When it comes to MICE destinations (that’s Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing, Exhibitions) Australia has stepped up to the plate. We no longer need to dread the team escape like we once did on school camp. The new kind of corporate escape knows how to combine business with pleasure, with innovative conference facilities augmented by new team-building experiences.
So where to go? A gorgeous location, naturally. You need sunlight. You still require a boardroom set-up but you’ll need an escape when it’s time to break. Maybe a relaxed coastal style retreat will make you feel like you’re not even at work.
Getting away is an important part of getting to know the people you work with and is great for group morale and worker productivity. Working for a global company, it’s necessary to travel to meet with colleagues in different countries… It is a really efficient way to acquire an understanding of the way people think, work and to build relationships.
At these Australian corporate-friendly places, the sky is the limit.
Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort & Spa
At the heart of the Yarra Valley, a major Victorian wine region and only an hour’s drive from Melbourne. Balgownie Estate boasts an architecturally striking conference facilities and executive boardrooms, all equipped with the latest technology and presentation equipment. Sunny balconies with magnificent views of the Estate’s vineyards are fantastic for breaks, and the events team can arrange everything from hot-air ballooning to laser clay shooting.
Mansion Hotel & Spa in Werribee Park
It is a breathtakingly ornate Italianate mansion dating from the 1870s, sitting amid 10 acres of manicured gardens. Highly corporate-friendly with 8 versatile meeting spaces, including a ballroom accommodating 100 people. Employees can unwind with a gentle game of bocce or practice their chukkas in a polo demonstration. And all just thirty minutes from Melbourne’s CBD.
A luxury lodge in the Barossa wine region, the Louise is all about the boutique experience. 15 suites, all with vineyard views, are augmented by a sun-filled boardroom for up to 24 people with its own secluded breakout terrace. Private dining choices in the lodge’s Appellation restaurant include a chef’s degustation and, of course, the renowned Barossa shiraz. The clincher: it is just 1 hour’s drive from Adelaide (but much shorter if you use the helipad).
Cape Lodge Margaret River
3 hours’ south of Perth on a secluded Margaret River vineyard, this luxury country house hotel of 22 suites and rooms is similar to a private country estate, albeit one with contemporary business capabilities. There’s a dedicated boardroom and two meeting rooms — and with award-winning wineries like Vasse Felix as partners, the conference team are dab hands at organising wine and food masterclasses.
Spicers Peak Lodge
Located in Queensland’s High Country surrounded by World Heritage-listed national park, Spicers Peak is a mountain lodge with an edge: A high-end assortment of 10 suites and 2 private lodges, with it comes a boardroom and private dining facilities in a grand contemporary building located on its elevated Scenic Rim location.
Housed in a building as magnificent as the its surrounding scenery of Great Oyster Bay and Freycinet Peninsula scenery. This 20-suite coastal retreat, filled with beach décor, puts the local into luxury. Food and beverage options are carefully selected, while down-time in the 20-suite property with 24-seat boardroom may include boating on Wineglass Bay, an oyster farm tour or trip to the Lodge’s own Tasmanian devil refuge.
Groote Eylandt Lodge
50 km kilometres from the Northern Territory mainland, the biggest island in the Gulf of Carpentaria provides a singularly Indigenous-owned corporate getaway. Dedicated meeting rooms and a breezy conference pack at this 60-room lodge could have trouble competing with breakout activities including some of the most thrilling sport fishing in the world, Indigenous cultural activities and freshly caught seafood at the Seagrass restaurant.
NEW SOUTH WALES
Fairmont Blue Mountains
It’s easy to see why this is a corporate favourite that hosts over 300 events per year, from small plan meetings of five individuals to 600-strong conferences, perfect for small business coach training. The sprawling retreat only a 90 minutes’ drive from Sydney capitalises on the surrounding Blue Mountains beauty. It boasts 222 rooms and suites, 15 flexible conference spaces for up to 850 delegates, a ballroom that could sit 450 in a gala dinner, and flexible outdoor options. Leisurely distractions? Think laser tag, Segway tours of the 9.5-hectare property, golfing, bushwalking and yoga.
Q Station Manly
A distinctive sympathetic mix of Sydney heritage and contemporary corporate facilities, this renovated quarantine station surrounded by 30 hectares of Sydney Harbour National Park is different from most others and only five minutes from Manly. Choose from 13 beautifully renovated meeting rooms, such as function rooms with harbour views, or and the rustic Governor Bourke Ballroom. For the best in after-dark team building, try one of the ghost tours — if you dare.