21 Nov 2023

17 Unique Venues for a Spectacular Sydney Event

Articles
Artist render of guests interacting at The Cutaway, a unique below-ground concrete and sandstone space at Barangaroo

Sydney is an aspirational destination for conference and incentive programs and the city’s reputation precedes your arrival. The people are friendly, the city is easy to get around, Sydney Harbour is stunning by day and by night and year-round the climate is inviting.

When you are planning your conference or incentive program, Sydney offers many unique venues located on the water, overlooking the gardens or harbour, on an island, surrounded by arts, culture and history, heritage-listed and built for size. Explore a selection of venues that provide a spectacular space for less than 100 guests to more than 4,000 - Sydney has a unique event space for your unforgettable event.

On the water

The Jackson cruise boat

The Jackson

Host your guests on an unforgettable event when you book exclusive use of luxury super yacht, The Jackson. With capacity for 650 guests, The Jackson offers three expansive decks lined with floor to ceiling windows that showcase Sydney Harbour while you enjoy five star hospitality for your gala or cocktail event.

The sophisticated main deck offers capacity for 225 guests for dinner or 300 for a cocktail event as well as direct access to the front deck. Above, the rooftop bar has an opening roof to let in the sea breeze, sunlight or starlight as well as an outdoor deck, and offers capacity for 75 guests for cocktails. On the mid deck, guests can also take in the views of Sydney’s natural harbour from two decks at the bow and stern of the vessel, while enjoying dinner for 75 guests or 150 guests for a cocktail event.

Dine on premium local produce from a menu tailored for your event, matched with a curated selection of beverages. Depart from Kings Street Wharf on Darling Harbour for an unparalleled event on spectacular Sydney Harbour. 

On an island

Fort Denison with Sydney skyscape in background

Fort Denison - Muddawahnyuh

Fort Denison is located on a small harbour island in the centre of Sydney Harbour just a stone's throw from the Botanic Gardens. A coveted location for events for its proximity to the city centre and 360° views of the harbour - an exclusive event here will impress your delegates and guests. Accessed by the water, guests will alight onto the newly developed jetty to experience a heritage site with modern facilities.

Sydney hospitality group, The Point are developing Fort Denison Dining, a world class venue comprising a dining room, bar and wine room, along with three exhibition rooms in the historic barracks building. The dining offering will be helmed by culinary director Joel Bickford, whose impressive resume includes four years as executive directive at Aria. Slated to open in early 2024, this unique harbour venue is one to watch for.

On Sydney Harbour

Sydney Opera House Function Centre Credit: Daniel Boud

Sydney Opera House

There is no other building in the world like the Sydney Opera House. Its stunning presence on Sydney Harbour is revered the world over. Inside, there are multiple venues available for business and corporate events, each offering incredible views of Sydney Harbour. With multiple options from hosting meetings to cocktail events or gala dinners, flexible floor plans offer capacity for groups to come together in celebration.

Imagine a dinner for 500 guests, or cocktails for 1000 in the world class Concert Hall. Set over three levels with a private balcony, picture sunset views behind the Sydney Harbour Bridge while the city lights start to twinkle as darkness falls. Think grandeur, it's indeed breathtaking. Similarly, the Joan Sutherland Theatre offers capacity for 200 guests seated or 700 for cocktails with a private entrance and full harbour views. These venues are at the pinnacle of Sydney’s unique venue offerings, bookable with consideration to performance schedules, to create a most spectacular event. Sydney event group Trippas White will design your event, menus and wine lists, showcasing the best of Australian produce.

Exterior photo of an event held at Watersedge at Campbell's Stores Credit: Watersedge at Campbell Stores

Watersedge at Campbell’s Stores

Beside Sydney Harbour, oozing history and heritage, Watersedge at Campbell’s Stores is a uniquely Sydney venue. Located between the Overseas Passenger Terminal and the Park Hyatt Hotel, this special three-storey venue offers an innovative event space with views over Sydney Harbour, including the nearby Sydney Harbour Bridge and across the water to Sydney Opera House. The venue can be booked exclusively for up to 5000 guests.

