Congratulations to NSW's 2023
TOP TOURISM TOWN awards winners

Top Tiny Tourism Town (Population under 1,500 residents)

Silver - Tilba

Bronze - Kangaroo Valley

Judges' Commendation - Milparinka

Winner - Huskisson

Top Small Tourism Town (Population between 1,500 and 5,000 residents)

Silver - Eden

Bronze - Gulgong

Judges' Commendation - Bulahdelah

Winner - Berry

Top Tourism Town (Population over 5,000 residents)

Silver - Ulladulla

Bronze - Wollongong

Judges' Commendation - Picton

Hall of Fame - Mudgee

Winner - Newcastle

tiny Top tourism town

Towns with a population under 1,500 residents. 
Click on the sign next to a town's name to access their page.

Towns are listed alphabetically.

A hidden treasure, Broke is quintessential Hunter Valley with lashings of modern country charm.

Pack up the fam and head to the heart of Jervis Bay for the ultimate Huskisson bucket-list getaway.

Discover Australia’s most beautiful Kangaroo Valley, connect with nature, connect with each other.

Located in Outback New South Wales, Lightning Ridge is a unique and captivating destination that offers travellers a one-of-a-kind experience. From its renowned opal mines to its striking landscapes, vibrant culture, and friendly locals, the tiny town of Lightning Ridge delights visitors from all over Australia and leaves a lasting impression in their hearts.

Mathoura is the gateway to one of the largest red gum forests in the world. It’s an enchanted wonderland for lovers of the Australian bush, the river and native wildlife. The Millewa forest includes wetlands of international significance and has arguably the best access in the region to the Murray River. Mathoura is a popular destination for those seeking the gentle country lifestyle and peaceful retreat in the heart of a beautiful natural environment. It has a rich and unique history, charming main shopping street, a vast array of public artworks and beautiful forests and waterways at every turn.

Milparinka Heritage Town is a tiny far western New South Wales community with a long Aboriginal heritage and occupation bookended by early exploration and the growth of a gold-mining boom. By the 1920s the town was almost deserted.

Recently the determination of a volunteer community has transformed Milparinka into a modern, enlightening and excellent expression of a tiny town where visitors can immerse themselves in history, culture and art all in close proximity to some of Australia’s most significant historic sites.

With accommodation in a well-resourced caravan park or local hotel, Milparinka is a tiny town worth visiting.

Driving into the heritage village of Rylstone, you’ll see a picture of majestic mountains tumbling into green pastures, vineyards producing crisp cool-climate wines and a snaking waterway surrounded by the Heritage-listed Wollemi National Park. From pioneering French-inspired vineyards to rainforest hikes, the small village of Rylstone is sprinkled with big surprises.

Venture into Spencer, a hub of the Central Coast's Hinterland gems, and you may just feel like you’ve found the “Hub of the universe”... This small, riverside town is nestled within such vast natural beauty; between rugged Dharug National Park and gentle waterways where the Hawkesbury River meets Mangrove Creek. Spencer is the hub of many things – from sustainable art, to scenic sips, from waterway vistas, to secret stories from the past. Spencer's surrounds reveal colonial engineering on World Heritage listed walks that trace ancient Aboriginal pathways to meeting places, immersive oyster tours, plus fresh local produce to plate opportunities.

The National Trust listed villages of  Tilba are regarded as one of Australia’s best heritage sights. Tilba offers a living snapshot of 19th century Australia and a profound connection to indigenous cultural history.

The charming historic weatherboard buildings that grace the townships are huddled in the foothills of ‘Mother’ Gulaga, a spectacular mountain backdrop sacred to the local Yuin people.

Tilba is nestled between rolling green hills and stunning beaches. It’s no surprise that this picturesque landscape appealed to early European settlers and remains one of the top heritage destinations on the NSW south coast today.

It’s a calm country drive to sweet and tiny Tyalgum, passing paddocks of dairy cows and curving alongside the Oxley River. Nurtured by its creative community, Tyalgum hosts a bustling monthly market, regular music and dance events and a wellness festival, while year-round there are artisan stores stocked full of art, gardenware, books and hand-made jewellery. Award-winning high teas are on the menu at Flutterbies and local foods are found at the Tyalgum General Store. There’s also an authentic gelateria, gin bar, coffee roaster, bakery and beer brews along with luxury cabins, country cottages and a heritage pub for overnighting.

Small top tourism town 

Towns with a population of 1,500 to 5,000 residents. 
Click on the sign next to a town's name to access their page. 

Towns are listed alphabetically.

Barham, ever-popular with couples keen to enjoy fresh air, natural surroundings and world-class local produce.

Wind back time and immerse yourself in the historic village charm of nostalgic Berry.

Bulahdelah is an Aboriginal Worimi word meaning the meeting place of two rivers. That's appropriate because as a destination Bulahdelah, is also a tourism hub. It's the centre of the Mid North Coast's best tourism region. Look North and West for gigantic eucalypt forests, green rolling hills, breath-taking natural wonders and historic villages. Look South and East for bustling holiday towns, pristine beaches, stunning coastal vistas and spectacular riverine landscapes. Sometimes the sheer majesty of nature makes you pause, rebalance and recommit to what's important in your life. That's what memorable experiences do, and Bulahdelah? It's full of surprises.

