Sustainable Holiday Accommodation

Would you be surprised to find a compost bucket in your holiday accommodation?

This is what Peter Kurz supplies in his mudbrick holiday units in Mallacoota, Victoria. On my arrival as a guest I was led to his orchard and presented with a tasting of tiny, delectable mandarins and a basketful of them to take to my temporary home-away-from-home. I was then shown the tall compost pile that would be ‘mine’ to use during my time as a guest.

Peter and his wife, Margaret, live a sustainable lifestyle and practise permaculture principles.

In 1964 Peter arrived in the tiny hamlet of Mallacoota to pursue abalone diving on a full-time basis. He proceeded to regenerate native vegetation where the vast acreage had been denuded by cattle grazing. He built houses out of mud-brick – the clay sourced onsite. Bottles, coloured glass and mosaics whimsically grace the exterior and interior walls and windows of the Gaudi-like architecture.

Fifty-seven years on, the Kurz’ now have a devoted following of guests who return again and again. They admire Peter and Margaret’s artistry and their commitment to sustainability, not to speak of the familial warmth of the holiday accommodation’s hosts.

Solar panels top every building, either for hot water or for electricity which is favoured over gas. Huge water tanks supply fresh drinking water, water for washing, for keeping the gardens and orchards lush and for wild fire-fighting.

Wildlife abounds. There are daily sightings of koalas, wombats, wallabies, lyrebirds and brush-tail possums. There are all examples of our native birdlife, king parrots, white-headed pigeons, eastern spinebills, tiny red-browned finches, willy-wagtails and eastern yellow robins, who chirp noisily and busily in this safe environment.

The land is committed to Trust for Nature, a land-for-wildlife initiative that protects land from development in perpetuity, thus preserving the flora and fauna dependent on it for its survival.

Where do your composted food scraps go? Walk to the back of the Kurz’s property where the veggies and fruit orchards are flourishing and to where you are contributing your food waste instead of to landfill.

On my journey along the New South Wales and Victorian coastlines these last six weeks, I have stayed at BnBs, hotels, cabins on caravan parks and farm cottages. The only other sustainable practice I encountered was at Mystery Bay in a farm cottage where a small bin was supplied for specific food scraps with which to feed the chooks.

Imagine the quantities of food waste that are produced by holiday makers, all of which normally ends up in landfill contributing to greenhouse gases. This wasteful, harmful, anti-environmental practice can be easily alleviated by holiday accommodation hosts who, like the Kurz’s, are committed to addressing climate change by making composting a normal, everyday routine.