Spotlight on Sydney
I had the great pleasure of taking a FAM to Sydney in March. Although I had heard great things about Sydney, visiting in person was a revelation. Sydney offers a great platform for groups, whether for conferences or out-of-this-world incentive trips. The city’s distinctive neighborhoods and exceptional hospitality standards offer a variety of unique experiences. And of course, there’s one more asset Down Under…superb food and wine.
Name: Intercontinental Sydney
What Groups Can Expect: The perfect blend of old-meets-new. With over 500 rooms, there is plenty of space for most groups. Fifteen character-filled meeting rooms occupy the beautifully restored Treasury Building of 1851. Behind the doors of this heritage façade lie high ceilings, natural light and the latest technology. Located near the Sydney Harbour, Royal Botanical Gardens, and The Rocks district, the hotel puts everything within easy reach.
Personal Favorites: The Treasure Room, reflecting the 1850s’ architecture.
Best Moment: Sipping champagne on the roof deck, which overlooks Sydney Harbour.
Website: www.intercontinental.com/sydneyContact: Angie Martin, Business Development Manager
Name: Taronga Zoo, Sydney
Location: The Sydney suburb of Mosman
What Groups Can Expect: A venue with a “wild” side! With lush landscapes and unobstructed views of Sydney Harbour, the venue provides the perfect platform for events. Two floors and an outdoor balcony allow variety from cocktail hour to dinner. The in-house caterer, RA, uses fresh ingredients and local produce to create sensational menus.
Personal Favorites: Walking into the venue space and immediately seeing the harbor views through the floor-to-ceiling windows—breathtaking!
Best Moment: The personal tour of the zoo and seeing a kangaroo up close.
Contact Info: Lisa Pitkin, Event Manager
Name: BridgeClimb Sydney
Location: Sydney Bridge
What Groups Can Expect: A once-in-a-lifetime experience! Groups are given a thorough safety briefing and a jumpsuit to change into. All personal belongings are locked away, and then headsets are given so you can hear your guides (one in the lead, one in the rear) along the way. Then you climb steps along the arch of the bridge. The journey takes about two hours, and gives climbers memories—and views—to last a lifetime.
Personal Favorites: Extraordinary views of the iconic location
Best Moment: When the entire group gets the safety brief, it also includes a Breathalyzer test. Safety first!
Contact Info: Kate Dombkins – Marketing Executive
Name: Sailing Sydney
Location: Sydney Harbour
What Groups Can Expect: From team building to racing to sunset cruising, Sailing Sydney will customize a sailing experience aboard an America’s Cup Yacht. Each carries 30 passengers, but Sailing Sydney can accommodate events for up to 700 attendees. They offer branded team uniforms, catering, even celebrity skippers to enhance the experience.
Personal Favorites: Watching the sunset and getting a city view.
Best Moment: Taking the wheel and playing captain—if only for five minutes.
Contact Info: Tracey Barnes, Sales Event Manager
Name: Hilton Sydney
What Groups Can Expect: It’s easy to see why this earned a <i>Condé Nast Traveler</i> Readers’ Choice award in 2012.The hotel offers modern luxury, a variety of dining options, and can house a meeting of up to 3,000 attendees. With 23 meeting rooms and an exhibition center, the options seem endless when it comes to selecting meeting space.
Personal Favorites: The opulent and modern decor—everywhere from meeting rooms to guest rooms and dining areas. Consistency runs throughout.
Best Moment: Experiencing the cuisine from award-winning chef Luke Mangan at Glass Brasserie. A mere description could never do it justice…it simply must be tried.
Contact Info: Brigid Kennedy, Director of Sales
Name: Wild Trikes
Location: Will pick up anywhere in Sydney
What Groups Can Expect: A perfect, slightly adventurous way to tour Sydney. The company offers traditional “hogs” as well as a handful of trikes for group members who prefer to take a back seat for the ride. Tour routes are customized and can include city, suburbs, and coastal experiences. Professional drivers point out sights and are enthusiastic about sharing their home with attendees.
Personal Favorites: Leaving lunch expecting to get back on the bus, and seeing Harleys waiting for us instead.
Best Moment: Riding along the coast. I certainly didn’t want the ride to end, a sentiment echoed by my fellow riders.
Contact Info: Sylvio Mizzi
Phone: 61 410 418 740
Name: Spirit of Sydney Ghost Tours
Location: The Rocks neighborhood
What Groups Can Expect: A personalized tour with a very theatrical tour guide! This is a great way to hear ghost stories and see historic parts of Sydney. Tours last about two hours and are a great way to work up an appetite.
Personal Favorites: Touring old rooms that are only available to this operator.
Best Moment: When I found myself so engrossed in the tour guide’s story that when a fellow attendee tapped on my shoulder, I let out a scream!
Contact Info: Colleen Harrison, Group Director
Name: Tourism Australia
Location: US Office – Los Angeles
What Planners Can Expect: A knowledgeable CVB that can help you plan not only in Sydney, but all of Australia. From conferences to incentive groups, Sydney has something for everyone. Tourism Australia showcased a variety of options for us, and really demonstrated the value of bringing groups to this memorable destination.
Best Moment: Hospitality that felt genuine, gifts that reflected Sydney, and the Harley ride!
Contact Info: Samantha Holmes