Prevue March-April 2018 - 113

Left: Great Barrier Reef Ocean Safari Eco Tour (photo credit:
Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree); Right (top to bottom): Koala
in Queensland (photo credit: Thala Beach Nature Reserve);
Brisbane Marriott Hotel (photo credit: Brisbane marketing);
Urbane Media lunch (photo credit: Tourism Australia)

"We are quite literally Australia's
front door to the rest of the world."
Pine Koala Sanctuary where we cuddled with koalas, hand-fed
kangaroos, and took selfies with emo emus, await groups. We
sipped award-winning vino and dined al fresco at Sirromet, a
stunning winery for concerts and tented events on the green (if
attendees don't mind wild wallabies and cockatoos occasionally
crashing the party). Heading inland, we took a drive through the
Australian Bush to idyllic Spicers Hidden Vale, a historic luxury
lodge retreat and genuine farm-to-table destination ideal for
buyouts and gourmet events. Like a dream sequence, helicopters
landed in Spicers' paddock to whisk Dreamtime's North American
delegates for wine tasting and tea at the Kooroomba Vineyard and
Lavender Farm, followed by a heart-pumping heli-tour through the
mountains, and over the stunning high-rises along the Gold Coast
beach. By the time we landed at the historic Brisbane Exhibition
Grounds, we thought we'd seen it all. But the city of Brisbane and
Tourism Australia pulled out all the stops with a dinner gala for 260
attendees at the Queensland Art Gallery's jaw-dropping Watermall
space, where we were wowed by a multisensory art, acrobatic and
musical experience. Long tables were lit by LED lights programmed
to changed colors, menus were written in invisible ink that required
ultraviolet flashlights provided at each place setting, and a changing
light art installation lit a massive three-story backdrop.
"The Watermall gala was the ideal demonstration of how
Australia's talented event organizers and companies bring to life
creativity, hospitality and a sense of occasion," John O'Sullivan,
managing director of Tourism Australia said.
Over the course of the next three days, we were immersed
in the riches of Cairns, a 2-hour flight from Brisbane on Virgin
Australia. The first stop was the 84-year-old Hartley's Crocodile
Adventures ecotourism attraction for up-close native animal
encounters (no cuddles with crocs, but a friendly wombat was
happy to oblige). From our resort home base at the Sheraton
Grand Mirage in Port Douglas, the incredibly knowledgeable
Rosie Douglas, director of business and tourism events for
Tourism Tropical North Queensland, led an exploration of the
Great Barrier Reef, where charter yachts and helicopters can take
groups to private pontoons for bucket list diving and snorkeling.
Queensland's tropical north is also home to the Daintree
Rainforest and Mossman Gorge Centre, where the local Kuku
Yalanji people led our group on a 90-minute "Dreamtime Gorge
Walk," complete with a traditional smoking ceremony and forest
trek to sacred Aboriginal sites.
By the end of Dreamtime Australia one thing was certain: the
event is aptly named; Australia is a waking dream.
tourism.australia.com; businessevents.australia.com

prevuemeetings.com | 89


http://tourism.australia.com http://businessevents.australia.com http://www.prevuemeetings.com

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