Producers, Managers
and Convenors

Conference Planners Meet the Best of Darwin

A group of conference planners representing a diverse array of associations and organisations recently discovered for themselves why the multi award-winning Darwin Convention Centre and the Top End of the Northern Territory present such strong appeal for business events.

The annual ‘Meet Darwin’ gathering was an industry-led initiative, hosted by the team from the Darwin Convention Centre in partnership with NT Business Events.

The Convention Centre’s recent rebranding “Space to Think” and NT’s “Different in every sense for business events” were creatively showcased in every aspect of the four-day program.

The program commenced with a guided site tour of the expansive Centre, followed by business sessions and a ‘Meet the Market’ event with 15 local Darwin supplier companies.

A cultural theme prevailed throughout the program, enabling participants to forge a genuine connection with the Larrakia People, traditional landowners of the Darwin region. A ‘Welcome to Country’ ceremony conducted by The Youth Mill on arrival day set the scene, with the program also including the Convention Centre’s impressive Seven Seasons Dinner. A Larrakia Saltwater Ceremony at the Waterfront Lagoon and a bushfood-inspired breakfast presented by Karen Sheldon Catering at Parliament House were some of the meaningful elements.

The involvement of organisations such as The Youth Mill, Karen Sheldon Catering and the Royal Flying Doctor Service highlighted the ease with which business events staged in Darwin can incorporate a community and Corporate Social Responsibility focus.

The Youth Mill is a program development and facilitation service which provides young people with a range of up-skilling activities, from creative arts and recreation to the development of practical skills and employment pathways. Their memorable cultural presentations during ‘Meet Darwin’ also included a mesmerizing performance at the sumptuous ‘Seven Seasons Dinner’ hosted at the Darwin Convention Centre.

The Karen Sheldon Group is an award-winning caterer and registered training organisation renowned for its commitment to ‘Closing the Gap’ on Indigenous economic disadvantage by inspiring, training and mentoring Aboriginal job-seekers. In addition to enjoying the company’s cuisine, past conference groups have undertaken joint cooking classes at which delegates worked alongside the ‘Accelerated Aboriginal Cooks of Excellence’ apprentices to create special dishes.

“The Meet Darwin program was very impactful, especially for a medical conference, with so many relevant elements” commented Paula Rowntree, Head of Events & Experience with the Australian Psychological Society.

“For conferences of 250-400 pax, you can create enriching experiences, particularly around some of the changes we’ve seen post-Covid regarding how conferences should be developed. I believe Darwin can really set the scene for the rest of Australia on how conferences should look post-Covid by incorporating more experiential activity into a program. It’s definitely on my ‘hit list’ now.”

Other highlights of ‘Meet Darwin’ included the renowned Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, beautiful Litchfield National Park, the Royal Flying Doctor Service Tourist Facility, cruising on the harbour with Sea Darwin and coming face to face with some of the NT’s most unique residents at Crocosaurus Cove.

“The ‘Meet Darwin’ program that we jointly host with Northern Territory Business Events has always been one of our most successful initiatives and we were pleased to stage it again in 2022”, said Peter Savoff, General Manager of the Darwin Convention Centre.
“We confidently anticipate that this year’s outcomes will see a number of new association events heading to Darwin to meet in our Centre and enjoy everything that the NT has to offer.”

‘Meet Darwin’ participants were accommodated at the Adina Vibe Hotel which is located at the Darwin Waterfront Precinct, just a short and convenient stroll to the Convention Centre.

Darwin Convention Centre are a PCOA Business Partner.