The Glass House Mountains are truly one of Australia’s natural wonders. Located in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast, they are a series of awe-inspiring 16 steep sided volcanic plugs which were created more than 25 million years ago. They are so significant that they are listed on the Queensland and National Heritage Register as a landscape of national significance.
The Glass House Mountains were named by Captain Cook as he sailed up the coast. The shape of the tall volcanic plugs reminded him of the glass making foundries back home in Yorkshire, England.
As a special meeting place where many Aboriginal people would gather for ceremonies and trade, the Glass House Mountains were considered a sacred area. These mountains and the surrounding plains are the ancestral home of the Jinibara and Kabi Kabi peoples, the Traditional Owners of this area. It is considered spiritually significant with many ceremonial sites still present and protected today. Each of the mountains have an aboriginal name as well as stories about ancestral beings.
The Glass House Mountains have always held a fascination for people. In the 1890’s people would pedal their bicycles he 70 km from Brisbane just to experience the beauty of the mountains. One of the most iconic peaks in the Glasshouse Mountains is Mt. Tibrogargan. That is where weary travellers would rest and find refuge at a local lodging which still exists as a historic building!
Glass House Mountains Ecolodge
The beauty of the Glass House Mountains attracted Keith Murray, owner of the Glass House Mountains Ecolodge. In 1982, he purchased five acres near Mt. Tibrogargan which had been a settler block given to returning WWI soldiers for pineapple farming. He always had the vision that one day this land would become a retreat for modern day weary travellers.
Over the past 30 years, Keith’s vision slowly took shape. He and his family planted hundreds of trees, which replaced the original pineapple farm. He also cultivated an amazing orchard of hundreds of indigenous plants and trees, offering the experience of real bush tucker!
Opportunities kept appearing to develop his vision. He relocated a 125 year old timber country Queensland church as well as four historic train carriages to his property. He loving restored them to create a unique and beautiful accommodations. In fact, it took over 1200 hours of work, to transform a 60 year old Queensland train carriage into a modern accommodation with the ambience of a bygone era.
In 2004, the Glasshouse Mountains Ecolodge opened for eco-travellers. Since then people from all over Australia as well as the four corners of the globe have found their way to this respite of beauty, history and nature.
While at the Ecolodge, you can enjoy nocturnal frog spotting and bird watching (over 60 different types of birds have been seen). It’s a great place to relax and unwind in this peaceful and quiet nature haven with its birds, butterflies, dragonflies, and even kangaroos. And it is just 400 metres from national park walks. Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo is just 10 minutes away and the Ecolodge is only an hour north of Brisbane.
The Ecolodge is a delightful experience for everyone. If you love hiking, the National Park is literally at your doorstep. If you need a retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city life, the Ecolodge is a breath of fresh air, peace and quiet (no TVs to be found in the lodgings, but wifi is available). It is the perfect place for a family adventure where you can explore the native animal life, wander the trails of the national park, have a barbie at the communal train carriage kitchen, or head out to the Australia zoo. It is certainly a great couple’s get away into a magical place of privacy and pristine nature.
Leave the Ordinary Behind
The Ecolodge boasts a large variety of accommodations suitable for singles, couples and groups. The Orchard Rooms, with great views of Mount Tibrogargan from their verandas, overlook the tropical orchard. And the Forest Family Rooms, which sleep up to four people, face the forest.
Their two historic 60 year old train carriage accommodations are a trip back in time but with all the modern conveniences. Fully self-contained with separate bedroom, kitchen and own bathroom. These train carriages are both historical and offer a truly special experience While sitting on the deck area you can gaze across at their orchard and listen to the sounds of nature.
The beautiful restored old Church with its original timber floors and walls, cathedral ceilings, arched windows and shutters, is another amazing experience. Relax in a large comfortable lounge area with wood burning fire for cosy winter evenings. The loft provides spectacular views of Mt. Tibrogargan. The church offers a perfect venue for family gatherings, workshops, meetings and retreats.
There are three other beautiful suites and bungalows that also have all the amenities for comfort as well as the fabulous views of the awe-inspiring Mt. Tibrogargan.
The Real Eco Experience
Keith’s passion is to create an experience that truly is in integrity with his values. He has created a special place that is aligned with his deepest values of sustainability, equity, social justice and care for the environment.
To this end, he is active in developing a wildlife corridor with adjacent property owners This links the nearby National Park with the Coonowrin Creek bushland area and has resulted in the increase in numbers of reptiles spotted on and near the Ecolodge property.
The Richmond Birdwing Butterfly is at risk of extinction. The Ecolodge has become part of a network of property owners who are actively planting the vines necessary for the ongoing survival of this beautiful butterfly.
Keith composts all vegetable matter for later use in gardens. As well as recycling of all glass, metal and paper into the Sunshine Coast Regional Council waste management system.
To minimise environmental impact on a daily basis, the Ecolodge uses solar hot water for all guest bathrooms. It is self sufficient in water by harvesting rainwater from 450m² of roof and store it in two 45,000 litre underground storage tanks. And all grey water is recycled via their on site commercial grade waste sewerage system and reused on the Ecolodge coffee orchard.
The Ecolodge is also involved with local environmental issues. It contributes to the sustainability of the local creek system by not using chemical fertilisers on open space grassed areas. It also ensures the sealed car park storm water run-off is spread over a large grassed area prior to entering the creek in preference to a piped system. This method assists in preventing erosion of creek banks and reducing vehicle sourced pollutants.
As a member of the international ecotourism club, the Ecolodge is part of a worldwide organisation that promotes environmental awareness to travellers.
In alignment with the values of the Ecolodge, Keith has vowed to maintain a choice of affordable accommodation rates, so that his Glasshouse Mountains Ecolodge is an experience that can fit into the budget of all Australians.
The Glass House Mountains Ecolodge is truly a gem. It is a profound example of how to provide a sustainable, economically viable and environmentally harmonious experience for everyone to not only enjoy but also be inspired to live in greater harmony with nature.
Keith’s most sincere desire has always been “to create a place to offer solace and peace for weary travellers”. In a sense, there are times when we are all weary travellers. The Glass House Mountains Ecolodge is the perfect a place for the renewal of body, mind and spirit.
For more information and to support Keith directly, please visit https://www.glasshouseecolodge.com
Sherrill Sellman ND is a naturopath, psychotherapist, best-selling author, host of two weekly podcasts, lecturer and contributing writer for many worldwide publications. She can be found at [email protected]
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