Port Stephens tourism operators win gold in 2019 NSW Tourism Awards

Moonshadow-TQC Cruises has been inducted into the NSW Tourism Hall of Fame after completing a hat trick in the NSW Tourism Awards.

For the third consecutive year, the Nelson Bay-based tourism company claimed the gold award in the Major Tour and Transport Operator category, announced at a gala awards night in Sydney on Thursday, earning them a spot in the hall of fame.

"It is still sinking in, [it's] surreal. We were up against some incredible competition in our category, to come out with the gold is testament to our dedicated team and crew who deliver the product with so much passion and knowledge," Mel Turner, business development manager for Moonshadow-TQC Cruises, said.

Port Stephens 4WD Tours also came out of the awards with gold, taking out the Tour and Transport Operators section. It is the second consecutive year the Nelson Bay-based business has claimed the category's gold award.

Oakvale Wildlife Park, celebrating 40 years in 2019, accepted the bronze award for Tourist Attractions and silver for Excellence in Accessible Tourism.

Kent and Leanne Sansom, owners of Salt Ash-based wildlife park, said they were excited to accept the award.

"It is such an honour for Oakvale to be recognised by the industry with this award. Our team works very hard every day to ensure the business continues to improve and to deliver above and beyond our customers' expectations. We look forward to celebrating with our staff this wonderful achievement."

Sand Dune Adventures, which last year won its third gold award for Excellence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tourism and was inducted into the hall of fame, won silver in the Adventure Tourism category of the 2019 state awards.

Having won gold in the state awards, Moonshadow-TQC Cruises and Port Stephens 4WD Tours are now in the running for Australian Tourism Awards.

"To bring home the national [award] would be an outstanding achievement," Ms Turner said.