Top conference add-on experiences in Melbourne

Read up on some of the best experiences that are sure to spice up your annual conference in the culture capital.

Melbourne welcomed a record-breaking 229 business events last year, with 136,000 new visitors expected to spend time exploring Australia’s international capital of culture. In recent years, Melbourne and regional Victoria have managed to attract an increasing number of business events from both within Australia and across the globe.

With the massive expansion of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) in mid-2018 and the ever-growing list of things for delegates to see and do in the city, it’s no surprise that visitor numbers are skyrocketing.

As a result of its success, EAs looking for experiences alongside their company conference in Melbourne are spoilt for choice. To help you decide what to add to your run sheet, we’ve taken a look at some of the best experiences the Victorian capital has on offer for conference-goers.

A sunrise balloon flight over the city

Help your delegates get the lay of the land—literally—with a hot air balloon flight over Melbourne at sunrise. The team at Global Ballooning Australia have crafted a pre-dawn experience that is the perfect way to help boost your guests’ imaginations.

The hour-long ride weaves through Melbourne’s skyline giving your delegates a birds-eye view of a waking city, while they bathe in the light of a picturesque sunrise. Sounds a little better than waking up to a blaring alarm and getting straight into the nitty-gritty of a conference, right?

Laneway street art tour

If you’re looking to give your conference an artistic touch, the writing is on the wall. While nearly anyone who has visited Melbourne has seen the famous graffiti laneways, there’s something special about learning the stories behind the art.

There are numerous tours you can take but if you really want the genuine experience, then the guys at Blender Studios are the go-to. They are the only street art tour company that hires practicing Melbourne street artists as guides—so you can hear it directly from the real deal. Plus, they’ve got the inside scoop on the culture, politics and practice that make the famous laneways so iconic.

Get scientific

Challenge your delegates’ minds with a trip to Melbourne’s famous Scienceworks. When it opened in 1992, the centre was designed for young people and kids to get a hands-on experience with science. Nearly three decades later Scienceworks has become a place for visitors of all ages.

Scienceworks is a maze of interactive science exhibits and activities, home to the giant machines that used to run the city, a lightning theatre and a deep space planetarium. A trip to Scienceworks is a great way to spark delegates’ creativity the day before a conference, or to get your guests to bond over a shared scientific discovery.

Give your event some horsepower

A unique modern, event and entertainment complex Tabcorp Park operates seven days a week, just 40 minutes west of the Melbourne CBD. Memorable facilities include extensive conference and events spaces, free car parking for over 1000 vehicles, a 41 room four-star hotel on-site and a state of the art Harness Racing track.

Whether you’re planning a small intimate luncheon, a multi-day function for 300 or a glamorous banquet for 500, we offer experience and flexibility to bring your ideas to life.

You’re spoilt for choice with several function rooms, all with an abundance of natural light, internal and external exhibition space and magnificent views across the harness racetrack panorama

All our inspired menus are seasonal and can be created to compliment your function or event.

Coupled with our professionalism, renowned service and extensive audiovisual equipment we will ensure your individual needs are met and success is the lasting impression.

If you are looking for a venue with loads of entertainment options nearby—including Eynesbury Golf course, wineries, paintball, attractions and much more—with horsepower, close to Melbourne that is different to the city options, then Tabcorp Park has it all.

Take a cruise down the Yarra River

If a hot-air balloon trip gets your stomach churning then fear not, you can get a view of Melbourne from a more comfortable altitude. The iconic Yarra River’s twists and turns through the city offer a fantastic perspective on the Victorian capital.

A tour down the river is a cost-effective and relaxing experience, as the current takes your delegates by some of the city’s most distinctive landmarks, such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Rod Laver Arena and the Royal Botanic Gardens. There are river tours of all shapes and sizes, from fully catered cruises to invigorating early-morning kayak trips.

Go bush (just a bit)

Victoria is home to some of Australia’s most stunning bushland and rural experiences, all within reach of Melbourne thanks to the state’s fantastic train network. But for those looking to keep all their activities in one place, you can still give your delegates a rural experience without sending them hours out of town.

The Dandenong Ranges are situated just outside of Melbourne and offer a bush experience without the travel time. The gorgeous mountain range is a popular spot for bushwalkers, birdwatchers, mountain bikers and wedding parties alike. With activities for every type of group, The Dandenong is a must-see for the outdoorsy delegates—plus, who could go past a ride through the bush in a fully-functioning steam train called ‘Puffing Billy’?

Bring your vision to life in Victoria Pavilion

Plan your next event at Melbourne’s newest, most dynamic event space. Conveniently located just seven kilometres from the Melbourne CBD, Victoria Pavilion offers the flexibility to host any event from awards presentations, gala dinners and cocktail functions through to tradeshows, conferences and exhibitions.

Opportunities to activate are limitless in this stunningly modern venue, featuring a pillar-less 1,920 square metre event space, complete with state-of-the-art sound and lighting. The venue also boasts a 595 square metre naturally lit atrium accented by exposed timber beams that will undoubtedly impress your guests on arrival.

Completing the package at Victoria Pavilion are the food and beverage offerings, designed to showcase the best produce Australia has to offer. Led by Executive Chef, Neil Rocke, the team behind the Australian Food Awards are committed to delivering tailored premium dining experiences to complement any event.

Let us bring your vision to life. Our friendly, professional and dedicated team will be on hand to create an unforgettable event.

Shopaholic’s dream

Melbourne’s sense of style doesn’t stop at the street art. An observant visitor will spot that a good number of people living in the culture capital look pretty sharp, too. Fine cut jackets and stylish shoes have become a cornerstone of Melbourne’s identity, naming it one of the fashion capitals of the world.

If you want your delegates to feel a part of the dapper crowd, then you’re in luck. The southern hemisphere’s largest shopping centre is just around the corner. Chadstone, the ‘fashion capital’, is home to more than 550 stores and 85 luxury brands that are sure to help your guests sharpen their look. The centre caters specifically for corporate groups with goodie-bags and a ‘passport’ packed with exclusive deals.

More Aussie art than anywhere else

Melbourne is home to more than 100 art galleries and with a mix of independently owned hole-in-the-wall studios and expansive art museums, the city is a haven for all things art. If your conference-goers are the arty type, or you think they could use some creative inspiration, then look no further than the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia.

The gallery has more home-grown and indigenous art on display than anywhere else on the planet. More than 20,000 works call the Ian Potter Centre home, and up to 800 are on display at any one time. It’s the perfect place for guests—particularly international delegates—to experience the full breadth and depth of Aussie art. Also, general admissions are completely free.

A spooky step back in time

Melbourne’s ‘most feared place’ since 1845, the Old Melbourne Gaol, runs tours of the now-retired prison, featuring visits to the cells that held some of Australia’s most notable criminals—including one Ned Kelly.

The gaol is conveniently located just two minutes’ walk from Melbourne Central Station, so a quick tour can be squeezed in to break up a day of conferencing with ease. The goal also offers night-tours and interactive experiences, so you can add a spooky evening to the end of a day’s networking to really seal your delegates’ connections.

With over 4,300 hotel rooms available, free tram travel in the CBD and a huge number of conference venue options available, Melbourne is a conference organiser’s dream. But the icing on Melbourne’s conferencing cake are the experiences it has on offer for delegates. The few listed here are just a taste of the many adventures in the city. Scratch the surface a bit more and you’ll find something for conferences of any shape or size; in the culture capital the only limit to your event is your imagination.