An eco-friendly resort in far north Queensland is introducing solar powered boats as a part of the sight-seeing attraction of the scenic area. The boats are hoped to not only protect the natural environment of the resort, but increase revenue and educate tourists at the same time.
Situated 3,500 kilometres from Brisbane on the Norther Territory border, The Adel’s Grove Resort has been attracting attention for its innovative project and commitment to a more sustainable approach to business and tourism.
The area is a major tourist attraction, being only 10 kilometres from the Lawn Hill Gorge in Boodjamulla National Park. The resort came across difficulties accessing the scenic gorge as only canoe access was allowed due to environmental regulations.
Elderly visitors and children were unable to visit the site due to these logistical difficulties. Matt Brewster from Qenergy Solutions in Mt Isa worked with the resort to develop an environmentally friendly and non-invasive mode of transport to the gorge.
A Recycled and Eco Friendly Water Vessel
The resort now has two 10 passenger solar boats which were initially older petrol driven vessels. Due to motor boats being banned in Queensland National Parks, the solution of solar power came as a natural alternative to renewable energy advocate Matt Brewster.
The boats are run entirely on battery storage drawn from eight solar panels on the roof of the vessel. The 4hp 48V electric motor allows the boats to cruise at a leisurely 4km per hour during daylight hours, while the battery voltage remains a a backup system for higher speeds, lower light days and night time trips.
In addition to the low environmental impact, the boats are very quiet, operating at a low hum which also limits the disruption to the natural environment.
Brewster said that all of the features are intentionally designed for a low environmental impact “which is important in such a tranquil setting”.
Solar Boats Increase Tourism to Adels Grove
Resort Owner Michelle Low Mow said the solar powered boats have caused a spike in tourism to the area as they make it easier for people to visit the scenic surrounds of the area.
Low Mow said the boats even encouraged longer stays at the resort due to more choice in activities, meaning greater profits for resort.
“Previously we could only offer canoes for visitors, or a short walk to see the falls, but now we can offer a quiet and comfortable one our ride along the Lawn Hill Gorge,” she said.
“The boat cost $60 000 and we charge $35 per person, this has seen us earn well over $100 000 last season as 3600 people made the trip,” added Low Mow.
The solar powered boats are only the beginning for the environmentally focused resort, with plans in place for a 10 bedroom solar powered project in store in coming years.
The resort seems to be doing something right as Low Mow said “our visitor numbers have steadily increased from 4,000 to 28,000 a year”.
Adels Grove has been under operation for over 40 years, with camping facilities, a restaurant and store that Low Mow only hopes to add to with her focus on environmental conservation.
Photo courtesy of QEnergy Solutions