Travel Tips – Fiji

BULA! Well… Fiji was on my wife’s bucket list – not mine. But our recent trip there left me a touch more than pleasantly surprised. We decided on travel in October out of school holiday time to be more cost effective. After an obscenely early Sydney departure to Nadi with connecting mini bus then catamaran – we arrived at Plantation Island Resort.

With mixed reviews prior to booking here, we were blown away with the idyllic destination perfect for our young family. We splurged on a Beachfront Bure and it was worth every cent to walk out the front door onto the unbearably white sand, with two perfectly aligned palm trees and a swinging hammock. Two more steps and you were in the warm, clear blue water with fabulous snorkelling only metres from the shore. Our children were often found collecting coconuts, chasing hermit crabs and feeding the tropical fish.

We hired bright yellow retro Bula Bikes which were a fun family activity and easy transportation around the island. The children attended Kids Club when the activities suited their interest – tie dye tshirts and coconut boat making were a hit. They also loved the inflatable water park while we enjoyed the sailboats, kayaks and paddle boarding on offer. We had a breakfast and dinner buffet  package and all loved trying new cultured food and island inspired delicacies. The Coco Hut also provided us with a delectable coffee each morning while the kids slurped up fresh coconut water.

We had a day trip to Cloud 9 which is an adults only floating pontoon with snorkelling, sunbathing, music, bar and wood fire pizza on offer. All in all – this holiday represented tropical bliss with a fabulous mix of relaxation and adventure. I highly recommend it! Thank you (or should I say VINAKA?)

What’s on in April

After a long and sweaty Summer, the cooler months of Autumn are a welcome relief. However, it is also a good time to get out and enjoy the outdoors before the chill of Winter sets in and we all become homebodies. These events that will make you realise April is a great time of year for activities.

Newcastle

WHAT: Newcastle Beer Fest
WHEN: Saturday 7 April 2018
WHERE: Camp Shortland near Nobby’s Beach
INFO: Click here

Hunter Valley

WHAT: A little bit of Italy in Broke
WHEN: Saturday 7 & Sunday 8 April 2018
WHERE: Broke
INFO: Click here

WHAT: Cessnock STOMP Festival
WHEN: Sunday 8 April 2018
WHERE: Cessnock
INFO: Click here

Sydney

WHAT: Sydney Comedy Festival
WHEN: 23 April – 20 May 2018
WHERE: Different venues throughout Sydney
INFO: Click here

WHAT: Sydney Racing Carnival
WHEN: Saturday 7th, 14th & 21st April 2018
WHERE: Randwick Racecourse
INFO: Click here

WHAT: Classic & Wooden Boat Festival
WHEN: Friday 13 – Sunday 15 April 2018
WHERE: Australian National Maritime Museum
INFO: Click here

South Coast/Southern Highlands

WHAT: Grapest 5K Run
WHEN: Saturday 7 April 2018
WHERE: Crooked River Wines Gerringong
INFO: Click here

WHAT: Thirroul Seaside & Arts Festival
WHEN: Friday 6, SAturady 7 & Sunday 8 April 2018
WHERE: Station Street Thirroul
INFO: Click here

WHAT: KISS Arts Festival
WHEN: Friday 17 – Sunday 29 April 2018
WHERE: Kiama Harbour
INFO: Click here

Venue Spotlight – The Retreat Wisemans Ferry

The Retreat is a tranquil haven, nestled on 50 acres of the banks of the Hawkesbury River in the Rustic Village of Wisemans Ferry.

The Retreat is situated approximately 60km North-West of Sydney CBD which is easily accessible, yet sufficiently far away from the office. 54 well appointed rooms with King or Queen size beds. All rooms are available in single or twin share occupancy and we can accommodation up to 110 guests.

The Retreat offers a highly personalised service with the flexibility to meet your individual requirements.

Conference Capacity: 5 Conference Rooms for 2 to 80 Guests

Number of Accommodation Rooms: 54

Contact the Conference Team to discuss your next conference:
Website
Email
Phone: 02 4566 4422

Take 5 With Pinnacle – Tony

If you’ve ever wondered what makes a Pinnacle Team Events facilitator tick then you have come to the right place! Each month we will be taking 5 minutes to chat with each of our facilitators about their lives both inside and outside of work.

