostly with YHAs, a JUCY camper van, spending money, travel insurance and a whole heap of adventures along the way in every destination. The whole trip is worth over $25,000 for the two winners. For a full outline of prize details make sure you check out the competition entry page here –

All you need to do to enter is submit your details along with a 1-2 minute video explaining why you or you and your mate or partner would be the best travel mate in the world for this adventure! So you can enter as an individual wanting to be matched by us to a new travel mate for this adventure or as a team of two already.

We are looking for entrants from Australia as well as anywhere around the world. We’d love Australian’s to enter as we’d love to be able to match up 1 Australian with an International for the trip, however entrants are open to teams from anywhere around the world as well.

If you are an aspiring travel blogger, photographer or vlogger then this prize is right up your alley too, as the requirement of this trip is that you will be sharing every experience not only on the Travello app but also across our social channels and of course yours as well. So this will help springboard an intense travel content challenge for you.

To give you a small taste of what the winners will be up to, over the coming weeks we will be doing a few small teasers from a couple of the destinations that the winners will be visiting. The first one of these we did on the Gold Coast recently. We approached the Surfers Paradise YHA to find us two backpackers that would be up for a full days adventure.

The day started with picking up a JUCY Champ camper van and heading over to the Surfers Paradise YHA to pick up the two backpackers. From there we hopped in the JUCY van for a quick chat to find out a little more about them. The two lucky backpackers were Anniken from Norway and Emanuel from Argentina. They then got to experience a Surf lesson thanks to our prize partner GetWetSurf, a SUP lesson thanks to Go Vertical SUP Hire and an exhilarating jetboat ride thanks to Paradise Jetboating!

Here is a bit of that action that we captured so that you can get a taste of all the fun the winners will have!


Sam LindnerWould You Travel With A Complete Stranger?
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Heron Island | An Underwater Wonderland On The Great Barrier Reef

Heron Island | An Underwater Wonderland On The Great Barrier Reef

Are you looking for a holiday destination where you can truly escape the hustle and bustle, completely disconnect from the outside world and reconnect with nature? Then Heron Island is the little oasis you have been looking for. Aside from staff and invited guests to the Heron Island Research Centre, this is an exclusive island for Heron Island Resort guests only, there are no day-trippers, and, with television-free rooms, no mobile phone reception and limited wifi this is your chance to let go for a few days, to completely escape, if you can control your anxiety about not being connected to the outside world for a few days that is!

This tiny island sits right on top of the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef, which completely surrounds the island. It’s so small in fact that It only takes 20-30 minutes to walk all the way around the island. Just what you’ll see on that trip around the island does vary depending on the time of year. For example the Turtle egg laying season begins in November with the last of the hatchlings appearing May/June. While bird life really take off December to March with over 100,000 birds on the small island! Then of course from June to September you’ll also see Humpback Whales breaching along reefs too.

With all the excitement and joy I had on the island though, there were also moments of fear and sadness. Not fear for what lies beneath the waters or lurking in the coral canyons, but a fear that my future grandchildren, in fact even my 4 year old daughter, may not ever have that same opportunity to see the reef as it is today but rather only as a totally bleached, dying or dead reef.

It sickens me to think that. To have to explain to them we possibly had the chance do something about saving the reef but we left it too late for them. The Great Barrier Reef may well sit on the Australian coast line, but this is not an Australian priority, this is a human priority globally. We all need to take action now, not next year or leave it up to someone else.

Now, I don’t want to paint the rest of this story into all doom and gloom, as there are in fact positive things happening, however I hope this serves as a harsh reality check for those that may not have been aware of how serious the situation is.

There is no denying it, the Great Barrier Reef is severely under threat from not just climate change, but also poor water quality, coastal developments and also illegal fishing. We’ve now had an unprecedented coral bleaching event 2 years in a row, with one before that in 2002 and 1998 before that. That is unsustainable, if it happens again over the next 24 months we could be on the brink of an ecological collapse of the oceans due to other marine life affected by the dead corals. As coral, if not completely dead already, can’t rejuvenate when bleaching events are so close, it takes the fastest growing coral 10 years to recover after a bleaching event

Now of course, if you are making the 2 1/2 hr ferry (or 20min sea plane) journey out to Heron Island, then high on your to do list has to be diving on the reefs. As Heron Island boast some of the world’s most incredible reefs to dive on, along with an absolute abundance of amazing marine life such as turtles, huge manta rays (I saw 4 manta rays on one dive!), black and white tip reef sharks and so many large and small colorful fish, not to mention the migrating humpback whales too. All 20 of the dive spots are just a 5-15 minute boat trip from the Heron Island Jetty. There are huge coral cathedrals, the famous Heron Bommie and more.

