Shucking oysters on the Tamar, partying in the rustic surrounds of the Huon Valley’s Apple Shed, or conferencing at the fantastic, ‘in-your-face’ MONA museum – it’s just another day in the life of Tasmania.
With a new art and food tourism sweeping Tasmania, Virgin, Qantas and Jetstar increasing their flights, a new interline arrangement between Scoot, the medium haul arm of the Singapore Airlines Group and Virgin and Qantas adding 11 business friendly flights each week travelling on the airline’s twoclass Boeing 717 jet aircraft, everything is coming up roses for business events in Tasmania.
“This is very positive news for us,” said Business Events Tasmania CEO Stuart Nettlefold.
“The additional flights have been timed to benefit the business traveller and conference delegate. This helps to increase Tasmania’s momentum to attract mid to large sized national and international conferences, up to 1100 delegates, to the state.”
“We now have 175 flights coming in a week to Hobart and Launceston, in particular and to the smaller areas like Devonport and Wynyard.”
Adding to island state’s ever increasing popularity are drivers such as the development of new hotels and the must-see museum, MONA (Museum of Old and New Art).
“We have seen increases in our international market. Growths that saw BET pick up The International Modulation Simulation Conference and the 4th International Symposium on the Ocean in a High-CO2, in partnership with CSIRO and Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies, part of University of Tasmania. The CO2 Conference is coming in May which is a great time for Hobart to host a major conference outside of that peak tourism period,” Mr. Nettlefold added.
The winter of our content
Research conducted with 279 event planners between September and November 2014 to better understand their perceptions and knowledge of Tasmania, raised the issue of the weather.
“People thought Tasmania was beautiful in summer but in winter it was too cold and too restrictive for outdoor activities, Mr. Nettlefold said. “Winter is a much underrated time of the year. A time of invigorating crisp blue skies. I think we have to be more excited and embrace that time of the year. If you live in Quebec it’s minus 38° degrees and you have to shovel your way out of the drive to get to work. To me that is cold!”
Showing that Tasmania can be a year round destination, the inaugural Dark Mofo, a winter solstice rite held to face the darkness and bring back the light, literally lite up the Hobart sky and caused thousands of curious people out of winter hibernation, filling three main venues with people every night for the festival’s duration.
A short drive from Launceston Airport, the Country Club Launceston was the venue for a recent finance industry conference with 140 delegates. The three day event utilised eight of the resort’s 11 function spaces for conference and educational sessions, a trade show and a number of informal and official dinners and a farewell dinner dance. Optional activities included golf, tennis, squash and horse riding, with local vineyards proving a popular option offsite option.
Two minutes is all the time it takes to get from the conveniently placed Hotel Grand Chancellor Launceston into the city centre. “Everything in Launceston is a 10 minute walk or drive away,” explained the Grand Chancellor’s sales manager, Joscelyn Littlejohn.
Proudly sporting two new lifts and a refurbished Conference Centre, the Grand Chancellor is the largest conference centre of its type in northern Tasmania with a capacity for up to 900. The hotel was the centre of the attention last year when Launceston, with its array of bioenergy facilities attracted Australia’s premier bioenergy conference, Bioenergy Australia with 300 delegates.
Hobart’s flexible conference and event facility, Wrest Point played host to the 8-day, World-Class Ore Deposits: Discovery to Recovery for Society of Economic Geologists Strike Gold conference.
This significant achievement for the Wrest Point conference team, began when they started with the Society’s Colorado-based representatives, conference partner – University of Tasmania, and members of the organising committee in September 2011.
After meticulous planning, close to 800 delegates, from 44 countries immersed themselves in the full gamut of meeting and conference activities including a trade show, poster presentations, special interest symposiums, conference and plenary sessions, cocktail receptions and a Gala Dinner.
Plenary sessions were streamed into other locations as needed to cater for the more than double the anticipated number of attendees. Wrest Point’s on-site AV team and new state of the art equipment came to the fore throughout the week.
The team received great feedback on the consistent and quality menus, and their high level of service.
In addition to the conference, Wrest Point became a home-away-from-home for some delegates between pre and post-conference short courses and extensive field trips to geologically-significant areas of Australia including the West Coast of Tasmania.
