PublicityShip Hidden Jewel Award Winners – 2007

Hidden Jewel logo

National Winner

Picture of Ningaloo Blue Whale Shark

Ningaloo Blue

State/Territory Winners

The Awards are run by national publicity and marketing company, PublicityShip.

State/territory winners will receive a three-month publicity campaign, and the national winner will benefit from a 12-month campaign plus a fully supported travel blog to enhance their online marketing strategy. Prizes are supplied by PublicityShip.

The PublicityShip Hidden Jewel Awards panel of judges are drawn from across the tourism industry:AAT Kings logoEscorted holiday operator, AAT Kings, is known for supporting small, independent tourism businesses, and CEO, Les Cox, is delighted to be involved with the Awards.AT logo

National consumer travel magazine, Australian Traveller, also prides itself on supporting independent tourism businesses with editorial that doesn’t depend on advertising or hosted famils.Channel Nine logo

Channel Nine is providing a judge from its popular Postcards series, which again seeks out new and hidden gems to bring to a wider audience.

The judging panel was chaired by Jane Hammond Foster, former travel magazine editor and now manager of PublicityShip.

Ningaloo Blue: swim with the Whale Sharks!

National WinnerPicture of Ningaloo Blue Whale Shark

Ningaloo Blue operate Whale Shark Eco Tours at Ningaloo Reef, the only place in Australia where visitors can swim with a Whale Shark. The Whale Shark is the biggest fish in the sea, and Ningaloo Blue records the most reliable sightings in the world.

Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef is a hidden jewel in itself. Much of the reef is within wadable or swimmable distance of shore (100m at its nearest point). It is the only large reef in the world found so close to a continental land mass, and it harbours a huge variety of marine life. Clownfish, Lionfish and Moray Eels are just some of the hundreds of species of colourful tropical fish that can be seen. There is no wet season at Ningaloo, it is dry and warm all year round.Ningaloo Beach Scene

Outside whale shark season, the Ningaloo Blue team runs fishing charters, and private charters for fishing, diving, snorkelling or a tailored mixture. They are rapidly becoming known for their professional and passionate approach to every aspect of the business, refusing to settle for anything less than “the experience of a lifetime” for every guest on every trip.

The business also works in partnership with other tour operators and accommodation providers in the Ningaloo region to enable customers to book a full holiday via the user-friendly Ningaloo Blue site.

Ningaloo Blue Charters is a family owned and operated business in Exmouth, WA.

Channel Nine travel show producer, Alex Ristevski, commented: “Ningaloo Blue Charters is a dynamic and unique experience that could translate well to the television screen. That, coupled with a professional and passionate team, makes Ningaloo Blue a standout winner.”

Australian Traveller editor and Hidden Jewel judge, Greg Barton, noted: “It’s great to see an outfit like Ningaloo Blue Charters do so well on a national level. They’ve got an amazing product and service to offer visitors from Australia and overseas. Being able to handle accommodation and travel requests as well as putting you in the water with those gigantic whale sharks must surely be a relief to adventurers who are keen to have all aspects of the experience handled for them in a professional way.”

PublicityShip’s Jane Hammond Foster also sat on the panel of judges and is delighted to see Ningaloo Blue take out the national accolade: “This is a lively, passionate and dedicated young team – the kind of operation that forms the backbone of Australian tourism. We are very much looking forward to getting the word out about Ningaloo Blue.”Ningaloo Blue Logo

Tribal Warrior: Cruise Sydney Harbour and learn about Aboriginal culture

State Winner: New South WalesTribal Warrior on Sydney Harbour

The Tribal Warrior Association offers a cruise on Sydney’s spectacular Sydney Harbour. With the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House as a backdrop, Aboriginal cultural cruises provide an informative and entertaining commentary about significant Sydney landmarks and their Aboriginal names and history, an Island visit and a traditional Aboriginal welcome dance.

The Tribal Warrior Association is owned and controlled by Aboriginal Elders and community represenatives. Its original objective was to provide disadvantaged Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people with specialised maritime training programs. Tribal Warrior Logo

Realising that the cultural component has long been overlooked by visitors to the Sydney region (who tend to look to the northern states and territory for Aboriginal experiences), the Association introduced Sydney Harbour’s only Aboriginal cultural cruises.

Anangu Waai

State Winner: Northern TerritoryAnangu Tours Uluru

Anangu Waai is an umbrella organisation managing five small tour operations: Anangu Tours, Uluru Camel Tours, Spirit of the Night Sky, Frontier Camel Tours and Desert Tours & Transfers. Aanagu Waai presents Uluru and its surrounds from an Aboriginal perspective. Anangu Tours is the only touring option at Uluru where guests can experience indigenous touring with Anangu guides. The camel, desert and night sky tours add other iconic experiences to the mix.

