WHEN Duncan and Caroline Woodhead bought 16ha of rural land with beautiful ocean views just outside of Alstonville in 2003, their dream was to run a successful self-contained holiday accommodation facility.
In 2005, the first four cottages were ready for visitors, and Alstonville Country Cottages became a reality.
Just two years later, they added another four cottages.
And now the couple has just won its first North Coast Tourism Award, taking out bronze in the hosted accommodation category.
They said it was great to receive the recognition.
"We have been targeting three main audiences," Mrs Woodhead said. "The first is families, because we don't charge for children under 12. We are also pet-friendly, so we get a lot of people who like to travel with their animals.
"We also noticed we'd be full on weekends, but the weekdays would be quiet, so we added a conference centre last year to bring in business people midweek."
Mr Woodhead said visitors mainly came from the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sydney.
"People generally use Alstonville Country Cottages as a central spot to start exploring the Northern Rivers," he said.
"But then others come here to relax, and they don't even leave the grounds."
Other local winners at the North Coast Tourism Awards included the Ramada Hotel and Suites in Ballina, which took out bronze in the Deluxe Accommodation category, and the 23rd Bluesfest at Byron Bay, which won gold in its section.
The Ramada's general manager, Karen Whiteford, said the team felt it was a great achievement.
"We were up against some fantastic hotels in this category, so for us to take out the bronze is amazing," she said.
"We're coming up to our fifth birthday and we are really proud of the Ramada and how well it's going.
"It's been busy here, which has a good flow-on effect for the community."
Alstonville Country Cottages.
Apartments Inn, Byron Bay.
Ballina Beach Resort & Conference Centre.
Ballina Coast & Hinterland Locals Rewards Campaign.
Cape Byron State Conservation Area.
Ramada Hotel and Suites, Ballina.
Summerland House Farm, Alstonville.
The 23rd Annual Bluesfest, Byron Bay.