If you think you know  Cabarita Beach, think again! This sweet seaside village is known for its gorgeous beach and laid-back surf vibe, but spend a few days in Caba,  as the locals call it, and you'll discover there's so much more to this small town, just 500m from end-to-end and just perfect for a long-weekend escape. 


Eden is aptly named as it is a slice of paradise, the hidden jewel of the Sapphire Coast. A coastal fishing village that has come alive over recent years with beautifully restored historic buildings, world class mountain biking trails, and a busy cruise port. The picturesque town is set on a deep natural harbour and is surrounded by National Park with endless beaches, hidden coves, coastal hiking trails, fascinating history and geology, and an underwater world to explore. Eden is the perfect location for a truly Wonderfully Wild escape.

Filled with charm and history, Gloucester is nestled at the foot of the Bucketts Mountain Range (the Buccan Buccans) and is the closest town to the World Heritage Barrington Tops. Renowned for its crystal clear rivers, beautiful countryside and friendly locals, it is a popular destination within an easy drive from larger centres. With a variety of accommodation options and eateries focussed on outstanding local produce, it is a desirable stopover for tourists travelling north toward the coast, inland to the Tablelands or south toward Newcastle and Sydney and is the jewel in the Barrington Coast crown.

Gulgong the region’s famous 19th-century gold-mining town, where the local passion is just as profound as its history. Prestigious bygone buildings that were captured on Australia’s first $10 note to immersive museums and the oldest-operating theatre in the Southern Hemisphere. Picture a country town nestled into the rolling hills of country New South Wales, where curved streets are lined with heritage buildings complete with iron-lace verandahs, and friendly locals greet you with warm smiles. What looks like a classic countryside town from a distance is so much more. Located in the Mudgee Region, 300 km from Sydney. 

Jindabyne is a charming alpine town located in the heart of the Snowy Mountains NSW. Known for its breathtaking natural beauty and scenic lakeside setting, Jindabyne offers a wide range of exciting activities for adventure seekers year round. From snowsports in winter to hiking, biking, fishing, and water sports in summer, Jindabyne is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. The town also boasts a thriving arts and culture scene, with a variety of galleries, events, and festivals. With its friendly locals, great dining options, and stunning scenery, Jindabyne is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking an authentic Australian alpine experience.

Sussex Inlet is the ultimate family-friendly destination for a winter getaway, with an average temperature of 18-20 degrees. This relaxed and laid-back town boasts a lake, beach, and inlet - perfect for fishing, boating, surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, and other water sports. With a jetty in your backyard and a kangaroo on your front yard, it's a unique experience that's quintessentially Australian. The town offers great shops, a historic cinema, a golf course, and the largest quantity of caravan spots in the Shoalhaven, perfect for a family road trip, all just three hours from Sydney and Canberra. 

Top tourism town

Towns with a population over 5,000 residents. 
Click on the sign next to a town's name to access their page. 

Towns are listed alphabetically.

Discover amazing natural wonders in the great outdoors and experience genuine country hospitality. Bathurst is a giant playground for big and little kids alike with a variety of family-friendly attractions perfect for any time of the year to excite and delight every imagination. 

Geographically unique, Coffs Harbour is the only place in NSW where the Great Dividing Range meets the Pacific Ocean. Coffs is a thriving eco-tourism destination overflowing with outdoor experiences, family-friendly attractions, local food and drink offerings, and action-packed adventures.  

Known as 'the city of smiles', Dubbo is a thriving regional centre with the advantages of a city on the rise. Dubbo is a family adventure holiday destination where the only social networking is with each other! Head out on a wild Zoofari at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, discover the incredible story of the Flying Doctor, step back in time at the Old Dubbo Gaol and delve deep underground at the Wellington Caves. Start your great big adventure in Dubbo – it takes only a moment to feel at home, but a lifetime to explore, so what are you waiting for?

Lake Macquarie is a vibrant, contemporary, cosmopolitan coastal city. Tourism is thriving, with the city attracting more than 2.5 million visitors a year. The lake foreshore reserves provide a myriad of experiences – forested headlands, white sandy beaches, idyllic picnic spots, sculpture and art installations, and unique heritage precincts.

The iconic Coastal Walk showcases a stunning coastline. Extending from Whitebridge to Belmont Lagoon, the Belmont Wetlands Conservation Area is an eco-tourism destination, with boutique accommodation; a network of interpretative walking, cycling and mountain biking trails; and eco, heritage and cultural activities, tours and experiences.

Located in the magical Murray River,  Moama is a natural landscape of magnificent river red gums, breathtaking river panoramas and a myriad of native wildlife. On its doorstep lies an exhilarating world of award-winning wineries, restaurants, festivals, farmers markets, events, international bowling greens, day spas, a championship golf course, tourist drives, cycling trails and walking tracks. It's a place to bask in glorious sunshine, to experience the very best that life has to offer, and to reconnect with yourself, your family and your friends.

