Is this Queens­land’s green­est re­treat?

Isis Town and Country - - NEWS - Eliza Goetze Eliza.Goetze@news-mail.com.au

IT’S not al­ways easy be­ing green, but for one Childers busi­ness the hard work is pay­ing off.

Childers Eco-lodge is a fi­nal­ist in the Pre­mier’s Sus­tain­abil­ity Awards – Small Busi­ness Cat­e­gory, and own­ers Rhys and Vanessa Kum­merow say they are “in with a chance”.

The Ap­ple Tree Creek ac­com­mo­da­tion, with a cur­rent ca­pac­ity of 40 peo­ple, uses 55% of the av­er­age elec­tric­ity for its size, and around half its waste is re­cy­cled, Vanessa says.

Much of the 11 hectare block – with char­ac­ters like Dig­ger the dog and a preen­ing pea­cock on pa­trol – is bush­land, al­low­ing guests a chance to ex­plore.

“We’re hop­ing peo­ple can come and get an idea of what (sus­tain­able liv­ing) is like,” Rhys said.

It’s not all smelly com­post­ing toi­lets – in fact, as Rhys points out, when used cor­rectly, they don’t smell at all.

Their mea­sures range from a biosep­tic waste wa­ter fil­ter to us­ing clothes­lines in­stead of dry­ers.

They grow ba­nanas, pineap­ples, man­darins, toma­toes, let­tuce, herbs and more on the prop­erty.

The Kum­merows have cor­nered the back­packer mar­ket dur­ing pick­ing sea­son and now they are work­ing to at­tract a more dis­cern­ing clien­tele in the qui­eter months, of­fer­ing a na­ture re­treat.

“Glamp­ing” style fa­cil­i­ties on their peace­ful prop­erty have crea­ture com­forts from dou­ble beds to en­suites.

Rhys has set up a fish farm that feeds wa­ter into a veg­etable gar­den, say­ing it has been “very suc­cess­ful” so far.

“The wa­ter has very high nu­tri­tional value from the fish poo,” he said.

The Kum­merows are keen to change peo­ple’s at­ti­tudes.

“In London, ev­ery glass of wa­ter has been through seven sets of kid­neys,” Rhys said. “In Aus­tralia we’re al­ways in drought or flood, yet a few years ago, they voted against re­cy­cling wa­ter in ma­jor cities.”

Vanessa said they had en­cour­aged restau­rants in the re­gion to do­nate food scraps for their pigs.

“The Miner’s Arms in Tor­ban­lea is giv­ing us their scraps now, so we are slowly branch­ing out to in­clude other lo­cal busi­nesses.”

Their goal is for the Eco-lodge to be self-suf­fi­cient.

The win­ners of the 2016 Pre­mier’s Sus­tain­abil­ity Awards will be an­nounced in Bris­bane on Novem­ber 17.

PHOTO: ELIZA GOETZE

RE­CY­CLING: Eco Lodge own­ers Rhys and Vanessa Kum­merow, with Dig­ger and baby Se­bas­tian.

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