April Australia. City to Coast. A Meeting Newz Magazine Supplement

March/April 2015 Australia City to Coast A Meeting Newz Magazine Supplement www.adelaidecc.com.au [ Australia cit y to coa st Adelaide Conventio...
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March/April 2015


City to Coast A Meeting Newz Magazine Supplement


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Adelaide Convention Centre opens doors to West Building

Adelaide Convention Centre has officially opened the doors to stage one of its $350 million redevelopment – West Building. Opened mid March, the new building is the first part of a two stage expansion project that will see the centre transform into one of the most modern, flexible and technologically advanced convention and events spaces in the world. The Panorama Ballroom is the jewel of West Building, with 180-degree views out over the Torrence River, able to host 600 for a gala dinner and 1,000 for a meeting or conference, and divisible into three smaller meeting spaces by operable walls. Four new halls provide a multi-functional space and can be subdivided into six different configurations, and Australia’s largest retractable lighting grids allow ceiling heights to be adjusted and shaped for each event. A movable automated plenary facility; also the largest of its kind in Australia, can seat up to 1,000 and can be found in various locations within the halls. Simon Burgess, director marketing and The new look Adelaide Convention Centre


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sales at Adelaide Convention Centre, says functionality and flexibility of space were the two big factors taken into consideration when the expansion began. ‘What we’ve also focused on is that there’s more breakouts required at the moment, we’re quoting for conferences that are wanting up to 30 streams, and by the time the redevelopment is complete we’ll have 32 meeting rooms.’ Another key focus has been on creating zones where people can network to incite a collective mentality within events that’s currently on demand. Burgess says there’s now a whole new host of conferences the centre is able to pitch for due to its increase in capacity from 2500 to 3500. ‘We’re not as big as Melbourne and we never will be, everything is in terms of the size of Adelaide and in terms of our hotel stock and air lift, but what we do have is a real quality centre.’

New halls provide multifunctional spaces with adaptable roof rigging and walls

The centre is at the heart of the Adelaide riverbank precinct, which is undergoing a revival of its own to become a thriving hub for sports, entertainment, conferencing and medical research. A new bridge has been erected transporting foot traffic from the riverback to the Adelaide Oval, which has recently undergone a multimillion-dollar redevelopment, and the SKYCITY Casino has been slated for a $500 million refurbishment over the coming year. Burgess says the flourishing precinct is great for the convention centre because of the extra infrastructure and dining options it will offer conferences. ‘Adelaide as a city is changing, and this riverbank area will be a focal point going forward, purely because of the investment being put into it.’ The burgeoning medical hub will also be a strong incentive for conference organisers and associations, with over 1000 medical researchers on the convention centre’s doorstep. Two medical-focused universities are housed within the precinct, as well as the South Australia Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), which has already outgrown its facilities and has begun construction on a second building, SAHMRI 2, to be completed by 2017, all underpinned by the new Royal Adelaide Hospital. The theme of the precinct is ‘bench to bedside’ with researchers and students focused on finding practical applications for the research that is taking place in one area that can be translated into the hospital itself. Burgess says having all of the research

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The Panorama Ballroom has views out to the Adelaide Oval

institutes located in one area gives Adelaide a distinct advantage for attracting conferences over other cities. ‘We’re in a position now where we’ve got these researchers on our doorstep who are obviously ready made speakers, but also for those medical conferences delegates can actually take a tour of the buildings and see the research facilities. ‘We’ve got lot of conference organisers that are taking advantage of this and starting to incorporate these interactive style experiences into their programmes.’ Burgess says the research institutions have a real commercial appreciation as well as being focused on the research side of things. ‘They’re open, they understand that

conferences provide a platform for legacy and future learning, and they’re really easy to work with which has been a great boon for Adelaide.’ The expanded centre is already proving popular, with 600 conferences, events and seminars already secured including 30 events each with more than 1,000 delegates. These events will bring 71,000 delegates to Adelaide and create 226,000 bed nights. They include the 68th International Astronautical Congress in 2017, which will bring 3,000 delegates from around the world to Adelaide, and the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association Ltd (APPEA) Conference and Exhibition in May 2018. It is estimated that APPEA


The riverbank is the major focal point of the new building

2018 will attract 2,500 delegates (national and international) and approximately 230 exhibitors. Work on the East Building, the second stage of the redevelopment, which will replace the existing Plenary Building (home of Australia’s oldest convention centre built in 1987) is already underway. The multi-purpose, state-of-the-art facility will have plenary capacity of up to 3,500 seats. This stage is scheduled for completion in mid-2017. Once the entire redevelopment is complete, the centre will be home to three individual buildings able to host both integrated and separate events, each with their own arrival areas.