Must see & do – Launceston
10 minutes from Launceston, this pretty as a picture winery with its outlook over the vineyards and lake, has a state-of-the-art Function Centre and restaurant – a one stop shop for an organiser seeking a venue for a meeting of up to 120, cocktails for 300 or a product launch. Popular with the likes of Toyota, Hyundai and Mazda for their car launches, here groups can enjoy such things as fly fishing and wine blending as team building exercises. Popular too with incentives, Nicole McLoughlin, Josef Chromy’s function centre manager said, “No conference is standard these days, everybody wants something different.” In fact, she said that corporate events had overtaken their wedding market.”
Telephone: 03 6335 8700 or visit the website.
Not just a fabulous place to see and buy some of Tasmania’s finest craft and design, this Launceston gallery is home to the Design Tasmania Wood Collection. Additionally the light filled space is perfect to hold a rather smart cocktail function. The Centre has a free bike borrowing service, called ARTBIKES that enables art lovers’ easy access to Launceston’s art galleries and cultural hotspots.
For details telephone: 03 6331 5506 or visit the website.
World Heritage listed Brickendon is one of Tasmania’s oldest farming properties, settled in 1824 and continuously operated and lived on by his direct descendants, the Archer family. The 1830s Dutch barn looks a picture decorated as a Winter Wonderland glittering with fairy lights. Adding to Brickendon’s appeal are six self-contained cottages that could be used for a small meeting for six to eight people.
“The beauty of Tasmania is that within such a short space you have so many difference experiences, it’s what makes Tassie so special,” said Brickendon’s Louise Archer.
Clarendon is one of Australia’s grandest houses set in a parkland on the banks of the South Esk River. The heritage walled gardens and colonial outbuildings, all convict built buildings are available for private events such as weddings and birthday parties.
Must see & do – Hobart
A grand affair
The Hotel Grand Chancellor was the venue last September for the Bakers Delight annual conference (including its Canadian sister stores Cobs Bread). With 1200 delegates, it was the largest non-association conference held in Tasmania.
An official welcome by Hobart’s Lord Mayor was held in the Grand Chancellor’s Federation Ballroom where a Tasmanian themed menu featuring local meats, seafood and lamb was washed down with local beer, wine and ciders. Conference sessions emceed by well-known media personality Adam Spencer were held in the adjacent Federation Concert Hall. Social functions included Song Division entertaining the group at MONA, transported there by ferries from nearby Brooke St Pier, while the Gala Dinner was held at the waterfront venue of Princess Wharf Shed 1.
Credited with putting Tasmania on the map, MONA is a must on any itinerary. Here an average 1200 people pass through their extensive and remarkable gallery. Where else does a John Olsen painting grace the ceiling at the entrance to its restaurant – The Source. Set within the Moorilla Winery Estate, there’s a $25 entry fee which is wavered for Tasmanians.
40 minutes south of Hobart, in the village of Woodbridge, is Peppermint Bay. With three dedicated entertainment spaces catering for up to 300 people, it offers breath taking views of the d’Entrecasteaux Channel and the Huon Valley.
A function can begin with transfers’ onboard one of their luxury catamarans for up to 160, for the more adventurous a new addition, Wild Thing and Adventure offers a high speed, state of the art group transfer vessels seat from 26 to 48.
25 minutes from Hobart in the Huon Valley, the rustic charm of The Apple Shed Museum, Ciderhouse and Cafe, built in 1942, not only has a range of famed Willie Smith Organic Apple Cider and other delicious ciders at the cellar door, this unique venue can be hired for evening functions. The Café can accommodate 40 people, while the deck outside around 60 and the outside shed 40.
Established in 1980 by the Forrest family, with views over the Barilla Bay Oyster Farm and the Coal Valley, the establishment has carved a unique path for aqua-tourism in Tasmania.
Balanced above the shores of the Derwent River, Bernadette Wood’s Glen Albyn has a wow factor clients are unlikely to forget with views that span Storm Bay, Bruny Island and beyond.
Available for a business breakfast, lunch or dinner, cocktail party, product launch or Christmas function, The Atrium with its high cathedral glass ceiling adjoins the pool room, while the terrace has stunning views over Storm Bay. Capacity: Cocktail: 120, seated: 70.
Beery good options
Tasmania wields a dab when it comes to fine ales. Both Launceston and Hobart breweries offer tours and have dedicated space to hold meetings and functions.
This historic Launceston brewery has two conference rooms with a maximum of 20 in the Premium Room and 60 sit down in their Wizards Retreat.
A craft beer venue, again in Launceston. The Barrel Room with its 19th century timber door can be closed off for a private event.
In Hobart, Australia’s oldest operating brewery has the Pavilion and the Degraves room with a capacity for 250 cocktail and 110 theatre style.