What’s more eco than a brand spanking new eco-lodge with all the trendy green trimmings? Try an eco-lodge crafted from already existing structures. Remember, there’s nothing more environmentally friendly than using what you’ve already got. Australia’s Glasshouse Mountains Eco-Lodge has followed this strain of eco-wisdom by creating a charming destination out of a 110-year-old church and a railway carriage. The church is being turned into meeting space, and the carriage has been transformed into a self-catering kitchen. The guestrooms are connected to the church by a large deck, perfect for yoga. The lodge is cradled in almost five acres of organic gardens and forest grounds. The gardens grow vegetables and more than 80 varieties of tropical fruit trees – providing plenty of produce to keep that railway kitchen stocked.
Glasshouse Mountains Eco-Lodge is about an hour and a half north of Brisbane on the Sunshine Coast area of Queensland, Australia. This is prime state forest and national park territory; the glory of the Australian bush is the main attraction here. The lodge has bicycles, birdwatching guides, and plenty of self-guided bush walks available for your adventurous side. Not to mention three mountains (volcanic plugs, really) -- Ngugun, Beerwah, and Tibrogargon – just begging for a climb. If you prefer your bush wildlife a little more contained, you can drive 10 minutes to the Australia Zoo, home of the late, great Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin.
A side note for the truly crazy (and I say this because I am one of you): Runners will want to time their trip to coincide with one of the Glasshouse Mountains Trail Run events. Held in May, July, and September, these mountain races range in distance from a sprint-tastic 8K to the mind-bending 100-miler. Make sure to book the Family Suite at the Eco-Lodge if you’re going the distance. You’re going to want that tub for a good soak afterward.
In addition to the reuse of existing structures, Glasshouse Mountains Eco-Lodge keeps the eco-karma going with solar water heaters, water-efficient shower heads, and energy-efficient light bulbs. Manager Paul Vicary reports they use chemical-free, citrus-based cleaners with Enjo fiber (no paper-towel-wasting here). They are avid composters, recyclers, and even track water and waste per guest (so be on your best green behavior). The Eco-Lodge supports the local Glasshouse Mountains Advancement Network in its tree-planting efforts and is also replanting their own rainforest on the eco-lodge’s grounds. They’ll even give you a tree to plant there so you can be part of the carbon-offsetting fun. Paul says their next big eco-effort will be working to preserve the Richmond Birdwing butterfly.
Come back tomorrow for rates, contact info and reading suggestions from Paul.