Portal for delegates seeking tours A new booking tool designed to ‘fill the gap’ for conference delegates intending to take a pre or post but who don’t have anything booked has just been released by the Adelaide Convention Bureau. ‘We have upwards of 60,000 delegates (a year) to the city and many of them plan to take a pre or post holiday. But the gap is when they arrive and need to find activities, attractions and touring options,’ says the bureau’s director of sales and marketing Martin Radcliffe. To solve the problem, the bureau has launched its new online booking portal for delegates seeking pre and post conference touring experiences, Radcliffe says. Bureau chief executive officer Damien Kitto says the facility makes life easy for delegates to share information about South Australia with their friends or family. ‘Decisions can

Martin Radcliffe

be made and experiences booked simply and easily with a fantastic overview of what to expect available in advance without having to spend hours online searching and researching.’ The portal features touring options ranging in duration from several hours to a few days and all have the built in flexibility expected of

a leisure booking system with trips being able to be extended and a range of accommodation options available. In months and years to come, the range of experiences will expand further making the Adelaide Convention Bureau’s website a one stop shop for delegates. Australia city to coast [marchapril] 2015


[ Australia cit y to coa st Virgin Australia’s Nicola Segal hands Sarah Kirk, The Extra Mile Company and Bonnie Lynch, Orbit Corporate Travel Parnell their boarding passes to sample business class seating on their way to an incentive and conference famil in the Gold Coast recently

Australian chef Luke Mangan. Business class guests receive lounge access and priority check-in and boarding. The service increases Virgin Australia’s relevance to the business traveller and creates a consistent business class product across the fleet, including those regions that have had limited business class on the Virgin Australia – Air New Zealand alliance to date (ie. Wellington and Christchurch).


VA business class goes trans-Tasman The 10 737-800 aircraft currently used by Virgin Australia New Zealand (VANZ) to service trans-Tasman and Pacific Islands markets will receive the next phase of interior upgrades, completed by March 31. The upgrade includes new business class seats, giving the aircraft eight business class seats and 162 economy class configuration. It

gives the flights Virgin Australia business class service, with a dedicated cabin crew, amenity kits and a business class menu created by

Virgin Australia offers wireless inflight entertainment on the Boeing 737-800 aircraft operating out of New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, within Australia and on international short haul routes. The system provides hundreds of hours of movies, TV shows and music, all available on the passenger’s own device. For business class guests, a Samsung Galaxy Tablet is provided if they do not have their own device. Virgin Australia reports an extremely positive response to the NZ-VA alliance, which gives New Zealanders more flexibility and options when travelling across the Tasman. Guests can earn and spend Velocity Points and Airpoints Dollars with either airline and make themselves at home in either of the airlines’ lounges.

Revamped centre in Barossa The Novotel Barossa Valley Resort has just completed a $2.5 million refurbishment of its conference centre, meeting the growing demand for conferences and events in the area. The centre can host up to 250 delegates. Custom designed pendant lights made from the metal straps of wine barrels are a feature, as are hardwood timber slats on the walls and ceilings. Modern,


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portable fireplaces are another highlight. The general manager for the hotel, Sarah Henderson, says that on the back of the award-winning Barossa Be Consumed campaign by the South Australian Tourism Commission, there has been overwhelming

interest in the Barossa as a business events destination. ‘This interest was the catalyst for further investment in the resort, which last year saw us complete a refurbishment of our 140 guestrooms.’

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Lorem Ipsum – a hidden space Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) officially launched Melbourne’s first pop up gala space at the recent Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME). The space, called Lorem Ipsum, captures Melbourne’s creativity, design and culinary culture, and is available for end of year bookings with scalable capacity for between 500 and 1,200 guests. Located inside one of the less used exhibition halls at MCEC, Lorem Ipsum offers a quality space unexpected in an exhibition centre and at a time of the year when venue space is sparse. Peter King, CEO Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, says the space feeds a trending appetite for something different.

