SPECTACULAR landscapes, innovative venues and the inspiring experiences of Australia’s Northern Territory were on show when a group of Singapore event planners travelled to the NT region known colloquially as the ‘Top End’.
The ease of access to what is Asia’s closest Australian destination was highlighted, with SilkAir providing the approximate four-hour direct flight from Singapore to Darwin.
The inaugural four-day ‘Meet Darwin International’ event, a partnership between the Northern Territory Convention Bureau and the Darwin Convention Centre, was staged in the harbourfront city of Darwin and surrounds.
Delegates viewed business event infrastructure in the city and also explored the region, which included taking a short flight to the town of Katherine, some 300km south east of Darwin. They visited the Katherine Outback Experience, which celebrates Australia’s outback through highly skilled horse-riding and cattle dog demonstrations, live music and bush tales. While Katherine-based, the show can also transfer to a range of Darwin venues.
The visiting delegates were impressed by the opportunity to visit some of Australia’s unique organisations based in Darwin, such as the iconic Royal Flying Doctor Service and the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre (NCCTRC).
“The National Critical Care Trauma and Response Centre stood out to me because of the ingenuity of it all and also because of the people that work there. You can really see their passion,” said Stephanie Ong, from Faces of Asia.
The globally recognised NCCTRC provides training for emergency services medical staff and is also Australia’s first responder to major offshore incidents. It is often visited by business event groups wishing to learn about this crucial facility, with the centre’s huge warehouse providing a fascinating off-site technical tour location.
The NT’s diverse cuisine offerings were also showcased during the programme, showing how delicious native foods are often included on NT menus. Dining venues included beef and seafood specialist, Char Restaurant in the Darwin CBD, waterfront Pee Wee’s at the Point, which features local produce, and Wharf One Food and Wine at the Darwin Waterfront Precinct, which provided a cooking demonstration for delegates, followed by lunch.
A dining highlight was Darwin Convention Centre’s ‘Seven Seasons Dinner’, which featured an Aboriginal cultural theme. The Larrakia people are the traditional owners of the Darwin region and the ‘Seven Seasons’ menu is inspired by the Gulumoerrgin (Larrakia) seasons calendar, said Peter Savoff, general manager of Darwin Convention Centre.
“Our new menu is a culinary journey through the ‘Seven Seasons’, giving guests a deeper appreciation of Aboriginal culture and their connection to the land,” said Savoff.
Stephanie Ong added that she was impressed by the dinner. “The thought behind the dinner at the Darwin Convention Centre was great,” she said.
“The effect was really something for a special events planner to see – I was in awe. The ‘Seven Seasons’ dinner was truly a multi-sensory journey.”
A business session was also held and included information on the NT Business Events Support Fund. The fund offers assistance to qualified business events which are at the consideration or bidding stage.
Rebecca McCaig, director of the NT Convention Bureau, said the bureau was delighted to partner with Darwin Convention Centre on the inaugural ‘Meet Darwin International’ initiative.
“Darwin offers an impressive array of options for business events,” she said. “Unique experiences and activities, meaningful community engagement, multicultural cuisine, a rich and fascinating Aboriginal culture, a vibrant festivals scene and a stunning waterfront.
“The award-winning, world-class 1,200-seat convention centre perfectly complements a destination which has a proven record at delivering highly effective business event outcomes.”