Guests can mingle over cocktails on the ground level terrace year-round and levels 1 and 2 can be dressed for your theme to create welcoming indoor spaces, complete with grazing food stations and bars throughout. For a banquet or gala dinner the second level function rooms can be booked for 600 people seated for dinner; while the whole venue has capacity for 1400-1600 seated. This flexible space offers a range of options for a spectacular event.

Artist render of guests interacting at The Cutaway, a unique below-ground concrete and sandstone space at Barangaroo Credit: Infrastructure NSW

Barangaroo

Standing out on the city skyline at the northern end of Darling Harbour, Barangaroo offers fabulous water views from its extensive lawns. Here, Barangaroo Reserve is home to a natural underground cutaway that has served for several years as an open air event space. Aptly named, the Cutaway is currently under development to elevate this incredible site to a multi purpose space, graced by carved sandstone on one side. Spanning three levels, the new facility within the Cutaway will include event and gallery spaces, a dedicated First Nations education space, a cafe and some retail services.

From 2023 to 2025 early designs from architects FJMT studio reveal tall elegant palm frond-like columns. As part of Barangaroo, the Cutaway will celebrate Sydney and New South Wales’ rich First Nation history and culture, making it a place for people to gather and connect. The new fitout of the space is expected to be finished by the end of 2023. It’s an event space to keep watch for.

National Maritime Museum Foot Bridge Dinner Credit: Australian National Maritime Museum

Australian National Maritime Museum 

Located on Sydney Harbour, a short walk from the International Convention Centre Sydney and nearby accommodation, the Australian National Maritime Museum offers 11 unique event venues. Starting at the top, the Ben Lexcen Terrace is a spacious rooftop event space, boasting city skyline and water views. Offering both an open air and covered venue to make the most of Sydney’s climate, host a banquet here for 270 guests or 400 guests for a cocktail event.

Adjacent, the Lighthouse Gallery with its 13 metre (43ft) windows and views over the museum’s fleet has capacity for 250 guests dining and 400 for cocktails and can be hired with the terrace to create a larger venue. A unique location for the warmer months, get onboard the HMAS Vampire, a retired Royal Australian Navy vessel, offering a spectacular venue on its upper deck and helipad. The al fresco setting immerses guests in spectacular sunsets with water and city views. Host a dinner for 50 guests or cocktails for 120 here. The museum precinct is a unique location offering opportunity to wow guests with a memorable event.

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Surrounded by art, cultural and history

Australian Museum networking drinks function

The Australian Museum

On the edge of Hyde Park and the city centre, the Australian Museum offers unique spaces for events, set amongst the prehistoric history and mammoth exhibitions. Choose from a range of curated galleries and event spaces suitable for banquets, corporate cocktails, meetings and presentations. Add wow to your event under the skeleton of a 150-year old sperm whale and surrounded by 400 specimens of the earth’s biodiversity in Wild Planet, where you can host a banquet for 80 guests or cocktails for 200.

The original museum, the Westpac Long Gallery, boasts high vaulted ceilings, a mezzanine and heritage staircase and specimen cases showcasing 200 of the museum's treasures. Banquet here for 90 guests. Hold a cocktail event for 150 or host a cocktail function for 230 guests surrounded by the wonder of dinosaurs, including 10 skeletons or dazzle 150 guests in amongst a display of 1800 of the earth and space’s sparkling gems and rocks. These spaces and the stylish Hintze Hall with its sandstone walls and Australian Blackbutt floors offer uniquely Sydney venues for your event. 

State Theatre Sydney Foyer Credit: State Theatre

The State Theatre

Setting the scene for a truly spectacular venue, the State Theatre is located in the middle of the city centre. Roll out the red carpet to stage a presentation event for up to 2000 guests in the auditorium or hold a cocktail function for up to 250 guests in the theatre’s stunning foyers followed by a sit down dinner on the stage.

