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WHERE PEOPLE AND IDEAS MEET... naturally
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“We wanted to turn that around and find a
way that we could get these conferences to
Queenscliff,” Ms Strethen said.
“We thought why can’t delegates stay with
the accommodation providers throughout
Queenscliff, use conference spaces around
the town, and utilise Queenscliff for their
destination experience? People come to
Queenscliff for a reason - the coast, the
charm - so why not conference in
Queenscliff, instead of just conferencing at
the Vue Grand.”
The mindset change has been successful
with Vue Grand and Queenscliff winning
several larger conferences, including one
group returning annually. Other groups
extended their stay to ride the legendary
Blues Train, swim with the dolphins, or simply
explore more of the historic maritime location
at the gateway to Port Phillip.
At Wallington on the Bellarine Peninsula,
successful venues Leura Park Estate and
Jack Rabbit Vineyard have spawned another
event destination with the opening of Flying
Brick Cider Co. It is a working cider producer
as well as a large, casual venue with
provedore, bar and kitchen. The quirky brand
name came from the Yellow Tailed Black
Cockatoo whose local nickname is ‘Flying
Brick’. Legend has it that if a flock of black
cockatoos flies overhead, you are blessed
with good luck.
At the gateway to the Great Ocean Road,
Cumberland Lorne Conference Centre
recently hosted 165 delegates from 17 countries for the GeoHab 2014 International
Conference, hosted by Deakin University and Geoscience Australia.
Conference co-convener Daniel Ierodiaconou of Deakin University said: “When we first looked at
the location for this conference we wanted a destination that could accommodate our conference
requirements well, at the same time being close to some of the key natural attractions that will be
visited as part of our final day field trip.”
They took in locations from Lorne to the Twelve Apostles, but a highlight was a visit to the
Cape Otway Lighthouse which hosted the group for an Aussie BBQ.
“We had a great knowledge share moment with the lighthouse keeper taking a keen interest
in our underwater mapping which was taken right by the lighthouse... a key landmark feature
along the coast for our work. He was given a copy of the seafloor maps that can now be
displayed at the centre.”
Bearing the iconic address, 1 Great Ocean Road is RACV’s RACV Torquay Resort, opened in
June 2013 and in its first full year of operation celebrated a number of successes, says
conference & events sales manager, Sally Hunt.
Given its proximity to some of Australia’s best known surf beaches, it is no surprise the
resort’s 10 flexible conference and meeting spaces are named in celebration of surf. The Level 2
function space includes a ballroom with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the golf course and
ocean. It can accommodate 340 (theatre) or can be configured into two function spaces.
Citing Victoria as a key growth area, chief operating officer, Accor Pacific, Simon McGrath,
announced in December that the 109-room waterfront hotel - formerly Four Points by Sheraton
Geelong - had been rebranded Novotel Geelong. With five meeting spaces for 230 (theatre),
200 (banquet), it is well positioned beside Eastern Beach, an area identified by the city as the
potential site of a 1000 delegate convention and exhibition centre.
This month the 71-room Ballarat Lodge changed ownership, moving into local hands after
the freehold 3.18 hectare property which has a hotel, conference centre, restaurant and bar,
pool and day spa facilities was sold to Bentley Property Group. Owner Justin Bentley and
Ballarat hotel operator, Iain Gunn, say there are plans to further develop the property. Mr Gunn
runs four-star hotels in Mildura, Horsham and Sale.
In central Victoria, Bendigo’s newest venue, Ulumbarra Theatre, built into the 1860 former
Bendigo Gaol, is scheduled to open in April. It offers a 1000-seat theatre with fly tower, drama
studios and learning spaces.
Altura GM Jodi Brown.
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