It’s a very special place indeed, but don’t just take my word for it though, two of the worlds most respected nature explorers, Jacques Cousteau & Sir David Attenborough rate it as one of their most favourite places on earth. In fact, Sir David Attenborough is so passionate about saving the reef that he has a dedicated site just for it here, with Heron Island featuring prominently.

However you don’t even have to be a qualified diver to experience the spectacular marine life and coral gardens, you can simply snorkel right off the beach near the jetty, out to the wreck or around on North Beach or Shark Bay. The choices are endless. In fact, you will see snorkelers from dawn to well after dusk, depending on tide times. In reality the most dangerous animals you will encounter will be possibly the cone shells, do not pick them up, and of course always wear protective footwear when walking out at low tide.

Aside form the diving and snorkelling there is of course still plenty to do. Make sure you get yourself on a guided reef walk at low tide to learn all about the smaller critters on the reef. Or book into the spa for a little pampering too. For the children there is also a great Junior Rangers program to keep them occupied for a couple hours too. I’d also highly recommend the tour of the Queensland University Research Centre on the island too, they are doing incredible work on the island, in particular studies on protecting the reef, which I will get to shortly.

It is one of the greatest, and most splendid natural treasures that the world possesses

Sir David Attenborough

According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, the Great Barrier Reef recorded its hottest-ever average sea surface temperatures for February, March, April, May and June 2016 since records began in 1900.

When combined, this six-month period was also the planet’s warmest half-year on record, with an average air temperature of 1.3 degrees Celsius higher than the late 19th century. June 2016 marked the 14th consecutive month where the monthly global temperature record was broken, the longest such period in the 137-year instrumental temperature record.

Just a couple month ago, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies completed their report on their aerial surveys for 911 reefs along the Great Barrier Reef

Of all the reefs we surveyed, only 7% (68 reefs) have escaped bleaching entirely. At the other end of the spectrum, between 60 and 100% of corals are severely bleached on 316 reefs, nearly all in the northern half of the Reef

ARC Centre for Coral Reef Studies

At the time of putting this article together, the 2017 G20 Summit was being held where the world’s leaders (minus the POTUS), reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement, in fact agreeing to aim lower than the 2-degree global average rising temperature target.

In the same week South Australia announced that Elon Musk’s Tesla has committed to building the world’s biggest lithium ion battery to be connected to a wind farm. Plus, Al Gore was also in the country promoting his movie An Inconvenient Sequel as well.

While at the same time the Australian Government was wheeling and dealing with a company called Adani to build Australia’s newest and largest coal mine in Queensland, one of the world’s biggest in fact and one that would require it to unfortunately be shipped out right through the Great Barrier Reef.

In fact, Deloitte recently completed a review to determine the true economic, social and icon asset value of the Great Barrier Reef and concluded that the value was an estimated $56 Billion. The full report can be viewed here.

However, in my view, if you need to communicate to people that the Reef has a $56 Billion value to us, well, then those people are looking at it from totally the wrong perspective. The Reef does not belong to anyone, it’s Earth’s gift to us all. It lies on Australia’s doorstep and as such Australia is it’s guardian, not its owner, Australia needs to lead the protection of it for the world.

We can still do something about this collectively though, its not all doom and gloom. Infact, right on Heron Island at the Research Centre, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg and his team of scientists from the University of Queensland aim to predict the fate of the Great Barrier Reef into the future by subjecting controlled samples of today’s corals to the higher sea temperatures and increased ocean acidity predicted as a result of climate change 100 years from now.

I managed to get a look at the experiment tubs. Their results are eye opening and shocking, it unquestionably shows almost complete loss of the living corals and reef structure. However their experiments also give a faint glimmer of hope too. If we can manage to stick to the Paris Agreement and CO2 emissions can be stabilized and then reduced, then Professor Hoegh-Guldberg’s team and their scenario experiments on the impact of CO2, temperature and water acidity and quality have shown that we can still positively improve the outlook for the Great Barrier Reef, there is still time to save the reef, if we all act now and governments act responsibly for the long term instead of short term political gains.