Host cocktails on the Juliet balcony for 120 guests before you sit down for dinner under the grand dome of the General Assembly. Wherever your event is held in the State Theatre, it will be a glittering success. Built between 1927 and opening in 1929, the theatre’s heritage-listed Gothic and French Empire historic style creates a rich sophistication and breathtaking opulence from the entrance and throughout. In a modern global city, the State Theatre is a unique venue, where the interior takes the centre stage.

Sydney Town Hall

In the heart of the city centre, Sydney Town Hall stakes its claim as the largest and most ornate late 19th century civic building in Australia. Heritage-listed, its decorative interiors are opulent high Victorian, rich in the grandeur of times past while offering state of the art facilities.

The ornate Centennial Hall, adorned with 21 stained glass windows featuring Australian flora, Tasmanian Blackwood and Tallowwood floor, offers the largest capacity for up to 800 guests seated for dinner, 1500 for cocktails or for presentations the venues can seat 2000 theatre style.

The 25 metre (82 foot) Grand Organ pipes create a stunning backdrop, while overhead the ornate ceiling is met by 12 giant marbled pillars. The Vestibule offers a pre-function area for pre-dinner drinks and canapés. This is truly a uniquely Sydney venue. Below, the Lower Town Hall offers space for 450 guests dining, or 800 for cocktails or theatre style seating for presentations, with its own dedicated entrance and foyer. For smaller groups of up to 370, consider the Marconi room and Southern Function Room with adjoining terrace for outdoor space.

Event setup at Hyde Park Barracks

Hyde Park Barracks

For a unique experience in an historic site, think no further than the heritage listed Hyde Park Barracks. Event planners can secure a uniquely Sydney venue for 300 guests seated or 500 for cocktails, with larger guest numbers upon application.

Located in Sydney’s historic precinct on Macquarie Street, opposite Hyde Park in the city centre, guests enter via the striking iron gatehouse to the courtyard where a tasteful marquee is set up for your event. The backdrop is the colonial and convict era sandstone barracks - built to house convicts in the early 19th century and awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. The Georgian-style building was designed by convict architect Francis Greenway, and offers a unique setting and palpable living museum of Sydney’s settlement history.  

Parliament House Of NSW Strangers Room corporate meeting room setup Credit: Parliament Hosue of NSW

Parliament House of New South Wales

Built as the first hospital in the settlement of Sydney before it evolved to become home of the NSW Parliament which it is still today, this historic building offers 11 venues. The largest is the Strangers’ Room, with capacity for 300 seated for dinner and 600 for a cocktail event.

Overlooking verdant gardens from floor to ceiling windows, the room can also be set up for 252 guests for a presentation or seminar. Add capacity with the adjacent Fountain Court which can seat 100 for dinner or host 200 for cocktails or pre-dinner drinks. There are smaller rooms available for more intimate group events. Consider the Jubilee Room, the elegant heritage-listed library for a banquet for 50 guests or cocktails for 90 guests standing.

In the gardens

The Calyx at Royal Botanic Garden Sydney Credit: Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

The Calyx

Located in Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens is a unique venue with a stunning backdrop of more than 20,000 plants. On approach, you will be greeted by an elegant circular steel structure that stands out by day or by night when it is lit up with coloured lights. Inside, a retractable wall opens to reveal the stunning arc greenhouse exhibition space, adorned with the largest vertical garden in the Southern Hemisphere.

Currently the theme of the display is ‘Love Your Nature’ which will be in place until June 2024, at which time it will be replaced with another impressive horticultural exhibition. The Calyx offers a blend of outdoor and indoor space. Outdoor, a circular terrace complete with a moat and small island sets the scene for enjoying Sydney’s balmy evenings from spring (October) to autumn (April). Inside, the foyer and functions space combine with the exhibition space for seated dining for up to 180 guests, or host a cocktail event for 400 guests. Overlooking the Botanic Gardens sweeping down to Sydney Harbour, the Calyx is a uniquely flexible space for events.

