Independent and FREE - 2021 Best Online Publication

Tourism favourites prove they’re oldies but goodies

Independent and FREE – 2021 Best Online Publication (Qld Country Press)

Tourism favourites prove they’re oldies but goodies

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'Special experiences': awards prove two regional tourism attractions are oldies but goodies

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Two regional tourism drawcards have made their mark on baby boomers and mature-age travellers, scoring accolades in the prestigious national Grey Nomad Awards.

The Mary Valley Rattler struck gold in 2021, being voted Australia’s premier Historic Attraction, while the Original Eumundi Markets took out silver in the Attractions category of the awards, which were announced on the Sunshine Coast.

Mary Valley Rattler general manager Micheal Green said the awards highlighted the  commitment to excellence and the empathy with which the team and volunteers dealt with their guests.

The Mary Valley Rattler is the No.1 Historic Attraction in the 2022 Grey Nomad Awards.

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“The contribution and passion of our volunteers really makes the Rattler experience special, and this latest award is incredibly well deserved,” he said.

The Mary Valley Rattler’s base at Gympie Station, as it looked circa 1930.

“The history of the Rattler and the opportunity to view the beautiful Mary Valley landscape from a heritage rail carriage makes us particularly popular with mature travellers.

“We recognised their importance last year by adding special wheelchair accessibility to cater for the many senior travellers who needed additional facilities to ride the railway in comfort and safety.”

Original Eumundi Markets manager Karen Davis is chuffed but not at all surprised about this latest award for her team and stallholders.

“It’d not just a market, it’s an experience,” she says of the Wednesday and Saturday events that operate all-year round, “rain, hail or shine”.

The family and pet-friendly Original Eumundi Markets boasts more than 300 stallholders on a Saturday, and all of these small businesspeople must “make it, bake it, sew it or grow it” to qualify for space.


One of the entrances to the Original Eumundi Markets, which took silver in the Attractions category of the Grey Nomad Awards. Picture: Shirley Sinclair

Other market precincts have sprouted around the Memorial Drive purpose-built site that grew from the blue Country Women’s Hall in 1979 and now calls the neighbouring pink former canecutter’s cottage its headquarters.

The Grey Nomad Awards is a niche annual tourism program that shines a light on the best places for mature travellers to stay and play around Australia.

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The awards are judged by tourism leaders from across the country who offer valuable insights and detailed feedback to each entrant, ensuring nominees have practical tips to improve their tourism offering for the future benefit of their business, their community and visitors.

Commenting on the awards, the judges said, “This year’s winners reflect the exceptional experiences on offer to senior travellers. Each winner is playing a small yet critical role in assisting the Australian tourism sector recovery.”

For more details about the awards, go to the website.