The first installment of Lorem Ipsum was showcased at AIME this year

‘We want to create real, tangible experiences for our audience today.’ Lorem Ipsum will be themed around a totally new concept each year. ‘We live in a world that’s constantly changing,’ says King. ‘We want to be able to evolve the space with what’s trending in the industry.’

The space features the single largest outdoor area of a function room in Melbourne, with an outdoor garden area able to be illuminated at night time. King says the space also adheres to common pop up concerns about toilet facilities, air conditioning, and proximity to after event venues.

SETTING THE SCENE FOR DYNAMIC IDEAS. At Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise our dedicated Crowne Meetings Director and events team will take care of the details so you can focus on the big picture - your events success. Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise is only minutes from the beach and nestled between Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach. Jump on the new Gold Coast light rail, with a station conveniently located right in front of the hotel, easily connecting you to multiple destinations. Enjoy our all inclusive conference and light rail package for only $74AUD and receive: - 24 Hour unlimited daily travel G:Link pass - Coffee & tea on arrival - Morning tea with your choice of bakery item - Seated buffet lunch - Afternoon tea with your choice of bakery item - AV; lectern and microphone, whiteboard, flipchart and projector screen - Free Venue hire* from 8.30am to 5.00pm *Minimum numbers and Terms and Conditions apply. Book and hold your event between 1st March 2015 - 31st December 2015. Quote “Destination” to receive this offer. Contact our Crowne Meetings team on +61 7 5592 9900 or [email protected]

+61 7 5592 9900

CROWNEPLAZASURFERSPARADISE.COM.AU Australia city to coast [marchapril] 2015


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Vibe Hotel Marysville opens doors The new Vibe Hotel Marysville showcases Vibe Hotels’ refreshed look and feel

Vibe Hotel Marysville has officially opened its doors, showcasing the refreshed Vibe Hotels style with an inspired look and feel designed with the locale in mind.

The development is a 90 minute drive from Melbourne central, and boasts a spa and wellbeing facility as well as a conference centre and exhibition spaces equipped for 480 people, with sophisticated furniture and local art to make each area a hub of inspiration. On the grounds will be Radius Bar & Grill, a modern Australian restaurant and bar, featuring locally sourced Yarra Valley produce providing locals with a premium dining experience for all occasions – breakfast, lunch and dinner. The name Radius is a playful tribute to the restaurant sourcing 85% of ingredients from within a 100 kilometre radius, featuring menus inspired by a ‘paddock to plate’ philosophy and designed by executive chef Leigh Colville. Rachel Argaman, CEO of TFE hotels, says: ‘We want to position Vibe Hotel Marysville as a place to really connect on many levels, personalising guest experiences with the locale, as well as providing an inspiring and stylish place to stay and meet.’ Emma Fraser, group director of marketing, says TFE Hotels is placing an increased focus on the business events industry, with new developments such as Vibe Hotel Marysville and the new Events with Benefits programme.

Yarra Valley golf club nearing completion The Eastern Golf Club’s $70 million new home at Yering in the Yarra Valley is nearing completion. Included in the facility is an array of meeting and event spaces with capacity for up to 150 seated guests in one of the six dedicated rooms.’ Complementing the development onsite is one of the Yarra Valley’s top rated boutique accommodation venues, Yering Gorge Cottages by The Eastern Golf Club. The freestanding one, two and four bedroom cottages are nestled in the hillside next to the Yarra River, and each contain


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The Yering Gorge Cottages are set in the wilderness

large corner spa baths, polished timber floors, floor to ceiling panoramic windows overlooking the Yarra Valley, wood fires, and large private decks with barbecues. The development is a 45 minute drive from Melbourne city and houses a flagship 27hole golf course designed by world renowned golfer Greg Norman. The club will offer flexible event and

conferencing packages with the 600 acre property featuring a gymnasium, a nine hole par three golf course also designed by Greg Norman, tennis courts, both a family and adults only games room, and 12 kilometres of walking trails through a 120 acre private nature reserve. Opening of The Eastern Golf Club is scheduled for June 2015.

