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Mice Net : February 2009
regional nsw get outta town O story By Brad Foster North, south, east and west, conferencing in regional New south Wales will bring out your best. kay, so there’s not much to the east of Sydney except the Pacific Ocean, but in every other direction you can literally stumble over a superb meetings venue or three that will leave your delegates renewed and refreshed. Such is the proximity of many of regional New South Wales’ most popular getaways that choosing where you want to go is often the hardest choice. To the west of Sydney is the stunning Blue Mountains, already home to some great meetings facilities and accommodation, and later this year what will surely be one of Australia’s most stylish venues - Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa (further details following). Those who can’t wait until September 2009 when this resort opens should check out the York Fairmont Resort. Easy on the eye, and a little softer on the bank balance this property is certainly well worth a look. To the northwest, just an hour out of Sydney, is the Hawkesbury region that lays claim to great facilities like the Sebel Resort & Spa Hawkesbury Valley, The Retreat at Wisemans, and plenty of historic landmarks, pubs, and great golf courses (Riverside Oaks is one of NSW’s best). Further north, again about an hour from Sydney is the New South Wales Central Coast which also offers an abundance of high-quality venues for meetings of all shapes and sizes. The Crowne Plaza Terrigal is one of the busiest meetings properties in Australia thanks to its great location and quality facilities. Still further, one-and-a-half to two hours away from the Sydney CBD, is the vibrant and cosmopolitan city of Newcastle which has some excellent meetings venues, wonderfully different event venues, and certainly plenty to see and do “beyond the boardroom”. To the west is the famed Hunter Valley, home to wineries, spas, resorts and some of the most beautiful scenery you can expect to see anywhere in the world. The Hunter Valley, with its great range of things to see and do remains one of regional New South Wales’ most popular weekend escapes and destinations for mid-week meetings. Venues like The Sebel Kirkton Park and Cypress Lakes are keeping up their part of the bargain by continuing to provide high-quality experiences for guests. Here too golf enthusiasts are spoilt for choice, with one of the best offerings the stunning 18-hole Greg Norman-designed The Vintage. Further north is the Shoal Bay region, while still further is the coastal town of Port Macquarie and the Coffs Coast, with Coffs Harbour at its heart. And for those who want to settle a little south of the Gold Coast there is Byron Bay and the highly successful Byron at Byron Resort, and Peppers Salt Resort & Spa at Kingscliff. South of Sydney, Wollongong has moved ahead in leaps and bounds, and now offers some great accommodation and meetings options (see pages 132-134 in this edition for further details). ABOVE: The Three Sisters, Blue Mountains. Image supplied by BE Sydney. mice.net 125