Guide to Meeting & Event Planning in


Learn why you should host your next meeting, event, conference or incentive in this ever-surprising country.

Why Australia for Your Next Meeting or Event?

Now that the country has reopened to the world, wonder-packed Australia is getting back to business. Melbourne will get a Ritz-Carlton hotel this year and has announced a new Four Seasons, while Sydney is welcoming its first international events in two years.

Only in Australia

Composed of six states and two territories, Australia offers singular landscapes — including the stunning outback and the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system — as well as unique wildlife, such as kangaroos, platypuses, wombats and koalas. 


Travel Essentials

Coronavirus Information for Business Events Australia
Starting Oct. 14, people will not have to self-isolate at home if they test positive for Covid; people still must isolate until then, and household and close contacts must follow the guidelines.

Taxes: sales tax, 10 percent; total tax on hotel rooms, 10 percent

Convention Centers

Australia has nine major convention centers; following are details for centers in the three largest cities:


Good to Know
The Tourism Australia Business Events Bid Fund Program, launched in 2018, offers financial support to new international incentive, association and exhibition events during the bidding stage. Financial support received through the Bid Fund can be used to offset event costs in Australia, such as accommodations and venue hire.

Local Currency: Australian dollar

Power: 230 volt

Time Zones

  • Australian Eastern Standard Time (14 hours ahead of EST)
  • Australian Central Standard Time (13.5 hours ahead of EST)
  • Australian Western Standard Time (12 hours ahead of EST)


  • Sydney: Sydney Airport, about 6 miles from the city center. Transfer cost by taxi, about US$31-$38, by AirportLink train, about $10.25
  • Melbourne: Melbourne Airport, about 14 miles from the city center. Transfer cost by taxi, about $38-$45
  • Brisbane: Brisbane Airport, about 9 miles from the city center. Transfer cost by taxi about $31-$38; by Airtrain, about $13

In Walking Distance...

...of International Convention Centre Sydney:

...of Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre:

...of the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre:

Meeting and Event Venues

New & Coming Soon to Australia


  • A $110 million redo has been completed at the 509-room InterContinental Sydney. The hotel now sports a contemporary design that honors the 1851 Treasury Building’s historical significance. Dining options include the Treasury Restaurant, as well as the rooftop Aster on the 32nd floor, with 270-degree views over the city. More than 25,000 square feet of meeting space features intimate boardrooms that can host groups of 12 to a grand ballroom with room for up to 350. 
  • The third W property in the country is scheduled to open in 2023, now that a new construction company has been chosen to complete the project. The 585-room W Hotel Sydney will have a pool deck overlooking Darling Harbour, an Away Spa, a signature restaurant, a two-story rooftop bar, and about 14,000 square feet of meeting space.
  • Now open in the Surry Hills neighborhood, the 257-room Ace Hotel Sydney is the brand’s first in the Southern Hemisphere. Exposed-brick walls in some guest rooms pay homage to the property’s origins as the Tyne House brick factory. The hotel’s largest event space is the 1,400-square-foot Brick room.
  • The Sofitel Sydney Wentworth reopened in March after a two-year renovation. All 436 rooms were refreshed, and the conference spaces were redone. The event facilities include the 6,770-square-foot Wentworth Ballroom. Sofitel Sydney Wentworth’s 21,000 square feet of event space also features a garden restaurant and terrace for up to 160 guests, and the Velvet Room, which hosts up to 24.
  • Hilton’s luxury Waldorf Astoria brand will make its Australian debut in early 2025. Opening in Circular Quay, the 220-room Waldorf Astoria Sydney will offer views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, and will feature two restaurants, a rooftop bar and a spa.
  • This past Valentine’s day, Australia welcomed its first Kimpton property, the 172-room, art deco Kimpton Margot Sydney. The hotel features a rooftop pool, the plush Wilmot Bar and about 5,000 square feet of event space. Celebrated local chef Luke Mangan is the mind behind the signature restaurant, Luke’s Kitchen, which serves options such as truffle-poached coral trout and grilled Brooklyn Valley sirloin with lime and chili. Luke’s Cellar, featuring exotic wines and a menu of whiskys, hosts private parties for 10. The restaurant accommodates events for up to 127 guests.


