Lodge wins third gold tourism award
CLARENCE River Wilderness Lodge won gold for the third time at the annual North Coast Tourism Awards at the Ramada Hotel Ballina on Saturday night.
It is the fourth time it has entered the awards under the category of unique accommodation and has won a silver award and now three golds.
Owner Steve Ross said most people knew of the beautiful beaches on the Northern Rivers but the rugged remoteness of the eastern fall of the Great Dividing Range was not as well known.
"Rivers, mountains and gorges with a bio-diverse flora and fauna fill this landscape," he said.
"We have an emerging tourism industry in this area. Winning this award for the Clarence River Wilderness Lodge is an acknowledgement of what this region can offer visitors."
A bushfire in October 2012 then a major flood in January 2013 had a profound impact on the business..
"We had to close down after the fire because of the danger of falling trees on our access road," Steve said.
"The January flood damaged our access road and left thousands of rocks on our camping area.
"Recovery is just about complete with help coming from organisations such as Outback Links and Outward Bound Australia providing volunteers for the clean-up."
One of the unique and award-winning aspects of the Clarence River Wilderness Lodge is its commitment to environmentally sustainable tourism.
The lodge is independent of the power grid and uses solar cells for its power needs. The cabins and bush huts have been built using wood harvested from the property and recycled materials. Their location and finish are designed to blend with the surrounding environment.
The future looks positive for tourism in this region as it close to the growing populations of Brisbane, Gold Coast and the Northern Rivers and the lodge offers a retreat from urban pressures.