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Tuesday 26 July 2022

Scenic Rim retreat has a sustainability focus

Luxury country retreat Hazelwood Estate in Queensland’s Scenic Rim region is harnessing cutting-edge renewables technology as it aims to become Australia’s first carbon-positive hotel by next year.

The lodge, which opened in September last year, is installing a Vanadium redox flow battery to allow excess electricity produced by its solar panels to be stored and used even when the sun is not shining.

Daily solar generation exceeds Hazelwood’s current energy requirements but cannot be stored for evening usage.

The supply of a Vanadium battery through a partnership with Queensland-based mining company Vecco Group will allow the property to go completely off-grid.

Vecco Group managing director Tom Northcott says the use of Vanadium batteries supports the global movement towards decarbonisation, a key focus of the travel industry as smart travellers increasingly command sustainability efforts from their accommodation providers.

“Green energy projects, such as the Vanadium battery installation at Hazelwood, will allow renewables to become a large part of a lower-carbon future," he says.

"Previously, the application of Vanadium batteries was confined to electricity utilities and industrial companies."

Green building principles were embedded in the estate’s design and construction.

A large solar farm was constructed on the roof of the horse stables nearly 1km away from the estate’s main operations, allowing the production of clean energy without impacting on aesthetics.

The build also saw the planting of over 6,000 trees, including native plants, to rejuvenate soil biology and the restoration of the once derelict dairy farm using regenerative farming practices including carbon sequestering.

By switching to regenerative practices without the use of pesticides or synthetic fertilisers and bringing back grazing animals on the land to mimic natural cattle migration, the property aims to work to restore soil health, enabling nature to rebalance carbon levels.

The resort has over 600,000 litres of water storage onsite, with all water used being harvested rainwater.

The Paddock restaurant is one of only 15 Queensland restaurants listed on The Good Fish Project - an initiative by the Australian Marine Conservation Society which guides diners on restaurants committed to removing unsustainable seafood from their menus.

Executive chef Simon Furley works closely with suppliers to ensure the supply chain is at the very least carbon neutral and all ingredients are sourced from South-East Queensland aside from oil, salt and flour.

“We are right next door to the world heritage-listed Lamington National Park and some of the most untouched rainforests on earth, why not make a difference if you have the opportunity?" Furley says.

"My ethos is simple, if it’s not from here it’s not on here - we have an unwavering focus on sustainable, ethical, seasonal cooking.”

Local experiences and activities are centred around environmental education including market garden tours and bushwalking trails. Beekeeping tours will be added to the resort’s offering in the coming months.

E-bikes and electric golf carts also provide a fun, sustainable transport option for visitors to explore the property.

Hazelwood Estate is at 422 Binna Burra Road, Beechmont, Queensland. 90 minutes from Brisbane and 40 minutes s from the Gold Coast. It can cater for up to 44 guests.


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