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Australia's Best Group Holiday Accommodation 2009
  • The kids will love all the space to run around
  • Group accommodation is great for teambuilding activities
  • Self-contained is a cheap option for larger groups
Here are the 2009 state winners for the leading holiday rentals across Australia, with guests rating their favourite hotelsmotelshostels, B&Bs and accommodation parks
TakeABreak.com.au, Australia’s only independent boutique accommodation website, presents the “Best Places to Stay” awards for the tourism industry, which recognise outstanding service in specialist segment categories. 
State winners were selected via an exhaustive process from over 13,000 properties in 1400 localities and 39 accommodation types. National winners were announced in November.
18 categories were judged in total with winners awarded in segments such as BeachBudgetEco-friendlyGroup, Romantic and Pet-friendly accommodation
TakeABreak Group Accommodation State Winners 
Top ViewTop View Farm is a comfortable, large and modern 4 bedroom brick home set atop 23 acres of private bushland.  As the name implies, the valley views as far as distant Cessnock and Kurri Kurri are magnificent.  The home accommodates up to 12 people.  There are lots of surrounding interests but once here most prefer to just sit back and unwind with friends.  A weekend at Top View is very affordable and as one of the guests said "it's just what the doctor ordered". 
The home is very comfortable and well-maintained. There is a large games room attached to the lounge/dining area so there is plenty of room for a big family or group of friends. The home is totally self-contained, which means no other guests are staying on the property. This also means that you really don’t need to bring anything other than your food and drinks. 

