A short hop to paradise

By Kris Madden

Experience the private playground of one of the world’s richest men, or escape to remote bush and wildlife habitats for your corporate retreat
Sir Richard Branson's Makepeace Island is a secluded hideaway a few minutes upstream from Queensland's cosmopolitan Noosa Heads on Australia's Sunshine Coast.
Sir Richard Branson's Makepeace Island is a secluded hideaway a few minutes upstream from Queensland's cosmopolitan Noosa Heads on Australia's Sunshine Coast.

One giant island itself, Australia is actually made up of more than 8000 islands. From having an island all to yourself to themed dinners on a private beach, or a golf course on its own island amid one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Australia's islands offer countless opportunities for inspiring corporate incentives or business events.

Makepeace Island

Staying on their own private island will give your guests a taste of the billionaire lifestyle.
Sir Richard Branson's Makepeace Island is a secluded hideaway a few minutes upstream from Queensland's cosmopolitan Noosa Heads on Australia's Sunshine Coast.
Originally developed as a private retreat for family and friends of the owner, a few years ago it opened its doors to allow others to experience it - but only on an exclusive-use basis.
The 10ha heart-shaped island can accommodate and entertain a maximum of 20 castaways in opulent luxury, along with its own riverboat to transfer guests. Add to this a 500,000-litre lagoon pool, full-sized tennis court, spa facilities, theatre, an expansive indoor bar designed for entertaining on a grand scale, plus Branson's own chef to cook meals.
Makepeace Island can tailor team-building activities for corporate guests, such as a culinary masterclass to learn the secrets of some of Branson's favourite dishes; wine appreciation sessions; kayaking around the island; and corporate tennis competitions.
Beyond the island, programmes can include golf competitions, surfing lessons, fishing expeditions, sunset cruises, 4WD beach tours or, for high-flying achievers, a helicopter ride to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef.

makepeaceisland.com

Hayman Island

The most northerly of the Whitsunday Islands off the coast of Queensland, with 2km of absolutely private beachfront, One & Only Hayman Island offers a magnificent setting for all types of business events and incentives.
The island's location lends itself to all manner of water sports, from diving and snorkelling to team sailing on an America's Cup challenger yacht.
Guests can take a guided tour to uninhabited islands such as Bali Hai, which can only be reached by kayak; or board a seaplane for a scenic flight and gourmet picnic on the powder-white sands of Whitehaven Beach.
Wildlife lovers will relish a guided night-time spotlighting tour searching for the rare Proserpine Rock wallabies who call the island home.
The ultimate reward for golfers is a chance to play at Australia's only championship island golf course on Dent Island, a short helicopter ride from the resort.
There's plenty more action on land, with treasure hunts, beach Olympics, volleyball, tennis and squash tournaments.
For a grand banquet under the stars, a marquee on the beach can be transformed into any theme, with fire logos illuminating the water, stages over the sea and fireworks displays.
Guests can also take part in The Chef's Table, an interactive behind-the-scenes experience at the main kitchen, where an exclusive six-course dinner is prepared by the resort's culinary team, who share their closely-guarded cooking secrets.
Arrive in style by luxury yacht transfer, helicopter or seaplane from one of several nearby airports.

oneandonlyresorts.com/one-and-only-hayman-island-australia

Kangaroo Island

A short hop off the coast of South Australia, Kangaroo Island (known as 'KI' to the locals) is a land of dramatic contrasts: pristine bushland; white sand dunes; and spectacular seascapes where rocky cliffs plunge into the wild ocean.

Perched dramatically on a clifftop, the 21-suite Southern Ocean Lodge is the most luxurious accommodation on the island, and especially suited to exclusive-use bookings for corporate groups.

A menu of tailor-made experiences promises groups incredible encounters with the island's wildlife and natural highlights. They can wander among sea lions lolling in the dunes at Seal Bay at dawn, an experience unique to Kangaroo Island; or take a walk on the wild side for beachside cocktails at the aptly-named Remarkable Rocks at dusk.
Guests can take a thrilling guided quad bike safari, zooming off on four wheels from the lodge and exploring the neighbouring Hanson Bay Sanctuary; and sand-boarding down the white dunes of Little Sahara is an experience your team won't forget.

Kayak along the meandering waters of the South West River; or fish from the beach, taking your catches back to the lodge chef, who'll transform them into an epicurean delight for lunch or dinner.

KI is also known for its superb organic food and excellent wineries. Groups can be guided on the distinctive flavours of the region by a renowned island vintner with wine tasting in the lodge's cellar or bar; or join an exclusive gin masterclass with Kangaroo Island Spirits.

southernoceanlodge.com.au

Tasmania

It may be Australia's smallest state, but this island offers plenty of big opportunities for business events and incentives. From the historic waterfront capital of Hobart to the World Heritage wilderness of the west coast and the mountains and pristine beaches of the east, Tasmania serves up an almost limitless array of one-of-a-kind experiences.
In Hobart, there's MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Australia's largest private museum and one of the most controversial private collections of modern art and antiquities in the world. A number of event spaces are available, catering from 12 to 270 seated guests; but for an event with true 'wow' factor hold your event inside the museum itself.
Saffire on the Freycinet Peninsula is available for corporate groups booking the entire 20-suite luxury resort; it offers a collection of signature experiences covering winemaking to wildlife.

Arrive from Hobart by seaplane, flying over Tasmania's spectacular scenery. A helicopter can take guests to play a round of golf at the internationally renowned Barnbougle Dunes and Lost Farm Golf Links or to unleash their inner Robin Hood at the resort's private archery range.

At the local Freycinet Winery, your group can learn the art of winemaking while indulging in some fine Tasmanian fare; or don a pair of waders at the Freycinet Marine Oyster Farm for an oyster-shucking demonstration and taste of the prized delicacies.
Exclusively for groups, Saffire can arrange private tastings with some of Tasmania's premier whisky distillers, learning why Tasmanian whisky is among the world's best.

businesseventstasmania.com.au

- NZ Herald

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