LOOKING FOR A SUSTAINABLE OFF-GRID GETAWAY?
Updated: Nov 5
Hand planting 6000 rose gum saplings on their 100-acre family farm 14 years ago set Busselton couple Andrew and Fran Robinson on an unanticipated environmental journey.
Certification providers Eco Tourism Australia, the country’s peak body for ecotourism and sustainable tourism, awarded the certification to Tree Chalets for their demonstration of best practice in sustainability and ecotourism.
Fran believes Tree Chalets might be Australia’s only holiday accommodation to achieve net zero carbon emissions by their own means rather than through purchasing carbon offsets.
“We’re thrilled to officially receive this acknowledgement for our eco-tourism efforts,” she said.
“We like to think of ourselves as ‘self-sufficient net zero carbon emissions’ as we have achieved carbon offsetting by our own means.
“It all started with the trees. We began with 6000 trees and each year we’ve thinned them out and hand-pruned to achieve their now distinctive look, allowing dappled light through the 25-metre canopy and statuesque white trunks of the now-1000 trees, and creating a breath-taking vista for chalet guests.
“But there’s been a more important outcome in the significant amount of carbon dioxide the gumtrees consume – 26 tonne by our estimation.
“Our residence and two luxury chalets are totally off-grid thanks to a 15KW solar cell array and 28KW storage battery, 610,000 litres of rainwater storage which we UV filter.
“The internal fit out of our chalets was carefully planned to minimise our carbon footprint – from refillable soap dispensers to LED light fittings, using renewable timber from our property for flooring, fittings and firewood and no single-use plastics.
“Guests are supplied with farm fresh eggs and produce wherever possible, and we have a Tesla electric car charger at each chalet.”
Tree Chalets has had a rapid success story. Opening just three years ago, they have won gold and silver at state and national tourism awards in 2021 and 2022, and have been Eco Certified, and accredited as an EcoStar and Sustainable Tourism Accredited Business.
Fran says being eco-friendly and off-grid doesn’t mean scrimping on holiday luxuries.
“We aim to balance luxury with sustainability. Guests love the tranquillity and connection with nature – whether it be a bubble bath in the claw-foot tub on the back deck overlooking bushland, or curling up by the fire with a bottle of red while enjoying a gourmet platter overlooking the rose gums.”
Fran and Andrew work with local businesses to enhance the visitor experience – masseurs, local produce hampers, farm produce tours and country hospitality.
TREE CHALETS ECO INITIATIVES INCLUDE:
Use of farm timber for the build
Orientation of the chalets to get cross breezes and morning/afternoon sun
Recycling building site waste/packaging
Energy required for the build came from off-grid supply
28KW Battery and 15K Solar System installed
2 x 250 KL Rainwater tanks installed
Solar powered UV Filter/pump to supply rainwater to the chalets
Fit out and furnishing
All local tradesman/suppliers
All natural flooring
Chalets are single use plastic free
Appliances chosen for their low power usage
Dispensers in bathroom to save on tiny toiletries
Separate bins for rubbish, food scraps, recyclables, and coffee pods
Local artisans used to create bespoke furniture pieces for the chalets from farm timber
All-natural bed linen and bath robes
Single use plastic free breakfast hamper provided complimentary for guests.
1000 rose gum trees offset carbon
Regenerative Sydney Bluegums planted for flooring, fittings, firewood and other uses around the property
Bushland and wildlife habitat
Tree Chalets is located at 4478 Jalbarragup Road, Acton Park – just 15 minutes from the humming coastal holiday town of Busselton. Visit https://treechalets.com.au or email email@example.com to find out more.