Judges notes:
  • 4 bedroom homestead. No other guests, up to 12
  • Great guest comments
Riverbush Holidays consists of 4 luxury cottages set on 38 acres of natural bushland with access to its own beautifully landscaped private riverfront and boat ramp.  Each cottage is set far enough apart from one another to ensure privacy and seclusion, with a large grassed oval and playground in front of the cottages for safe family activities and bushland to the rear.  There is a huge bonfire pit situated centrally to all the cottages, perfect for sitting around on a clear winter night, while sipping a glass of locally produced wine or eating freshly cooked camp oven damper!  Each cottage can quite comfortably accommodate up to 8 people with ample undercover parking for cars and boats.   
Guests need only bring their food as everything is provided in the cottages. The operators love to spoil guests with little extras such as complimentary bottles of Riverbush wine and dried fruit packs. Guests are welcome to choose DVDs from a huge selection of latest releases, which are suitable for all ages.  They also have paddle-boats available for hire from the riverfront.  One of the special features of the property is the floating cottage or houseboat “Miss Personality” which is permanently moored on the riverfront.  Originally used as extra accommodation when large groups were staying, it proved to be immensely popular with guests wanting a houseboat holiday without paying the extremely high fuel costs of recent years. The location is very private and the views are spectacular.  Guests can keep their vehicle and boat with them at all times for trips to Riverland towns and tourist attractions. Riverbush’s unique accommodation and excellent presentation is highlighted by the many wonderful and positive guest reviews left in the Visitor's Book and by the number of guests that return again, often bringing their family and friends with them.   
Absolute priority is given to the presentation of the cottages and the comfort of guests during their stay. The operators greet all guests and escort them to their cottage, pointing out along the way where various points of interest are located on the property; including where they live and how to contact them any time of the day or night, especially in the case of an emergency. Directions are given on how to get to the riverfront and offer the use of fishing rods and tackle etc. Maps of Riverland towns are provided in each of the cottages and many brochures on the local attractions. They also advise if any special Riverland events are happening during their stay and offer to make any bookings for guests.      
The operators treat all guests the way they would like to be treated themselves. They never intrude on guest’s privacy but are always available in case they are needed. They do check on each guest the morning after their arrival just to see if anything is needed. A Customer Feedback form is provided for guests to fill out before leaving. This has been a very successful way of finding out what guests thought of their stay and if they found any problems in the cottages and also of any improvements that could be made. As a result of suggestions made on this form, some of the improvements include extra towel rails in the bathrooms, rubber safety mats for the showers and security/sensor lighting under the carports.   
Judges notes:
  • 4 cottages each sleep up to eight. Good submission, great facilities and common areas.
  • Good common areas for larger groups
  • Sounds like a great group destination
The Lodge is available for rent as a five bedroom house, which provides beds for 10 adults. There is also a cot and a double bed fold-out couch in one living area. The property can be used as two apartments or one large one, which is achieved by opening an internal door between the 2 apartments. Because the Lodge is also set up for separate rental of two apartments, when it is used as a single property, there are two kitchens, both with dishwashers and living/dining areas, equipped with wood stoves and reverse cycle air-conditioning, three toilets, two bathrooms and two sets of laundry equipment . There are also two televisions with satellite feed and twoDVD players. The large living areas and duplicated facilities make for a relaxed stay for a large group. 
To the operator’s knowledge, there is no property in northwest Tasmania that can match the space, charm and facilities for a large group. In addition, the Lodge has a "Dress Circle" view of the river and Southern Ocean and is surrounded by a scenically splendid wilderness area. 
A property that is special to stay in because of its design, space, facilities, decor, cleanliness, comfort and outlook. 
Judges comments:
  • Two separate self-contained properties
  • Duplicate facilities great for groups 
Old Dadswell Town, Dadswells Bridge, Victoria
The Old Dadswell Town Hall is the ideal location for groups to get together and talk about the day’s activities around the open fire or party on! The operators have had a number of successful events here, car clubs, birthday parties, family reunions, even a wedding. They also arrange spit roast catering so groups can enjoy themselves without the hassle of cooking.  
The operators find the first reaction when guests arrive is "Wow, this is just an amazing place, where did you find all the old junk” and similar. Around every corner is something to laugh about or reminisce about. The unique themed cabins are a welcome change from the normal self-contained accommodation and guests have really enjoyed staying in them. 
The operators interact with all guests and make sure they have a good time at the property and also in The Grampians area. They take the time to show them around the property, among the wildlife and native plants. Sitting around a cheery open fire with a glass of wine is a favourite with guests. 
Judges comments:
  • This would be a VERY interesting group experience - lots to do, own individual cabins
  • Love this one and the guest reviews are wonderful
This property has three self-contained chalets that sleep 6, 8, and 8 which allows room for a family or groups to catch up and relax. There are friendly animals to feed and great walk/cycle trails on our back boundary. The 9 hole bush golf course on site is complete with clubs and balls, there is open space to play footy or cricket and enough bush to explore and look for wildlife and wildflowers, allowing ideal opportunities for team building activities or quiet reflection.  
The chalets have BBQ, microwave, and gas cook-top to allow self-catering or the function centre can provide additional dorm-style accommodation or a communal eating-place. Linen is supplied, so all guests need to bring are their clothes, food and personal toiletries. All chalets have a bath for a quiet relaxing soak, a cosy log fire, a verandah to enjoy a local wine or a quiet read, and minimal ambient light to enjoy the stars at night. The operators have modified a chalet to cater for wheelchair guests, and provide a function centre on site for recreation/conferences/retreats that is also specifically designed to allow easy mobility and dignity for disabled guests.  
The operators love having family groups and have cots and high chairs available for little tackers and a swing set at Chalet 2 for their enjoyment. They allow pets by arrangement, which makes the property pretty unique in this area. They have 40 acres for guests to explore and the chalets have bush between them that allows for privacy. The property is ideally situated in Nannup, the centre of the South West and means there are endless day trips available to guests from the beach to tall trees, wineries, gourmet foods, adventure activities and country gardens. The operators will cater for meals for the group or allow them to self-cater in the commercial kitchen. 
This property can cater for groups from mountain bike riders, where they provide wash and repair stations for their bikes, to providing school leavers with alternative, quieter options to organised parties by supplying them with sporting and recreational options on the property.  It is an ideal venue for family reunions and weddings as there is something to do for everyone, from babies to older guests on zimmer frames, and all those in between. This is one of the few properties in this area that can cater for such large numbers, at an affordable tariff that will also accept the fact that some people just have to bring the family dog along (they are pet-friendly too!). 
Judges comments:
  • Up to 22 people, so good size.
  • Great farm activities for groups and also additional dorm accommodation. Includes 9 hole bush golf course  
  • Commercial catering facilities are good addition

About the Author
Penny Parsons is CEO for TakeABreak.com.au. Penny loves to travel and it was this that led to the idea of TakeABreak.com.au. With many travellers looking for more than just a standard hotel experience, her objective was to provide them with access to as many different accommodation types as possible.

When searching for boutique accommodation such as B&Bs or holiday homes she also found the only option was calling local real estate agents or accessing local newspapers and information centres. This process was not only time consuming but sometimes yielded no results at all.She felt there needed to be a more comprehensive yet easier, streamlined and convenient search option. So in 2003, with 300 properties, the seed for Take A Break was sown.

About the author
Find out more about Penny at http://bit.ly/h_experts

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