Getting there There are many direct transfers to Darwin from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Tropical incentives In Australia’s Top End

Think you’ve seen everything Australia has to offer? If you’re yet to visit Darwin and Australia’s Top End then you certainly haven’t. This tropical wonderland is full to the brim with quality dining, exceptional accommodation, and amazing nature-based experiences. Give your guests an experience they’ll never forget.

Deliver the wow factor DAY 1: Arrive in Darwin in the tropical “Top End” of the Northern Territory and check-in to the five-star villa-style resort, SKYCITY, spectacularly set amongst tropical beachside gardens. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon around the lush tropical lagoon with its swim-up bar before indulging in a luxury spa treatment. Alternatively, take an escorted walking tour of Darwin with a local Indigenous guide. Include a visit to the famous Mindil Beach Sunset Markets to experience more than 250 stalls offering exotic foods, as well as an amazing array of handmade craft, crocodile products, Indigenous art and unique jewellery. A special dining area set aside exclusively for your group provides a tantalising view of a breathtaking tropical Northern Territory sunset over the water.

DAY 2: Start the day with a scenic flight over the pristine Kakadu National Park wilderness. Upon landing, a chauffeured 4WD vehicle awaits to provide your transfer to one of the Territory’s renowned wilderness lodges, where you will stay for the evening. A fascinating rock art excursion en-route to the lodge provides a break in the two hour journey before arrival at the lodge, where you will get a chance to experience the abundant wildlife of the seasonal floodplain - crocodiles, buffalo, hundreds of species of birds and other amazing Top End creatures. A range of activities are on offer to keep the day full of new adventures: for outdoor activities, try quad-biking, hiking or fishing. Alternatively, join a cooking class or simply laze by the infinity pool for the ultimate in relaxation. Dinner is a degustation feast featuring Territory specialties such as prime beef and the renowned Barramundi fish, with exotic bush-tucker touches.

gaining insights into an ancient culture, accompanied by your Indigenous guide. After transferring back to Darwin, a light lunch is served at a location overlooking the sparkling waters of the Arafura Sea. Following lunch, you will have an opportunity to browse through Darwin’s high-end boutiques where a range of unique, luxury goods including pearls and designer crocodile-skin accessories can be considered for take-home gifts and mementos. A private transfer takes you to the airport for your return flight home. Optional activities in the Top End include extended exploration of the rich culture and pristine wilderness of Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks, staying in a unique crocodile shaped hotel, and cruising the world-renowned Yellow Water Billabong. For those who have more time you might like to combine your Top End experience with a visit to Uluru (Ayers Rock), the true heart of Australia.

DAY 3:

Start planning now

Start the day with a spectacular sunrise wetlands cruise on the calm waters of the nearby ‘billabong’ followed by a gourmet breakfast. Spend the morning enjoying a cultural walk to the edge of the wetlands, sampling a ‘bush tucker’ morning tea and

Find more itineraries and pitching resources at australia.com/businessevents. Or contact Chris Ingram, Partnership Manager at Tourism Australia on [email protected] australia.com or +64 9 915 2878 for more information.



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Hats off to Northern Territory The Northern Territory Convention Bureau and its 17 industry partners at AIME 2015 provided more than 120 guests with a ‘taste of the NT’ at the Northern Territory function held offsite from the venue.

These gatherings are renowned for their informality and have become an annual AIME tradition. Held this year at the Melbourne restaurant, Pei Modern, it was a relaxed winddown affair but with a gourmet culinary focus. The NT’s exclusive access to the venue enabled a transformation of the usual restaurant space and many guests chose to enjoy the balmy Melbourne evening from the al fresco terrace. Hosted AIME buyers and key Melbournebased contacts enjoyed spectacular canapé cuisine courtesy of NT ‘mate’ and Australian Masterchef celebrity, Lynton Tapp, who also

The iconic akubra hat was a feature of the Northern Territory’s presence at AIME 2015

happens to be chef at Pei Modern. Having grown up on a cattle station in the Northern Territory, Tapp has established himself as a culinary identity around Australia. The cuisine served at the event highlighted the ‘wow factor’ of NT’s flavours and included buffalo ricotta croquettes with lemon myrtle, marinated and slow-cooked barramundi, wood-grilled prawns with seaweed butter plus superb brûlée bananas and wattle ice cream. Entertainment was provided by former Australian Football League (AFL) star player, performer and friend-of-the-NT, Russell

