A funny thing happened in Manly recently. The Sydney northern beaches destination got its act together and is now collaboratively marketing itself to the meetings sector.
Led by Synergy Events and some local venue operators, the website www.destinationmanly.com.au has been launched which is tailor-made to inform and hopefully inspire meeting and event planners on what is available in Manly for the groups market. And, it certainly has plenty to offer.
Those who rarely leave the Sydney CBD for their meetings and event programs may not know that there is a considerable amount of accommodation and meetings space in Manly, all just a hop, skip or ferry ride away. These include the Novotel Sydney Manly Pacific, the Sebel Manly Beach, and Q Station.
Located directly opposite Manly Beach and only 18 minutes from Sydney’s CBD by the Manly Fast Ferry, the Novotel Sydney Manly Pacific offers 213 guest rooms, including 72 refurbished ocean view rooms and suites.
Overlooking the beach its all day dining Zali’s Restaurant has an innovative menu and healthy choice meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
It has three bars and extensively refurbished meetings facilities on a dedicated floor, the largest of which can accommodate up to 550 delegates.
The nearby Sebel Manly Beach offers a wide selection of accommodation options set across two separate towers. It also has a choice of six flexible meeting rooms, the largest of which can cater for up to 180 delegates. Beachside rooms have spectacular views of Manly Beach.
Q Station is located on 36 hectares of Sydney Harbour National Park at North Head, just a short stroll to Manly proper. The property has 21 heritage rooms, 53 deluxe rooms, and six threebedroom cottages.
In terms of meetings facilities it offers 17 historic spaces in a variety of configurations, with the largest being the Governor Bourke Ballroom which can seat up to 200 for banquets.
Manly is also home to the International College of Management, Sydney, which is also available to be hired for meetings and events. Scenes for Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby were filmed here.
Apart from the three main hotels and the college there are many event spaces available to corporate groups. These include three surf clubs located along the Manly beachfront, and which are reportedly great for authentic beach parties.
There are also several pubs with private function areas including The Steyne Hotel, The New Brighton Hotel and The Ivanhoe. Destination Manly director Cheryl Pearson says in the past they have run pub sports nights where guests play games such as air hockey, foosball soccer, pass the footy, snooker and table tennis to win points and prizes.
A whole array of local restaurants are also available in Manly offering exclusive use and different themes. Most are within easy walking distance of the Novotel and Sebel. Some offer cooking classes including the college.
“We can produce a Night In Neptune’s Garden in the Manly Sea Life Sanctuary, and the Manly Art Gallery (next door) has several event spaces,” Ms Pearson says.
“Dressing of these spaces varies depending on the exhibition at the time.
“North Forte is an open space on North Head where we can construct a marquee for events. The views back toward the city are spectacular and the guests can enjoy an authentic Aussie Bush BBQ only a few minutes from downtown Manly.
“Manly Lagoon is a short walk away from the town centre, and with the stream running through it, is a beautiful spot for picnics and a mini Olympic Games for our corporate guests.
“Our sporting precinct includes Manly Oval which is great for football and cricket, the bowling club for a game of barefoot Rock N Bowls, and the tennis centre. The sporting events continue at Manly Cove with kayaking, parasailing, deep sea fishing and scuba diving.”
Conferencing in Manly presents a range of opportunities for team activities. There’s no need to transport your group to most of the activities as they are literally on your hotel’s door step.
- Manly Beach Safari – a fun, interactive event in which everyone can participate regardless of fitness level. It encourages people to communicate, manage their resources, develop leadership skills and generally work together to build relationships while enjoying Manly.
- Raft Race – Teams must first compete in order to earn the components with which to build their raft. This build up phase of the day is designed to involve activities which have been chosen to focus on specific objectives. The finale is the actual race to see whose raft will hold up to the challenge.
- Beach Yoga – This is a great way to begin a conference day, get everyone out on the beach (sunrise start optional) for breathing, stretching and experiencing the calm of the morning directly in front of the Sebel and the Novotel.
- Amazing Race
- Sand Sculpting
- Beach Volleyball – a team version of the Olympic spectacle takes place right outside the Novotel Manly Pacific.
“We feel that Manly offers a very viable alternative for meeting and event business while Sydney’s convention centre is being renovated,” Ms Pearson says.
“We are only 18 minutes by fast ferry from the CBD and offer a range of newly refurbished hotels and event spaces with extensive infrastructure to support meetings both small and large.
“Destination Manly is a full service destination management company with excellent local knowledge, great buying power and a wide range of professional suppliers on standby to service the corporate market, so now is the time to look at Manly as your next
meetings and event destination.”