Essendon Fields has launched an exciting new tourism initiative encouraging visitors to rediscover the historical aviation precinct, which offers a range of retail and leisure attractions as well as scheduled or chartered flights to premium regional and international destinations.
The Fly, Shop, Play and Stay Essendon Fields Tourism offering is expected to attract a significant share of Melbourne’s international and domestic visitors, as the heritage-listed Essendon Airport Terminal undergoes a $20 million redevelopment to be completed early next year.
Located just 10km from Melbourne’s city centre via Melbourne Airport (6.5kms), Essendon Fields comprises more than 25 aviation and non-aviation operators, delivering dozens of unique experiences based at the precinct, as well as scheduled services to regional Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales, and chartered services within Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
Essendon Fields CEO Chris Cowan said the revitalised iconic airport featured diverse attractions to entice domestic and international visitors, including exciting outlet shopping, delicious food and great family entertainment.
“Essendon Fields has a very compelling tourism offering and our Fly, Shop, Play and Stay offer appeals not only to Melburnians but will also be high on the ‘must do in Melbourne’ list for domestic and international visitors from Greater China, Singapore, Indonesia, North America, Europe, UK and New Zealand. You can literally start at Essendon Fields and go anywhere,” Mr Cowan said.
“In addition to the retail and leisure attractions on the ground, visitors can explore regional Victoria, Tasmania & New South Wales with our scheduled services.
“They can take scenic flights over Melbourne, play golf on King Island, visit Australia’s most famous wineries or take in the magnificent views of The Great Ocean Road.
“Travellers looking for a premium experience can charter their own aircraft to Australia’s most remote and exotic locations, New Zealand and Pacific Islands,” he said.
The tourism initiative comes as Essendon Fields realises its vision to become the premier corporate jet and regional services airport, with a four-fold increase in passenger numbers over the past two years, from 10,000 to 40,000 passengers carried annually.
More than 7,000 visitors attended the recent Essendon Fields Expo, the first open day held at the airport in more than 30 years, which featured impressive aviation displays as well as special offers from Essendon Fields tourism operators, Sharp Airlines, Free Spirit Airlines, Air Adventure, Flight Academy Australia, Shortstop Jet Charter, Ausjet, Flight Group and Heli Experiences.
“King Island and Barnbougle have some of the best golf courses in the world and we saw strong demand for our golf packages out of Essendon Airport at the recent EF EXPO,” said Air Adventure Director John Dyer.
“It’s only 35 minutes fly time to King Island and 45 minutes to Barnbougle in a Cessna Conquest II from Essendon Airport, and with accommodation and two rounds of golf on King Island only $880 per player, it is really affordable.”
Direct Factory Outlets (DFO) at Essendon Fields is Australia’s top factory outlet shopping centre and is home to Melbourne’s only Polo Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss and Ted Baker outlet stores.
The incredible LaManna Direct, meanwhile, is a 10,000 sqm former aviation facility that has been transformed into a family-owned independent supermarket incorporating 100 per cent Australian grown fruit, vegetables, meat and fish, as well as a popular café and deli, bakery and patisserie that have fast become local favourites.
In addition to shopping, a variety of leisure experiences are on offer including:
- Private tours and tastings at New World Whisky Distillery which recently won Australia’s Best Single Malt Whisky;
- Flights in Victoria’s only A320 flight simulator;
- Bounce Inc which has taken trampolining from a humble backyard activity into a new form of family entertainment;
- Airways aviation museum; and
- Melbourne’s first indoor skydiving facility which is scheduled to open early 2017.
Sharp Airlines Director Malcolm Sharp said the airline expected to carry more than 20,000 passengers to and from Essendon Airport this year.
“We have seen significant growth for our King Island and Flinders Island Holiday and Golf Packages along with charter & freight services,” said Mr Sharp.
Mr Cowan said the opening of Australia’s first Hyatt Place hotel would bring yet another dimension to Essendon Fields, offering world-class accommodation.
“With Australia’s first Hyatt Place hotel opening early 2017 and Melbourne’s newest state-of-the-art events centre (The Australian Events Centre) opening November 2016, Essendon Fields is in full swing getting tourism-ready for the anticipated influx of visitors,” said Mr Cowan.
“As part of our program to get tourism ready, Essendon Fields has recently introduced a $6 shuttle bus to Melbourne Airport (Tullamarine). The shuttle is free from Melbourne Airport to Essendon Airport; passengers simply need to call 0406 675 729 when collecting their luggage for pick up.
“The heritage listed Essendon Airport Terminal will also be more tourism friendly as part of its $20M refurbishment which is due to be completed early 2017,” he said.