Taronga Zoo 

Just a short trip across Sydney Harbour is the beautiful setting for Sydney’s Taronga Zoo. The panoramic views across Sydney Harbour back to the city set the scene for a fabulous outdoor event on the Concert Lawn, where up to 3,000 guests can meet and mingle, enjoy cocktails and canapés. Consider a marquee for 350 guests for a gala dinner.

Sunset views will add a natural backdrop for an unforgettable scene for your delegates and guests. Taronga Zoo has a range of lawn area for large events and also offers indoor venues such as the Gili Rooftop for dinners for up to 150 guests. Sydney’s temperate climate makes outdoor events a possibility from spring (October) through to autumn (April).

When size matters

Carriageworks

The largest multi-arts venue in Australia, Carriageworks offers an eclectic mix of 12 versatile event spaces. Located in the re-developed heritage site of Eveleigh Railway Workshops just three kilometres (two miles) south of the city centre, Carriageworks is a unique venue that can accommodate bespoke events such as large-scale conferences, cocktail parties and gala dinners for up to 1,500 guests.

Choose from contemporary, industrial style spaces with heritage elements offering event planners a blank canvas upon which to design an exclusive VIP event for your delegates. Think soaring apex ceilings, distressed brick walls, concrete floors, huge barn doors and archways. Host to annual events such as Australian Fashion Week, Sydney Festival and Vivid, Carriageworks offers a unique venue for an impressive event.

Randwick Winx Stand venue entrance Credit: Paul McMillan

Winx Stand – Randwick Racecourse 

Just 10-minutes’ drive from the city centre at Randwick Racecourse, the WINX Stand is Sydney’s newest large-scale venue. The WINX offers flexible function spaces for conferences and events over two levels, opening to an outdoor space on and an open-air rooftop. The ground floor offers up to two individual spaces with a capacity for 3,000 standing for a cocktail event or 1850 seated for dinner. On Level 1, an open-air terrace sits between two function spaces each with a capacity of 500 standing or 400 seated for dinner.

Book exclusive use of the entire venue for 4,000 guests standing. For larger events, there is an option to connect to the adjacent Queen Elizabeth ll stand for a full venue takeover. With state-of-the-art technology and connectivity to 80 screens, this  venue is perfect for a spectacular gala event. WINX stand has made its mark on the events industry, rewarded recently when it was shortlisted as a National Nominee for ‘Venue of the Year’ at the prestigious Australian Event Awards.

Sydney Showground

Located in the geographic heart of Sydney’s metropolis, at the site that hosted the 2000 Sydney Olympics, is the Sydney Showground. When size matters, it’s not surprising the Sydney Showground was the winner of the Event Venue – Capacity more than 1,000 category at the recent Meetings & Events Australia awards. Consider the Dome for a gala event. This unique timber structure is the largest of its type in the Southern Hemisphere.

Think capacity for 4,000 guests seated for dinner or 6,000 for a cocktail event, or up to 7,000 delegates can be hosted theatre style for presentations. Adjacent, Exhibition Halls 2,3,4 offer a combined capacity of 7,400 guests seated for dinner or standing for cocktails. These can be added to the Dome to create a venue for a gala dinner for 11,000 guests. Likewise, each can be divided for individual use for 2,200 -2,600 guests for dinner or cocktail events.

Also on site, Exhibition Halls 5 and 6 offer a combined capacity of 6,390 seated for dinner or a cocktail event for 10,740 guests. These can also be combined with the Dome and Exhibition Halls 2,3 and 4 for a total space of 30,000 sqm (322,917 sq.ft.). Each venue offers air-conditioned comfort, a pillarless space with immense ceiling heights of 4-8 metres complete with rigging, foyer areas and a blank canvas on which to bring your dream event to life.

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