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6 Australian islands for an incentive program
From tropical hideaways on the Great Barrier Reef to the rugged wilderness of Kangaroo Island, these six Australian islands tick a lot of boxes for an incentive program.
Just a short transfer from Perth/Boorloo by charter vessel or seaplane, Rottnest Island is an accessible island paradise with plenty to offer for an incentive program. The breezy 80-room Samphire Rottnest is a luxurious base for business events groups, offering high-end beachfront accommodation with a range of onsite dining options. Groups can explore Rottnest on a guided e-bike tour where they’ll no doubt encounter quokkas - the island’s famous furry residents. Water-based experiences include kayaking adventures and whale watching in the cooler months; or enjoy a true taste of Rottnest onboard a luxury seafood cruise with Rottnest Cruises. Guests can try their hand at hauling in a cray pot of lobster, before indulging in a seven-course menu starring freshly caught Western rock lobster and seafood delicacies from around Western Australia.
Groups visiting Queensland’s Whitsundays are in for a treat when staying at InterContinental Hayman Island. This 5-star resort is available for exclusive use and boasts 168 deluxe guest rooms, suites and villas, including 12 stunning new private beachfront pavilions. Activities range from guided snorkelling and hiking tours to sailing, paddleboarding, fishing and exclusive escapades to nearby islands. Hayman Island also happens to be the closest of the resort islands to both the outer Great Barrier Reef and the famous Whitehaven Beach. Groups will be spoiled for culinary choice with the resort’s five restaurants and bars, along with bespoke destination-inspired private dining experiences like dinner under the stars on the beach, poolside cabana lunches and hands-on chef’s table events.
A short commercial or charter flight from the city of Adelaide/Tarntanya, South Australia’s Kangaroo Island is an ideal incentive destination for groups seeking nature-based experiences. In 2023 Southern Ocean Lodge - one of the Luxury Lodges of Australia - will reopen, offering a luxurious base for incentive groups. With 25 architecturally designed guest suites boasting panoramic views of the Southern Ocean, this spectacular clifftop retreat is a destination in itself. Iconic attractions nearby include the Seal Bay Conservation Park where groups can walk along the beach with wild sea lions, and the Flinders Chase National Park, which is home to the landmark geological formations Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch. For a unique dining experience, don’t miss The Enchanted Fig Tree by Gastronomo Dining. Cocooned by the branches of an ancient fig tree, up to 45 guests will enjoy a progressive menu inspired by the sea, land and earth.
Accessible by direct commercial flight from Sydney/Warrane, Melbourne/Narrm or Brisbane/Meeanjin, Hamilton Island ticks an extraordinary number of boxes for an incentive program. Home to one of the most celebrated Luxury Lodges of Australia – qualia – this island in The Whitsundays offers luxury accommodation, a dedicated business events team, a fleet of charter vessels, seaplanes, golf buggies and an impressive array of activities for groups. The island also boasts the largest events facilities in the region, with the ability to cater for up to 700 guests for signature dinners, cocktail parties and team building activities. Large groups can snorkel and dive the Great Barrier Reef from Reefworld by Cruise Whitsundays, an offshore pontoon which is easily accessible by charter vessel from Hamilton Island. For smaller groups, be sure to incorporate ‘The Journey to the Heart’, whereby groups of up to six guests at a time will have exclusive access to the world-famous Heart Reef.
The northernmost island resort on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, Lizard Island, is a luxurious escape for small to medium-sized incentive groups. A 60-minute scenic air transfer from Cairns, this Luxury Lodge of Australia offers 40 stylishly appointed guest rooms plus a new private residence, with the whole island available for exclusive use. Situated within a national park with diverse native wildlife and marine life, guests can immerse themselves in nature and adventure, or simply relax and enjoy the island’s outstanding personalised hospitality. Those with a keen interest in the Great Barrier Reef can take a private tour of the Lizard Island Research Station run by the Australian Museum, which is positioned on the island due to its proximity to a diverse range of coral reef types. The experience allows guests to give back to the island by providing them with insight into current conservation and research projects and facilitating a deeper appreciation of the reef and marine life that surrounds Lizard Island.
Best known for its surf beaches, Queensland’s Sunshine Coast boasts a hidden island gem that’s only a short boat transfer from Noosa. Situated on the Noosa River, Makepeace Island is an exclusive-use island that was originally developed as a private retreat for family and friends of the owners, Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Australia co-founder Brett Godfrey. In 2011 its doors were opened for exclusive use for private groups of up to 22 guests. The island offers a blank slate for an incentive program; groups can do as much or a little as they desire. The island’s team can collaborate with local suppliers and partners to curate a bespoke program of activities incorporating cooking classes, river fishing, sunset cruises and island nature walks. Alternatively, groups can explore further afield with day trips to the Noosa Everglades, K’gari (Fraser Island), the Great Beach Drive or the Eumundi Markets.
Published: 19 January 2023