by Maya Dollarhide | March 07, 2018

Australia is home to exotic wildlife, iconic architecture in cosmopolitan cities, and awe-inspiring natural wonders. It is no surprise groups are looking here for their incentive outings. 

"Our innovative event delivery capabilities, friendly welcoming people, unique landscapes, exceptional food and wine, high-quality products and experiences deliver above expectations for incentive events," says Penny Lion, executive general manager of events for Tourism Australia. Visitors seem to agree. In 2016, the land down under welcomed over 8 million international visitors, and continues to host a bevy of business travelers despite the distance it takes to reach the continent. 

"For businesses wanting a truly inspirational event in 2018, Australia is packed with 'can't be bought' experiences," says Lion. "And Australia has never been easier to access, with more flight connections from the U.S. than ever before."

Cairns and Port Douglas

Visits to Cairns and Port Douglas provide a multitude of unique experiences like snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, trekking through Daintree Rainforest, and touring crocodile country with experienced animal handlers. Stay on Four Mile Beach at the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, which recently underwent an AUD-$40 million makeover. Water lovers can indulge in snorkeling expeditions on the reef via a private catamaran with Quicksilver Cruises, enjoy freshwater or saltwater pools at the 295-room hotel, or hit the famed Four Mile Beach itself with 12 guest-only entrance points. Take an exclusive, guided group tour at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures, an ecotourism experience on a 10-hectare World Heritage site. Explore more than 2,100 meters of boardwalks and pathways, cruise the waterways with experienced animal experts, and get up-close with crocodiles and other native species. For a special adventure, forgo the hotel for a luxury-style yurt, tent, or cabin. Glamping Hub can accommodate up to 50 people in a group, and the unique accommodations provide a wealth of outdoor experiences within striking distance of the Great Barrier Reef and wildlife habitats, all among the foothills of Australia's National Parks

Brisbane, the site of Dreamtime 2017, has invested heavily in its hotels, event sites, infrastructure, and visitor incentives. Stay at the W Brisbane along the city's riverfront. With 312 guest rooms and 32 suites, it can host events with up to 750 guests, and provides access to all Brisbane has to offer. Groups seeking a real "Aussie" experience should look no further than Lone Pines, the world's largest, and oldest, koala sanctuary. Home to the largest number of koalas in captivity, more than 130, as well as 150 kangaroos and wallabies, groups of six visitors at a time can hold a koala and hand feed kangaroos and wild lorikeets.

Outings in the Outback (Ayers Rock Resort)
Fly into Ayers Rock Airport from Sydney to experience Australia's desert region. Stay at the five-star Sails in the Desert Hotel at Ayers Rock Resort. Here you can travel by camel along dunes in the desert, and visit aboriginal art and cultural centers situated in the area. Take a helicopter tour with your group over Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park at Ayers Rock and enjoy more than 327,000 acres of parkland, including the world-famous sandstone monolith, Uluru Mountain. Visitors planning a visit should book a private tour of the Field of Light exhibit, a light installation set up at the base of Uluru. Running until December 2020, this acclaimed installation by international artist Bruce Munro, named Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku or 'looking at lots of beautiful lights' in local Pitjantjatjara is Munro's largest work to date. Breathtaking and illuminating, the installation spans more than seven football fields, containing 50,000 spindles of light in desert colors. The Ayers Rock Resort boasts five hotels and a campground offering group packages with more than 65 tours in the area. Book an authentic "Aussie" barbeque under the stars at the Sounds of Silence buffet, and post-dinner, enjoy a guided tour of the sky with a star talker. 

Admire the iconic architecture of Australia's capital city from a bird's eye view. Take in the Sydney Opera House during a twilight helicopter tour, enjoy Bondi Beach views from a private seaplane, or for an exhilarating team-building experience, scale the Harbour Bridge with BridgeClimb. Book a 90-minute or 3.5-hour climbing tour, then head back to the newly opened, 590-room Sydney Darling Harbour Hotel. Treat yourself to a drink at the fashionable Zephyr Bar in the Hyatt Regency, with skyline views and room for 200 visitors. 

Swim with the sharks and stingrays at Shark Dive Xtreme at the Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium. This daring opportunity allows four divers at a time for a 90-minute shark dive experience. Sea Life offers function spaces to cater from 20 to 2,000 guests and provides personalized group tours; see penguins, tropical fish, Australia's massive saltwater crocodiles, and sharks and stingrays. Ranked the number one sustainable city in the Asia-Pacific region by the Global Destination Sustainability Index, this eco-friendly city is undergoing fast-paced growth. In 2022, the Shangri-La Hotel opens its doors with 500 guest rooms, and 2020 will bring a 235-room Le Méridien to the roster of luxury accommodations. Groups considering Melbourne this year can book rooms in the recently opened Four Points by Sheraton situated in Melbourne's Dockland neighborhood.  Venture southeast of Melbourne and enjoy Mornington Peninsula's Enchanted Adventure Garden. Thrill-seekers can try tree-top zip-lining over 550 feet high in the air, and then come down to enjoy over 22 acres of parkland with tube slides, mazes, canopy walks, and wildlife. Soothe weary muscles at the Peninsula's Hot Springs with eco-friendly spa treatments. Groups of up to 30 people can book the Peninsula Hot Springs' Royal Moroccan Tent and enjoy breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea in a secluded setting.