GREEN IS GOLD: Rhys and Vanessa Kummerow with baby Sebastian and Digger the dog at Childers Eco-lodge.
GREEN IS GOLD: Rhys and Vanessa Kummerow with baby Sebastian and Digger the dog at Childers Eco-lodge. Eliza Goetze

Is this Queensland's greenest retreat?

IT'S not always easy being green but for one Childers business the hard work is paying off.

Childers Eco-lodge is a finalist in the Premier's Sustainability Awards in the small business category, and owners Rhys and Vanessa Kummerow say they are "in with a chance".

The Apple Tree Creek accommodation, with a current capacity of 40 people, uses 55% of the average electricity for its size and about half its waste is recycled, Vanessa says.

Much of the 11ha block - with characters like Digger the dog and a preening peacock on patrol - is bushland, allowing guests to explore.

 

WATER CYCLE: Rhys Kummerow with his system that cycles water from fish tanks into a vegetable garden.
WATER CYCLE: Rhys Kummerow with his system that cycles water from fish tanks into a vegetable garden. Eliza Goetze

"We're hoping people can come and get an idea of what (sustainable living) is like," Vanessa said.

It's not all smelly composting toilets - in fact, as Rhys points out, when used correctly, they don't smell at all.

Their measures range from a bio-septic wastewater filter to using clotheslines instead of dryers.

They have rainwater tanks with a capacity of 130,000 litres which supply their showers, basins and kitchen.

They grow bananas, pineapples, mandarins, tomatoes, lettuce, herbs and more on the property.

The Kummerows have cornered the backpacker market during picking season and now they are working to attract a more discerning clientele in the quieter months, offering a nature retreat.

"Glamping" style facilities on their peaceful property have creature comforts from double beds to ensuites.

 

GLAMPING: Vanessa Kummerow inside one of the new ensuites, including a composting toilet, at the Childers Eco Lodge. Photo: Isis Town & Country / Eliza Goetze
GLAMPING: Vanessa Kummerow inside one of the new ensuites, including a composting toilet, at the Childers Eco Lodge. Photo: Isis Town & Country / Eliza Goetze Eliza Goetze

Rhys has set up a fish farm that feeds water into a vegetable garden, saying it has been "very successful" so far.

"The water has very high nutritional value from the fish poo," he said.

The Kummerows are keen to change people's attitudes.

"In London, every glass of water has been through seven sets of kidneys," Rhys said. "In Australia we're always in drought or flood, yet a few years ago, they voted against recycling water in major cities."

Vanessa said they had encouraged restaurants in the region to donate food scraps for their pigs.

"The Miners Arms in Torbanlea is giving us their scraps now, so we are slowly branching out to include other local businesses."

Their goal is for the lodge to be self-sufficient.

The winners of the 2016 Premier's Sustainability Awards will be announced in Brisbane on November 17.


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