In a huge win for a small regional town, Kimba has taken out two titles at the inaugural Grey Nomad Awards.
Announced at a gala dinner on Queensland's Sunshine Coast on Wednesday night, the first award went to the District Council of Kimba in the 2019 Best Grey Nomad Council Free-stay Campsite for the town's Kimba Recreation Reserve campsite.
This was quickly followed by a win for the Kimba Community Development Group Inc's Grey Nomad Volunteer Program in the 2019 Best Grey Nomad Volunteer Program or Project category.
The Grey Nomad Awards recognise communities, tourism operators and events that provide exemplary products, services or experiences for travellers aged over 55.
The program expands the appeal of Australian towns and regions, encouraging these travellers to see Australia while supporting positive aging through soft adventure and social inclusion.
Kimba District Councillor, Graeme Baldock, proudly accepted the Council's honours and Kimba Community Development Group Chair and Grey Nomads Volunteer Program Coordinator, Heather Baldock, was delighted to accept the Best Volunteer Program Award.
Mr Baldock said "both projects complement each other very well and have certainly boosted significantly the number of visitors staying in our town".
Grey Nomad Awards Director, Kim Morgan, said "Kimba should be very proud of these two wins - they're national recognition of the amazing community spirit that thrives in the town and surrounds".
"Winning a Grey Nomad Award says to mature-age travellers that you offer a superior experience where their needs and enjoyment have been taken into special consideration, providing them with verified information that will guide their decisions on where to travel and what to experience," Ms Morgan said.
Judging was conducted by mature-age tourism and event professionals from around Australia, some of whom had experienced the grey nomad lifestyle, lending weight to Kimba's success.
The criteria focussed on the way the things that long-haul overland travellers seek, such as authentic experiences, comradery, reliable mobile reception, easy access to eating and shopping places, well-appointed amenities, and great customer service.
"The towns and organisations behind the winning entries showed clear evidence that they take this visitor segment into consideration in their planning and offerings," Ms Morgan said.
The judges said the standout aspect for the Council Free-stay Campsite category was that the reserve not only offers many things that commercial van parks do and is on the town doorstep, but that the reserve's recreational facilities were also available to visitors.
"Our level of awe grew further when we realised that Kimba has developed a volunteer program that cleverly offers power at this mostly non-powered Recreation Reserve in return for volunteer labour, creating the ultimate win-win situation for the town," the judges said.
South Australia scooped the Awards pool, taking home five of the eight category Awards. Other winners were:
- 2019 Best Grey Nomad Attraction or Tour: Busselton Jetty, Busselton WA
- 2019 Best Grey Nomad Commercial Campsite: Yorke Peninsula Council Bush Camping SA
- 2019 Best Grey Nomad Community Campsite: Berri Riverside Holiday Park, Berri SA
- 2019 Best Grey Nomad Council Free-stay Campsite: Kimba Recreation Reserve, District Council of Kimba SA
- 2019 Best Grey Nomad Festival or Event: Parkes Elvis Festival NSW
- 2019 Best Grey Nomad Large Caravan Park: Queens Beach Tourist Village, Bowen QLD
- 2019 Best Grey Nomad Small Caravan Park: Yorketown Caravan Park, Yorke Peninsula Council SA.