Fine views in Star venue

Robertson who teamed up with Australian singer-songwriter, Phil Ceberano to deliver funky background music. Suzanne Morgan, executive director business and events for the Northern Territory Convention Bureau says the buyers appreciated the chance to truly relax amongst old and new NT friends. ‘Our exhibitor partners were thrilled to support an event that so effectively positions the Northern Territory as a leading destination of choice, from a culinary as well as a business event perspective.’ The Melbourne Star Observation Wheel

The Melbourne Star Observation Wheel now offers exclusive use of its Star cabins as an event space. Guests can enjoy the 30 minute ride for smaller corporate events or pre-dinner drinks and canapés. The Melbourne Star’s exclusive caterer, Peter Rowling Catering, takes bookings for all of the Star’s dedicated function spaces, designed to host both large and small gatherings, from cocktails for 400 guests to a sit down dinner for up to 250 people. The Star Piazza, at the


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base of the Star, also has the capacity to host a cocktail reception for up to 1500 people, making it one of Melbourne’s largest open-air event venues. Guests on the Melbourne Star itself have

uninterrupted 360 degree views for up to 40 kilometres, encompassing the Docklands precinct, Melbourne’s CBD, Port Phillip Bay and over to Mount Macedon, Arthur’s Seat and the Dandenong Ranges.

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Artist’s impression of International Convention Centre Sydney

ICC Sydney’s virtual tour The International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney), set to open in December 2016, has already won more than 20 major international events.

IHG Cell-ebrates at AIME

Geoff Donaghy, ICC Sydney chief executive officer and director of convention centres for AEG Ogden, says the centre has been working closely with Business Events Sydney on the wins and is now starting to set its sights on the Australasian market. The venue launched its new virtual tour at the Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME) in Melbourne. It is an animated movie that explores the new waterfront venue. Donaghy says the three minute movie explores key assets across ICC Sydney’s 70 rooms, including the grand ballroom – able to accommodate 2,000 people in banquet mode; the 5,000sqm open air rooftop event deck and various plenary theatres. The venue has a total of 35,000 square metres of exhibition space.

EXPERIENCE A NEW CLASS OF BUSINESS ACROSS THE TASMAN BUSINESS CLASS NOW AVAILABLE ON TRANS TASMAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDS FLIGHTS. The Business Class you’ve been waiting for is arriving 31 March 2015*. With a stylish cabin, luxurious leather seats and a mouth-watering Luke Mangan designed menu, you’ll feel at home from the moment you step on board. Available for bookings now.

The dinner was held at Old Melbourne Gaol, where the infamous Ned Kelly was hanged

InterContinental Hotels Group hosted over 80 professional conference organisers and other industry guests to a ‘Cell-ebrations’ dinner at Old Melbourne Gaol during the recent AsiaPacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME). Guests were each given selfie sticks and encouraged to take ‘cell-fies’ in each of the cells, which were themed in each of IHG’s different brands. A string quartet welcomed guests to the venue, made famous as the hanging place of Ned Kelly, and mid dining entertainment included a tap dancing performance on the metal walkways above the dining table.

*Sydney to Auckland commenced 28 February 2015

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Brisbane hotel offers savings

Novotel Brisbane Airport

Ideally positioned as the only accommodation available within the Brisbane Airport precinct, the Novotel Brisbane Airport is between the Gateway Arterial roads and adjacent to the DFO Shopping Centre. The hotel has 157 modern rooms and suites, a restaurant and bar, 24 hour reception and room service as well as a large rooftop heated swimming pool. The hotel has a dedicated conference centre with six multi-purpose meeting rooms seating up to 120 delegates. All rooms feature natural light and integrated audio visual equipment. The professional events team can organise and coordinate a variety of corporate functions and meetings.

Rooftop pool at Novotel Brisbane Airport


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Catalina Restaurant and Bar serves contemporary Australian cuisine and features a stylish bar with separate lounge area. Delegates can explore the nearby attractions like the adjacent DFO Shopping Centre, Golf Central Brisbane Airport, the excitement of Eagle Farm and Doomben Race Courses, the city’s grandest extravaganzas at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre and the exclusive dining and shopping precinct at Portside Wharf and Cruise Terminal.

