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


After receiving the award Amanda was interviewed (video below)



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