What I love about being a Pinnacle Facilitator:
Seeing different beautiful locations

My favourite Pinnacle team event to facilitate:
Trivia nights

Most embarrassing moment as a Pinnacle facilitator:
A 50+ year old lactating mother fill a glass with her own breast milk and then drink it in front of the entire group during a games night

My favourite hobbies are:
Windsurfing, Mountain biking, playing guitar
What I’m listening to at the moment/podcast recommendation:
Joe Rogan Experience

What was the last book you read?:
Tribe (non-fiction) by Sebastian Junger
Favourite holiday?:
NZ Mountain biking

Have you ever had a nickname?:
Fanny – (Antony- Anthony-Anfany-Fanny)

I am frightened by _____:
Regrets

Favourite movie of all time:
ATM –  Man on Fire but Donny Darko is up there all time

First concert I went to:
Spy versus Spy at Penrith Leagues Club

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?:
I love where I live but if I had to move probably Bay of Islands in NZ

What makes you angry:
Laziness (often my own), lack of consideration of others, lack of empathy towards others

What makes you laugh the most:
Life, Bill Burr

What song would you sing at karaoke night?:
Faith No More – Midlife Crisis

Travel Tips – Northern Italy

Lake Como
Arguably one of the most beautiful & famous areas in Italy. Hop in a boat or take the Brunate funicular to enjoy the view of this majestic lake.

Milan
One of Italy’s largest cities renowned for it’s food, culture, architecture and (of course) shopping! The gothic Duomo is a must see!

Cinque Terre
Possibly my most favourite place in the world! The Cinque Terre has it all: delicious food, beautiful hiking trails and all the houses are a sea of colour against the backdrop of the Ligurian sea! The region is famous for being the birthplace of Pesto – so make sure you order a pesto pasta. 

Bologna
Home of the delicious Bolognese sauce, beautiful baroque/gothic architecture. Make sure you walk up the two towers of Bologna (stay anywhere close to this area) for the most amazing view of the city. And as always, eat lots of pasta!

Verona
Such a beautiful city! Made famous by Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, Verona has a wonderful amount of charming piazza’s & squares to explore. Make the small hike up to Piazzale Castel San Pietro for the most beautiful view of the city.

Venice
It is nice to just walk around the canals & alleys & look in the many shops. Try & book your accommodation close to Piazza San Marco or the Rialto Bridge, it is easy to get lost but do not worry – Venice isn’t too big. Venice isn’t particularly known for its food & it is very touristy. Try not to spend more than 10/12EUR max on a pasta at a restaurant. Visit the island of Murano (famous for its glass) or Burano.

Trains in Italy do not always run on time but they are very fast & the easiest way to get from place to place. Book tickets through www.italiarail.com or www.trenitalia.com
When you’re hiring a car make sure you check out: http://www.travelsupermarket.com

What’s on in March

There are still plenty of Summery events happening throughout the first month of Autumn, from St Patrick’s Day & Easter celebrations to the Mardi Gras Parade in Sydney. Make the most out of the last month of daylight savings with these fun filled events:

Newcastle

WHAT: Beaumont Street Carnivale
WHEN: Sunday 11 March 2018
WHERE: Beaumont Street
INFO: Click here

Hunter Valley

WHAT: Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival
WHEN: Fri 23 – Sun 25 March 2018
WHERE: 199 Lang St Kurri Kurri
INFO: Click here

WHAT: St Patrick’s Day at Harrigan’s
WHEN: Saturday 17 – Sunday 18 March 2018
WHERE: Harrigan’s Irish Pub
INFO: Click here

WHAT: Picnic in the Vines
WHEN: Saturday 24 March 2018
WHERE: Tallavera Grove
INFO: Click here

Sydney

WHAT: Sydney Royal Easter Show
WHEN: Friday 23 – Saturday 31 March 2018
WHERE: Sydney Showground
INFO: Click here

WHAT: Mardi Gras Parade
WHEN: Saturday 3 March 2018
WHERE: Sydney CBD
INFO: Click here

WHAT: St Patrick’s Day
WHEN: Sunday 18 March 2018
WHERE: The Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park
INFO: Click here

Southern Highlands

WHAT: Burrawang Easter Market
WHEN: Saturday 31 March 2018
WHERE: Burrawang
INFO: Click here

WHAT: Thirlmere Festival of Steam
WHEN: Saturday 3 & Sunday 4 March 2018
WHERE: Thirlmere
INFO: Click here

 Canberra

WHAT: Balloon Spectacular
WHEN: Saturday 10 – Sunday 18 March
WHERE: Old Parliament House
INFO: Click here

Venue Spotlight – Crowne Plaza Terrigal

An award-winning hotel in a beautiful beachside location just 90 minutes drive north of Sydney, Crowne Plaza Terrigal is the ultimate venue for your next meeting, conference or event.

