24 Feb 2022

Top outdoor venues in Sydney for your next event

Guests enjoying networking drinks at Darling Harbour Rooftop Bar

Sydney has long been a premier destination for business events, with premium venues throughout the Sydney CBD and Greater Sydney. Not only can business event organisers enjoy an outdoor function space with a view, but the various spaces can be tailored to business events of any size and occasion, from intimate post-event dinners to large-scale networking or corporate functions. No matter what type of business event you’re planning, there’s an outdoor venue in Sydney to suit your unique needs and business goals.

ICC Sydney

In 2021, the International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) introduced a suite of outdoor networking packages to make the most of Sydney’s ideal climate and people’s keenness for events outside. ICC Sydney’s four outdoor packages offer event planners different themes – from rustic winery to a skydeck social club – and can be further boosted with add-ons including games, tai chi, massages, and meditation.

“Our new Connect Outdoors packages have come at a time of renewed demand for in-person connection and experiences,” says ICC Sydney CEO, Geoff Donaghy. “ICC Sydney recommends not only extending the length of networking opportunities to meet this desire, but enhancing them to elevate the attendee experience overall. The Connect Outdoors packages inspire organisers to reimagine networking breaks that take advantage of the venue’s ample open-air spaces including the Event Deck, balconies and foyers."

ICC Sydney’s largest outdoor space, the Event Deck, is 5,000m2 and can host up to 5,000 people.

Pier One Sydney Harbour

Pier One Sydney Harbour is known for its incredible location, myriad function rooms and world-class outdoor dining selection. But the venue’s crowning glory is unmistakably the Bridge Marquee function space.

Erected on a heritage pier in Sydney’s stunning arts and theatre district under the majestic arch of the Harbour Bridge, this outdoor function space can accommodate business events of up to 200 people within a glorious 8m x 21m marquee. Open to the elements yet equipped with ample heating and cooling options so it’s comfortable year-round, the marquee adjoins Pier One’s Bridge Room, so your attendees can access indoor areas if required.

The main benefit? Seamless indoor–outdoor flow. The Bridge Room is your ticket to a fully equipped hybrid and virtual meeting space supported by Marriott Bonvoy Events, which means your attendees can connect with colleagues and contacts from afar and hold productive business meetings or working sessions from the Marquee. After the business portion of the event is over, the team at Pier One will smooth the transition into the other activities that are on your agenda – whether it’s a beautifully styled sit-down dinner, post-event cocktails and networking with light canapes, or a panel discussion highlighting and problem-solving key industry issues.

Pier One also boasts a suite of other beautiful outdoor venue hire options suitable for smaller, more intimate corporate events. These include The Gantry Marquee and The Gantry Garden, which are incredible all-weather outdoor function spaces adjoining The Gantry restaurant’s dining room, ideal for up to 28 attendees, and the boutique offering Booths on the Pier, which caters to groups of up to 12 – perfect for treating your team or valued clientele to something special.

Taronga Zoo

With its alluring combination of incredible Sydney Harbour views and exotic animals, Taronga Zoo has long been a favourite for business event organisers. Taronga Zoo, formerly known as Taronga Centre, is a multi-venue function haven offering business event organisers a gamut of choices. And it’s only a 12-minute scenic ferry ride from Circular Quay in the Sydney CBD.

While the Dalang Ballroom is primarily an indoor function space, it also boasts a private wrap-around balcony with panoramic water views, and floor-to-ceiling doors can be left open during events. It holds up to 300 people in a theatre configuration and 350 for cocktail-style business events, making it perfect for anything from a high-end corporate soiree to an industry panel discussion with full audio-visual support.

Situated above the ballroom, N'galawa Terrace is a beautiful space offering business event organisers an ideal location for premium brand and product launches, or even national symposiums. Slightly smaller than the Dalang Ballroom, it can hold up to 200 attendees and boasts other benefits such as a greater amount of outdoor space and a birds-eye view of the zoo and Sydney Harbour.

The final primary outdoor function space offered by Epicure at Taronga Zoo is Gili Rooftop – a newly refurbished venue with a wrap-around outdoor space that opens directly onto a private penthouse-style terrace. Measuring 196 square metres, it offers three different configurations and capacities: 90 people for banquet, 150 people for cocktail and 100 people for a theatre configuration. Whatever event type and space best suits you, don’t forget to ask about incorporating an unforgettable outdoor experience into your program – so your delegates will leave with great memories of the event. The Sky Safari Cable Car and interactive Wild Ropes Challenge both make excellent additions to any business event, such as team building initiatives, corporate Christmas parties or personal development days, encouraging staff and clients to step out of their comfort zones and embrace creative problem solving against a stunning Sydney Harbour backdrop.