Anangu Tours. The only touring option at Uluru where guests are able to experience indigenous touring with Anangu guides. Tours are conducted daily and are spoken in ‘Pitjantjatjara’ one of the local Aboriginal languages, information is translated by an interpreter into English and passed on to the guests. All ages are catered for and all tours may be conducted privately. Guests have the opportunity to experience Anangu Culture first hand with a variety of touring options ranging from walking tours, Dot Painting Workshops, and for private groups – Inma – traditional womens corroboree.

Tours are hands on with guests able to learn how to throw a spear, the making of ‘kiti’ – bush glue, and doing their own dot painting which they are able to take with them as a memento of their experience.

Uluru Camel Tours. The only camel touring available when visiting the Uluru area. Tours are conducted daily and are one of the few options available for more intimate ‘Sunrises & Sunsets’. With only 28 seats available Uluru Camel Tours offers a superior experience away from the masses.Anangu Tours Night Sky

Spirit Of The Night Sky. A wonderful night touring options for visitors to Alice Springs. Enjoy dinner at one of the regions historical properties (the former Chateau Hornsby) followed by a guided magical night sky tour of the Central Australian Night Sky. Culturally significant stories are told under the stars and both telescopes and binoculars are available for guests.Anangu Tours - Camel

Frontier Camel Tours. Take a ‘Camel to Breakfast’ or ‘Camel to Dinner Tour’ – a wonderful way to experience the magic of Todd River – a usually dry riverbed in Alice Springs. Learn more about the history of these gentle creatures and their introduction and usage in Australia. A museum is located on site and suitable for all ages – (children under 4 are not permitted to ride camels) – Short camel rides are available or just visit the property and get ‘up close & personal’ with one of our friendly camels.Anangu Standley Chasm

Desert Tours and Transfers. Providing local touring to the natural wonders of the Alice Springs Region with a variety of touring options. Guided or Self Guided touring options are available as well as private charters. Transfers also available from the world famous Desert Park.

Anangu Waai! is part of the Wana Unkunytja group which is 100% Aboriginal owned. Shareholders are from three communities surrounding Uluru – Mutitjulu Community, Impana Communtiy and Kaltukatjara Community.

Undara Experience: Walk the Undara Lava Tubes

State Winner: QueenslandUndara Volcanic Tubes

Undara Experience is a nature-based tour and accommodation operator in Tropical North Queensland, bordering the Undara Volcanic National Park – an area of immense geological and botanical significance.Undara VolcanoGuests tour the world-renowned Undara lava tubes, formed by a massive eruption 190,000 years ago, resulting in the longest flow of lava from a single volcano.

Throughout the year, insectivorous micro-bats live in the Lava Tubes and on occasion come out to feed at night. The emergence of many thousands of bats on dusk is an amazing experience. Imagine thousands of tiny creatures flying past you at incredible speed, using their radar so that even in pitch darkness they will never run into you.Undara LogoIn the warmer months (Dec – March), the number of bats increases. In a spectacular sight, Brown Tree Snakes (also called Night-Tigers) lie in wait in the trees, and reach out to catch the bats as they fly out of the Lava Tubes en-masse to feed.Accommodation is in restored Queensland railway carriages and swag tents.

Bookabee Tours: Eco-tourism and Aboriginal perspectives in the Flinders Ranges

State Winner: South AustraliaBookabee Tours Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby

Bookabee Tours Australia let you escape to the spectacular Flinders Ranges for a relaxing holiday incorporating a unique Aboriginal cultural experience.Join Haydyn on a trip into his traditional homeland area of the Flinders Ranges. Listen to Creation stories of the Adnyamathanha people at traditional significant sites, and see ancient paintings and engravings.Learn about the history of the area amid the beautiful Flinders Ranges landscape with rugged mountains, scenic gorges, ruins of early settlement and abundant wildlife.

A tour through the Flinders Ranges in South Australia with Bookabee blends cultural, eco/nature based and mainstream tourism in a way that challenges perceptions about Aboriginal people, culture and the outback.Bookabee Tours Haydyn And Malki Paintings

Adnyamathanha proprietor and tour guide, Haydyn Bromley, has strong ties to the Flinders Ranges, leading him to create the only 4WD tour company operating out of Adelaide to the region. Many of the cultural sites included on the tours are not accessible to the public or mainstream tour operators. Bookabee Tours Logo

Live History: Performance guiding takes you back in time

State Winner: TasmaniaLive History Montage

Live History uses performance guiding – a new concept in tourism. Louisa’s Walk is a piece of Strolling Theatre which takes the audience on a very personal journey into the life of an Irish woman, Louisa Regan, convicted for stealing a loaf of bread, and sentenced to seven years in the Female Factory (women’s prison) in Van Diemens Land.