  • United Airlines resumed nonstop service between San Francisco and Melbourne in June with three weekly flights. United initially launched the route in October 2019, a few months before the pandemic began. Last December, United and Virgin Australia formed a partnership allowing for codeshare flights within Australia.
  • When it opens later this year, the 263-room Ritz-Carlton, Melbourne, will be the tallest hotel in Australia. Guests will check in on the 79th-floor lobby, and the hotel will feature a spa on the 64th floor, several food-and-beverage outlets, an outdoor garden terrace, and 30,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 500-seat grand ballroom.
  • Work will begin later this year on the 210-room Four Seasons Melbourne, to open in 2027. The property, with an integrated health-and-wellness theme, will feature a rooftop restaurant and bar, and multiple event spaces. 



  • City Winery Brisbane is the first inner-city winery to open in Brisbane in over 150 years, sourcing grapes from Australia’s key growing areas. Located in a converted warehouse, the venue offers corporate experiences ranging from wine-blending to a cooking class and wine-making dinner, along with event spaces that include private dining in the wine cellar and events for up to 110 standing in the barrel room. 
  • In the city’s trendy arts and entertainment district, the latest entry from InterContinental Hotels Group is the Hotel X, opening in early 2021. The 146-room boutique luxury property has 2,045 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space for up to 160 people. The hotel is near the recently opened Fortitude Music Hall which offers a 1,200-seat theater also considered the largest grand ballroom/theater-style venue in Australia, accommodating up to 3,000 people for receptions. 
  • Adding to an already impressive collection of high-end hotels that have opened over the last few years in Brisbane (including the W Brisbane, the Westin Brisbane, The Calile and the Emporium Hotel Southpoint at South Bank) will be the five luxury properties scheduled to debut in 2022 with the opening of the more than US$4.3 billion Queen’s Wharf development. This new project will add 1,000 rooms to the city’s inventory and include the city’s first six-star hotel; some 50 restaurants, cafés and bars; a 1,000-seat ballroom, and a 328-foot-high sky deck.

More Australia Meeting & Event Venues


  • The city is boosting its hotel inventory with several new projects. Adelaide Oval, a sports stadium that hosts cricket and Australian-rules football games as well as private group functions across 23 event spaces, has just added the 138-room Oval Hotel. Also recently opened are a 326-room Crowne Plaza with 4,843 square feet of event space and EOS by SkyCity, a new 120-room luxury property that is part of the more than US$234 million Adelaide Casino redevelopment. The Westin Adelaide, a 15-story, 285-room luxury hotel in the city’s center, is set for a March 2022 debut.


  • The luxury treetop escape, Silky Oakes Lodge, is undergoing a significant facelift to reopen on Oct, 1, 2021, with a refreshed vibe under the Baillie Lodge brand. Influenced by its Daintree Rainforest surroundings, the refurbed lodge, which features 40 luxury treehouses, will integrate indigenous artworks and custom furnishings by Australian designers across six luxury villa styles, including the new ultra-premium Daintree Pavilion.
  • The Cairns Convention Centre is undergoing a US$119 million upgrade. The project includes improvements to the existing structure and the addition of more than 32,000 square feet of meeting and exhibition space slated for completion by early 2022.
  • The third of a trio of five-star North Queensland resorts from the Crystalbrook Collection has opened in Cairns. Dubbed Flynn (its predecessors are the 311-room Riley and 255-room Bailey), the property has 311 guest rooms and suites, with several featuring views of the Coral Sea; dining options such as Boardwalk Social, a market-style food and beverage hub with live music, and the signature Flynn’s Italian; three meeting spaces; two glass pools; an Eléme Day Spa, and a 24-hour gym.

    Gold Coast

  • A brand-new US$46.5 million gallery has opened at HOTA (Home of the Arts). The largest public space outside a capital city in Australia, HOTA Gallery is a multi-floor venue that has more than 21,500 square feet for exhibitions. The colorful building, inspired by William Robinson’s painting, "The Rainforest," features a rooftop bar with views across the Gold Coast to the Hinterland. Groups can enjoy a guided tour with an expert curatorial team followed by sunset cocktails on the roof, topped off by a degustation dining experience at the on-site Palette, which seats 120 guests. The gallery can accommodate up to 1,000 people, and the rooftop bar has capacity for 124 standing.
  • A major mixed-use, three-tower development, The Jewel, will open in 2021 and include a 169-room luxury hotel from The Langham, conference facilities, a business center and assorted dining venues.
  • The Dorsett, a 316-room hotel, will debut in 2022 at hotel/casino complex The Star Gold Coast.



