While ecological sustainability in tourism is often written about, it is less often practised in action with complete commitment.
At Mount Royal in the NSW Hunter Valley sits a half century old heritage building repurposed and retrofitted to become a three-bedroom off-grid eco-lodge. Sitting on the verandah at Callicoma Hill eco-cabin, guests can enjoy the wildlife and 80 kilometre views.
Getting away in nature, and experiencing sustainability in practice, makes Callicoma Hill a great destination, says Martin Fallding who owns and designed the lodge. But it’s the high sustainability that he insisted on bringing to the property that makes it really stand out. And which also earned the property accreditation by Ecotourism Australia.
Off-grid and self-sufficient
The lodge and the other buildings on the property are entirely off grid. And Martin is proud that for two decades the property has provided its own water and entire operational energy, thanks to super efficient lighting and – a wood stove.
The wood stove is in fact the only way to cook your food when you stay there. It also provides the hot water for the lodge. But thankfully Martin makes makes it really easy by providing boxes of neatly cut kindling and loads of logs ready to load up in the stove and help you reconnect with a country past or one you dream of.
The logs, by the way, are sustainably grown and hardwood harvested from the surrounding forest on the property.
Wastewater is integrated into the natural landscape through artificial wetland treatment. Organic waste is composted, and guests are responsible for removing their own rubbish as there is no waste service to the property.
“Not only is sustainability possible,” Martin says, “it is readily achievable.”
Reconnect with nature
And people love it.
“Our guests often seek peace, quiet and an escape from urban noise, bright lights and congestion”, Martin says. “Reconnecting with nature is regenerative and inspiring, and provides significant health benefits”.
The surrounding biodiverse forest is managed as a carbon sink, and provides the eco-cabin with its green setting.
The property is close to world heritage listed Mount Royal National Park in the Barrington Tops region, and contributes to a large area of protected natural forested wilderness.
The eco-cabin fits up to 10 guests, with additional camping available. And if you’re up for it, Martin will also take you on a guided tour of the region, but bring your hiking boots.
Callicoma Hill Eco-cabins
Ph: 02 6571 1208