Benalla featured twice in tourism campaign

By Simon Ruppert

Benalla has featured twice in a tourism campaign encouraging people to explore Australia and New Zealand called 100 untold stories.

Of course if you live in Benalla you are well aware of Wall to Wall and the Botanical gardens - this campaign, however, is sharing these secrets with the world.

Benalla's famous Rose Garden

Benalla's entry in the guide reads as follows:

● The regional town boasts more than 70 jaw-dropping murals painted by some of the world’s most renowned street artists, which creates an unmissable, ongoing cultural exhibition in a unique and unexpected location.

The large variety of vibrant murals capture themes of humanity, animals, fictional characters and much more, showcasing a jaw-dropping sight for those exploring Benalla.

Benalla Bushwalkers enjoy Warby Ranges

Each year in April, the famous Wall to Wall festival comes to life by celebrating these magnificent artworks and the intriguing stories behind them.

While the 2020 event was put on hold, the Benalla community invites you to stay tuned for the 2021 announcement, which will undoubtedly be as bright and as vibrant as ever.

Wall to Wall portrait by Claire Foxton on the side of NEA

The Benalla Botanical Gardens is another local experience.

The garden is renowned for its original structure developed back in 1886, which remains remarkably intact, the abundance of flora and large oval described to be the most picturesque cricket ground in the country.

And it’s virtually impossible to miss the Rose Garden – a rich display and fruitful bed of modern, red roses.

Once domestic travel is back in motion, be sure to journey to Benalla for a unique expedition of hidden talent and cultural gems – an ideal destination for family and friends.

COVID-19 Benalla 0

Choice Hotels Asia-Pac unveiled its 2020 list of the top 100 hidden regional travel destinations and experiences from across Australia and New Zealand recently.

The campaign's aim is to support and showcasing regional communities as Australia reignite its love for domestic travel.

Taking inspiration from Choice Hotels’ more than 180 locations that stretch far and wide across both Australia and New Zealand, the inaugural 100 Untold Stories list shines a light on the hidden gems, intriguing stories, fascinating people and must-visit experiences that are the beating heart of regional areas.

Benalla's Rose Garden recently featured in Bride and Groom magazine

As well as information on Benalla's world renowned Wall to Wall Festival and magnificent Botanical Gardens you can find:

● Japanese monkeys found in Launceston, Tasmania;

● The crystal clear waters of Lake Entrance in Victoria’s Gippsland region;

● Crocosauras Cove in the Top End; and

● The Underground Opera in Rockhampton Queensland.

Benalla’s future looks bright

The carefully curated list of 100 Untold Stories includes adventures across themes of food and wine, nature, sport, art, culture and many more fascinating and wonderful things to explore.

Choice Hotels Asia-Pac chief executive officer Trent Fraser said in Victoria alone 18 destinations, locations and experiences had made the cut.

“(We have included) areas (like) the picturesque coastal towns of Apollo Bay, Barwon Heads and Port Fairy,” Mr Fraser said.

“As well as the magical waterfalls of Hamilton and the exotic forest of giant Californian Redwood trees located in Dandenong Ranges.”

Wall to Wall painting by Elle

Mr Fraser acknowledged that 2020 had been a tough year for Australian communities.

“As we begin to emerge from the devastating impact of recent bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic regional tourism is more important than ever in helping these areas get back on their feet and thrive again, safely, and securely,” Mr Fraser said.

“With international travel on the backburner for the foreseeable future, there is no better time to consider taking a short break to explore our own backyard and ultimately feed tourism back into regional areas again.

“Instead of that big international trip, why not take three to four short breaks and explore our beautiful country?”

Benalla apprentice to represent state at World Skills competition

According to research more than 80 per cent of Australians say they feel revitalised after a short break.

Three out of four feel they get balance back in their life, most are happier and more than one-third have a closer connection with their family after enjoying a short break together.

Despite this, Australian travellers only take an average of two short breaks per year with one in four not taking a break at all, and more than one-third saying that work-related concerns are a big barrier to taking more breaks.

Data has also shown as of the end of 2019 Australians had accrued the largest total amount of annual leave for years, with 146 million days of annual leave waiting to be used.

Devenish drainage on Council radar

“This, coupled with Australia’s easing of restrictions as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, represents a supreme opportunity to reinvigorate Aussies to take time off,” Mr Fraser said.

“Especially when the health and wellbeing benefits associated with short breaks are evident.”

With more people transitioning to a work-from-home set-up, it’s even more essential for people to switch off and manage their work-life balance.

So, what do we want out of a short break?

Research by Choice Hotels uncovered the top three motivations for Australians to take a short break holiday are:

● To spend time with family - 39 percent;

● To visit a new destination - 28 percent; and

● To try something new or different - 23 percent.

This Wall to Wall installation by Callum Preston greets visitors to Benalla as they turn into Bridge St West from the Midland Hwy

“We want people to feel optimistic, excited and safe about the upcoming reopening of domestic travel and give them the opportunity to book with confidence and have something to look forward to – it’s our intention that 100 Untold Stories list will become a great source of inspiration for travel at home ”, Mr Fraser said.

To encourage Australians to book a short break away, Choice Hotels is running a limited time offer with up to 30 per cent off accommodation bookings made between June 10 and August 4, for stays through to December 31.

● To take advantage of this offer, visit this link.

● For inspiration on where to spend your next short break holiday and to see the full list of 100 Untold Stories, visit this link.

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