SOME flair and imagination have paid dividends for Equathon Horse Riding Tours.
The Noosa North Shore-based business won a bronze medal in the adventure tourism category of the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards on Friday night in Cairns.
Equathon proprietor, triple Olympian Alex Watson (pictured), was excited by the win.
He said he believed making his business stand out from the crowd was what got it over the line.
"We're doing something with a little more flair and imagination than what's normally done," Mr Watson said.
"It's not a new thing to do horse-riding tours, but it's the way we do it, and the diversity of what we offer in terms of services that make us unique.
"The location definitely helps as well. We've got great trails, places to ride to and climate."
Equathon was up against seven other finalists in the category.
The Maria Island Walk in Tasmania won gold and Tri State Safaris from NSW silver in the Adventure category.
Sunshine Coast Destination Ltd CEO Steve Cooper congratulated Mr Watson and his team, saying the result was a "terrific accolade".
"To be recognised in the top three adventure operators in the country is a huge coup," Mr Cooper said.
"We experienced tough times earlier in the year and it is very heartening to see tourism businesses such as Equathon demonstrating excellence in servicing the needs and expectations of both domestic and international visitors."
Other Sunshine Coast finalists included Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat (hosted accommodation category) and Maroochy River Resort and Bungalows (standard accommodation category).
Equathon had gained entry into the national awards after winning the Adventure Tourism category at the Queensland Tourism awards, held in Brisbane in November.
It capped off another November win in the Sunshine Coast Excellence in Business Awards for Tourism Experiences.