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Mice Net : February 2009
regional victoria LEFT: Novotel Forest Resort Creswick offers beautiful surroundings for delegates to relax. BELOW: Grange Bellizona offers executive accommodation. invigorating jets followed by soft pak flotation beds. All are obviously designed to drive home the corporate message at day’s end. One hundred years ago Bellinzona was the place to meet and be seen in this mining and mineral water town. It has been destroyed twice by fire then rebuilt. At its peak in the 1920s it housed 100, but now as Grange Bellinzona it features 43 ensuite guest rooms, and six two-bedroom spa cottages for executive accommodation or PCO secretariat rooms. With five separate conference rooms, the largest holding 180 delegates, Grange Group – they operate five conference properties within a 90 minute circumference of Melbourne – offers in-house team- building expertise and has the Australian licence for Teamscapes - intellectually challenging exercises to promote teamwork and problem solving. Grange Bellinzona includes conferencing equipment, free wireless internet and private, secure break-out rooms. Renowned for its award-winning (two chef’s hats) restaurant, Lake House has established a purpose-built conference facility. It has three rooms for small groups of 20-50, opening up into one large room for 168 (theatre) 250 (cocktail) or 150 (banquet). Set on six acres beside Lake Daylesford it has 33 accommodation rooms and suites and also operates Salus Day Spa, popular with both delegates and partners. Resort meetings Victoria’s biggest visitor growth last year came from China, up 17.6 per cent. The state has had a long tradition of welcoming visitors and immigrants from China, particularly during the gold rush of the 1850s when towns like Creswick, reputedly home to one of the richest alluvial gold fields in the world, had a population of 30,000, reportedly almost 10 per cent of them were Chinese. Now Creswick is enjoying a resurgence as home to Victoria’s Best New Tourism Resort for 2008 – Novotel Forest Resort Creswick. 154 mice.net And the government is hoping it can again lure Chinese visitors to this western gateway to spa country with its four-and-a-half-star eco- friendly environment. With 144 accommodation rooms, it sits on 150 acres of bushland surrounded by a Robert Allenby designed 18 hole championship golf course, restaurant, lobby bar, conference facilities for 1000, boutique day spa and recreational facilities…just 80 minutes from Melbourne, 10 minutes from Ballarat and 20 minutes from Daylesford and Hepburn Springs. Owner/developer of the resort, Jim Walsh, spent six years building the resort during which he negotiated the first Indigenous Land Use Agreement between traditional landowners and a golf course/ resort developer, and built an environmentally sustainable resort constructing Australia’s first privately owned water-treatment plant. The Novotel Resort features four levels of conferencing in nine state-of-the-art meeting rooms, three business centres, dedicated board room, poolside private dining room and three pre function/ break-out areas. Both residential and day conferences for 10 to 50 are offered, while Novotel’s grand ballroom adds to the regional infrastructure a facility that can cater for a major plenary, black tie dinners (500) or cocktails (700). The dedicated conference and events team includes event co-ordinators, in-house AV technicians and employs state-of-the- art technology, wireless and broadband internet. All that natural light that brings the bushland setting indoors is eventually going to entice delegates to try some of the many recreational options available outside, including a round of golf, driving range, bush walking and jogging tracks, mountain biking, day spa, indoor/outdoor heated swimming pool, spa and fitness centre plus a range of outdoor games - from lifesize chess, scrabble, snakes and ladders to bocce/ petanque. For partners or delegates nearby excursions include: Tuki Trout Farm, the Tangled Maze, Cricket Willow, and the Lavandula