The Northern Territory continues to deliver as an inspiring incentive destination, with exciting new products coming online.
A new luxury wilderness retreat located around 300 kilometres south of Darwin and 29 kilometres from the town of Katherine is set to enhance the NT’s already impressive portfolio of exclusive lodge-style properties. Cicada Lodge is in Nitmiluk National Park, home to the world-renowned ancient sandstone Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge, with the surrounding sandstone country featuring lush gullies, broad valleys, pristine waterfalls and amazing native flora and fauna.
The lodge is a joint venture between the Indigenous landowners, the Jawoyn people and Indigenous Business Australia, an organisation which promotes and encourages self-management, self-sufficiency and economic independence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Cicada Lodge can be booked on an exclusive-use basis and offers 18 architect-designed, fully air-conditioned rooms elegantly furnished in a contemporary style fusing international, modern Australian and Indigenous design elements. Each room displays traditional artworks of the local Indigenous people and for exclusive-use clients, the lodge restaurant can be utilised as a meeting room for up to 36 participants. Despite its outback location, there is complimentary WiFi throughout the property.
A range of authentic Indigenous cultural and natural Australian wilderness experiences are available. Exploring the many splendours of Nitmiluk National Park can be done by helicopter, on cruise boats and canoes through the Katherine River waterways, or on foot escorted by Indigenous guides who seek out bush foods and ancient bush medicines. If required, team-building components can also be incorporated into the program.
Dining options include the Cicada Lodge Restaurant and there is scope for tailor-made off-site functions on the lawn areas overlooking the river or on the al fresco decks of the nearby Nitmiluk Visitor Centre Bistro. Breakfast and sunset dinner cruises can also be undertaken on the Katherine River, and exclusive cooking classes conducted by an Indigenous specialist chef can also be arranged.
Access is available by road from Darwin or for incentives seeking the ultimate experience, via the luxury Ghan train, which stops in Katherine twice weekly on its spectacular southbound and northbound transcontinental journeys.
Cicada Lodge joins the esteemed ranks of other NT lodges such as Longitude 131° at Uluru, Wildman Wilderness Lodge and Bamurru Plains near Kakadu National Park, Seven Spirit Bay Eco-Wilderness Resort and Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris in Arnhem Land and the iconic outback Bullo River Station in the top north-western corner of the NT.
NT aviation access for incentives on the up and up
For NT incentives which may include participation by Asian qualifiers, the addition of another direct full service international airline into Darwin has been very much welcomed. Since June, Philippine Airways commenced daily flights between Manila and Darwin.
With a comprehensive network into North Asia and the North America markets, the Philippine Airways flights offer business and economy classes for travel to and from the Philippines and beyond. Philippine Airways is the second full-service international airline flying into Darwin. It joins Singapore Airlines’ regional premium airline, SilkAir, which commenced a dual class Singapore-Darwin service early in 2012.
NT on the rails
For incentive trips of shorter duration but which still enable participants to see as much of the NT as possible, the world-famous Ghan railway provides a luxury 2979 kilometre transcontinental voyage across the full extent of the Northern Territory. One of the world’s great rail journeys, it travels from Adelaide in South Australia to Darwin at the Top End of the Territory via Alice Springs.
Operated by Great Southern Railway Limited, the train offers unique and opulent private carriages for incentive groups, which include The Prince of Wales Car that was originally built in 1919 for a visit by His Royal Highness Edward, Prince of Wales.
Premium Platinum service accommodation is available as well as a boardroom-style meeting venue in the Sir John Forrest Carriage, should a meeting component be included as part of the incentive program. The full journey is a three day/two night experience but can be extended by adding ‘Off Train Excursions’ which can last from a few hours up to a few days.