Paradise Bay Island Eco-Escape is built on the fringe of National Park in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park facing Conway National Park.
It is surrounded on all sides by pristine wilderness, and breathtakingly beautiful ocean. Our goal, simply stated, is to keep it exactly that way.
We believe it critical for us to preserve the environment for our own survivability, comfort, health and enjoyment and to prolong these conditions for as long as possible. We also have the added responsibility of passing it onto future generations.
Even if they attempt to minimise their impact large resorts have a big impact due to power generation, waste treatment, landscaping, construction, and provisioning and often end up destroying the natural beauty that attracted people to the area in the first place.
We believe that any resort built in an environmentally sensitive area must be small in terms of building size and number of guests if they are genuinely going to have minimal impact on the surrounding environment.
Fortunately, we’ve found a way to do it, and have proven that we can create an environmentally conscientious tourism destination without sacrificing the comfort and quality of the guest experience.
This enables us to interact with the local environment, provide our guests with genuinely unique experiences in pristine wilderness in very small groups who leave nothing behind except footprints.
There were many influences to build Paradise Bay as an environmentally sound destination.
Firstly the indigenous peoples… For over 60 000 years, their traditional connections have been part of the unique living maritime culture, and today their traditional customs and spiritual lore continue to be practised in their use of sea country and natural resources.
The most recent past owner who realised early on that the way to keep Paradise Bay a Paradise was to make it small, make it eco-sensitive and make it exclusive. Then we found Paradise Bay and fell in love. Our influences included the surrounding ocean for being so heart-breakingly beautiful with its intricate web of underwater life, our children who will inherit the earth one day, the influence of the indigenous people who have lived in the area for tens of thousands of years, and our environmentally conscious guests who are seeking a fabulous get-a-way without harming the eco-system that makes it so special.
Here’s how Paradise Bay remains an eco-friendly nature resort without compromising the luxury Whitsunday’s vacation experience. For more information on our environmental commitment...
People are attracted to Paradise Bay in the beautiful Whitsunday’s because we offer an appealing and comfortable nature vacation experience. No comfort is compromised in our Earth-kind efforts. In fact, it is our belief that your comforts are enhanced by knowing that you are in a truly pristine setting. For example, our guests often comment that they have slept better here than they can readily remember - maybe because you are sleeping in the freshest air possible - not the normal "air conditioned" environment (more appropriately defined as manufactured air) upon our magnificent Eco-friendly and ridiculously comfy “Paradise Bed”.
A major aspect of Ecotourism is education. We want you to be just as enlivened by this place as we are. We’d also like to show you how we run this place. Guests love our “Behind the Scenes Tour.” You’ll see our Solar Field, Solar Water Heaters, Bio-Cycle System and more.
Eco Resort = Eco Operations
Paradise Bay’s sustainable performance is based on seven major principals:
- Construction and Design
- Solid Waste
- Power Systems
- Waste Water Treatment
- Water Collection and Usage
- Carbon Off-set
Prior to the construction of the Eco-Resort non-native plants and animals were removed from the site with the assistance of the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
While the lease on the property is 3.2 hectares only a tiny amount of that is actually built upon. The remainder has been encouraged to return to nature with native vegetation planted and encouraged and non-native rigorously removed.
All transport of materials to the Paradise Bay site was done shallow draft boats. All wood used in construction of Paradise Bay was pre-cut in one area from Australian Plantation Hardwood (naturally strong and termite resistant), then moved by hand to each building site and assembled with light power tools.
A good deal of construction was done utilizing electricity generated entirely by the solar power system.
These open-air structures are kept cool by tropical breezes and solar-powered ceiling fans.
Paradise Bay building design incorporates three major objectives:
- Minimum site impact
- Energy efficiency
Each building is elevated using simple columns for minimum site impact and cooling purposes. No land alteration was needed, minimizing erosion. Buildings at Paradise Bay use several passive-cooling techniques: veranda’s (to keep direct sun from main living areas); reflective roofs; high-pitched ceilings; and an open design for maximum airflow.
Each beach front bungalow has been situated according to its pre-existing surroundings, placed within indigenous trees and vegetation for both an optimum view of the water and also for privacy during your vacation. The buildings of Paradise Bay are wood frame structures constructed of nontoxic treated Australian Hardwood harvested from sustainable forests.
Solid waste is one of the most challenging aspects of operating an Earth-kind Whitsunday’s resort. There are limited recycling facilities in the Whitsunday’s. We are continually looking for creative and cost effective means of dealing with waste. The following are some examples of what we are doing to minimize our solid waste:
All food waste is composted and is used later as fertilizer in our gardens.
Paper products and packaging that is not reusable or recyclable are shredded or burned and the ashes are composted for fertilizer.
Plastic is our most challenging waste product – while we do everything we can to minimise its usage most local suppliers still ship things in plastic even when we ask them not to. Plastic waste is returned to the mainland daily by our skipper and sent for recycling by our local supplier.
Metal is an easier product to recycle. We try to reuse metal items whenever possible. Items that must be discarded, specifically tin and aluminium cans are crushed and recycled.
Glass, while easier than plastic to recycle, still presents some challenges. The biggest culprits on this island are beer bottles. Paradise Bay only purchases beer in bottles that are recyclable and from suppliers that guarantee buy-back.
There are many other intricate specifics that occur at Paradise Bay in order to preserve the pristine setting. Interestingly, many of these little things: using new and well maintained boat engines, carefully planning boat runs for less fuel consumption, using the clothes line instead of the clothes dryer as much as possible, using simple cleaners such as baking soda and vinegar instead of chemicals, actually save us money and make this a more effective business.
