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Mice Net : December 2009
56 mice.net educational After lunching at the 80-room All Seasons Magnetic Island with general manager Peter Rigby - recently taken over by the Accor Group, that evening found us at Half Moon Bay at sunset, Magnetic’s largest beach, sipping cocktails at Barefoot Art Food Wine. We followed this with dinner on the waterfront at Peppers where the seafood and melt in your mouth fillet steaks went down as one of the highlights of our trip. Day 3 After an early morning ferry ride back to Townsville Tony O’Connor from Kookaburra Tours & Charters took us on an entertaining tour of the city, which included The Strand, one of the man-made wonders of Townsville. A green and shady parkland with a beach frontage, it is abuzz with coffee shops, restaurants, swimming pools, barbecue and picnic areas and promenading locals. For group touring, Tony has 13 seater and 24 seater mini buses and access to more vehicles as needed. Next we visited Townsville’s Cultural Centre, a world-class attraction hosting a collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, culture and history. To give an event a truly indigenous flavour, the centre can host fine dining affairs, welcome receptions and meet and greet functions. It was then on to the impressive Museum of Tropical Queensland, with five function spaces and to take part in the ‘Running of the Gun’ a daily public event linked to their fascinating Pandora exhibit and to enjoy a delicious morning tea hosted by catering company B Catered. Following this was a site inspection of the brand new four-and-a- half-star Hotel M on cosmopolitan Palmer Street. It offers 11 floors of fully self-contained apartment accommodation with dining and bar facilities. All the rooms are the same and have King split beds which make it particularly attractive for conference organisers. “It’s a hotel manager’s dream" said business development manager – conferencing, Marie Gilligan. Also on Palmer Street is Rydges Southbank Townsville, with 110 rooms and suites and nearby, a further 12, two-bedroom, self contained apartments. This stylish yet affordable property boasts spectacular city and marina views and a full range of facilities including a stand alone convention centre. Modelled on Raffles in Singapore, in a classic North Queensland style, the multi award- winning event venue with 400 square metres of floor space has unique facilities for meetings, conferences, functions and trade exhibitions, catering for groups of up to 500. Over a very elegant lunch in the conference centre, director of sales Dawn Gleeson, illustrating the extent of teamwork between Townsville’s hotels, said "We are putting together a Palmer Street brochure in time for AIME which includes three hotels and their facilities.” Across the road from Rydges is Quest Townsville with great views of the marina from the fifth floor upwards. "On Wednesdays guests can pay $5 and go twilight sailing on one of the marina yachts,” said general manager Larissa Nielsen. The property features 138 studio, one and two-bedroom apartments with wireless internet access throughout the property while an executive boardroom is available on the 1st floor. Townsville's award-winning Reef HQ Aquarium was next where the main attraction is a two-and-a-half million litre coral reef exhibit that replicates a natural reef ecosystem. Groups can take part in guided interpretive tours and dine under the watchful eyes of predators and reef creatures. Our farewell dinner on The Strand at the very chic Watermark with its mix of formal and relaxed dining areas of soft furnished booths and white leather lounge seating, tulle curtains and glass bi-folding doors that allows full sea views, proved to be a fitting finale. LEFT: Dining on The Strand. BELOW: The brand new four-and-a-half star Hotel M.