Heron Island is such a magical place, it really is. I have another follow up blog that will outline my top 20 tips for your stay at the Heron Island Resort. So in the mean time, I really hope this helps to open your eyes as to why we must act now to help protect the reef’s future.

If you would like to find out how you can get involved to help the Reef visit to explore all the great information on there. Another great resource is


Sam LindnerHeron Island | An Underwater Wonderland On The Great Barrier Reef
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The Top Australian & NZ Backpacking Travel Businesses of 2016

The Top Australian & NZ Backpacking Travel Businesses of 2016

Congratulations to the best of the best in the backpacking industry for 2016 in Australia and NZ!


If you’re travelling around Australia or New Zealand in 2017 then why not start your search with a quick look over the recently crowned winners of the 2016 TNT Golden Backpack Awards. This list will help fill up your travel itinerary as you travel around Australia and NZ in 2017.

First up, we’d like to congratulate The Whitsundays for taking out the award for best destination in 2016! Most backpackers have The Whitsundays on their Australian travel itinerary and who can blame them with all the tropical adventure that can be had up there. Whether it’s sailing around any of the 74 stunning islands, learning to dive on some of the best reefs in the world, catching a see plane to see it all by air, camping on a secluded island for a couple nights or simply making the most of any of the water adventure activities, The Whitsundays has all your tropical playground experiences covered.

If you are wondering whats on at The Whitsundays over the coming months be sure to check out their events calendar here – What’s On – The Whitsundays

The award for best overall backpacker accommodation for Australia went to Base Sydney. With it being one of the most centrally located budget accommodation options just minutes from Darling Harbour along with it’s girl only floor called The Sanctuary, Base Sydney is certainly a popular choice for many backpackers, especially for downing a few cold drinks at their party den called The Scary Canary. However if you are travelling beyond Sydney, Base has you covered across many parts of Australia and NZ.

While the award for best overall tour activity in Australia was won by Skydive Australia. What better way for backpackers to take in the sights of Australia than from the air, with the 15 premium dropzones across Australia, which include the following options:


Congratulations to all of the other winners listed below from the 2016 TNT Golden Backpacker Awards:


Best Destination – The Whitsundays

Best Tour Activity NSW & Australia Wide – Skydive Australia

Best Tour Activity (NT) – The Rock Tour

Best Tour Activity (QLD) – Drop Bear Adventures

Best Tour Activity (SA) – Calypso Star Charters

Best Tour Activity (TAS) – Under Down Under

Best Tour Activity (VIC) – Wildlife Tours

Best Tour Activity (WA) – Adventure Tours Australia

Best Accommodation (NSW) – Base Sydney

Best Accommodation (NT) – Melaleuca On Mitchell

Best Accommodation QLD & Australia Wide – BUNK Backpackers

Best Accommodation (SA) – Port Lincoln YHA

Best Accommodation (TAS) – The Pickled Frog

Best Accommodation (VIC) – Greenhouse Backpacker

Best Accommodation (WA) – Billabong Backpackers Resort

Best Holiday Park – Cairns Holiday Park

Best Online Travel Agent & Best Large Travel Agent – Peterpans 

Backpacker Night – Wicked Club Crawl

Best Campervan – JUCY

Best Small/Independent Travel Agent – One Stop Adventures

Best Destination – The Whitsundays

Best Transport – Greyhound Australia

Best Visitor Attraction – The Great Barrier Reef

Best Technology/Recruitment/Service Company – Visitoz


Best Destination – Queenstown

If you’d like some advice on how best to arrange a “sickie” to get off work and take some time off in Queenstown then take a look at this funny video from Destination Queenstown.

How to Call in Sick and Stow Away to Queenstown

Best Accommodation – Pacific Coast Lodge and Backpackers

Best Backpacker Night – Pipi Patch

Best Campervan – Spaceships

Best Tour/Activity – Haka Tours

Best Transport – Kiwi Experience

Best Travel Agent – STA Travel

Best Visitor Attraction – Franz Josef Glacier Guides

Best Cultural Experience – Tamaki Maori Village


If you’d like to read a bit more about the winners above be sure to check out the summary in the latest digital edition of the TNT Magazine . We hope that this list helps you get started on planning your big Australia and New Zealand backpacking travel adventures!

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Sam LindnerThe Top Australian & NZ Backpacking Travel Businesses of 2016
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