It’s high time we swapped the Zoom software for a real zoom to the North Coast of New South Wales. In recent months, the region has been readying to welcome back business events of all sizes, and there has never been a better time for your delegates to discover the hidden gems in their own backyard.
Destination North Coast extends from the mid-coast in the south to Tweed in the north, with Lord Howe Island in the east and the Great Dividing Range approximating the western border. The region provides the perfect canvas for enriching events, with lush natural landscapes lending themselves to nature-based activities. When combined with its high-quality venues, the North Coast delivers the ideal destination for teams to connect and have a detox from the digital world.
It is also easy to get to. For those zooming by car or bus, the Pacific Highway makes for a hassle-free journey. There are also airports at Ballina/Byron, Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour, as well as the neighbouring cities of the Gold Coast and Newcastle.
In light of the North Coast’s adventurous possibilities, accessibility and awe-inspiring nature, we decided to round up the best group activities on offer in key destinations.
Port Macquarie is a coastal town located four hours north of Sydney and famed for its beaches, wildlife and weather. Meteorologists at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have even claimed that it has the best climate in Australia. Its flagship activity provider is Port Jet Cruise Adventures, which has options for adrenaline junkies (jet skis, speed boats) and those after something a bit more relaxed (river cruises, whale watching tours).
If the recently-renovated Sails Port Macquarie by Rydges is not to your taste, the best central to town accommodation is the 71-room Mercure Centro. The hotel boasts three meetings rooms which can cater for 150 guests.
This North Coast city is practically synonymous with The Big Banana, so it would be remiss not grab a group shot in front of Australia’s original ‘big thing’. Once this is ticked off, the site offers a range of team-building activities including laser tag and mini golf, as well as conferencing facilities.
If mini golf doesn’t cut the mustard, you can drive 20 minutes to the par 72 championship course, Bonville Golf Course. Bonville regularly hosts golfing corporate getaways which extend beyond the final putt on the 18th green to shootouts and presentation dinners.
For your Coffs Harbour transportation needs, Action Coach and Shuttles is the way to go. This family-owned business has been operating in NSW and Queensland for more than 25 years and can transport your group between locations as well as do the airport pick up and drop off.
Rich with lush hinterland, stunning beaches, peaceful rivers and roaring waterfalls, Ballina is a veritable playground for nature lovers. What better place could there be to host an outdoor team-building activity? Industry favourite BE Challenged operates in Ballina (as well as the rest of the North Coast) and can work with you to organise an activity that invigorates and inspires your delegates.
Located a short stone’s throw from Ballina at the beach-side coastal gem of Yamba is Angourie Resort, a 66-room sprawling paradise surrounded by subtropical rainforest. The resort boasts first-class conference facilities which can accommodate 250 people. These include the 182 sqm Bangalow Room and the 121 sqm lagoon-side Point Venue.
Just 30 minutes north of Ballina is Byron Bay, where the activity options are as abundant as its surf breaks. Groups can kayak to Australia’s most easterly point while learning about local history, aboriginal culture and marine biology with Go Sea Kayak; or traverse the beach on horseback, complete a horseback pub tour or do some mounted archery courtesy of coastal horse ranch Zephyr Horses.
After all of this physical exertion delegates can quench their thirst at Stone & Wood, a local and independent beer brewery that offers tasting experiences in its rooms.
Who needs Qld when we’ve got the Northern Rivers region of Tweed? This vibrant holiday destination is sliced by an aesthetically pleasing river and replete with mountainous lookouts, national parks and secluded beaches.
The best way to discover the region is through Tweed Eco Cruises, a family-owned business that operates four vessels and offers premium river cruising options. The crew has extensive knowledge of the region, and even sources food locally to provide an authentic experience and minimise its environmental impact.
For your group’s head resting needs, there is Mantra on Salt Beach Kingscliff. This 221-room property is an example of a one-stop shop, with a restaurant and bar, large lagoon-style pool, exercise room, two tennis courts and conferencing facilities for up to 300 guests.