An intimate ecoretreat with the following mission is proposed:
To inspire a lasting connection to nature, community and the self while protecting this land.
We have made a ‘zero carbon’ commitment for the operation of the ecoretreat. All energy consumption that is not catered for by the significant solar investment will be sourced from 100% renewable Australian wind or solar.
All new development would be sited in areas of cleared grassland or significantly modified vegetation subject to regular mowing, with all sensitive habitat areas protected.
Sustainable industries for Byron are seen as wellness tourism (incorporating healing, awareness and cuisine) and nature experiences. They feed our healers and thinkers, keeping them here. By celebrating nature we protect her. The message to the world is that Byron is a place for rejuvenation and connection to nature. This positioning attracts travellers who want genuine connection with our land and people.
The ecoretreat experience would be rustic natural luxury, drawing high yield low impact seekers and travellers from across the globe.
Guests would pay for overnight accommodation and choose to dine with us or travel the short distance to Byron Bay or elsewhere to eat out and enjoy all our region has to offer. While there would be specific retreats held from time to time these would not be “exclusive use”. This is not an all inclusive venue, a one stop shop. We would actively promote a wide range of offsite local activities and experiences to guests. Our intention is to become a valued contributor in the local and national tourism landscapes and to the local economy.
33 cabins would each sleep up to two people in one queen bed. Primal simplicity has been sought through the use of natural raw materials.
Three different styles of cabin are proposed:
- Treehouse cabins x 15
- Beach cabins x 14
- Rainforest cabins x 4
Vision Managers would oversee the program of optional activities focused on themes of nature, health, food, conversation, awareness, healing, arts and craft. Activities would facilitate a deeper experience of the place, the region.
Unguided – Numerous places of interest are featured in a 32 page Trail Guide which would be available to guests. The Guide shares the flora, fauna and history of the property with illustrations and maps. From the dry brushbox forest with ironbark to the shining burrawang cyad grove, historical stumps and old dairy sites. The 6km loop track takes three hours however guests can choose to explore different sections. The water supply and hidden dam, where guests can learn about the state of the art water management system, are among the places of interest. The Trail Guide was established by the Broken Head Coastal Foundation and is an addendum to the Linnaeus Nature Guide.
Guided – Expert guides will be available for guests keen to venture beyond this trail to explore ecology, botany, coastal geomorphology and local culture. Guides will also facilitate birdwatching (over 300 bird species have been recorded on the property) to ensure that wildlife viewing does not interfere with foraging or breeding patterns. Each habitat has its own community of bird species, from the littoral rainforest with its fruit-eating pigeons and mound-building bush turkeys to the open grassed areas which support grain-eating birds such as finches and predatory birds hunting above for mice and lizards to the freshwater wetlands visited by the threatened Jabiru or Black-necked Stork.
Wellbeing means different things to different people. Nature is a key contributor. The importance of gut health and the links with food and soil will be a particular focus, with practitioners supporting those guests that desire this.
Hearty farm to table soul food would be on the menu. Food fosters gathering and community, helping guests to informally connect. Guided foraging, gardening and cooking workshops with local Chefs would be among the activities. The existing farm garden would be expanded.
“Fireside conversations” would feature guests across topics such as mindfulness, health, environment, art, design and social issues.
AWARENESS AND HEALING
Stargazing, meditation and mindfulness sessions would assist guests to unravel the stresses of modern life and bring themselves to a more present state. Traditional spa and wellness therapies would be offered alongside treatments such as a Turkish Hammam and Ayurvedic medicine.
Guests would access the existing pool, tennis court and small gymnasium. There would also be a library/reading room within the existing community centre.
ARTS AND CRAFT
Guests would be guided to hand craft beautiful things, bringing pleasure and pride at the same time as slowing down through creative physical application.
Managing our guests offsite
Some neighbours have expressed concern about additional people on local beaches and roads. Please allow us to respond to some of these concerns.
1.0 Ecotourism vs tourism
The ecotourism experience is intended as high yield and low impact for the local community and surrounding ecology. A very large property mostly preserved for nature providing a genuine Australian habitat experience for very few (relative to the size of the property) people. For information regarding the criteria for “Eco-tourist uses” please click here.
There are numerous high end accommodation providers in and around Byron Bay which cater brilliantly for travellers who wish to let their hair down and party. We would not be among them.
It is suggested that our pricing structure would deter those wishing to spend a lot of time offsite. Given our limited dining option we believe that our guests would dine offsite maybe once daily.
We would also promote formal offsite activities with local tourism providers in and around Byron Bay.
3.0 Guest induction
Guest induction would occur over four phases.
The promise is nature and connection. While the marketing would be upmarket and polished, the experience promoted would be one of rustic natural luxury with a wellbeing and health focus.
The booking confirmation email would include content regarding the fragile nature of the property and surrounding area. There would be a link and an attachment to further information.
Upon arrival guests would be welcomed and provided with a verbal induction. This would cover:
- Out of bounds areas of the property
- Where guests can and can’t go unguided
- The retreat ethos including quiet appreciation of nature
- Key points re the surrounding area. Such as roads to avoid. Some of this would be communicated as where to go as opposed to where not to go
- Guests would be advised of the nature of the beach and that swimming is at their own risk. Should guests wish to access the beach they would do so via an existing gate
The in cabin compendium would provide further detail regarding the sensitivity of the property and local area. Again, it will sometimes be about advising guests what to do as opposed to what not to do.
4.0 Ongoing guest education
Given the intimate nature of the retreat staff will be across what guests are doing and can monitor/advise as appropriate.
5.0 Ongoing management
We intend to work hard to be excellent neighbours and add value to the Broken Head community over time. Ongoing feedback will be invaluable in improving our operations.
Should we be successful in our application we would recruit passionate locals. Chefs, thinkers, artists, gardeners, healers, hospitality staff, nature guides and many more vital contributors to display their skills, enjoy their work and share their knowledge. A specialist Hotel Management Consultant has estimated that 75 full-time equivalent positions would be created with up to 49 staff on-site at any one time.