Special offer Organisers can save 20% on conferences at Novotel Brisbane Airport by booking and holding their next conference by December 31 2015. Mention Meeting Newz Magazine when booking.

Cairns advantage In partnership with the Cairns Convention Centre, Business Events Cairns & Great Barrier Reef relaunched the Cairns Delegate Advantage Programme recently, following consultation with participating operators and meeting planners. Now extended to Palm Cove and Port Douglas and redesigned in a user-friendly map format, the programme features discounts and value adds on 48 local products and services and is avaliable exclusively to conference and incentive delegates to enhance their stay in the region.

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Hunter Valley Centre opens

Alison Gardiner, BCEC; Graeme Caplen, Entegy launching the new free app at the AIME press conference recently

Free app from Brisbane centre Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (BCEC) has launched a free conference app for clients who hold a meeting at the venue. The BCEC Live app is preloaded with four free features – the WayPoint Digital Venue Wayfinding feature so that people can easily get around the venue as well as get to BCEC, precinct attractions, and cafes and restaurants. Clients can also choose four extra free features from a range of 13, including


speakers, social media, floor plans, exhibitors and a general content page. Designed by Entegy, the app can be tailor made for an individual conference. ‘A large part of our future is about technology and what we can add to the benefit of our client base,’ says Alison Gardner of Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre.

The Hunter Valley Conference and Events Centre, has opened at Lovedale in New South Wales, with a capacity for up to 1650 delegates. Built overlooking garden spaces within the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley resort complex, the centre has a combined 2,012 square metres of pre-function, meeting, exhibition and convention space. It comprises three conference rooms ranging from 380sqm - 400sqm that can be used as one ballroom (hosting up to 800 people for a dinner or 1650 theatre style) or a mix of rooms with flexible acoustic folding walls, separate entries and natural light that gives a distinct feel for its Hunter Valley location. Each room is named after one of the Hunter Valley’s premium grape varieties

MEETINGS @ NOVOTEL BRISBANE AIRPORT Novotel Brisbane Airport offers a state of the art event centre featuring six meeting rooms with a capacity for up to 120 delegates. Idealy located close to Brisbane Airport with unbeatable access and parking, all meeting rooms have natural light and integrated audio visual equipment. Contact the team now to see how we can assist with your next meeting or event. 0 7 3 1 7 5 3 1 0 0 | w w w. n ovo t e l b r i s b a n e a i r p o r t . co m . a u Australia city to coast [marchapril] 2015


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Discovering Daylesford Daylesford & Macedon Ranges (DMR) Tourism has crafted five reasons to visit the region as part of its new marketing strategy, which include the great outdoors, food and wine, spa and wellbeing, luxurious accommodation, and shopping and retail. Nina Prakash, Concierge Business Travel with Kate Cumming, Deloitte in the lavender fields in front of Sault Restaurant’s new barn


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By Aleisha Moore

These were highlighted when around 10 delegates from inter-state Australia and around the world were transported to the region recently as part of the Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME) posttouring programme. The trip included a taste of history with a traditional jousting demonstration and medieval feast at Kryal Castle, an exploration of the region’s more undiscovered colonial culture and relaxation offerings, and a hoon around the golf course in golf buggies at Novotel Forest Resort Creswick. Other highlights included tea at Garden of St Erth, meeting 1991 Horse of the Year

The Daylesford and Macedon Ranges famil group with Better Loosen Up at Living Legends

‘Better Loosen Up’ at Living Legends, a tour of Sault Restaurant’s new barn, lunch at award winning restaurant The Argus at Peppers Mineral Springs, and wine tasting at Grange Cleveland Winery. Kerry Clarke, business development manager at DMR Tourism, says a recent restructure of the tourism office has seen a new focus on the wider region. ‘In the past we’ve always really just focused on the one village of Daylesford because it is so core to tourism in the area. But this region actually has hundreds of kilometres around Daylesford that are full of other quirky products, other villages, and kooky people, so now we’re really expanding our focus.’ Clarke says the undiscovered aspect of the region is a big draw card for smaller to medium scale corporate meetings and events that are constantly on the lookout for something new and different. ‘Our region is really distinct to any other region in Victoria because it’s made up of family owned businesses, so a lot of the time you’re dealing with the actual owners and that’s a unique experience for the people you organise events for. ‘There are so many activities to do and the region is so rich in history and food and wine and organics and vintage shopping. It’s a place that people will always remember because you come here to discover and explore, you don’t come here to follow a process.’