Newcastle is a colourful city that’s anything but ordinary. When you indulge your curiosity and uncover Newcastle’s vibrant culture, rich heritage and electric atmosphere, you experience an unexpected feast for the senses and leave with enticing stories and a satisfied spirit.  

Surrounded by stunning coastline and world renowned surf beaches, the ocean feeds the soul of our compact city. Rather than check in and put your feet up, have your perceptions challenged and seek off beat in our boutique city. 

Discover the most scenic landscapes in Central NSW, heart of The Tablelands Way. Oberon… more than you imagine…Showcasing two internationally recognised tourist attractions; the majestic Jenolan Caves, oldest and most spectacular limestone formations in the world and home to the magnificent creation Mayfield Garden, notably the largest privately owned cool climate garden in the southern hemisphere. Fossick for gemstones in nearby rivers and explore the natural wonders of incredible world heritage Kanangra-Boyd national park. Camp under the stars by picturesque Lake Oberon and trout fish all year round; BBQ your catch, relax and watch the sun go down.


The historic town of Picton is only one hour’s drive from Sydney. Nestled in the picturesque Wollondilly Shire, it is the heart of the region and home to abundant natural beauty, railway heritage and the spectacular Illuminate Festival of Art and Light. 

The best way to explore the heritage buildings, boutique stores and chic cafes is on foot. Visitors can wander the native botanic gardens, eat in one of Australia’s oldest pubs, admire the oldest, stone arched railway viaduct in NSW and visit a historic mushroom tunnel. 


Shellharbour, the gateway to the South Coast, is the perfect place to reconnect and recharge. On Dharawal Country, it is perfectly positioned between the pristine waters of the Tasman Sea and the picturesque Illawarra Escarpment.

Shellharbour is a vibrant coastal destination and from the sparkling blue ocean and shimmering lake, to the lush rainforest and waterfalls, Shellharbour welcomes you to a region of contrasts and exciting possibilities packed with hidden gems and endless adventure to be experienced all year round.

It’s a holiday destination that must be experienced and Shellharbour is waiting to welcome you!

Escape to the charming coastal town of South West Rocks, nestled on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales, for a perfect family vacation or a rejuvenating retreat. Relax and soak up the stunning scenery, pristine beaches and rich history, making it a popular destination for nature lovers. Dive into crystal-clear waters perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and surfing or try outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and cycling. Experience the vibrant dining scene with an array of restaurants, cafes, and bars, serving up mouth-watering local cuisine. With something for everyone, South West Rocks is an ideal destination for your next getaway.

Ulladulla is a charming coastal town in New South Wales, surrounded by rolling hills and pristine coastline. It's an ideal destination for a wellness retreat, back-to-nature getaway, or soul-nourishing escape. Visitors can relax, reconnect with nature, and enjoy paddock-to-plate dining featuring the region's excellent local produce. Accommodation options are available for all budgets, from luxury resorts to budget-friendly camping sites. Ulladulla and its surrounds offer something for everyone, whether seeking adventure, relaxation, or a combination of both. Extended stay packages provide the best value for those seeking a rejuvenating, fun-filled escape.

Where pristine beaches and serene bushland form a kaleidoscopic natural playground. From the moment you cruise over Sea Cliff Bridge, you are immersed in the beauty of Wollongong, offering breathtaking views of the coastline and the sea. The escape-worthy world-class beaches, playful adventures, eats, arts, and iconic attractions are just 80 km from Sydney. Wollongong boasts countless cafes and coffee spots, starting your morning with liquid gold and a smile. By night, enjoy chic restaurants & bars

Wollongong is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience a unique blend of nature, adventure, and culture. The perfect place to relax, explore, and create unforgettable memories. 

Yamba is one of those weirdly magical places that makes you feel nostalgic for it, even while you’re here.. The place where memories are made and nostalgia runs through the mighty Clarence river into the mouth of the pacific ocean. For generations, families have enjoyed holidays at the beach, exploring the nearby Yuraygir National Park and catching snapper off the break wall.

This coastal destination evokes feelings you might have had as a kid – and for all its excellent contemporary dining, cafes, accommodation, and shopping – Yamba manages to connect visitors with a sense of fun, joy, and innocence. 

Powered by Business NSW, the NSW Tourism Industry Council (NSWTIC) helps maximise the potential of businesses operating in the state's Visitor Economy, ensuring New South Wales remains the number one tourism destination in Australia. 
Disclaimer: In no event will the judges be held responsible for any comment, viewpoint, or expression whether expressed or implied, concerning the standard or quality of an entrant’s submission. Entrants agree not to bring any claim against any of the judges, award co-ordinators, NSW Tourism Industry Council/ Business NSW or Award sponsors. Entrants agree that the judges’ decisions are final and that no correspondence will be entered concerning such decisions.