The ‘W’ Files – How Wyndham Estate, Wollongong and Wolgan Valley hosted elite pharmaceutical incentives and conferences

Securing incentive visits and conferences that cater to the Pharmaceutical industry is among the most competitive sales and bid process in the world. However, increasingly this elite sector is finding a refreshing brand of nature, luxury and imaginative events in regional NSW.


booking table1. Wyndham Estate – A one-day ‘Signature Event’ that celebrated Local Culture

In April 2015 Wyndham Estate in the Hunter Valley hosted a prestigious incentive program for a global pharmaceutical company. The brief to the event organiser, ID Tours, was to create a one-day program for 350 international delegates. In particular, the client was seeking a celebratory ‘Signature Event’, something outstanding, entertaining, informative and uniquely Australian.

ID Tours’ response was to take over one of the Hunter Valley’s largest wineries on an exclusive basis and create a carnival atmosphere with a range of activities and entertainment, including a selection of the superb food and wine for which the Hunter Valley is renowned.

The logistics of involving 350 delegates in multiple activities required an environment with many dimensions. Wyndham Estate is one of Australia’s oldest wineries. It was founded in 1872 on the banks of the Hunter River and its beautiful location, function rooms, cellar spaces, café and outdoor areas were perfect for the event.

The program took its cue from the region’s heritage; traditional country life, music and dance, Aboriginal culture, nature and wildlife, food and wine. These qualities presented rich options for a day of activities which included:

  • Country Life offered delegates live music, line dancing, Aussie farm demonstrations, including sheep shearing, working cattle dogs and whip cracking. It was a whirl, a twirl and enormous fun led by warm and engaging locals with a great sense of humour
  • Food and Wine experiences defined all aspects of the day with a chill-out café serving traditional treats such as lamingtons and Anzac biscuits; a fresh produce market offered a huge range of local delicacies, such as cheeses, home-made sauces and condiments, fresh olives, olive oils and lavender products; wine was matched by a rich array of some of the best in contemporary Hunter cuisine. Wine activities included cellar tastings plus (for those who liked to combine their indulgence with competition) an hilariously contested Games program that included both Grape Stomping and Grape Throwing
  • Aboriginal dancers and musicians shared stories of the Dreamtime through music and dance while an Aboriginal artist demonstrated the art of ‘dot painting’ (which was later linked to a surprise gift which delegates found waiting in their hotel rooms)
  •  Australian Wildlife appeared as a welcome delegation led by cuddly koalas and included a cheeky bunch of baby kangaroos.


2. Wollongong – ‘A pulsating finale of epic proportions’

A little over 12-months after it created a one-day event for an international pharmaceutical incentive, ID Tours explored a different type of approach for an Australian pharmaceutical client.

This time it involved a three-day/four-night conference for 140 Australian and New Zealand delegates. The host destination was Wollongong and the program made brilliant use of the city’s beautiful coastal location. Conference venues included seaside decks, dining on and by the beach, rooms with views and restaurants on lagoons.

The emphasis was on creative team experiences - the brief for ID Tours was to deliver high-energy activities that would unify and inspire the group through shared experiences.

  • A BeatsWork teambuilding event on day one used the infectious rhythms of samba to transform a group of individuals into a giant percussion band – with each person playing their part, in time and on cue. Starting in small groups and led by a professional percussionist, each team was taught the basics of samba beats and breaks. By using a variety of rhythm-based warm up exercises, they soon moved on to instruments with each group learning the basics of their instrument. As confidence and ability grew, the groups were brought together to prepare for a stunning and pulsating finale of epic proportions. Everyone was involved. Even the most reserved participants were soon beaming from ear-to-ear as they stamped, beat, shook and drummed in rhythm with their colleagues
  • An after-party following dinner notched up the energy levels of the conference even further, enticing delegates to stay up late. A five-piece Samba dance band arrived from Sydney, the venue décor was frocked up with ostrich feathers, colourful lighting, sparklers and glitzy centerpieces - and all of sudden there it was: a touch of Rio Carnival that moved the spirit and imagination.


3. Wolgan Valley – A Russian tale: seven-star luxury and a private campfire

Sometimes it’s simple nature-based experiences that prove be the highlights of a luxury incentive. In April 2016, CIS Event Management created a seven-day itinerary for 17 top-performing sales executives. The brief was to not only include memorable experiences in the urban centres of Melbourne and Sydney but ‘something luxurious and rarely attainable in an area of natural significance’.

The CIS response was to take the group from Sydney to the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and the Emirates One&Only spa resort in Wolgan Valley to experience seven-star luxury in private villas, with mountain views set in a 7,000acre conservation area.

While the resort delivered exceptional dining, accommodation and spa treatments, it also offered each participant something quite unique: a very personal connection with nature. The visiting Russians loved the nature and wildlife which thrives within the reserve; a 4WD tour through the majestic landscape was also rated highly as was a guided nature walk. But best of all was a private campfire and simply stargazing.