Looking for a travel experience that looks after the planet as well as your pleasure? Look no further. These three companies are leading the way in keeping the tropical Atherton Tablelands pristine and giving back to the environment
On the Wallaby
On the Wallaby not only has a great name but a great ethos – its Green Wally project intends to make this Yungaburra based tourism operator’s accommodation “the greenest lodge in the world”.
A big call but this “home for those who roam” has everything from solar panels to scrupulous recycling to micro managed water use to a worm farm.
Offering backpacker accommodation plus tent and caravan sites, On the Wallaby will also get you out amongst the good stuff with mountain biking tours and day and night wildlife canoe trips. Plus, FREE platypus spotting. If you want to go further afield it runs ventures to the outback, Cape Tribulation and the Daintree Rainforest. On the Wallaby also specialises in getting education groups out of the classroom and into the field for fun study that helps student absorb information so much quicker.
Its green credentials are impressive – it is Eco Tourism certified. Among its accomplishments are getting advice from local indigenous people about suitable plantings for the lodge, renewable energy systems, environmentally sustainable water management and working with the community on tree planting and other projects. Specifically, it does things like three quarters of the lodge’s roof channels water to the fountain of youth drinking fountain and its massive solar system can store 6kw of power in battery. It also runs a B and B – for bees and the garden is full of vegetables and fruit.
How often can you say you’ve helped a turtle come out of its shell? Big 4 NRMA Atherton Tablelands Holiday Park has helped two – Woody and Woodson in their recovery and release form the Turtle Rehab centre on Fitzroy Island. Their sponsorship – in fact their guests’ sponsorship – has seen both a juvenile Hawksbill turtle and a green sea turtle gain weight and enough health to survive on their own.
It’s all part of the ethos of Big 4, which has a plethora of sustainable and ecologically sound programs and measures. It has both Eco Certification in nature-based tourism and TripAdvisor’s Worldwide Green leader program status.
Why – because it minimises waste and recycles, purchases locally and in bulk, employs locals, has a no-print email policy, uses water saving devices throughout the park’s beautiful grounds, its cabins, lodges and villas are sola powered.
There’s a lot more Big 4 does and is planning to do to keep their eco cabins, award winning gardens and unique features as good to the environment as possible. It’s a big place, with extensive grounds, pool, a huge range of accommodation as well as little touches like a mountain bike wash- bay and tools. It proves you can be the best in Australia and have a kind heart and soft footprint.
Something’s brewing at Skybury and it’s not just fabulous coffee.
Green farming is at the core of this 375 acres ( 151 hectares) Mareeba icon, which has been growing coffee for 30 years and trying to reduce its impact on the land and environment for almost as long. There are very good reasons – the plantation is set in a spectacular part of the world with breathtaking views over the Atherton Tablelands and right next to some of the most precious parts of Australia.
It is so passionate about sustainable farming that it has established its own Skybury Environmental Research Centre. Broadly Skybury strives to produce the best coffee, bananas and papaya possible with the lowest possible chemical use, a carbon neutral status goal, no GM plants and integrated native bird and animal protection.
Solar panels mean it can now produce half of its electricity needs and that will expand. Water is used as economically as possible and any run off is tested before it reaches other water systems. Rainforest and native trees have been planted in the gullies on the property to protect the rivers and provide a corridor for native wildlife to pass through.
All organic waste produced on the farm – from coffee bean shell and pulp to unsaleable bruised fruit is recycled on farm. Skybury has a passion for good, sustainable farming practices, which makes not only the coffee and fruit great but also the earth, air and water on this magical tropical plantation. And it has been not only awarded nationally and internationally for its exports, tourism, produce and business acumen but also its ecological credentials, which are at the heart of everything it does.
This family run business is a great stop on the Atherton Tablelands or well worth a side trip form Cairns. Freshly roasted coffee, delicious cakes and meals inspired by what they grow, Skybury is seriously, sustainably, scrumptious.