million) is part of the larger A$3 billion (US$2.1
billion) transformation of Darling Harbour.
With an attached 600-room headquar-
ters hotel and another 4,500 rooms within
a 10-minute walk, the high-tech complex is
Scalable from 3,500 to 8,000 attendees, the
tiered ICC Sydney Theatre is ideal for plenary
sessions and entertainment. Offering more
than 376,000 square feet of exhibition space,
ICC Sydney Exhibitions includes a huge open-
air event deck with a bar and lounge.
With venues including tiered ple-
nary theaters for 2,500 and 1,000
delegates, respectively, and
86,000-plus square feet of
space in 70 meeting rooms,
ICC Sydney Conventions
will also feature Australia’s
largest ballroom. Offering
superb city and water views,
the top-floor room can ac-
commodate 2,000 for banquets
or 3,500 for cocktail receptions.
Planners are already lining up to
say g’day to the new facility.
“Global interest is strong and we have
already secured more than 30 events in the
professional services, medical, technology and
other sectors for ICC Sydney, with many more
in the pipeline,” says Lewis-Smith. “Along
with greater hosting capacity, the new center’s
close proximity to the CBD [Central Business
District], the education and start-up hub in
Ultimo (including the University of Technol-
ogy Sydney) and other vibrant precincts will
help to deepen and broaden connections for
clients, enhancing collaboration and meeting
The overall rejuvenation of Darling Har-
bour also bodes well for the future.
“Bringing more hotel rooms, businesses,
students and locals to the area while improving links to neighboring university and innovation suburbs, the project helps reinforce
Sydney’s position as the intellectual capital of
Australia,” Lewis-Smith says.
Airlift from North America to Australia is up
19 percent over the past five years, making
it easier than ever to meet Down Under. Six
carriers offering nonstop service include
American Airlines, which launched new daily
direct service to Sydney from Los Angeles last
December, and Qantas, which introduced six
weekly nonstop flights to Sydney from San
Francisco in the same month.
From Sydney Airport, where Wolfgang
Puck and Australian chef Shannon Bennett
are the star brands in the new City View
dining area debuting soon in Terminal 1 Inter-
national Departures beyond customs, it’s 13
minutes by train or roughly 30 minutes by taxi
to Sydney’s CBD, just five miles away.
Offering some 33,000 rooms, Sydney’s hotel
collection features another convention district
“darling,” Four Points by Sheraton Sydney,
Renowned as Australia’s largest hotel, the
property is on track to complete a major
A$200 million (US$144 million) redevelop-
ment just ahead of the ICC Sydney opening.
Scheduled for a June 2016 unveiling,
highlights include nearly 40,000 square feet of
convention space accommodating up to 2,500
delegates, plus generous prefunction areas
and multiple breakout rooms. Two pillar-free
ballrooms, each featuring breathtaking harbor
views, can accommodate 1,000 and 1, 100
attendees, respectively. Slated to follow in
August, a striking new 222-room tower boosts
the hotel’s count to 892 new and refurbished
rooms, including 30 suites, with other en-
hancements such as the lobby, expansive new
dining area and rooftop bar.
Other CBD properties include the 509-
room InterContinental Sydney, offering 15
meeting rooms within the restored 1851 Trea-
sury Building, and the 565-room Shangri-La
Hotel, Sydney, with 18 function rooms.
Joined from two heritage buildings, downtown’s chic new 62-room Old Clare offers a
16-person meeting room plus three restaurants and two bars.
Among the world’s most desired incentive destinations, Sydney is synonymous with “outside
of the box” venues and experiences for groups.
Launched in New York City this
January, the latest installment of Tourism
Australia’s global “There’s nothing like
Australia” campaign focuses on aquatic
and coastal experiences. Boasting the
world’s largest natural harbor and legendary beaches along some 149 miles of fjord-like shorelines and waterways, Sydney is
rich with liquid capital.
No visit is complete without doing the
safety-harnessed walk to the top of the
Sydney Harbour Bridge with BridgeClimb
Sydney, or taking lessons from Let’s Go
Surfing at iconic Bondi
Beach. EastSail offers corpo-
rate regattas, sunset cocktail
tours and more, while Oz Jet
Boating offers tours in high-
speed Red Shark craft. Sydney’s
harbor islands, such as former
penal sites Fort Denison and UNESCO
World Heritage-listed Cockatoo Island, are
ideal for tours.
Sydney’s adventurous spirit extends to the
kitchen. Those answering the call include
Rene Redzepi, who relocated his globally top-ranked Noma restaurant from Copenhagen
to Sydney Harbour for a 10-week residency
starting in January. Reservations went in a
flash, but groups will have no worries finding
culinary magic in Sydney, such as relaunched
Bennelong Restaurant from acclaimed Australian chef Peter Gilmore.
Located within the Sydney Opera House,
the restaurant takes its name from a tidal rock
island where Aboriginal women once met
to eat shellfish and tell stories. With versatile
private options that include the kitchen’s
four-seat table and the Harbour Bridge as
backdrop, Gilmore’s menu strikes a winning
balance between indigenous tradition and the
diversity of today’s Australia.
“The Sydney scene is particularly dynamic,
with our multicultural landscape giving chefs
the freedom to explore many culinary tradi-
tions,” says Gilmore, who also helms Quay—
Australia’s most awarded restaurant—a short
walk away. “Making the most of our abundant
sunshine and good weather, we embrace fresh
flavors, quality seafood and other ingredients
to create true variety and originality.”
In the convention hall, on the water and at
the table, Sydney is switched on and fired up
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