Queensland Tourism Awards 2018 – Capricorn Caves Wins GOLD!


The 2018 Queensland Tourism Awards (QTA), the industry’s annual recognition program hosted by the Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) was held at the prestigious Gold Coast Star Casino on Friday 16th December and the presenters for the evening were Mark Beretta, Jillian Whiting and Rod Young.

Almost 1000 tour operators, accommodation owners, general managers and staff members packed out the event room. Attendees were treated to performances by Marina Prior, Naomi Price and Luke Kennedy and the welcome to country was given by Shannon Ruska.

The vibe in the room was electric, buzzing with hope and anticipation that their submission would take home the prize in one of the 28 categories, and the table of 9 representing the Capricorn caves were no exception to this.  Best tourist attraction was the second last award for the evening, so it was a long wait to hear the result that we had worked so very hard for.

Vale Ann Augusteyn had worked tirelessly on the Queensland tourism award submission for the Capricorn Caves, she quite often was up until the early hours of the morning working on and refining the submission. With Ann’s sudden and unexpected passing only 4 weeks earlier, the Capricorn Caves submission could not have been possible without the passion and drive that Ann contributed not only to this submission but over the last 30 years in operation.

When the award result was finally read, Capricorn Caves members jumped to their feet in total elation. A mixture of emotions. So happy to have won Gold, and so bittersweet as Ann couldn’t be with us to share in what she had worked for months towards.

The entire table walked up the isle to accept the award, fists in the air, arm in arm, with tears rolling down our cheeks. It was a very special moment.

Our general manager Amanda Hinton gave her heartwarming speech then handed over to Helen Harmsworth (Anns daughter) both paying tribute to Ann and the staff and family of the Capricorn Caves

Ann was sadly missed by all the members of the Capricorn Caves on the night, none of it would have been possible without her.

This award is in her loving memory.

The Southern Great Barrier Reef Operators alongside (center) Hon Kate Jones Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development.

Capricorn Caves staff would like to extend a huge congratulations to all the winners on the night. The comprehensive list of winners in each categories are as follows ;-

Tourist Attractions

Gold: Capricorn Caves

Silver: Bundaberg Rum Visitor Experience

Bronze: Paronella Park

Major Tourist Attractions

Gold: Australia Zoo

Silver: Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

Bronze: Qantas Founders Museum

Major Festivals and Events

Gold: Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers

Silver: Blues on Broadbeach Music Festival

Bronze: Beef Australia 2018

Festivals and Events

Gold: Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo

Silver: Broadbeach Country Music Festival

Bronze:Noosa Triathlon Multi Sport Festival

The Steve Irwin Award for Ecotourism

Gold: Fun Over Fifty

Silver: Tall Ship Adventures – Derwent Hunter

Bronze:Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort

Cultural Tourism

Gold: Paronella Park

Silver: Fun Over Fifty

Bronze: Outback Pioneers

Highly  Commended: Qantas Founders Museum

Qantas Award for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Tourism

Gold: Mossman Gorge Centre

Silver: Tjapukai

Bronze: Dreamworld Corrobee

Highly Commended: Minjerribah Camping

Specialised Tourism Services

Gold: Small World Journeys

Silver: Brisbane Airport Corporation

Bronze: Pacific Fair Shopping Centre

Visitor Information and Services

Gold: Hervey Bay Visitor Information Centre

Silver: Ipswich Visitor Information Centre

Bronze: At the Creek – Julia Creek Visitor Information Centre

Business Event Venues

Gold:  Novotel Twin Waters Resort

Silver: Empire Conference Centre

Bronze:  Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre

Major Tour and Transport Operators

Gold: Red Cat Adventures

Silver: Ocean Rafting

Bronze: Passions of Paradise

Tour and Transport Operators

Gold: Ocean Safari

Silver: Fun Over Fifty

Bronze: Whitsunday Jetski Tours

Highly Commended: Tasman Venture

Adventure Tourism

Gold: Red Cat Adventures

Silver: Whitsunday Jet Ski Tours

Bronze: Ocean Rafting

Highly Commended: TreeTop Challenge

The Richard Power Award for Destination Marketing

Gold: The Ultimate Guide to Driving the Great Barrier Reef

Silver: Destination Gold Coast, Keys to the Coast

Bronze: Sunshine Coast Leveraging Campaign of GC2018

Tourism Restaurants and Catering Services

Gold: Vintage Restaurant, O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards

Silver: Noosa Beach House, Peter Kuruvita

Bronze: Hemmingway’s

Tourism Wineries, Distilleries and Breweries

Gold: Bundaberg Rum Distillery

Silver: Sarina Sugar Shed

Bronze: O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards

Caravan and Holiday Parks

Gold: BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort

Silver: Big4 Gold Coast Holiday Park

Bronze: Big4 Ingenia Holiday Cairns Coconut

Highly Commended:  Rivershore Resort

Hosted Accommodation

Gold: Cobbold Village

Silver: Bli Bli House

Bronze: The Country House at Hunchy

Unique Accommodation

Gold: Whitsunday Escape

Silver:  Cumberland Charter Yachts

Bronze: Gilberton Outback Retreat

Self Contained Accommodation

Gold: RACV Noosa Resort

Silver: Holiday Holiday – H Residences Surfers Paradise

Bronze: Dorchester on the Beach

Standard Accommodation

Gold: Grand Hotel and Apartments Townsville

Silver: Ibis Mackay

Brone: Kellys Beach Resort

Deluxe Accommodation

Gold: Empire Apartment Hotel Rockhampton

Silver: Mirage Whitsundays

Bronze: Q1 Resort and Spa

Luxury Accommodation

Gold: RACV Royal Pines Resort

Silver: Heart Hotel & Gallery Whitsundays

New Tourism Business

Gold: Waltzing Matilda Centre

Silver: Cairns Aquarium

Excellence in Food Tourism

Gold: Sarina Sugar Shed

Silver: Bundy Food Tours

Outstanding Contribution by a Volunteer or Volunteer Group

Gold: Mon Repos Turtle Volunteers

Silver: Moreton Bay Region Industry & Tourism Events volunteers

Bronze: GC Games Shapers

Young Achiever Award

Winner: Hannah Statham

Highly Comnended: Chris Spielmann

Highly Commended: Lauryn Johansen

The Marie Watson-Blake Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual

Winner: Mark and Judy Evans – Paronella Park

RACQ People’s Choice Awards: 

Experiences and services: Paronella Park

Accommodation: RACV Noosa Resort

All the gold award winners progress to the national tourism awards ceremony which is being held on the 1st March in Launceston Tasmania, let’s hope it’s a great night for Queensland operators on the national platform

  • star rating  The cave was amazing, the tour was worth every cent. This tour is suitable for everyone who can walk, and it offers access for those with mobility issues. There is... read more

    July 5, 2023

    star rating  It was just an amazing experience to have a guided tour through the cave system and learn about the formation and history of the caves. The cathedral part of the... read more

    July 5, 2023

    star rating  Terrific tour. Excellent guide (Hudson) really informative and friendly. Explorer experience was easy to manage. Highly recommended. Must book ahead. We saw a lot of people arriving with no booking... read more

    July 5, 2023
  • star rating  Very interesting tour I was a bit nervous as had to crawl in a tunnel but it was short and 2 swing bridges - but that’s me a whimp but... read more

    Naomi G
    July 4, 2023

    star rating  Visited Capricorn Caves & did the Cathedral Tour it was value for money, if you like learning about and observing some natural beauty. Some stairs/ramps but not tiring.... read more

    Mark T
    July 2, 2023

    star rating  Very informative. Our guide was friendly and knowledgeable. Listened to Alleluia in the Cathedralamazing experience. Daughter and I enjoyed this experience. We learned a lot about the ecosystem in the... read more

    Soana B
    July 1, 2023
  • star rating  Great informative tour, with a fantastic coffee and cake to finish. There is a little gift shop to pick up your souvenirs.

