Experience Great Barrier Reef at Night, Visit Historic Manors in Australia

Sunlover Reef Cruises
Sunlover Reef Cruises

Take an overnight tour of the Great Barrier Reef. Stay in a 137-year-old country manor. Visit one of Australia’s southeastern coastal resorts. All three experiences highlight Australia’s diversity, while offering something new for groups visiting the Land Down Under.

Sunlover Reef Cruises is now offering groups its Sunlover by Starlight tour. Attendees will stay overnight on Moore Reef Pontoon, located on the Great Barrier Reef about 26 nautical miles off the coast of Cairns. The excursion starts with a day visit to Moore Reef, where more than 10,000 fish and marine species live. Then, a small group up to 18 attendees can opt to continue their stay camping on a stable pontoon. Not only will attendees get to take in the reef at night—listening to sounds of the ocean waves, sea birds calling and nocturnal animals coming to life—they will get to gaze at the night sky. On board, attendees will be served fresh local food such as cheeses and fruits as well as a 3-course Australian barbecue dinner.

The 137-year-old Peppers Manor House is currently undergoing a $3.5 million upgrade. The 43 guest rooms in the historic Southern Highlands manor will still maintain their 1920s style while offering new 21st century technologies. Plus, the manor will feature a brand-new indoor-outdoor conference space up to 200 attendees. It, too, upholds the historic country vibe with a rustic wooden feature bar and large open-stone fireplace, while offering modern audiovisual equipment. To cater to year-round events, the outdoor space will be heated and opens out onto the gardens.

“We are really excited about this new venue, which will firmly place the Southern Highlands as a serious conferencing option and a premier function space for events and functions,” says Jesse Kornoff, the property’s general manager.

The Peppers Manor House guest rooms will be unveiled in September, while the event space is scheduled for completion in November. Other upgrades, including a new casual dining venue, reception area, lounge areas, pool and tennis courts, will debut in March 2016. In addition to the new event space, the manor offers four other venues, including The Stables, converted from the property’s former working stables.

Mantra Lorne, Lorne’s only beachfront resort in Victoria, recently upgraded its Heritage Ballroom. The historic ballroom, converted from the stables of the former Erskine House, now features new lighting, window treatments and furnishings in a space that can fit up to 350 attendees theater style. The Larder restaurant onsite also debuted a brand-new bar with new fireplaces and cozy nooks, ideal for networking. In total, the property offers 11 conference spaces. Situated on 16 acres of gardens, the property also offers several outdoor spaces for events as well as onsite activities such as bocce ball and miniature golf.