Recently, Australian Traveller announced their reader’s choice awards, including Australia’s Best City, as voted by the people. Unlike many other ‘Best City’ awards (and there are many), this one was decided by more than a corporate team sitting around a board room.
Interestingly, like many other Best City awards, Melbourne still came out on top. But whether this is coincidental or an accurate reflection of the city itself is another story, especially considering the criteria were for holiday, not home makers.
So what makes a city a great travel destination, really? According to Australian Traveller,
Responses were awash with references to the local culture, food and sport offerings, as well as many mentions of the shopping and laneway bars. One reader likened the city to “Europe without the 24-hour plane trip”. But it’s not just the obvious tourist attractions that gained votes. Having been named the world’s most liveable city for the third time this year by The Economist Intelligence Unit Survey, locals love Melbs as much as travellers. If not for the Victorian architecture and manicured gardens, Melburnians also rate their city’s “transport system that makes it easy to get around” and “the proximity to spa country, the Great Ocean Road and the Mornington Peninsula”
And right they are. Melbourne certainly boasts those things, plus a few other draw-cards thrown in for good measure. But the fact remains that not everyone wants laneway bars, or holds Europe in such high esteem. Age, interest, background, and budget all come into play – significantly changing the picture from reader to reader. A great travel destination invariably depends on the traveller.
This fact was proven when Adelaide was voted by Lonely Planet as one of the ‘top 10 places to visit’ in 2014. As South Australians rejoiced, other observers were vociferous in their disagreement.
Right or wrong? It’s all semantics –the response of which depend heavily on whether you’re asking yourself as a young parent with kids, a 24-year- old backpacker, or a retired holiday-goer looking for Australia’s wine regions.
It’s true that – quite frequently – the debate itself is what we’re looking for, as Australians secretly enjoy a ‘my-city’s-better-than-yours’ discussion. Aside from the friendly city rivalry, we know that each city has its own gems.
To the credit of Australian Traveller, there were multiple categories that were voted on relating to different travel styles and getaways, including ‘Best Town’ (awarded to Daylesford) and ‘Ultimate Dream Destination’ (The Kimberly). But while for cities these types of awards are a great profile booster, they should be taken with a pinch of salt by every individual who pays attention to them: because for each traveller, there’s a different opinion.
Written by Anna Cashman
Photo credit: Australian Traveller Magazine online