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Sustainable camping accommodates and educates tourists one cup of sawdust at a time

October 22nd, 2019 | | Uncategorized

The first thing campers like to tell Jodie Lane is that the toilet at the camping ground she manages does not smell.

Key points:

  • Sustainable tourist accommodation options are growing in Western Australia
  • A camping facility in Margaret River includes composting toilets, a worm farm, and grey water showers
  • Owners of the campground say they are helping to educate tourists about sustainable facilities

It is a weird compliment, but an important one.

That is because of the misconception that environmentally-friendly, composting toilets stink.

“The response that I’ve had has been incredibly positive,” she said.

“Campers say it’s clean, it doesn’t smell at all.”

The toilets are just one of the many sustainable facilities at the Fair Harvest campground in Margaret River, in Western Australia’s south-west.

It is located on a permaculture farm and features a worm farm, a large veggie and herb garden, a compost-heated shower, and structures built from timber grown on the property.

No water wasted

The composting toilet saves nine litres of water every time it is used — water-saving amenities were high on Ms Lane’s list when designing the campground.

“We’ve got a 110,000-litre tank and then it goes through the shower system and through a filter system [to become grey water],” she said.

“The grey water feeds all these wonderful new plants that we’ve recently planted.”

The campground opened late last year, but not every visitor so far has been an experienced environmentalist.

“There’s a group of people, of course, who are unfamiliar with these facilities and for them, it’s a bit novel,” Ms Lane said.

A woman standing in an outside kitchen area leaning on a wooden bench.

PHOTO: Jodie Lane says water use was a major factor in the campground’s design. (ABC South West: Kate Stephens)

Tourists hungry for sustainability

Shannon Gordon, who travelled to Margaret River from the Gold Coast, planned to spend just one night but after a week, she was still at the campground.

“I absolutely love it here, it’s so peaceful,” she said. You get the benefit of being able to know that you’re treading lightly on the earth with the same sustainable approach that the farm is taking you on.”

Ms Gordon chose the place for its farm experience and environmental amenities.

“Everything here is done with sustainability in mind and regeneration of the land,” she said.

“I think more and more people are hungry for that.”

A woman standing near signs that have environmental messages near a load of wood logs

PHOTO: Gold Coast visitor Shannon Gordon planned to stay just one night but stayed a week. (ABC South West: Kate Stephens)

Eco-tourism growing in WA

Considering a holiday’s environmental impact is becoming easier with most major airlines allowing passengers to offset their carbon footprint for air travel.

But the number of environmental and sustainable accommodation available is also growing across WA.

There are major eco-resorts at Karijini in the Pilbara and on Rottnest Island off the coast of Fremantle.

The Rottnest resort boasts tents made from sustainable materials and a set-up that “treads lightly” on the environment.

An aerial photo of the Bathurst Lighthouse in front of a series of premium tents at Rottnest Island.

PHOTO: Eco-friendly accommodation is now available at Pinky’s Beach, on Rottnest Island. (ABC News: West Matteeussen)

The state’s Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said these types of sustainable facilities were very popular.

“It [the Rottnest eco-resort] is going very well [with] very high occupancy; [it’s] a very successful initiative [that] only opened last year,” he said.

With pristine white beaches in the south of the state and red dirt in the north, Mr Papalia said WA’s unique landscape was the reason people visited the west.

“Increasingly providers, tourism operators, and hospitality operators are recognising that and are trying to provide suitable accommodation that emphasises our beautiful natural environment,” he said.

Sustainability is take-home message

Ms Lane said she also had seen the interest in sustainable tourism growing.

“I think it’s becoming very popular, whether it’s tours or accommodation or food or whatever it is,” she said.

A sign posted to a pole showing how the compost shower works. There is a pile of woodchips in the background

PHOTO: The campground in Margaret River has signs educating tourists about their facilities. (ABC South West: Kate Stephens)

For Ms Lane, the permaculture farm and campground is not just about providing eco-accommodation, but also about educating tourists.

“We’ve got quite a lot of signage around the place, explaining things,” she said.

“I see families discussing things with their children and saying ‘this is great, we’re going to go home and start a worm farm’ or just looking at different ways we can do things.”

Source: ABC

Sourced by Mike Barrow