Australian conservation resort on track


Emirates Hotels & Resorts’ 4,000 acre Australian luxury conservation resort, Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, has reached its first milestone with the completion of the first of 40 villas, and the planting of the first 1,000 native trees on site.
“The Wolgan Valley project will be one of the world’s strongest combinations of high quality, luxury tourism with outstanding conservation values, and a highly sensitive design approach to environmental impact,” said Tim Clark, president Emirates Airline.
The resort’s major tree planting programme coincides also with the completion of the phase one removal of invasive, non-indigenous flora. Replacing noxious plants and weeds with indigenous plants will stabilise sensitive local river banks and erosion areas, and bolster the natural re-seeding of valuable plants that form a critical source of food, shelter and breeding locations for the wildlife on the reserve.
The project involves a comprehensive regeneration and conservation programme which will include, over time, the development of a feral-proof fence, the planting of over 10,000 native trees and the reintroduction of the native spotted-quoll, amongst other endangered and locally extinct native Australian animals.
Solar panels and rainfall water-capture tanks are also being installed this week as part of the environmental focus of the project. The resort will ultimately have over 100 solar panels that will meet over 75 per cent of all its hot water needs, significantly reducing the resort’s energy consumption, and therefore its resources footprint.
Emirates commenced its conservation based tourism approach 12 years ago with the creation of the Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa that forms part of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR). The Reserve makes up 4.7 per cent of Dubai’s total land area, with wildlife and habitat research programmes actively supported by Emirates, having provided almost Dh10 million to the DDCR over the past five years.
Due to open in late 2009, the Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa will offer guests experiences of Australia’s unique wilderness and wildlife, its aboriginal traditions and its heritage. Set within the Australian Great Dividing Range, and surrounded by three national parks, this secluded resort will feature 40 free standing villas and a spa facility.