Doltone House Venue Collection & Catering

Doltone House Venue Collection & Catering offers venues in scenic locations spanning all over Greater Sydney. Doltone House is known for its award-winning venues and catering, including a green 6-Star rated venue and cooking school on Sydney Harbour, with indoor and outdoor function spaces ideal for business events in Pyrmont, Sydney CBD, Bossley Park and Sylvania Waters.

Anyone looking for an outdoor space on Sydney Harbour should consider the offering at Jones Bay Wharf, a unique heritage venue located on one of Sydney’s restored finger wharves in Pyrmont. A multi-space venue able to host business events of all sizes, it’s best suited for pre- or post-function cocktails, suave brand or product launches and high-end networking evenings. Business event organisers can choose between the Tribute Museum, which offers boutique business events a beautiful dining destination; Suite 55, which is a harbour-front boardroom with incredible indoor–outdoor flow and state-of-the-art technology; The Deck, a private elevated balcony overlooking the harbour, ideal for pre-event registration, brand activations and intimate conference breakouts; and the heritage wharf itself, upon which Doltone House’s incredible styling team can erect a marquee with full audio visual support.

Darling Island was recently voted the Best Sustainable Venue by Event Professionals. Located only minutes from the International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney), with a raft of outdoor spaces to choose from. Darling Island itself has capacity for up to 1,200 cocktail guests and a marquee can be erected on the wharf to protect attendees from the elements without obstructing the view. The Promenade is accessible by boat, for those business event organisers who want the extra wow factor and contains multiple outdoor dining and welcome options known for hosting high-end events for haute couture fashion brands such as Chanel. Both these areas are incredibly flexible, giving business event organisers the chance to create a unique experience in the heart of the Sydney CBD.

Both Jones Bay Wharf and Darling Island outdoor venues have been expertly adapted to hybrid business events as well, with the Doltone Digital team on hand to support and execute your vision in an engaging, interactive, and accessible way.

Australian National Maritime Museum

The Australian National Maritime Museum boasts outdoor space options with unique flair. From the newly renovated Ben Lexcen Terrace, which is already a favourite for pre-conference and welcome drinks due to its stunning outlook.

“A number of our venues are more designed for [business] social events,” explains Adam Sherar, the Museum’s Business Development Manager – Commercial Services & Fundraising. “The Ben Lexcen Terrace is our key venue that highlights our collection, the city and the water, and now we can host events there in all weather.”

With outdoor business events available at the Ben Lexcen Terrace, onboard a collection of the Museum’s incredible heritage vessels and at Ripples Waterside – an al fresco dining venue with spectacular food and views – organisers are spoilt for choice and can take time looking for a venue that suits their needs.

“For corporate Christmas parties or social events, most people are aware that you can do some different things with the Museum,” Adam adds. “For example, you can have drinks on the back of our destroyer, HMAS Vampire. Since [the International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) reopened] it’s propelled us to the front line of being a destination for offsite events for international conferences and business social events, like welcome and farewell parties.”

Mercure Sydney

Meetings at Mercure Sydney offer the height of style and convenience, being located just minutes away from Central Station in the Sydney CBD. But many business event organisers may not be aware that this state-of-the-art venue also offers two premier outdoor function spaces, each with its own unique benefits.

The Outdoor Terrace is the largest outdoor-only business event space at Mercure, and can be accessed through a reservable, undercover pre-function area, which can serve as a welcome space before guests are permitted out onto the terrace for the big reveal. The Outdoor Terrace can host 70 seated guests for a full sit-down event, or 150 guests for a corporate cocktail party, with various configurations and full audio-visual support available for those looking to create hybrid experiences or connect with other locations from afar. The view is also unparalleled, with an incredible outlook over the Sydney skyline, framed by the Harbour Bridge.

If a combined indoor-outdoor function space is more suited to your needs, you can combine the benefits of the Outdoor Terrace with the Grand Central or Town Hall function spaces. Each venue offers the potential for a truly bespoke event, combining the benefits of al-fresco dining and entertainment with the all-weather comfort of an indoor component with everything modern technology has to offer. The Grand Central venue can host up to 400 people, while Town Hall caters to 200. Both offer direct access to the stunning Outdoor Terrace.

The Winx Stand at Royal Randwick

The Australian Turf Club’s venues are destinations in every sense, where businesspeople come together year-round to create and experience great occasions. The Club has recently expanded their prestigious and versatile venues to include the WINX Stand, Sydney’s newest large-scale event space.

Named after the legendary mare who captivated the racing world, the Winx Stand has been open for business functions and events since late 2021.

Designed to offer the ultimate premium venue for business events of all kinds – from gala dinners to conferences to celebrations and parties, it boasts a multitude of flexible light-filled spaces that offer seamless indoor and outdoor flow.

The Gala Dinners function area can cater for over 1,800 guests and offers floor-to-ceiling doors and an adjoining balcony, so attendees can enjoy everything the outdoors have to offer.