  • Overlooking the dining and entertainment precinct of Elizabeth Quay, the new four-star, 18-story Doubletree by Hilton Perth Waterfront opened in December 2020 with 229 guest rooms and sweeping views of the Swan River. Suitable for medium-sized groups, there are five event spaces including three water-facing venues, an outdoor infinity pool on Level 5 and a rooftop bar perfect for sunset drinks.
  • The luxury 80-room Samphire Rottnest opened in October 2020 and has a beachfront location within walking distance of boat-charter drop-offs on Rottnest Island, just off the coast of Perth. The hotel has six beachside venue options for events, with capacity for 80 to 200 people.
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Perth, debuted in late 2019. Located near the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre in the heart of the Elizabeth Quay precinct, the 205‐room propert has more than 21,500 square feet of meeting space, including a grand ballroom that accommodates 380 guests for seated events or 500 for cocktails.
  • The Adnate, the ninth of Accor’s Art Series hotels in Australia, opened in November 2019. The 250-room property has a restaurant with a terrace, a bar and lounge, a swimming pool and a function room, as well as a 27-story-high mural.
  • The Art Gallery of Western Australia will open a gallery and event space with an open-air sculpture walk on its rooftop in 2021, creating the largest commercially available rooftop space in the city.
  • The Raft, Perth’s first floating event space with capacity for up to 250 people, opened in September 2020, drawing inspiration from western Australia’s stunning coast landscape. 
  • A new activity for thrill-seekers will launch in early 2021 just outside the city center, the Matagarup Bridge Climb and Zip Line. The experience will let participants ascend to the summit of the bridge’s main arch and take a 1,312-foot zip line to the opposite riverbank. 


  • For a unique stay in Sydney, the 194-unit A By Adina combines spacious apartment living with hotel services and facilities. All apartments are beautifully designed — whether studio, one or two-bedrooms. An in-house restaurant, Dean & Nancy on 22, allows guests to sip on cocktails and dine from a select menu while looking out at the Sydney skyline. The restaurant is available for buyouts for up to 100 people.


 Whitsundays/Great Barrier Reef   

  • The 168-room InterContinental Hayman Island Resort, on the northernmost of the Whitsunday Islands, completed a US$135 million revamp and reopened in 2019. Five restaurants and bars as well as a three-bedroom beach house have been added.
  • The Daydream Island Resort on the Great Barrier Reef also reopened in 2019 following an extensive renovation of its 277 guest rooms and pool area and an expansion of its food and beverage facilities. The private island features an underwater observatory, two meeting rooms and a 250-seat open-air cinema. 
  • Hamilton Island opened a new all-purpose event space on Catseye Beach in December 2019. The venue can host events of up to 280 people, banquet-style.

  • Cruise Whitsundays has added the first underwater accommodation on the Great Barrier Reef to its Reefworld pontoon offering, launching two Reefsuites 13 feet below the surface. The pontoon also has 12 Reefsleep luxury Australian bedrolls or “swags” on deck for a night under the stars.

Things to Do in Australia


  • The Australian Museum has undergone an extensive US$44.5 million renovation that saw its entire central Sydney block close for 15 months. Attendees can experience an after-hours arrival into a sparkling new grand entrance and proceed past some of the venue’s 21.9 million specimens and objects as they make their way to one of the museum spaces that can be transformed for an event, such as the Wild Planet exhibition that can accommodate up to 200 people for a cocktail function.
  • For those looking for a shorter climb than the new BridgeClimb Ultimate (see above), BridgeClimb Sydney arranges two-hour guided climbs to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, where participants are served morning tea as they take in the panoramic vista. 
  • Get a bird's-eye view of Sydney by booking a jaunt with Sydney Seaplanes, a company that offers sightseeing flights. Groups can enjoy magnificent views of the famed Sydney Opera House and harbor, stop for lunch along the Hawkesbury River at Cottage Point Inn (a waterfront restaurant with scenic views) or harvest their own pearls from the water where the oysters grow at Broken Bay Pearl Farm.
  • The Wild Life Sydney Zoo offers a behind-the-scenes experience called the Australian Wildlife Tour. Up to 10 guests can join the 90-minute outing, led by two zookeepers, with the option to schedule departures five minutes apart for larger groups. Or, for an overnight wildlife experience, book a night at Wildlife Retreat at Taronga, a new luxury eco-retreat at Taronga Zoo, a 15-minute scenic boat ride from the center of Sydney. The retreat’s 62 rooms are spread across five environmentally sensitive lodges with the native wildlife habitat called The Sanctuary at its core, offering up-close encounters with Australia’s unique wildlife.


