Anne Majumdar

More than just champagne and bubble baths, one of Australia’s most luxurious resorts is also one of its most sustainable.

Kangaroos and wallaroos are commonplace in the extensive grounds of Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort, deep in the striking surrounds of the Blue Mountains. Around every turn, they lounge in the winter sun or hop between the pines.

Kangaroos Wolgan Valley Resort KarryOn

Mothers and babies come her because they feel safe, our guide tells us. They certainly look pretty chilled out as we cycle past, just metres from where they lollop, lazily chewing grass.

But it’s not until evening that we come across one of the resort’s other common residents – the wombat.

With bald patches breaking up the thick coating of fur, the bumbling little bear-like creatures are visibly affected by sarcoptic mange – one of the most significant threats to the survival of the creatures in the wild.

Wombat Wolgan Valley KarryOn

Since 2008, the resort along with its owners Emirates Airlines, has been working closely with researchers to find a solution to this serious problem. This comes in the form of funding to help develop the WomSAT website, an initiative of Western Sydney University, which collects data about the health of wombat populations across Australia and to raise awareness of threats to wombats, especially sarcoptic mange.

With wombat sightings common around the resort, guests are encouraged to download the app and share their own findings with the resort’s conservation team.

In addition, each of the rooms at the resort contains a carved wooden wombat which guests can purchase to help support the initiative.

Wolgan Valley Cabins KarryOn

It’s not just its efforts on the wombat front that are standing Wolgan apart from its competition as a true conservation resort.

It operates a number of programs to protect local biodiversity and the restoration of habitat for many of the region’s 1,500 native and endangered species.

“Conservation and sustainability lie at the heart of Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, and are very much a part of the guest experience,” general manager James Wyndham said.

“Guests who visit our beautiful valley come away with not only a lasting memory of this stunning wilderness environment, but also a real understanding and appreciation of it, and those who choose to can actively participate in our conservation programs.”

The resort occupies just 1% of a 7,000-acre wildlife reserve and aims to completely integrate with the environment. That includes rainwater collection, domestic water recycling, heat exchange technology and solar panels

It was the first resort in the world to achieve internationally accredited carbon-neutral certification when it opened in 2009. It’s still the only resort in Australia with this standard of accreditation.

Wollemi Pine Wolgan Valley KarryOn

One of the world’s rarest tree species can also be found here. The Wollemi Pine was presumed extinct until its rediscovery in 1994, and now there are less than 100 adult trees known to exist in the wild. As a result, the tree is being extensively researched to ensure its survival.

 

Is the Wolgan Valley Resort on your to-do list?