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With critically acclaimed restaurants, festivals and international sporting events, Melbourne promises a cultural experience that’s second to none. Surrounding the city are premium wine regions, dramatic coastlines and unique activities. Consistently ranked in the top 10 of the world’s most liveable city list, discover what Melbourne can offer incentive groups with this three-day itinerary.
Charter a helicopter through Microflite for an aerial tour of the Twelve Apostles, which stand in the ocean just off the Great Ocean Road. It's just a 25-minute flight from the Melbourne City Heliport on the Yarra River at Batman Park, to the dramatic coastline. You’ll touch down at the Twelve Apostles Visitor Centre for a stroll to the viewing platform, then continue by road to Loch Ard Gorge, where you can dip your toes into the Southern Ocean. Depending on the season, you’ll be treated to a picnic lunch on the beach or a seafood feast in Port Campbell. This six-hour round trip is ideal for small groups – each helicopter can hold between two and five people, and multiple aircraft can be arranged for groups of up to 20.
Back in Melbourne, explore the city’s famed café culture with a Hidden Secrets walking tour, and meet some of the locals who have a passion for coffee. After you’ve refuelled with an espresso and pastries in an iconic laneway café, create a fragrant reminder of your time in Melbourne with a bespoke perfume-making workshop at The Powder Room. This unique team-building activity can also take place in a location of your choice.
For dinner, deepen your experience of the hidden gems tucked away in Melbourne’s laneways. To savour the city's bar culture, enjoy a whisky and cheese masterclass or a five-course cocktail degustation at Eau-De-Vie. Hidden down Malthouse Lane, this 1920s-style speak-easy can cater for groups of up to 40 people in the private Whisky Room, or up to 150 with exclusive hire of the whole venue.
After breakfast at your hotel, it’s time to visit the Yarra Valley wine region, an hour’s drive northeast of the city. Begin your day with a grape-stomping and wine-blending session at Rochford Wines in Coldstream, or hop on a Segway to explore the 20 hectares (49 acres) of vineyards and gardens. Next, head to nearby Oakridge, where you can enjoy a farm-to-table lunch in the restaurant, or in one of two private dining rooms, each with space for 50 people. Over lunch, winemaker David Bicknell will share his award-winning wines and reveal the secrets to pairing food and wine.
Return to Melbourne by car or helicopter transfer for an afternoon of shopping. In the Melbourne city centre, browse avant-garde boutiques in Little Collins Street or high-end labels at the top end of Collins Street. Shop for discounted clothing and shoes at DFO South Wharf near the waterfront Docklands precinct. Or head to Gertrude Street in Fitzroy to find unique styles. A five-minute drive north of the city, this artistic strip is lined with galleries, music shops, homewares stores and vintage fashion emporiums.
Drive 15 minutes south to the bayside suburb of St Kilda for sunset drinks followed dinner at Captain Baxter. Begin with cocktails on the beachfront deck, before sitting down to a banquet of modern Australian flavours matched with Australian wines. The dining room can host up to 65 people, or you can book the entire venue, which can cater for 100 people for a seated event or 350 for a cocktail function. Overlooking Port Phillip Bay, the sunset in the west will give a golden glow across the water and the night kicks in.
Wake up early for a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the only city that allows flights. Float over the city at dawn taking in views of Melbourne’s bays, beaches, city and suburbs. Once you’ve touched down, take a Hunt & Gather Food Tour of the Queen Victoria Market, meeting the bakers, cheesemakers and artisan producers who call make this historic market home. During the two-hour tour, you’ll be treated to samples of chocolate, cheese, meat and seafood from the stallholders, finishing with a freshly made coffee. Private tours are available for groups of 10 or more.
Melbourne is famous for its iconic street-art scene. For an insider’s guide to the best murals and urban galleries, you can arrange a tour for up to 80 people with Melbourne Street Tours. A local street artist will guide you to hidden laneways and arcades throughout the city, pointing out different styles and signatures along the way. You’ll finish up at The Blender Studios in Docklands, where you can take a street-art workshop, using spray cans and stencils to create your own design on canvas or a t-shirt.
Complete your Melbourne experience with a gala dinner at the National Gallery of Victoria. Begin with drinks and a guided tour of the exhibitions before sitting down for a meal in the Great Hall. Home to the world’s largest stained-glass ceiling, the Great Hall has capacity for 750 people for a banquet function or up to 1,400 for a cocktail function. For a smaller group, book the Garden Restaurant overlooking the sculptures of the Grollo Equiset Garden, which has room for 176 people seated.