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Great Barrier Reef Island Resorts Rejuvenation Program

Investing in sustainable and greener infrastructure projects on Great Barrier Reef island resorts.

Reef and region

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s most celebrated biodiverse natural wonders and a fundamental element of Queensland’s sustainable tourism future.

On the World Heritage List since 1981, the area stretches 2,300km along the Queensland coast and is at the heart of tourism in the state.

More than 70 traditional owner groups call the reef home, with many cultural sites showing a connection to sea and country dating back 60,000 years.

The Great Barrier Reef is home to diverse activities across conservation, scientific research, cultural heritage as well as recreational experiences. The opportunity to visit the reef delivers an economic contribution to Queensland and helps develop a deeper appreciation and understanding of the complex and diverse natural ecosystem.

About the program

Island resorts are an iconic part of the tourism offering and essential to attracting new and return visitors to the Great Barrier Reef.

The Queensland Government has invested $25 million to deliver the Great Barrier Reef Island Resorts Rejuvenation Program.

This included funding projects on Great Barrier Reef island resorts from Far North Queensland to the Southern Great Barrier Reef for a range of initiatives focusing on growing, greening and cleaning.

Also under the program, the abandoned Cape Richards resort site on the northern tip of Hinchinbrook Island, in far north Queensland, has been cleaned up and returned to national park.

All funds for the program have been fully committed and projects completed.

Bedarra Island Resort

The family-owned resort strives to create luxurious experiences in a sustainable way. With our grant funding, the resort is aiming to open all year round, resulting in a 25 percent lift in business.

With our support the rejuvenation program delivered:

  • Two bio-cycle waste treatment systems
  • An off-grid hybrid solar system coupled with a battery bank and a back-up generator
  • A secondary water reticulation system
  • Electric buggies on the island.

Benefits:

  • Reduced diesel consumption by 97%
  • Increased water storage capacity by 50% to 1,000,000+ litres
  • Improved guest experience – no generator noise or smell

Green Island Resort

With our support, Green Island Resort has updated infrastructure and adopted greener technology.

Work began with the removal of the island’s retired underwater observatory. Installed in 1954 and closed for the last seven years, it was unsafe for use.

Up to 2000 visitors a day will use the improved day facilities, including the refurbished Emeralds and Greens dining areas.

The resort will realise long-term environmental benefits by using newly installed solar power.

Thanks to upgrades on the waste management system, waste is treated on the island. By not running it to the mainland, the amount of diesel fuel used is reduced.

We will help to attract more visitors to Green Island, improve the resort's sustainability and reduce operating costs.

Benefits:

  • Cut current diesel fuel usage by 40%
  • Reduce general waste volume to landfill by 50%
  • Reduce annual carbon emissions by 620 tonnes

Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island Resort is world class, thanks to continual investment in infrastructure and the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef. Only a third of the island is developed, with the rest left to its natural state.

With our support the rejuvenation program delivered:

  • New facilities for daytrip and resort guests including a new marina terminal
  • Enhanced walking trails
  • New viewing platforms on Passage Peak
  • New water, sewerage and waste facilities.

Benefits:

  • Rejuvenate the resort's arrival point
  • Improve waste management to reduce carbon emissions and landfill
  • Enhance the resilience and capacity of infrastructure

Heron Island

Heron Island Resort is an Eco Certified Advanced Ecotourism business. With support from the from, the resort is continuing to implement improved sustainability practices and reduce its carbon footprint by:

  • Adopting improved renewable energy alternatives to reduce reliance on diesel fuel.
  • Implementing further waste management practices with a new composting system, woodchipper, cardboard shredder and glass crusher.
  • Cleaning up legacy waste to maintain the pristine nature of the island.

Benefits:

  • Supporting progress towards 100% solar power
  • Minimising waste volume and disposal costs
  • Showcasing commitment to genuine ecotourism and environmental practice

Hinchinbrook Island

Funding from the program has been used for the clean-up and return of the dilapidated Cape Richards resort site on Hinchinbrook Island to the natural environment.

Works include removing remaining building and rubble to enable natural regeneration, ensure public safety and return the site to a condition suitable for a world heritage listed national park.

Benefits:

  • Supported approximately 14 local jobs for clean-up works
  • Removal of hazardous materials and building waste from the site
  • Preserving the natural beauty of our national parks

Intercontinental Hayman Island Resort

Devastated by a tropical cyclone in 2017, Intercontinental Hayman Island Resort has been rebuilt.