Leave the boardroom behind and achieve more productive meeting outcomes as delegates draw inspiration from the relaxed coastal setting.

Our highly experienced and professional team thinks outside the square to create a unique event that will ‘wow’ your guests. We offer a variety of modern and versatile spaces (all with state-of-the-art audio visual equipment and technical support), including our 350-guest capacity Grand Ballroom and chic Lord Ashley Lounge.

And should you or your delegates choose to stay overnight with us, you won’t be disappointed. Your room is an inviting, tranquil haven with all the creature comforts – just the way you like it. Plus, you’ll have your own private balcony where you can enjoy your morning coffee or afternoon drinks while you soak up the captivating ocean views and sea breezes.

A beautiful coastal setting with all the expertise and experience you need to make your next event a success, Crowne Plaza Terrigal is the ultimate venue for your meeting or conference.

Conference Capacity: 600 guests

Number of Accommodation Rooms: 199

Special/Unique Venue Features:

The Haven Terrace – Two of the Central Coast’s well-known attractions, The Haven and The Skillion, provide an inspiring setting for our Haven Terrace. Enjoy the open air and the fresh sea breeze out on this private courtyard

-Lord Ashley Fireplace – Exuding refined elegance and offering views across Terrigal Beach and The Haven, Lord Ashley is perfect for hosting small to medium sized events.

The Pool Deck – The row of stately Norfolk Island pines that line the esplanade and Terrigal Beach provide a stunning backdrop for our Pool Deck.

Seaside Street Food Markets – For a unique experience in a unique space, you can’t go past our Seaside Street Food Markets. Based on our tremendously popular Greedy Guts Street Food Markets held once a month, this fun festival set-up creates a gourmet experience for your delegates without even having to leave the hotel

Private Use – Change the nature of spaces when you book the entire hotel for your own private use, the possibilities are endless.

Testimonials:

“Thanks again for the whole conference. The hotel including all staff have been outstanding, from Graeme downstairs, Jaylee, Julie, Adelie, Tim and David from Avestar and Alvaro and the team from Wednesday night and of course all the banquet staff – I can’t speak highly enough of them. Chef went above and beyond preparing our ceviche for afternoon tea from the mornings catch yesterday – it seems nothing is a problem! The group have had a great stay – mostly thanks to a fantastic hotel with exceptional staff. Thank you again. It further instils our confidence in this great hotel and hope we get to work and recommend the hotel again very soon to clients!”

Melisa | CTM Sales Conference

 “Our time away as a team was a great success because of the great work from you and your team. The venue was amazing. The service we received from first contact until now has been first class. The food was exceptional.”

Marc Romano | San Clemente High School

 

Contact the Conference Team to discuss your next conference:
Website
Email
Phone: 02 4384 9111

Take 5 With Pinnacle – Dan

If you’ve ever wondered what makes a Pinnacle Team Events facilitator tick then you have come to the right place! Each month we will be taking 5 minutes to chat with each of our facilitators about their lives both inside and outside of work.

Facilitator – Dan Beck

What I love about being a Pinnacle Facilitator:
I enjoy generally working outdoors as a facilitator and never doing the same job twice as all groups are different.

My favourite Pinnacle team event to facilitate:
My favourite event is Archery as I am a bit of a closet Robin Hood

Most embarrassing moment as a Pinnacle facilitator:
Sometimes getting lost is a bit embarrassing 

My favourite hobbies are:
Canoeing and kayaking are my favourite hobbies along with most outdoor pursuits

What I’m listening to at the moment/podcast recommendation:
I love listening to a BBC podcast called fighting talk which looks at premier League soccer from the UK.

What was the last book you read?:
The last book I read was My Friend Leonard by James Frey.

Favourite holiday?:
Favourite holiday is visiting family and friends back in Wales 

Have you ever had a nickname?:
No nickname sorry!
(However he is known by those in the Pinnacle Team as ‘Dangerous Dan’)

I am frightened by _____ :
Frightened by large needles.

Favourite movie of all time:
Favourite movie is probably The Good the bad and the ugly.

First concert I went to:
First concert was Iron Maiden circa 1990!

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?:
I really love living in Newcastle NSW 2nd choice may be Norway! 

