Eight ways to make your next Australian business event more sustainable
From the tropical north to the temperate south, Australia’s diverse landscape provides a spectacular backdrop for business events. Plenty of stays and experiences are finding ways to ensure their offering contributes to sustaining Australia’s natural beauty and preserving the world’s oldest culture. Here are eight ways you can increase the sustainability of your next business event in Australia.
Right in the heart of Melbourne’s city centre at Federation Square is one very ambitious science experiment. Eco trailblazer Joost Bakker is behind the project, which stems from more than 25 years of research and five years of planning. The result is a completely self-sustaining two-bedroom home that spans three storeys and houses two live-in chefs who cook from what they produce on-site, all while holding their regular full-time jobs. There’s a rooftop vegetable garden, an aquaponic system cultivating mussels, yabbies and barramundi, and mushroom walls. Bakker’s goal is to show the world the potential of urban farms and he shares this knowledge by hosting unique VIP dining events, workshops and house tours. Take a virtual tour of the house to get some ideas for your next event from this inspiring pop-up.
Host a long lunch or dinner under the trees or in a colourful wisteria arbour in the Adelaide Botanic Garden. Events in the Garden are catered by hospitality and events specialists Blanco Horner, who are also behind the award-winning Botanic Gardens Restaurant. Championing a sustainable approach, dishes on your bespoke menu will contain native Australian plants and worldwide ingredients grown and foraged directly from the Garden. Alongside creating a seven-course degustation experiences, the chefs delight in walking groups through their food philosophy. The team can also create other kinds of open-air events with the Garden having played host to concerts and awards galas and even opera performances for up to 500 guests.
Venerated family winemakers De Bortoli have launched a new range of sustainably produced wines — including a Shiraz, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay — called 17 TREES. It is part of an ongoing commitment from the company to improve its sustainability practices right through from cultivation to production, carbon emissions and transportation. With the help of not-for-profit Trillion Trees, De Bortoli also plants one tree for every six 17 TREES bottles sold to help rebuild the native Australian bush. To hear more about De Bortoli’s eco commitments, book a private site tour that showcases the sustainability initiatives at their founding vineyard in the Riverina region of New South Wales, followed by Emeri’s Garden Tour around the 14 acres of native bushland, including a billabong. Then finish off your visit with an exclusive wine tasting led by one of De Bortoli’s knowledgeable winemakers.
When Janine Duffy and Roger Smith set up Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours back in 1993, they wanted to go above and beyond tourism to deliver meaningful conservation initiatives. Over the years the duo founded the Koala Clancy Foundation, removed over one million weeds from the local koala habitat, planted more than 16,500 koala food trees, and collected bountiful scientific data. Since the 2019-2020 bushfires, the team has updated their Behind the Scenes with Researchers: Koalas Tour to include tree planting (in the right season) and seed sowing, allowing visitors to take an active role in the conservation of these threatened marsupials. It’s just a 45-minute drive from Melbourne to You Yangs Regional Park where groups GPS locate, photograph and document each koala and hear their backstory from the passionate guide.
Take a journey to Australia’s ancient roots with a Ngadiku Dreamtime Walk through Mossman Gorge in the Daintree Rainforest, 20 minutes’ drive from Port Douglas in Tropical North Queensland. After a traditional Welcome to Country and a Smoking Ceremony, which protect visitors during their trip, the walk is led by an Indigenous guide who delves into the deep spiritual and cultural connection the local Kuku Yalanji people have to the land. Walks end with bush tea and damper (Australian bread usually cooked in the coals of a campfire or in a bush oven) or a two-course lunch incorporating local ingredients can be catered onsite. The organisation behind this experience, Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia, is committed to giving back to Indigenous communities through training, employment, business, and sharing of their cultures. Voyages also operates the sprawling Ayers Rock Resort at Uluru, helping to sustain the world’s oldest culture in Australia’s spiritual heart.
It’s no secret Taronga Zoo has one of the best views in Sydney and so too does its newest venue, the Gili Rooftop. With views back onto Sydney Harbour and its world-famous bridge, the space can host up to 150 guests for a cocktail function. The venue is catered by Epicure, whose menus are inspired by sustainable and locally produced seasonal ingredients. This growing stable of world-class venues and the sustainably built 62-room Wildlife Retreat at Taronga is a way for the century-old not-for-profit organisation to fund its research and wildlife conservation.
Located a 45-minute helicopter flight from Sydney – with breathtaking views of the city and the Blue Mountains along the way – Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley sits on Australia’s Great Dividing Range, nestled between two national parks in the World Heritage-listed Greater Blue Mountains. With the resort taking up only one percent of its nearly 7,000 acre property, the Australian landscape and its conservation are central to the guest experience at this luxury lodge. Groups can take part in 4WD wildlife safaris, horse riding trails or intertwine themselves with Wolgan’s story by undertaking conservation activities such as tree planting, wombat surveys and habitat assessments. The resort mixes luxury with an authentic experience of Australian nature, with private dinners against spectacular backdrops, campfires, stargazing under skies untouched by city lights and a spa which indulges in natural Australian products with incredible views to match.
For small groups looking for an incredible sustainable stay in remote beauty along Western Australia’s World Heritage-listed coastline, Sal Salis is the answer. Nestled amongst the sand dunes in Cape Range National Park near Exmouth, this luxurious beach safari camp offers a glamping experience like no other. Nearly 100 percent of power for Sal Salis is solar generated and the whole camp is constructed to have minimal impact on its natural setting. Throw in organic chemical-free sheets in each of the 15 tents on site and it’s quite literally an experience to feel good about.