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Song Huang, Asia Literacy Teachers’ Association of Australia; Nikki Abercrombie, Abercrombie Management at Sault Restaurant

Peppers pick The owner of Peppers Mineral Springs has opened a new Boathouse Café down by the water at Lake Daylesford. The restored Boathouse Café has arisen from the ashes of the original Boathouse restaurant that was destroyed by fire in 2012. Kim Seccombe, sales and events manager Peppers Mineral Springs, says the new venture offers flexibility in venue options to break things up for delegates staying at the hotel, but reassures organisers of a consistent level of dining and offsite service. ‘We’re finding that having the dual properties is giving us more flexibility for people booking conferences.’ Peppers Mineral Springs will soon be offering an offsite breakfast at Boathouse Café with yoga by the lake – a great addition for partners’ programmes. Seccombe says the property is seeing an increase in bigger group bookings, and partner programmes are a big focus.

Lake House expands Lake House is well underway with an expansion of its restaurant and function areas. The luxury accommodation provider is adding a 40pax function room overlooking the lake, which will replace the old function area near reception that has already been transformed into a library bar.

The restaurant is also undergoing an expansion for an extended decking area with outdoor seating and cocktail function space. Lake House also features a large conference and events space able to host 300 guests that is divisible by three with a permanent cooking school section built in. Ben Cole, marketing and communications coordinator, says cooking school style events have skyrocketed in the last three years with a real trending focus on local produce. ‘We also have a woodfire pizza oven which we often create team building activities around.’

Playing the night Novotel Forest Resort Creswick has launched night golf on its 18-hole championship golf course. The competition features golf balls with built in led lighting that activate when the

ball is hit and stay lit for up to eight minutes. Corporate golfing competitions are gaining traction at the property with the Fish and Chips challenge seeing gamers chip their balls onto a fish shaped island in the middle of a dam on the outskirts of the course while munching on fish, chips and beer brought out to the course in eskies. Gil Wong, sales manager, says because the resort owns and manages the golf course and land surrounding it, it can essentially do anything event organisers would like on the course. ‘We often hold cocktail functions out on the green and we have a very close relationship with the indigenous land owners of the area so we can offer indigenous experiences with the local tribes who will come out and do story telling under the stars and work really well with event organisers to create the experience they are after.’ The resort has also recently introduced par three tees throughout the course. Natalie Housson, eBay; Kate Cumming, Deloitte; Jeff Harris, Mauve Partnership ready to explore Novotel Forest Resort Creswick’s golf course

Kerry Clarke, DMR Tourism; Evon Thow, mep cre8 worldwide at Kryal Castle

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Tasmania gets thumbs up

MONA still stands out as a drawcard (Photo: MONA & Remi Chauvin)

Professional conference organisers as well as association and corporate event planners have been asked how they rate Tasmania as a business events destination. Business Events Tasmania’s (BET) chief executive officer, Stuart Nettlefold says in general the state saw positive perceptions and high satisfaction ratings for Tasmania and the services provided by BET. ‘We had 97% of respondents rating Tasmania as a favourable meetings and incentives destination and 91% satisfied with the services provided by BET,’ says Nettlefold. He says the quality of produce on offer in the state, as well as its natural beauty and ease of getting about all ranked highly as major attractions to holding a business event in Tasmania. In recent months, Tasmania has seen the launch of several new products, all making the most of Tasmania’s scenery. These include


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Salamanca Market (Photo: City of Hobart & Sean Fennessy)

Pumphouse Point, The Bangor Wine and Oyster Shed, and a redevelopment of Hobart’s Brooke Street Pier. ‘Not surprisingly MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) still stands out as a drawcard

for a large number of PCOs and event planners and this view is obviously shared by Tourism Australia, which chose MONA to host Restaurant Australia’s ‘Invite the World to Dinner’ gala event last November.’