The Journey starts in London (just outside the historic brewery at the Cascades in South Hobart) and takes the audience down through beautiful gardens whilst they witness the arrest and conviction of Louisa for her crime. Louisa and her fellow convicts (the audience) then board The Rajah and are transported to Van Viemens Land where they are marched up to the Female Factory. There, the grim gates receive them, the mood abruptly changes and the harsh life of the prison is dramatically portrayed.

Created by Judith and Chris Cornish, performance guiding combines the skills of tour guiding with acting, enabling visitors to engage more fully with the stories being told. Judith and Chris are both trained actors with many years of experience in tourism.

Other ‘strolling theatre’ tours are currently in production.

Auswalk: Inn to Inn walking tours unveil Australia

State Winner: VictoriaAuswalk View Through Trees

Auswalk operates walking tours throughout Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Northern Territory and Tasmania. Walks may be chosen that are Inn-to-Inn guided, self-guided or group guidedWalks are 5 to 9 days, and graded to suit a wide range of abilities.Auswalk Waterfall walk

Many world heritage areas are included in walking tours: Blue Mountains, Central Australia / Red Centre, Dorrigo, Lamington, Lord Howe Island, Tasmania, Tropical North Queensland.

Other feature destinations that are included in walks are: rainforests, mountains, islands, coastline, native birds & animals, wildflowers, aboriginal culture, bird watching, the outback, tropical environments, lighthouses and Australian history.Auswalk Rainforest

Walks can be commenced any day with a minimum of two people booking together. Detailed notes allow walkers to follow a fabulous walking trail, with the day ending at the next accommodation. Luggage goes ahead each day by vehicle.

Auswalk began in 1994 with four walking holidays and now offers 24 walking holidays in five states. Run from home by passionate walkers, Phil and Monica Coleman, with the help of just two admin staff, the company is founded on close attention to detailed service and quality transport and accommodation.

All the routes are created by Phil and Monica from many years of walking experience, visiting their favourite spots.

Faraway Bay: Tides and sunsets mark time on the edge of forever

State Winner: Western AustraliaFaraway Bay Panorama

On the north-west corner of the Australian continent, there is a place so remote, so far away from anywhere, it was called Faraway Bay. It feels like the edge of forever, where a few days can feel like a week, and a week can change the way you feel forever. Time appears to stand still. When it does move, it’s measured in tides and sunsets.Faraway Bay Accommodation

The Bush Camp Faraway Bay is a truly unique wilderness retreat, nestled on a rocky hilltop overlooking the Timor Sea, 280km north west of Kununurra in the remote Kimberley Region of Western Australia.

Visitors fly by light aircraft from Kununurra, over some of the most breathtaking scenery on earth, to the private airstrip. Then, ride by 4WD for the final few kilometres to The Bush Camp.

All eight secluded bush-style cabins enjoy 180 degree views of the Timor Sea. Guests wake up each morning to birdsong and enjoy breakfast in the open air Eagle Lodge, perfect for lounging, dining and daydreaming.Faraway Bay Gorge

Going out takes on a whole new meaning at Faraway Bay: cruise to the spectacular falls at King George River; fish the tidal creeks; explore; learn about bush tucker and discover breath taking ancient rock art, then cool off in the spring fed plunge pool back at camp.Faraway Bay Food

Evening entertainment begins at sunset, when the last rays dance across the rocks and water in a kaleidoscope of brilliant colour. Feast on fresh seafood complimented by fine Australian wines. Enjoy Bruce’s Aussie bush tales. Stargaze until dawn or drift off to the soothing sounds of waves gently lapping the shore.Faraway Bay Logo

While the wildlife is prolific, the neighbours are not. With a maximum of just twelve guests at any time privacy is ensured. Ease into nature’s rhythm. Relax. Explore. Relax some more.

Well, that is just the beginning. With hundreds of potential Hidden Jewels registering for the awards, and around one hundred and fifty completing their entry at a very busy time of the year, we certainly plan on bringing you more on Australia’s Hidden Jewels! We’ll post updates on our PublicityShip blog – you can subscribe to blog updates by email or RSS if you want to be kept informed. If you registered for the Hidden Jewel awards (even if you were one of those too busy to lodge your final entry), we’ll also keep the Hidden Jewel list up to date.Best regards,