  • Corporate social responsibility initiatives are increasingly popular around the world, and Australia is no exception. In Melbourne, planners can arrange a private dining experience for up to 100 at Charcoal Lane, a restaurant operated by Mission Australia, which helps young Aboriginal people to launch careers in hospitality.
  • Penguin power: A  visitor center recently opened at the Phillip Island Penguin Parade, an attraction that brings visitors up close and personal with the delightful birds. Located about 87 miles from Melbourne, the new venue has interactive exhibits and activities, a theater, and dining and retail outlets. Groups of up to 4,000 can join a local restoration program to help build artificial penguin burrows.


  • Of all the animal species that are unique to Australia, the koala is among the cutest. For a face-to-precious-face meeting, groups can head to Lone Pine, a koala sanctuary about 30 minutes from downtown Brisbane. Koala Encounter lets participants pose for a photo with one of the more than 130 furry creatures that reside here, and they can also cavort with kangaroos and wallabies.

Australia Meeting Event Planner Guide 4
Uluru, or Ayers Rock, is a massive sandstone formation in central Australia

More Things to Do in Australia


  • Wine lovers will savor a trip to d'Arenberg, a family-owned winery located 45 minutes from Adelaide. The venue's newest attraction is a five-floor cube structure that serves as an event space in the heart of the vineyard, with an all-glass tasting room, a small museum, a video presentation room and what's billed as the only restaurant in Australia that creates desserts with a 3-D printer.


  • • A five-minute drive from the Cairns Convention Centre and at the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, the Cairns Aquarium is hosting a new offering for lovers of sea creatures: Aquarium at Twilight enables groups of up to 100 to experience the facility in the evening and learn about the movements of the region’s nocturnal creatures on a private tour before indulging in a three-course dinner.
  • The plight of sea turtles has garnered lots of press in recent years, and in Australia, groups can join in local initiatives amid an especially beautiful setting at the Great Barrier Reef, with a visit to the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre. Groups of up to 20 can help with the rehabilitation and release of injured turtles at the facility.
  • No first-time visit to Australia is complete without a visit to the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral-reef system. Groups can enjoy a guided introduction to this famed attraction with Quicksilver Cruises, which has a fleet of boats that accommodate up to 400 passengers for excursions to a private pontoon at Agincourt Reef, at the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef.


  • Groups can learn about Australia's legendary outback with a trip to Uluru, a stunning sandstone rock formation in the Northern Territory. SEIT Outback Australia offers excursions with an Aboriginal guide, who shares the secrets of traditional bush cuisine; guests have the opportunity to grind native seeds and take part in food preparation.
  • The rise of glamping — glamorous camping — means that groups don't have to forgo comfort when they explore the rugged landscapes of the Outback. Group-friendly options include Longitude 131, an upscale camp with 16 luxury tents near Uluru. Guests can relax at the camp's Spa Kinara, savor contemporary Australian cuisine at the Dune House restaurant and explore the region with excursions that include Harley-Davidson tours, hot air balloon rides and hikes around the base of the giant rocks.
  • Art and nature meet with spectacular results at Field of Light, a display of some 50,000 illuminated globes by English artist Bruce Munro. Dramatically arrayed in the desert that surrounds Uluru, Field of Light offers a variety of opportunities for meeting planners to wow attendees. Groups can arrive by camel at the viewing platform, and up to 300 can attend a Sounds of Silence dinner that includes a didgeridoo performance and a presentation by a star tracker.

Whitsundays/Great Barrier Reef

  • As the world’s largest coral reef system, the Great Barrier Reef is a spectacularly beautiful destination. The region’s Whitsunday Islands, a collection of 74 postcard-perfect islands off the central coast of Queensland, are where groups go to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the reef. The isles are perfect for sailing, swimming, snorkeling and diving; other incentive-worthy experiences include breathtaking helicopter or seaplane rides to Whitehaven Beach, an exquisite and world-famous stretch of exceptionally white sand, golfing at the Hamilton Island Golf Club, an 18-hole championship course on scenic Dent Island or meeting kangaroos and cuddling a koala at Hamilton Island Wildlife.
  • Among the newest adventures for groups is Heart Island, a development at Hamilton Island that promises a "James Bond experience" via exciting activities like helicopter rides over the Whitsunday Islands and Whitehaven Beach, as well as glass-bottom boat tours, swimming and snorkeling.


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