A new level of comfort and service for Australian drivers

By Kate Thomson, Executive General Manager, Retail Australia

The opening of the flagship Pheasants Nest service centres signals a new era for Ampol

The opening of our new Pheasants Nest Highway Service Centre in New South Wales is an exciting time for Ampol, as the first of many new and redeveloped sites along Australia's highways. With three million customers visiting an Ampol site across Australia each week, we want to power better journeys for our customers and these new service centres deliver in terms of comfort and convenience. It's an important step for us now our network of sites has been rebranded to the Ampol name.

Ampol is looking to revamp and refresh highway service centres across Australia's unique landscape, because they are an important part of keeping our country moving. They keep communities connected, are a main thoroughfare for essential freight, and serve as gateways to new travel destinations. The Pheasants Nest sites have taken more than four years to complete, from design, approvals and construction, and we are excited by what we have achieved.

Our approach to the Pheasants Nest sites provides us with a roadmap for bringing world-class service to other locations across Australia.

Meeting the needs of drivers

The Ampol team spent a considerable amount of time at the site speaking with drivers to understand what they were looking for, so we could meet these needs. Consulting with the community was also a crucial step for us, as we wanted the centres to reflect and respect local heritage. The result is reimagined service centres where we hope customers will enjoy spending time.

We wanted to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land so we consulted with the Dharawal community to establish a locally connected Aboriginal narrative for the outdoor spaces and dining hall installations. This process established three key themes for the project: Acknowledging Country, The Lyrebird and The White Waratah.

The result is the provision of spaces, including a reconciliation garden, that connect with the Dharawal knowledge and stories of the region.

The Pheasants Nest sites are located along the Remembrance Driveway on the Hume and Federal Highways between Sydney and Canberra. Fittingly, the sites have dedicated reflection spaces within the landscaped areas of the service station for two Victoria Cross recipients, Keith Payne and Edward Kenna.

Within the landscaping, there are picnic seating areas to allow for outside rest and relaxation. We have also included an off-leash and enclosed dog park after we observed drivers looking for safe places to walk and feed their pets.

There's ample parking on-site including spaces for coaches and caravans, plus a range of food and beverage choices in the Foodary, as well as a large and comfortable food court with plenty of options including Hungry Jack's, Durk's Café, Oporto, Boost Juice, Krispy Kreme and Oliver's (coming December 2023). Adjoining the food court, there is a children's playground so the kids can stretch their legs and release some energy.

To meet the increasing uptake of electric vehicles, we have installed first-of-its-kind AmpCharge hubs at Pheasants Nest, our ultra-fast and reliable chargers that will keep EVs moving by providing energy on the road, at home, or at your place of work. You can expect that EV recharging stations will be part of new and refreshed Ampol Service Centres across Australia.

New levels of comfort for truck drivers

The Pheasants Nest sites take the Ampol National Truck Network to a new level for drivers, starting with a dedicated diesel canopy which includes ultra-high flow pumps, AdBlue at the pump, as well as plenty of parking spaces for the trucks. A dedicated truckers' lounge offers shower and laundry facilities, Wi-Fi, CCTV of the parking areas, TV and a microwave. Drivers also have the option of having fresh meals delivered straight to the lounge area, and if they leave anything at home, Foodary has a range of ready-to-heat meals and other necessities.

The Pheasants Nest Centres were architecturally designed to reflect the local aesthetic. Initial feedback on the sites has been terrific, and we look forward to launching developments at Wyong (NSW) on the M1 and the twin service centres on the M4 at Eastern Creek (NSW). These are some of our flagship sites, so ensuring the customer experiences matches our proud Ampol brand, and everything we stand for, will be paramount to our success.

More broadly, Ampol will be looking to refresh or redevelop existing highway sites around Australia as part of our highway strategy. We know what it takes to keep our road transport industry moving and meet the needs of professional and leisure travellers. Each centre will reflect and include the local community and make long-distance travel more comfortable and convenient.

About the Author

Kate Thomson

Kate Thomson

Executive General Manager, Retail Australia

Kate Thomson was appointed Executive General Manager, Retail Australia in April 2022. 

Kate has more than 25 years' experience in retail operations, holding a number of senior roles at leading consumer brands. Prior to joining Ampol in 2019 as Head of Retail Excellence and then General Manager, Retail Operations, Kate spent three years with ANZ as General Manager of mobile lending. Before joining ANZ, she spent 22 years at McDonald's Australia, holding a number of senior roles including Director of Business Development.

Kate holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Management Enterprise from the University of Newcastle and a Masters of Business Administration from Charles Sturt University.