One of the most exclusive islands situated right on the Great Barrier Reef, the Bedarra Island is known for its fantastic views and the luxury that is offered by the islands accommodation. However, few are aware of the fact, that when the island reopens on July 1st, 2013 it will become one of Australia’s most sustainable island resorts.
Back in February 2011 the island and the resort was completely destroyed by cyclone Yasi. Since then the Charlton Family acquired the island and have spent a lot of time and energy in restoring the property and also re-installing the infrastructure of the island including power, water and waste disposal.
Director Sam Charlton mentioned that when they began the restoration and repair work, their first concern was to make a feasibility study to find out what is the optimum number in terms of sustainable population on the island. This of course was done to understand how many people can be supported using the resources available on the island; mainly water, waste disposal and energy. As a result of that study it was decided to reduce the total number of villas from 16 to seven, convert the whole island to use solar energy and close it down for three months during the monsoon.
The Bedarra Island is located just ten kilometres from the coastal town of Mission Beach and located just on the Great Barrier Reef. It is a part of the tropical ‘family group of islands’ and is one that is extremely important in the larger scheme of things.
In the past the operation at the resort was entirely dependent on diesel energy and since the changes have been implemented the usage of diesel has been reduced by a whopping 95%. Mr. Charlton added that during the pre-renovation times the constant humming noise of the Diesel Engine completely belied the natural beauty of the island. The decision to shift to renewable energy was welcomed by one and sundry.
These were the changes that were adopted by the new management in order to ensure that the transition to a sustainable program –
- The three old generators (185KVA) were replaced with an off grid solar system which included a 30KW solar panel array, 1-2 days worth of battery energy storage option and a small generator that offered a backup energy of 44KVa.
- A comprehensive overhauling of the electrical appliances of the resort to ensure that the peal and base loads are reduced by a significant 80%.
- Additionally, the water that is used on the resort is now procured from the granite filtered natural spring as well as by harvesting the fresh rain. This has rendered the diesel powered desalination plant completely useless, which has since been decommissioned.
- A structural change has been implemented in the design of the villas to allow cross ventilation. Additionally the older fixed window designs have been done away with replacing them with louvers. Another design change has been to introduce floor ventilation capturing the sea breeze and using it for natural cooling effect.
- Yet another change is the installation of the world famous Haiku fans. These fans are known for their low energy requirement and high efficiency, eliminating the need for air-conditioning.
- A twin system bio-cycle waste water treatment plant has been installed which has sub-terranean reticulation of advanced secondary grade treated effluent. This protects the coral reef from the effects of nutrients and phosphate deficiency.
- The resort has also installed new low-energy pool pumps which has ionic pool chlorinators. This drastically reduces the need for additional chemicals related with the cleaning and maintenance of the pools by 85%.
- Composting techniques are used to redirect all organic waste for the use of the vegetable garden on the island.
- The new management has also replaced the water reticulation system to curtail the loss of water.
- The management has also made it a policy to ensure that only providers who use recyclable packaging materials and that too minimize the overall packaging is only contracted.
There are some additional advantages to reducing the maximum number of accommodated guests; they will get the feeling that they have the entire island just to themselves. Indeed it is a great feeling accentuating the reputation of Bedarra as a private, exclusive and secluded island destination.
The overall Bedarra experience is now enhanced, thanks to the fewer number of guests at any time. It is truly an island paradise, a destination that is tranquil and relaxing and inculcates the best of both worlds, essential barefoot travelling and a luxury accommodation on an island paradise; all that without living a carbon footprint on the surrounding environment.
Thanks to the reduced reliance that the resort places on diesel and a very streamlined operational setup, the management has been able to offer a very competitive rate for its guests. Additionally, if guests feel like, they can hire the entire resort exclusively for a small group of friends or family to enjoy a vacation they ought to remember for life.
Room rates at the resort starts at $990 per villa, perfect for a single stay or on a twin sharing basis and includes all meals plus selected alcoholic & non-alcoholic beverages and activities. If guests prefer additional activities including reef/fishing charters, diving, the helicopter flights and if the opt to taste the cellar master list of alcoholic beverages.