In addition we select our cleaning products very carefully and are happy to use Natural Instinct Cleaning Products.
Natural Instinct products contain NO sodium lauryl sulphate, no petroleum by-products, no artificial fragrances or colours, no harsh detergents, no animal derivatives, and no harmful chemicals. The ingredients are plant derived and environmentally friendly, and contain only the finest quality ingredients including natural vegetable derived oils and certified organic herbs.
Most of our cleaning cloths and materials are provided by Enjo.
Enjo fibre products and cloths clean with water only and eliminate the need for up to 90% of potentially harmful chemical cleaners.
The shining achievement at Paradise Bay is our electricity generating system, which powers your nature vacation. Paradise Bay has a solar field (which was made larger still in December 2007), with a daily electricity generating capacity of over 30,000 watts and a battery storage facility totalling 2,800 amp hours.
Paradise Bay utilises approximately 85% solar energy for its electrical needs, including a commercial kitchen. This system was designed by Energy Matters and can be monitored remotely for optimum performance. Power is supplemented by Natural gas and a Bio-Diesel Generator (supply unfortunately cannot be guaranteed so normal Diesel is substituted when necessary).
Grey water and Black water waste (one of the most detrimental wastes to near-shore tropical aquatic ecosystems) is dealt with by the remarkable BioCycle® system.
BioCycle® aerobic wastewater treatment systems efficiently separate and digest solid wastes and treat the wastewater, in a series of controlled biological processes, to a level of purity unattainable by conventional septic systems.
This clean, odour-free water, disinfected to international health and environmental standards - is then automatically recycled to our garden irrigation systems.
Internally, the tank is divided into chambers in which the treatment processes occur. Wastewater and effluent from the resort moves through the system’s chambers by displacement. Treated water in the final chamber is automatically pumped out for garden irrigation.
Most resorts in the area use Desalination Plants – environmentally this is sacrilege. Desalination requires huge amounts of electricity producing heat and carbon emissions.
Sydney Water have projected that a desalination plant that produces up to 5 Mega
litres (ML) of water per week (the normal usage of a large resort) through reverse osmosis (a more sophisticated and environmentally “friendly” process than used on most resorts) would require 2.4 Giga Watt hours (GWh) per year and would produce 1,200 tonnes of greenhouse gasses per year (using a diesel power station adjoining the desalination plant)!
To put this in perspective the entire greenhouse gas emission of Paradise Bay is calculated at 60 tonnes per year. So just to produce their water some resorts are producing 20 times the greenhouse emissions of Paradise Bay!
Plus desalination plants can cause physical damage to the marine environment, produce high salinity discharge that includes chemicals used during the defouling of plant equipment and toxic metals.
Clearly this is NOT an option for us.
Luckily nature provides a marvellous alternative… Our water falls out of the sky!
Being in the tropics we are blessed with between 1,600 and 2,000 millimetres of rainfall per year (most of which comes at night during the wet season).
While it can be a while “between drinks” in the dry season, we have installed over 36 water tanks (our water farm) which gives us a 300,000 litre storage capacity.
This is enough for 6 months average usage and all our tanks can be filled in just one night with one tropical downpour.
Every roof on the island has a tank or more connected to take full advantage of the rain when it comes.
And it’s the most silky soft water, pure and crystal clear you are ever likely to encounter and beautifully drinkable straight out of the tap.
Once used it is recycled by our BioCycle® system and ends up in the vegi-garden and fruit groves of the resort – exactly where it would have ended up if we had not collected it.
Simple, environmentally friendly and (after we have paid off the tank farm) economical.
Plus our environmentally friendly 3 ½ star water saving shower heads have been specially selected to provide a luxury shower experience while still limiting flow to just 7 litres per minute.
Steaming Hot Water Direct from the Sun
All hot water for your vacation is created using Solar hot water heaters provided by Edwards - no electricity is used. It is supplemented during winter by on-demand gas heaters using natural gas.
Each two-person beach bungalow is fitted with a 200 litre heater; the commercial kitchen utilizes two 300 litre heaters.
The best method to deal with solid waste is to purchase items that have minimal amounts of material. We consider packaging in bulk when we make a purchase. Doing this from Paradise Bay, is an even greater challenge because of limited suppliers and shippers. We purchase as much as possible from local suppliers to minimize packaging and shipping.
The office purchases recycled paper for general office use and fibre paper for letterhead and correspondence. We also reuse all scrap paper, using the opposite side for the printer and scrap pads.
The resort itself only produces approximately 60 tonnes of CO2 made up of waste, food related emissions, vehicle and boat related emissions, energy use, (Natural Gas), but our guests travel an average of 1,200,000 kilometres per year getting to and from the resort (including our international guests who travel from the USA, UK and Europe, plus the domestic legs and the helicopter transfers) – that produces 408 tonnes of CO2 which requires 2,448 trees to offset.
Such is our commitment to the environment that we choose to off-set ALL of our guests travel as well as the resorts CO2 production.
That’s the equivalent of the total area of the lease (about 3 hectares) to be planted every year to off-set Carbon Emissions. The organisation owns 44.5 hectares of farm land which is being converted back to natural bush land and native forest by at the rate of 3 hectares per year through the planting of native trees. This is being done by hand planting of trees – no mechanical planting is undertaken. These trees only require approximately 4 weeks of watering at infant stage and then are self sufficient from then on. And average of 400 trees per hectare are planted or a total of 1,200 trees per year. The organisation also owns 1,500 hectares of virgin bush land in the Northern Territory of Australia which is being preserved in its natural state in perpetuity as part of our environmental contribution.