Our objective is to provide a unique and authentic Australian bush experience that is both ecologically and financially sustainable. In the 90’s when planning initially commenced, the concept of ‘ecotourism’ was in its infancy, and the sustainable approach we developed came more from an instinctive desire to maintain the natural peace and beauty of the pristine environment. However the timing was spot-on and as climate change concerns grew, so did the desire for people to seek out holidays thatleft as little impact on the natural environment as possible. Since then, planning controls and expectations have increased so that all new developments must adhere to strict building codes that aim for sustainability whether it is a 200 room hotel in the city or a smaller establishment such as ours in a more natural environment.
As a result of this increase in awareness, ecotourism is more far reaching and holistic in its approach. The bar has been set a lot higher and it is no longer good enough to just have solar panels and dual flush toilets! To be considered a true ecotourism product we must work to ensure the guest experience goes much further to increase knowledge of the environment we are in, the local community and its culture, and also how we can improve efforts in our every day lives to decrease waste and live a more sustainable existence. Paperbark Camp has been recognised for its work in this area by receiving Advanced Eco Accreditation from Ecotourism Australia and is proud to be part of the Eco Lodges of Australia group.
A role for future tourism on the South Coast
Over the years we have worked continually to improve our efforts at sustainability and this now extends to purchasing policies where possible, sourcing local products and services and growing our own produce (which has mixed results in a Eucalypt forest!). We have a designated permaculturist to assist with this and are always looking at new ways we can operate to minimise our impact on the environment.
Our sustainable approach includes the following:
- Architect designed buildings in sympathy with the landscape.
- Tents have solar powered electric 12 volt lighting.
- Only natural ventilation is used, no air conditioning.
- No large trees have been removed.
- Shower heads are low flow.
- Toilets are dual flush.
- Hot water heated on demand only, by gas
- Light sensitive timer switches for public lighting.
- Low energy use compact fluorescent bulbs
- Revegetation of areas affected by the development.
- No fencing to maintain the wildlife corridor.
- Driven piles and shallow foundations only- all buildings are built off the ground
- Continuous removal of exotic species - inc. blackberry and asparagus fern
- Guest vehicles kept away from the camp,
- Use of electric powered buggy
- Strict adherence to the local Council recycling programs.
- Use of recycled paper and natural products where possible.
- Rainwater used when possible
- To protect the fragile wetland ecosystem, wastewater is pumped 900 metres from
the site and processed by Council treatment works. The pumping system is
protected by no-flow and level alarms.
- Biodegradable cleaning agents are used.
- Canoes, kayaks and stand up paddle boards are provided free for guest use.
- No intentional feeding of wildlife.