    June 28, 2023

    star rating  Fantastic, definitely worth doing if in the area. Interesting history on these caves. Guided tour was good

    June 26, 2023

    star rating  A truly exhilarating experience. My husband and I stayed the night at a cabin at Capricorn Caves and were so impressed with the hygiene and cleanliness of the cabin. The... read more

    June 18, 2023
  • star rating  Very special experience visiting these caves and listening to Amber explaining about the cave formations and their continuing work in preserving its nature.

    June 17, 2023

    star rating  Amazing caves so different from any other caves I've seen looking forward to visiting again when they have Opera in The Cathedral Cave, if you are in the area... read more

    June 16, 2023

    star rating  An excellent experience full of learning opportunities an very eco tourism. Some special features that can only be experienced on this tour.

    Tracy C
    June 11, 2023
  • star rating  I joined a morning tour at 9:30 and the atmosphere in the morning was so great! I and my family enjoyed it very much! the tour guide was very knowledgeable.... read more

    June 10, 2023

    star rating  Heading north towards Cairns, I chose to take a rain check on visiting Capricorn Caves. However, with more time on my hands, I decided to make this a priority. And,... read more

    Greg W
    June 5, 2023

    star rating  We had a good tour in the Capricorn Caves with an enthousiast guide. The caves were on average quite accessible with some nice passages for those group members that wished... read more

    Harrie M
    June 4, 2023
  • star rating  Cave adventure was excellent, guide was very knowledgeable about the caves, after doing the adventure tour second tour was bit of a let down

    May 28, 2023

    star rating  Interesting tour. I particularly loved the Cathedral tour. Just amazing to sit there when our guide turned the lights off slowly and we sat in darkness as the... read more

    Maria L
    May 25, 2023

    star rating  My son (15 yrs) and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the caves today. The tour guide was super-friendly and extremely informative. We learned so much! An absolutely stunning cave.... read more

    May 24, 2023
  • star rating  Great tour. Izzy the tour guide was very informative. We live in Mackay and it has been on mt to do list for a long time. Glad I did it... read more

    May 20, 2023

    star rating  Our guide was very well informed and gave us a lot of info about the caves. The caves were amazing and we got some great photos. I would recommend this... read more

    May 19, 2023

    star rating  A great tour, Amber was knowledgeable and enthusiastic , highlight was the acoustics in the cathedral for sure

    May 17, 2023
  • star rating  Unexpectedly wonderful experience at the Capricorn caves, especially in the Cathedral Cave - fantastic effort made to make the whole visit truly worthwhile! Our guide, Amber, was informative and enthusiastic.... read more

    May 17, 2023

    star rating  So glad we planned a visit to the caves. Wish I would have ventured even further into the caves with a longer tour.

    Jeannie C
    May 13, 2023

    star rating  Really interesting tour even though we did the 45minute one. Rory our guide was great. Very informative and knowledgeable. Only improvement I could suggest is a more vibrant light... read more

    May 10, 2023
  • star rating  Tour guide was just perfect, wouldn’t have changed the way he delivered in any way. Thanks so much! Look forward to doing another tour one day!

    May 9, 2023

    star rating  Amazing tour with Lizzie, we did so many cool routes and was way for adventurous than we were expecting. Lots of tight crawls and the bats were amazing. Thank you!

    May 8, 2023

    star rating  Was an amazing cave system , we only did the cathedral and was hoping to do another more advanced track but was booked out .
    Would definitely come back again... read more

    April 29, 2023
  • star rating  Amazingly tranquil. Cabins extremely comfortable. Cave tours a most, just beautiful. Friendly staff who provide excellent service.

    April 27, 2023

    star rating  Fantastic family day out. We did the family adventure tour (with two 9 yr olds) and they loved it. Our guide James was informative and engaging and kept the atmosphere... read more

    April 23, 2023

    star rating  Our tour was amazing we all had an awesome time and our tour guide, James, was great helping people who struggled, he definitely is worth more money

    April 13, 2023