Tired of being cooped up? From oyster farms and island beehives to distilleries, here are Australia’s most coveted islands for a future incentive programme.
Australia, the nation of beautiful beaches, rugged land, and tropical rainforests, is also home to some of the world’s most admirable and remote island experiences. Whether it’s luxury, adventure, relaxation or culture – there’s an island to suit every incentive group’s needs.
Whether it is the celebrated food and wine on Kangaroo Island or the pristine beaches on Rottnest Island and a selection of luxury and adventure on Lizard Island, Australia has a wealth of islands for groups to explore at any time of year.
There’s plenty to see and do at Rottnest Island besides taking selfies with a quokka, the famous marsupial known for its friendly nature. Reachable via a short private ferry ride, seaplane or helicopter trip from Perth, Rottnest Island has 63 beaches and 23 bays. To get around, groups can bike, Segway, or take part in sea bike tours.
There’s also a chance to explore the island in a high-speed adventure boat tour with Rottnest Express or revel in a “Wild Seafood Experience” with a five-course meal aboard Rottnest Cruises’ 69ft yacht. Other activities include snorkelling and diving at The Basin, Parker Point, Little Armstrong Bay, Little Salmon Bay and Parakeet Point. The island is also home to the luxurious beachfront hotel, Samphire Rottnest, featuring multiple event spaces.
Kangaroo Island, a 30-minute flight from Adelaide, features natural beauty, premium food and unique activities. Groups can explore Remarkable Rocks – large boulders covered in orange lichen and visit Seal Bay Conservation Park to see the endangered Australian sea lions. The island’s other attraction is its food and wine culture. Visitors can indulge in homegrown produce, fresh oysters and island beehives or sample the island’s several distilleries and wineries, including Kangaroo Island Spirits and The Islander Estate Vineyards.
Guests can also book in to experience the Kangaroo Island Farm Gate and Cellar Door Trail to get to know the producers and products at their source. Then, wind down and enjoy a meal at the acclaimed Sunset Food and Wine restaurant.
Fraser Island is a remote tropical paradise, located just off the city of Hervey Bay on Queensland’s Fraser Coast or a 35-minute flight from the Sunshine Coast. Most of the island belongs to Great Sandy National Park, a protected area of natural beauty and home to various wildlife. Subtropical rainforest, endless beaches, mangroves, lagoons, sand dunes, and freshwater lakes are just some attractions groups can explore here.
Charter a yacht for a day cruise or visit during migration season (August through October) to spot giant humpbacks on a whale-watching cruise. At dusk, guests can spot wild dingoes before settling into their accommodation at eco-resort Kingfisher Bay Resort.
Inside the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsundays consists of 74 tropical islands with white beaches and popular luxury resorts. The most convenient way to travel to the region is flying to either the Whitsunday Coast Airport or the Hamilton Island Airport. Hamilton Island, one of the most popular destinations on the Great Barrier Reef, is home to the luxury property, qualia, which can also be booked for exclusive use.
Alternatively, transfer 60 minutes via luxury charter from Hamilton Island to Hayman Island, a private island paradise offering the InterContinental Hayman Island Resort. From swimming, snorkelling to a champagne brunch on the white sands of Whitehaven Beach, followed by beachfront cocktails and dinner, the island has a range of activities available for groups.
Depart from Cairns and fly south on a scenic hour flight over the Great Barrier Reef to Lizard Island. As the northernmost resort on the Great Barrier Reef, Lizard Island is entirely remote from the rest of the world. The five-star Lizard Island Resort offers luxury and adventure, with experiences such as fishing, diving, spa treatments, private beach access and fine dining. Groups can snorkel some of the reef’s most stunning dive sites, including Cod Hole, where you can swim with grey reef sharks and schools of fish. Guests can unwind with a picnic, fresh seafood on the waterfront, yoga on the beach or an indulgent spa treatment.
Only a 90-minute drive south of Melbourne is Phillip Island, offering entertainment, wild penguins and a range of premium water restaurants. Groups visiting can begin their day at the Koala Conservation Centre to see koalas up-close in their natural habitat. Afterwards, they can take a trip with Wildlife Coast Cruises to Seal Rocks to see one of the largest colonies of Australian fur seals.
One of the island’s must-dos is watching the Phillip Island Penguin Parade, where wild penguins emerge from the sea and waddle across the beach to their dune burrows. The island is also home to wineries and breweries.
Cockatoo Island is located closely within Sydney Harbour, reachable by ferry, water taxi or private boat. The industrial island makes for a unique daytime or evening event venue, offering various spaces across three different precincts for groups of 200 to 5,000 people. Groups can book a tour to journey back to Cockatoo Island’s famous convict and maritime eras, discover iconic landmarks and learn about the history of this World Heritage-listed place.
As one of the biggest countries in the world with an impressive ecological diversity, the types of incentive travel programmes possible in Australia are only limited to your imagination. What are some of your most memorable incentive trips in Australia and what would you plan for the next time you are there?