From potato scallops to holiday parks: Australia’s most underrated gems

Oct 09, 2020
The unique things about Australia have been celebrated with the release of the Uniquely Aussie Awards winners. Source: Getty

This year Aussies are rediscovering how incredible their home country really is, with overseas travel off the cards due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. As borders slowly begin to open following the lockdown, people are eagerly packing their bags and heading off to explore their own backyard.

And now Australia is being celebrated even more, as the winners of 2020’s Uniquely Aussie Awards were announced this week. The annual guide to the country’s most underrated gems – conducted by Wotif – shines a spotlight on everything uniquely Australian, from the food we eat to the places we stay and activities we like to take part in.

But the awards scheme, now in its third year, is also helping to inspire Aussies to plan a getaway as soon as possible and support local communities to get back on their feet. Wotif Managing Director Daniel Finch said whether it’s visiting one of Australia’s 150-plus oversized road attractions or discovering a local market, the thousands of votes received this year made it clear that every Aussie knows a local gem worthy of the spotlight.

“With the Australian sense of community at an all-time high, this year Wotif is encouraging Aussies to fuel this pride by taking the time to discover and support as many local businesses as possible on their next Aussie adventure,” he said. “By now, many Aussies have realised travelling further afield is currently off the cards, however what 2020 has highlighted is the incredible local hospitality available in their own backyard.

“The bowlo, fish and chip shop and big things may not be as far flung and worldly as a trip overseas, but they sure are uniquely Aussie experiences that Aussies are privileged to have in this country. With summer in reach, many of these businesses need Australia’s support so for those that can, now is the time to start planning your next local state-cation.”

Best potato scallop (or potato cake – depending on where you’re from!)

Potato scallops – or potato cakes as they’re known in some parts of the country – are an Aussie favourite. They’re crisp on the outside, but fluffy on the inside – kind of like a hot potato chip, but bigger and better.

According to the latest awards, Western Australia is home to the best one in the country, with Blue Lips Fish and Chips in Exmouth receiving the most votes of approval from Aussies. Home made with mashed potato, leek and cream, it’s a tasty combination of ingredients that can’t be missed!

Best bowls club

Said to have the best view in Brisbane, the Merthyr Bowls Club was the pick of the bunch for Aussies. This bowls club isn’t your run of the mill bowlo though, with a delicious menu, incredible scenery and a great atmosphere. It’s used by the young and old all year-round for get togethers, parties or just a casual game of bowls.

Best market

A visit to the market on the weekend to grab fresh produce, knick knacks or a delicious treat is a favourite pastime for Aussies and the Eumundi Market on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland is, according to voters, the best in the country. Voters had a lot to say about this incredible market, boasting about its quality, variety, delicious food, entertainment and locally-made wares.

If you’re eager to explore the markets and the greater Sunshine Coast Travel at 60 has a great deal on offer which includes a two-night stay in Mooloolaba at a 5-star oceanfront boutique resort. Located directly opposite Mooloolaba beach, it’s the perfect spot to relax and unwind. It’s also not far from Australia Zoo and the Sea Life Aquarium.

Best big thing

Australia is home to a lot of ‘big things’, from the big rocking horse in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia to the Big Pineapple in Queensland. But, it’s the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, that Aussies apparently love the most. It’s Australia’s first big thing and has continued to reinvent itself over the years with a toboggan, laser tag arena and water park. Plus, you can’t go past those chocolate covered bananas – delicious!

Best holiday park

There’s no denying the fact that Aussies love a good caravan or holiday park. They are the perfect place to stay on your Aussie road trip – especially if you’re travelling with kids, with play equipment and fun activities such as a big bouncy castle to enjoy and keep them occupied when you need a rest.

And the Big4 West Beach Park in Adelaide has been flagged as the best of all. Located on the beach, it has endless activities for the kids to enjoy, plus within walking distance to great eateries and shops.

Best schnitzel

There’s nothing like a good pub meal and the schnitzel (or schnitty) is generally a favourite for many Aussies, topped with either gravy or a parmy topping. But, if you’re looking for the best in Australia, you should apparently head to Adelaide to the Schnithouse for dish called ‘Schnit Faced’. It’s a schnitzel served with bacon, eggs and barbecue aioli.

But, there’s plenty more options on their menu – 30 varieties of schnitzel to be exact! There’s everything from the reef and schnit with succulent prawns, salt and pepper calamari and roast herb garlic sauce, to the Bollywood schnit with curry sauce, mint yoghurt and pappadums.

If you’re thinking of heading to South Australia you could get the ultimate experience on an over-60s community trip with Travel at 60. The seven-night holiday is set for departure in May next year and will take you to the Barossa, along the Murray River and to Adelaide.

Sue's sassy!

She became a member of Starts at 60 and got access to amazing travel deals, free masterclasses, exclusive news and features and hot member discounts!

And she entered to win a $10K trip for four people to Norfolk Island in 2021. Join now, it’s free to become a member. Members get more.

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Have you been to any of these places? Do you agree that they are the best?

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