Nestled in a private valley with soaring bush escarpments, Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley is located between the Wollemi and Gardens of Stone National Parks in the World Heritage listed Greater Blue Mountains area, a mere 2.5 hours drive from Sydney. Occupying just one per cent of a 7,000-acre wildlife reserve, the secluded resort combines ultra-luxury with a quintessentially Australian bush experience, and is a world-leading example of carbon neutral conservation and sustainable design.
Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley was the first resort in the world to achieve internationally accredited carbon-neutral certification when it opened in 2009, and remains the only resort in Australia with this standard of accreditation. It is also the only Australian resort in recent history granted permission to build in close proximity to a World Heritage Area, and was built according to a philosophy of complete integration with its environment.
A love of nature, heritage and the environment permeates the resort, and from the moment guests leave their cars at the gate, they are transported to a wilderness oasis, guaranteed to give an authentic, inspiring experience. Passionate conservationists ensure that guests not only enjoy the resort, but also gain a deeper understanding of the stunning wilderness setting with an innovative programme of environmental education hosted by its expert Field Guides. Guests are able to take part in a wide range of conservation-related experiences, from planting trees during ‘Conservation Hour’ to assisting with wombat preservation using the new WomSAT app recently launched.
In addition to being built according to Ecologically Sustainable Design principles - including rainwater collection, domestic water recycling, heat exchange technology and solar panels - Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley undertakes extensive and wide-ranging conservation at the property. The focus of these programmes is the protection of regional biodiversity and the restoration of habitat. The resort’s extensive conservation work helps to re-establish and secure a future for many of the region’s 1,500 native and endangered species.
It was in the nearby Wollemi National Park, which borders Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, that the Wollemi Pine (Wollemia Nobilis) was discovered in 1994. One of the world’s rarest tree species, it was known only from Jurassic fossil records, and presumed extinct by botanists until its rediscovery, considered to be ‘the botanical find of the 20th century’ by the Australian Museum in Sydney. With less than 100 adult trees known to exist in the wild, the Wollemi Pine is now the focus of extensive research to safeguard its survival. Guests are welcome to visit the resort’s Wollemi Pine Grove during their stay.
Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley has also, for the last eight years, assisted the University of Western Sydney with its field research and monitoring of the local wombat population. In 2014, the resort provided crucial financial support to create a new website and app that aggregates wombat sightings for researchers to analyze. Wombat sightings are common around the resort, and guests are encouraged to share their own ‘research’ with the resort’s trained conservation team.
Conservation work routinely undertaken on the property includes revegetation of wildlife corridors and stream bank areas for wildlife habitat and erosion control. The resort also runs an ongoing programme of assisted natural regeneration, with significant investment in weed control and the removal of invasive plants to protect the diversity of regional native species.
“Conservation and sustainability lie at the heart of Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, and are very much a part of the guest experience,” comments General Manager, James Wyndham. “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 programmes.”