What makes you angry:
What makes me angry is People who chuck cigarettes out of cars or on the Footpaths

What makes you laugh the most:
I always laugh at old Monty Python films

What song would you sing at karaoke night?:
Karaoke song always Wild Thing. 

Travel Tips – Northern Territory with Mitch

Earlier in 2017 my partner and I travelled to the Northern Territory for two weeks of road tripping with another couple. We hired a 4wd from Darwin and set our sights a few thousand kilometres away in The Kimberley, along the rough and spectacular Gibb River Road.

I had never been further north than the Sunshine Coast nor further west than Moree. I don’t think I was alone having not travelled much in my native country and when I arrived in Darwin it felt like I had left Australia and was in another place. Perhaps it was because of the time taken to get to Darwin or maybe because of the extreme difference in heat and humidity. Darwin itself is a thriving, relaxed low-rise city. The coastline is basically all beautiful green space that overlooks turquoise water and offers a relieving cool breeze. This is where we spent our first evening sitting on a picnic rug sipping beers and watching the sunset. Sadly, we could not venture into the inviting water for a dip for fear of saltwater crocodiles.

Our road trip first took us south to the Litchfield National Park and to the small town of Adelaide River. Both were great icons of Australian bush and hospitality as we swam in water holes and camped at a farm station. Adelaide River has a surprising history as a World War 2 airfield and we joined thousands of people from all over the NT who gathered there for ANZAC Day.

We then headed south and west, for about 15 hours to the junction town of Kununurra. Here is one on of the best Aboriginal Art Galleries in the country and we spent many hours looking through amazing paintings from local artists. The landscape that surrounds Kununurra is nothing like I have ever seen, particularly on the east coast of Australia, or “where the sun comes up” as a few locals referred to it as.

We ventured south to the Purnululu National Park and started an overnight hike through the most amazing rock and valley formations that I have ever seen or imagined, called the Bungle Bungles. We walked for six hours into a valley that was created entirely from bee-hive like sandstone mounds that swept up the valley walls for hundreds of meters and filled your view in every direction. The whole time we walked, we saw no other people and camped on the sand next to a waterhole where it seemed as though you could see every star in the sky. I don’t think I have ever been somewhere quite so remote, so wild or so spectacular.

We reached the Gibb River Road 9 days after leaving Darwin (a few of those days filled with simply driving!) and enjoyed four relaxing days at an enormous station called El Questro. This station is used in the wet season as a working farm with thousands of cattle and as a tourist hub in the dry. We were lucky enough to arrive not long after the rain had subsided and so enjoyed many beautiful waterfalls amidst red rock valleys. There are also a number of running rivers where we tried our best to catch Barramundi – with no luck. The scenery was incredible and totally foreign to the Australian landscape familiar to me. I cannot wait to go back!

What’s On in February

Although the end of February also signals the end of summer, there is plenty happening throughout the second month of the year including Chinese New Year, Valentines Day and even and Undies Run (all in the name of charity of course) PLUS many more.

Newcastle

WHAT: Newcastle Lantern Walk
WHEN: Saturday 24 February 2018
WHERE: Honeysuckle Newcastle
INFO: https://www.lightupnewcastle.com.au/

Hunter Valley

WHAT: A Match with McGuigan
WHEN: Saturday 17 February 2018
WHERE: Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley
INFO: https://www.crowneplazahuntervalley.com.au/match-with-mcguigan

Sydney

WHAT: Lunar Lanterns
WHEN: 16 – 25 February 2018
WHERE: Circular Quay
INFO: https://whatson.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/posts/lunar-lanterns

WHAT: Valentine’s Day at Sydney Observatory
WHEN: Wednesday 14 February 2018
WHERE: Sydney Observatory
INFO: https://maas.museum/event/valentines-day-at-sydney-observatory-3/

WHAT: St George Open Air Cinema
WHEN: Various dates throughout February, check out their website for further info
WHERE: Fleet steps, Mrs Macquaries Point
INFO: http://www.stgeorgeopenair.com.au/

WHAT: Cupid’s Undies Run
WHEN: 18 February 2018
WHERE: Hyde Park
INFO: http://www.cupidsundierun.com.au/cities/sydney/ 

Blue Mountains

WHAT: The Roaring 20s Festival
WHEN: 2 – 25 February 2018
WHERE: Hydro Majestic Hotel
INFO: http://roaring20s.com.au/

Bowral

WHAT: The Mill Street Feast
WHEN: 16 February 2018
WHERE: The Mill
INFO: http://themillbowral.com.au/