With our help, the luxury resort is improving its sustainability and resilience and becoming more energy efficient through:

  • In-room technology — including lights automatically turning off and blinds closing when a guest exists a room to keep the rooms cool and conserve energy.
  • A unique glass-to-sand crusher to reduce waste transportation to the mainland and maintain the resort pathways with recycled glass bottles.
  • Kitchen waste composters convert organic waste to liquid for maintaining plants and lawns throughout the island.
  • Integrated building management system to identify efficiencies.
  • Sustainable approaches to safeguarding the surrounding environment.
  • Enhanced protection with a reconstructed seawall so the resort can continue to operate even after a natural disaster.

These green technologies will reduce energy consumption, carbon emissions and waste to landfill.

Benefits:

  • Reduce 300 tonnes of CO2 per annum
  • Remove 100,000 kilograms per annum of waste to landfill
  • Increased resilience to natural disasters

Hook Island

We are supporting reactivating the resort site, which has not operated since February 2013.

With co-funding from the program, the new owners of Hook Island Eco Resort have fast-tracked the demolition of 10 buildings and removed over 225 tonnes of waste from the island including diesel tanks, car bodies and building material.

The site is now ready for redevelopment as a nature-based, eco-friendly resort with a focus on low-impact, low-emission, sustainable accommodation for the environmentally conscious visitor.

With our support the rejuvenation program delivered:

  • Removal of legacy waste from the site making it ready for redevelopment and activation.
  • Removal of the decommissioned underwater observatory, which was deemed structurally unsound from the marine park.
  • Installation of 12 new moorings and restoration of walking tracks within the resort site.

Benefits:

  • Clean up and removal of legacy waste from the resort site
  • Site is ready for redevelopment
  • Improved access through new moorings and restored walking tracks

Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort

With our support, Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort has fast-tracked its goal of achieving 100 per cent solar energy capability to power the resort. With co-funding from the program, the installation of additional solar panels and batteries and solar hot water systems has meant the resort has significantly reduced use of diesel and its carbon emissions.

In addition, new eco-tents have been installed to offer guests enhanced nature-based accommodation.

The resort is a family run business that is proud of the sustainability measures now in place including 100% Queensland sun operated solar power

Benefits:

  • 170 solar panels and two additional battery banks in place
  • Saving 550 litres of diesel fuel per day
  • Reduction of 538 tonnes in carbon emissions per annum

Orpheus Island Lodge

Thanks to our support, Orpheus Island Lodge has reduced their environmental impacts faster by adopting renewable energy, furthering their commitment to a sustainable tourism industry.

With our support the rejuvenation program delivered:

  • Installation of renewable energy infrastructure
  • Not running the generator saves fuel and creates a quieter environment
  • Using excess solar power during the day to reduce battery power used at night
  • Installation of waste reduction equipment
  • Upgrading the wastewater treatment system to improve environmental outcomes.

Benefits:

  • 100% solar powered by 810 solar panels and battery storage
  • Saving 600L of diesel fuel per day
  • Better and quieter environment for guests

South Molle Island

In 2017, South Molle Island resort experienced structural impacts to buildings and the jetty during ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie. In 2019, the resort owners, CCIG Australia, undertook a $140 million redevelopment of nearby Daydream Island.

With the redevelopment and reopening of Daydream Island completed, CCIG Australia are focusing on the revitalisation of the South Molle site.

With our support, clean up works and the reconstruction of the jetty are now complete. Both these projects will help restore access for visitors and locals to the island’s national park and 17 km of walking trails, including:

  • Completed demolition, clean-up and removal of hazardous building materials and debris from the resort site.
  • Completed construction of a new public jetty to give day trip access to the Island’s walking trails.

Benefits:

  • Resort cleaned up and waste removed
  • Restore access to the island’s national park walking trails
  • Remediated site ready for redevelopment

Wilson Island

Wilson Island is an eco-tourism destination with luxury tents, renewable energy and a commitment to environmentally sustainable practises.

With support from the program:

  • Wilson Island has re-opened to guests
  • 100% solar and battery powered. Generating a clean source of power preserves the peace and quiet of this pristine area
  • Nine eco-lux tents now provide a new eco-tourism experience
  • The island has an environmentally secure wastewater treatment plant.

Benefits:

  • Re-open the acclaimed Wilson Island
  • Renewable energy powering the resort
  • Grow regional tourism and jobs

Last updated: 29 Jul 2022