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A meeting with Soul


Soul Surfers Paradise offers a variety of sophisticated meeting and event space

Soul Surfers Paradise is offering a range of conferencing packages to entice corporate groups. The property boasts a number of venues to cater for large events or small gatherings, from the Waterline Rooms able to host up to 120 for a theatre style seminar or conference, to Seaduction Restaurant + Bar, the onsite two-hatted restaurant offering a five star dining experience with a maximum capacity of 100 guests. Outdoor cocktail events can be catered for on the Beach View Deck and Outdoor Pool Terrace offering panoramic beach views, or in the Secret Garden, a tranquil landscape tucked in amongst the surrounding high rises.

For more intimate gatherings, Reflections Boardroom offers a space with natural lighting for 20 people, the spacious SubPenthouse apartments offer a memorable venue for small numbers, and Seaduction’s private dining room seats 10 people and offers access to a private wine tasting room.

Soul Surfers Paradise offers 77 levels of one, two and three bedroom apartments, each with uninterrupted ocean views with floor to ceiling windows, private furnished balconies and lavish designer décor, plus complimentary wifi, parking, porterage and daily housekeeping.

New life for conferencing venues Mantra Group will undertake around $6 million worth of refurbishment projects in the next 12 months over its fleet of Australian meetings and conferencing product. Paul Wilson, Mantra group director of MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions), says the focus has been placed not only on the larger venues, but also at smaller CBD or boutique regional properties. ‘The investment reflects a commitment to the conferencing sector as an important part of the business across our hotel network.’ Leading the way is a $3.5 million upgrade project at Southern Highlands (New South Wales) property, Peppers Manor House – a 137-year-old heritage retreat. The upgrades will include the building of a new indoor/outdoor conference and event space to seat up to 200 people with a large open stone fireplace, stone fixed bar area, fixed ceiling with heating, lighting and drop down walls, sound system and modern audio visual equipment. The new space will be complemented by another four venues on the estate, including ‘The Stables’ – an intimate 20-person venue converted from the former working stables of the manor house in its prime.

Mantra Lorne is one of the properties being upgraded

Neighbouring Southern Highlands property Peppers Craigieburn has also recently completed a half million dollar upgrade, which includes a new restaurant with a semi private dining area ideal for small groups, as well as six other conference and meeting spaces with capacity for up to 200 people. Mantra Lorne is going through a $1 million upgrade in 2015 with the regional Victoria resort’s conferencing space, breakout areas and extensive foyer undergoing a reboot. On the Gold Coast, Mantra Legends has almost completed a half million dollar refurbishment to its conference and meeting space, and lobby entrance.

The 400 person capacity ballroom; two meeting rooms (capacity 45 people) and boardroom have been revamped with new décor, AV and lighting and furniture. One of the newest hotels to join the Mantra network, Mantra on Edward in Brisbane CBD has unveiled its new meeting space The Observatory Room – a purpose built, pillarless boardroom with natural light adjacent to the swimming pool deck that overlooks Brisbane city. Mantra on Edward was converted from a former residential tower in late 2014 following a $3 million refurbishment to fully serviced apartments. Australia city to coast [marchapril] 2015


The SOUL of luxury conferencing in Surfers Paradise Conference and Event Venues Day Delegate Packages from AU$72* per day The perfect venue for a conference, seminar, meeting, incentive group or celebration, Soul’s four versatile event suites offer meeting facilities for up to 120 delegates theatre-style and up to 150 delegates for cocktail events.

Rooms and Apartments From AU$215* per night in a One Bedroom Apartment Soul offers 77 magnificent levels of luxuriously appointed One, Two and Three Bedroom Apartments, each boasting uninterrupted ocean views from floor-to-ceiling windows, private furnished balconies, lavish designer décor and fittings with spacious kitchen, living and dining areas.

With outstanding event space and unrivalled event expertise, Soul Surfers Paradise brings 5star sophistication to one of the world’s most famous coastal locations, the Gold Coast.

Telephone: +61 7 5635 5746 Email: [email protected] Website: peppers.com.au/soul *Valid until 30 June 2015. Terms, conditions and block out dates apply. Subject to availability. MTG0365