Business With Purpose
Creating Connections with the Cultural and Natural Landscape of the Red Centre.
Nestled among red sand dunes and overlooking Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in Australia’s spiritual and geographic heart, every aspect of Longitude 131° pays respect to the sensitive cultural and environmental values of the dual World Heritage-listed landscape.
The lodge’s construction – approved under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act – involved extensive consultations with the traditional Anangu owners, the Central Land Council and Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority. Cultural maps were consulted to confirm no sacred sites were compromised, and 12 square kilometres of land were set aside as a conservation reserve for the local population of Mulgara, a small carnivorous marsupial, as well as other native animals.
A broad-ranging Environmental Management Plan governs all strategies relating to the conservation of the desert ecosystem, including protection for both native flora and fauna.
“We wanted to place a strong emphasis on the First Australians’ significance to our national culture. We strived to showcase Central Australia’s indigenous heritage – particularly from an artistic perspective.” - Baillie Lodges Co-founder, Hayley Baillie.
Connecting Guests with the Oldest Living Culture in the World
“The focus of the guest experience at Longitude 131° is on deepening understanding and connecting with the rugged yet fragile natural environment and the rich cultural heritage of the indigenous Anangu people, whose history in the region extends back 60,000 years,” says James Baillie, Co-founder of Baillie Lodges.
Guided excursions delve into the Anangu culture, setting ancient creation stories of the traditional custodians against the raw beauty of the Uluru monolith and nearby Kata Tjuta, and interpreting the verdant yet delicate ecosystem of native vegetation and wildlife.
Culture, Community and Art
“We wanted to place a strong emphasis on the First Australians’ significance to our national culture. We strived to showcase Central Australia’s indigenous heritage – particularly from an artistic perspective.” explains Baillie Lodges Co-founder, Hayley Baillie.
Throughout the lodge, commissioned artworks from local indigenous artists (including a communal work of 500 hand-painted ceramic tiles) stand alongside a collection of artefacts of the first western pioneers.
The lodge has also established a multi-faceted partnership with Ernabella, the oldest continuously running indigenous arts centre in Australia. The culturally-strong, multi-generational contemporary art studio produces works in a variety of mediums that draw world-wide acclaim.
In the spirit of 'Tjungu warkarintja' – which translates to 'working together' in the local Pitjantjatjara language – lodge guests are able to visit the closed community by special arrangement. The full-day private tour allows the artists to share their heritage and artworks, while guests gain an understanding of the techniques and symbols used by the artists to tell their Tjukurpa (sacred stories) through their art.
“Engaging one-on-one with the indigenous artists at Ernabella is a way for our guests to gain a personal connection and understanding of the living cultural landscape of Central Australia,” explains Hayley Baillie, who spear-headed the partnership.
“The financial contribution is often the only revenue the community receives, and helps secure the centre’s important legacy.”
And Onsite at the Lodge…
Longitude 131°’s uniquely contemporary Australian menu is designed to align with the Aboriginal seasons of the outback and the desert environment. It combines the best produce from around the country with indigenous and ‘bush-tucker’ flavours such as desert-foraged herbs and succulents; finger limes; muntrie berries; quandongs and Davidson plums.
Spa treatments showcase Central Australia’s surprising resource of natural beauty products and traditional indigenous herbal remedies, including Kakadu plum, desert lime, Australian yellow clay and nutrient-rich desert salts.
Irmangka-irmangka (pronounced air-a-monger-air-a-monger) or Scented Emu Bush is a powerful bush medicine used by indigenous Anangu ngangkari (traditional healers). Its beneficial healing powers enhance many of Spa Kinara’s treatments, while all proceeds from the sale of the balm go to the NPY Women’s Council ngangkari and their work in the region.
Building, Design and Environmental Sensitivity
The lodge itself was constructed using techniques that minimise impact on the site and surrounds so that, if required, the infrastructure could be entirely disassembled and the site restored to its pre-development state with minimal remediation necessary.
Each of the 16 guest tents has a triple-layer construction to maximise thermal and acoustic insulation. A combination of natural stone and under-floor insulation enhances cooling in summer and heat retention in winter, and the tents are positioned to minimise heat loading on window glazing.
The site is solar-powered as part of the Yulara Solar Project, which is lauded as a showcase for sustainable eco-tourism and remote tourism operations. Power generated by Longitude 131 is integrated into the system, which helps power the Yulara precinct and neighbouring businesses.
Other sustainability initiatives (our Mandatories):
- Longitude 131° taps into the Yulara Solar Project, commissioned by Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia in 2016. The system integrates 1.8 MW of solar photovoltaics (PV) into the existing power system at the Yulara Resort and neighbouring businesses.
- Extensive recycling is undertaken, with staff separating compostable materials; cardboard and paper; glass; plastic; aluminium and rubbish. Biodegradable chemicals are used for cleaning.
- Longitude 131° uses refillable water bottles for guest use on outdoor adventures. There are no single-use (plastic) drinking straws on offer for guests in the bar or restaurant.
- Guest amenities (shampoo, conditioner, liquid soap and hand cream) in guest suites are presented in refillable vessels.