| Event:||BMW China Destination X|| Delegates:||32 delegates from China
|| Destination:||Multi-destination itinerary covering South Australia and the Northern Territory
|| Duration:||October 2012
When BMW China decided to take its popular off-road adventure to another country the motoring company chose Australia’s contrasting and most beautiful landscapes.
Think of one country that can be both harsh and arid and lush and tropical and you would find it hard to imagine anywhere other than Australia. And so, when BMW China chose to take its seventh Destination X drive experience offshore for the first time, it found that Australia’s contrasting landscapes fit the bill perfectly.
BMW China Destination X is an annual competition in which 32 China-based BMW enthusiasts get to drive the latest BMW X Series over a 10-day period. Accompanied by BMW staff, support crew and media, competition winners were split into two teams to drive the length of Australia in early October 2012.
The first team drove north from Adelaide in South Australia and the second drove south from Darwin in the Northern Territory, reunited at the iconic wonder of Uluru in the heart of Australia for a unique gala dinner event.
Both teams followed the highway that was named after Australian explorer John McDouall Stuart who first travelled the 2,834 kilometre (1,761 mile) distance from the south to the north of Australia in 1862.
Responsible for bringing the group to the Australian outback was New Asia Pacific Travel’s managing director, Steven Wang, who describes Destination X as “a journey, an adventure, and an overall experience for driving the BMW X Series in a destination which is and should be full of discoveries, explorations and of course enjoyment”.
Following two site inspections of the intended route by BMW China senior management, the full group arrived on October 6, setting out from Adelaide and Darwin.
Adelaide to Uluru
A night at the five-star Hilton Adelaide Hotel for the southern BMW group was followed by a driver training program at the Adelaide International Raceway before the team headed to the foothills on the eastern outskirts of the city and the historic Penfolds Magill Estate – the original home of Penfolds Wines and Australia’s most prized wine, the Grange.
A fun encounter with kangaroos and koalas at Cleveland Wildlife Park preceded a visit and stay underground at Coober Pedy, the largest opal mining town in the world.
Crossing the border into the Northern Territory, the group had its first true taste of Australia’s natural beauty with a tour of stunning Kings Canyon in the Watarrka National Park.
Darwin to Uluru
After a good night’s sleep in the Crowne Plaza Darwin (now Hilton Darwin), the northern team hit the Hidden Valley Raceway for some pre-trip driver training before heading to the world-renowned UNESCO World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park. During their Kakadu visit the BMW X group enjoyed an aboriginal painting and basket weaving workshop and a tailor-made river experience with Yellow Waters Cruises, staying the night at the Gagudju Crocodile Holiday Inn.
Back in their vehicles the next day they journeyed deeper into the outback, enjoying a refreshing canoe paddle tour of the stunning Katherine Gorge, located in the Nitmiluk National Park, followed by a Nabilil Dreaming Sunset Cultural Cruise in the Nitmiluk Gorge.
After a photo opportunity at the Devils Marbles, magnificent with carefully balanced rounded granite boulders, the group travelled on down the Stuart Highway to the Northern Territory’s third largest city Alice Springs, bordered by the majestic MacDonnell Ranges.
Well watered and fed at Lasseters Hotel Casino, which sits adjacent to the purpose-built Alice Springs Convention Centre, the group then headed to Uluru to meet up with their southern counterparts for the grand finale.
The finishing line
Basing themselves at Voyages Ayers Rock Resort, the now joined BMW Destination X team enjoyed tours of Uluru and Kata Tjuta on foot and by helicopter, and experienced the local indigenous culture with dot painting classes and a workshop on aboriginal dancing.
The culmination of such an incredible journey was the Sounds of Silence gala dinner with guests enjoying cocktails and watching the sun set over Uluru before sitting down to a sumptuous dinner under a stunning night sky full of stars.
“The vice president of BMW China said Uluru was the highlight of the entire trip, and Voyages Ayers Rock Resort did such a wonderful and professional job,” said New Asia Pacific Travel’s managing director, Steven Wang.