TTGassociations Publications January 2019 - Page 24

at NCCC will include participation from many of Australia’s national institutions, thus drawing national and international attendees from the museum and gallery communities. “This is a perfect example of a content- rich event which appeals to both domestic and international delegates,” said Stephen Wood, NCCC general manager. NCCC’s two levels of event spaces, comprising the Royal Theatre, four the- atrettes, ballroom, 15 meeting rooms and exhibition hall, cater to meetings of 30 to 2,500 delegates. Some small conferences may prefer ho- tels and universities instead. Hyatt’s two ballrooms take 350 to 600 guests for cock- tails, while Crowne Plaza has capacity for 150 guests. The largest hotel ballroom, in QT Canberra, seats 1,000 people theatre- style or 400 in classroom layout. Also popular are the Australian Na- tional University and UNSW Canberra. Non-profit research organisation Honeynet Project chose the latter for its annual con- ference in November 2017 that drew more than 70 volunteers from 20 countries, besides Australia. “Canberra was an ideal destination. We have a strong cyber security and IT sector here, and the vibrant start-up culture in Canberra, supported by the ACT Govern- ment, is really developing the high-skill jobs of the future,” said Ben Whitham, Australian lead for the Honeynet Project and cyber security entrepreneur. One of Canberra’s advantages – for meeting planners – is its compactness; airport, accommodation, venues and attractions are within easy reach. F&B options abound, with many after-hours hospitality possibilities in New Acton, Braddon and Kingston Foreshore. Museums, galleries and gardens also double up as event venues. CCB’s Dissanayake cited 12 that host events and gala dinners, some with capacities ranging from 400 people for banquets to 600-1,000 people for cocktail receptions. “These unique venues pro- vide insightful glimpses of what it means to be Australian and of our place in the world,” he added. Imagine dining beside a WWII Lancas- ter Bomber at the Australian War Memo- rial, one of Australia’s top attractions, or a gala event in the Great Hall at Parlia- ment House, one of few such buildings in the world available for private events. For jaded conference planners, Can- berra may not be on the back-burner much longer. { Need to know } 1 Avoid peak season The annual, month-long Floriade is prob- ably Canberra’s top tourism event. But air travel and accommodation prices are high then. Holding the conference between June 1 and September 1 allows attendees to en- joy the Truffle Festival. Hunt for fresh, black winter truffles with truffle dogs, or savour special menus with wine pairings. 2 Talk to the airlines Negotiate partnership agreements for bigger conferences: Qantas with Jetstar, and Singapore Airlines-SilkAir. SIA’s com- mercial considerations include alignment with brand objectives, and if the partner- ship helps to develop tourism and expand its network presence. Depending on ticket T&C, attendees may be able to stopover in Sydney on the Singapore-Canberra routing. 3 Hotel accommodation Choices range from five-star to budget, global brands to Australian chains and in- dependent hotels, and luxurious to quirky. New hotels and serviced apartments have opened in the past three years in the city and precincts. But individual hotel room inventories are fairly small, often between 100 and 200-plus rooms. { Pre/Post } Get back to nature Just 10 minutes’ drive from the CBD, Australia’s only combined zoo and aquarium – National Zoo & Aquarium – also offers all-inclusive luxury accommodation with animal encounters at the Jamala Wildlife Lodge. Choose from six Giraffe Treehouses, five Jungle Bungalows or seven rooms in the Shaka Lodge. Feed a giraffe from the verandah or watch sharks swim past at dinner. Further natural encounters can be found at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, located 40 minutes from the CBD. Drive through, bike or walk the trails at Tidbinbilla to see koalas, kangaroos, platypus and wombats in their natural setting. Explore the weekend markets Mountains and beaches – in two hours The Snowy Mountains provide year- around activities like sightseeing, walking, hiking, mountain biking and skiing. Thredbo is a pretty alpine village in Kosciuszko National Park, where Australia’s highest mountain stands. Alternatively, head to New South Wales’ South Coast to sunbathe, swim, surf or do some kayaking or dolphin and whale watching. Shoalhaven is the shortest drive, the reward being white- sand beaches and seafood, or bush- walking and rock climbing. While the long-running Old Bus Depot Mar- kets in Kingston draw locals and visitors alike every Sunday, Capital Region Farmers Market is a social enterprise at Exhibition Park on Saturday mornings. Besides fresh produce, stock up on seafood, meats, cheese and pas- tries. Go early – 07.30 for the best choice – or just before closing time at noon for bargains. Do bring your own bags. Do more than appreciate wine in the Canberra Wine Region Some 140 vineyards and 33 wineries are within 35 minutes’ drive from Canberra. Pialligo Estate is a working farm built on a quality, paddock-to-plate philosophy. The estate includes an orchard, vineyard, olive grove, smokehouse, market and herb gardens and function facilities in the Glasshouse and four Garden Pavilions. Academy classes teach participants to bake, cook, mix whiskies and make handicraft. Advance booking required.