The Conference space adjoins an incredible open-air rooftop, creating an energising environment for conferences. Be it for a multi-day seminar or single day planning session, conference breakouts or a pre-dinner cocktail party, the open-air rooftop of the Winx Stand has breathtaking views of the Eastern beaches that make it the ideal location for your conference. This new space can host over 3,500 conference attendees and has room for over 100 exhibition stalls.

“The Winx Stand is a really exciting multi-purpose venue for the Australian Turf Club,” adds Jimmy Busteed, General Manager, Hospitality Sales. “The indoor-outdoor flow and multitude of event spaces is really going to open up a range of opportunities for different functions at Royal Randwick. We are really looking forward to the grand opening and showcasing our amazing new space.”

Find out more about Royal Randwick for your next business event

Planar Bar & Restaurant

Nestled on the ground floor of the International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) with an incredible waterfront location, this delightful Darling Harbour venue can be configured to suit business events of all sizes. While the outdoor area with water views is undoubtedly appealing, what makes this venue special is its incredibly convenient location and beautiful styling, with designer finishes and furniture and lots of leafy green plants designed to make your corporate function feel like an oasis in the city.

The entire outdoor area is protected from the elements with state-of-the-art sun and rain protection, as well as heating and cooling, so you can be assured that your business event won’t be spoilt by inclement weather. The outdoor area adjoins the indoor seating with floor to ceiling retractable doors, creating flawless flow between the two function spaces, so business event organisers can hire the entire venue or just the outdoor space, without compromising on style or ambience. If the outdoor area, or a section of the outdoor area, is all that’s required, the team at Planar Bar & Restaurant use screens to make your space feel supremely private – perfect for intimate corporate dinners, project wrap parties and small networking gatherings.

Planar Bar & Restaurant also offers a variety of team-building activities and experiences that you can take part in while enjoying the outdoor function space. These Masterclasses are all hands-on and extremely entertaining, so you and your colleagues can make memories and forge deeper connections. Options include gin-tasting classes, cocktail-making classes, pizza and pasta-making classes and whisky appreciation classes. Whether you’re looking to create a branded signature cocktail for an upcoming function with input from your team, hold a fun experience as a reward or incentive for hard-working colleagues, or add an interactive element to a staff Christmas party, Planar Bar & Restaurant can help.

Large events can hire out the entire restaurant for up to 380 guests. Smaller business events have the option of booking half the restaurant exclusively for smaller, more intimate corporate gatherings, such as drinks receptions, large-party dining, product launches or networking events.

Four Points by Sheraton Central Park

Offering almost 6,000 square feet (about twice the area of a tennis court) of flexible indoor and outdoor spaces tailored to corporate functions, Four Points by Sheraton Central Park offers business event organisers modern finishes and amenities, with high-speed internet and innovative audio-visual facilities for those looking to hold a hybrid event. Situated in the heart of Sydney’s Central Park on Broadway, just a short walk from Central Station, its outdoor event venue offers the perfect opportunity for productive breakout meetings, welcome events, and post-conference cocktails.

The large and appealing Outdoor Terrace with stunning city views is situated off the designated meeting space zone inside the hotel, meaning organisers can benefit from both indoor and outdoor amenities. The space is accessible from several different meeting rooms of varying capacities and can be sectioned off to ensure your business event feels private and exclusive. Events are coordinated by the hotel’s dedicated team, with customised gourmet catering available on request.

Novotel Brighton Beach

If you’re looking for a venue that’s out of the Sydney CBD with space to move then consider Novotel Brighton Beach. Just 15 minutes from Sydney Airport with stunning water views over Botany Bay and 20 minutes from the CBD, Novotel Brighton Beach gives business event organisers a fresh perspective with a beautiful outdoor function space that can cater for up to 70 people. The hotel also offers secure onsite parking for business events, as well as meeting and conference facilities and high-speed internet access.

Pavillion Terrace, the hotel’s flagship outdoor business function space, is situated on the third floor of the hotel, on the coastal side of the hotel’s Baygarden Restaurant. Overlooking a cluster of serene Norfolk pines, the outlook is unmatched and provides business event organisers with a unique perspective in a location more accessible for attendees driving to the meeting from regional areas.

On Pavillion Terrace itself, business event organisers will love the versatile set up options, with banquet style seating available for up to 60, classroom seating for up to 36, theatre or cocktail set ups for up to 70 and cabaret set ups for up to 56 people. The versatility of the layout lends the unique space with attractive wooden floorboards to any number of different business event types, from working groups to Christmas parties, small-scale conferences, and after-event drinks. While the theatre set up is the perfect solution for those holding corporate award or presentation evenings.

The venue also offers permanent and attractive overhead cover, so attendees are protected from the elements. In the case of wild weather, removable inclement weather shields are easily unfurled to ensure business event guests stay warm and dry. The Pavillion Terrace is also separated from the rest of the hotel by permanent barriers, so your event will benefit from a private function space that’s inaccessible to other hotel guests.