Business With Purpose
Hospitality and care for a sustainable future
Spicers Peak Lodge sits at the heart of a 2000-hectare private nature reserve – one of the largest in Queensland - enveloped by the World Heritage-listed Main Range National Park and the Great Dividing Range, within an arc of spectacular mountains on the Scenic Rim of Queensland’s high country.
Ecologically, the Spicers Peak Nature Reserve is strategically important as it forms a key link in a bio-regional corridor between National Parks known as the Green Shield. It provides a refuge for many of Australia’s vulnerable, endangered and rare species and features ten unique ecosystems, including rainforest, open eucalypt forest and rocky ridges. These habitats are home to species such as the rarely-seen Albert’s lyrebird; brush-tailed rock wallabies; glossy black red-crested cockatoos, the eastern bristlebird and koalas.
The reserve was established in 2006 by Spicers’ Founder and ardent conservationist, Jude Turner, with the aim of sharing and protecting the spectacular landscape of the Scenic Rim.
“Protecting our ecosystem now will ensure future generations are able to learn, explore and enjoy our great land as we do today.” – Jude Turner, Founder of Spicers.
It shares a seven-kilometre boundary with the Main Range National Park and is protected in perpetuity through a Conservation Agreement between the Turner family and the Queensland Government. It binds all future owners to conserve the significant natural and cultural resources of the property, and to provide for controlled use of the land for livestock production and eco-tourism.
“It has been my vision to share this landscape with the world, to connect people with nature and deliver a unique sense of ‘relaxed luxury’ alongside – and in harmony with – nature and the particular local surroundings,” explained Jude Turner.
“We believe that experiencing the natural environment restores the human spirit and our long-lost connection with the land. We hope that our guests develop a deeper affinity with the natural environment – and an appreciation of our need to protect it.”
Encounter rare and endangered wildlife
Guests at Spicers Peak Lodge can undertake guided day hikes, mountain bike adventures and walks to learn about the local flora and fauna, Indigenous culture, geological history and the seasonal changes to the landscape.
During these guided adventures, they have the chance to see platypus, two species of kangaroo and three species of wallaby (including the endangered brush-tailed rock wallaby), three types of possum, dingoes, bandicoots, potoroos and bats. The property is also renowned for its bird-watching opportunities with regular sightings of rare and threatened birds.
There’s also the Scenic Rim Trail by Spicers – A Great Walk of Australia – offering two, three, four and six-day extended guided treks that traverse the property and the National Park, using other purpose-built, low-impact accommodation facilities built by Spicers.
Sustainability goals as part of the guest experience
A sustainability ethos permeates operations at Spicers Peak Lodge, best seen through the lens of focus and respect for produce, the producers and the environment. The menu highlights the best of Australia, sourced as locally as possible, combined with the lodge’s own freshly grown produce.
Spicers has aligned its operations with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, developing a Sustainability Management Plan with deliverables in the areas of energy, waste, water and community. The company as a whole has committed to achieving zero net emissions from energy, halving potable water consumption and removing all single-use plastics from site.
The company’s dedicated sustainability team tracks and works to minimise emissions from scope 1 and 2 sources (direct emissions and emissions from power use) and reports quarterly to the board; property managers and to the team of ‘Green Hornets’; on-site sustainability leaders who are empowered to develop and implement sustainability initiatives.
“Achieving these goals is a way to show how sustainability can permeate every aspect of our operations. It’s not always easy to implement these changes in the luxury tourism sector we work in, but our sustainability initiatives have become part of the guest experience without being obtrusive, and overcoming the challenges has proven hugely rewarding for our team,” said Jude Turner.
“Greater environmental awareness has opened up new possibilities for us and has brought clarity to our purpose; our original idea of ‘getting more people out and into the bush’ feels even more relevant. We hope to inspire our staff, guests and the wider tourism industry to become stronger advocates for a more sustainable, circular economy. Our gold is green.”
Protecting the ecosystem for future generations
Taking its conservation commitment to another level, the Turner Family Foundation has contributed over $18.5 million – the largest family contribution to conservation in Queensland history – to establishing the Hidden Vale Wildlife Centre, operated in partnership with the University of Queensland which will include a captive wildlife breeding centre and permanent release facility for some of Australia’s rarest and most threatened species.
“Connecting people back to nature and the restorative and educational benefits of that has always been our goal. Focusing on facilitating that authentic connection is our opportunity to redefine the concept of luxury as a sustainable and environmentally beneficial endeavour,” said Jude Turner.
Other sustainability initiatives (Our mandatories)
- In 2017 Spicers joined the EarthCheck Evaluate Plus program and, in combination with its new Sustainability Management Plan, is taking active steps to reduce its impact on the environment by benchmarking waste, water and electricity usage and levels across the group.
- An energy audit of the site was conducted in 2021 and 2022, forming a baseline for developing an annual ‘energy consumption budget’ and identifying potential usage reductions. Over this period, grid electricity consumption was reduced by 12 per cent and Scope 1 and 2 carbon footprint was reduced by eight per cent, as measured using the Australian Government’s National Greenhouse Accounts Factors.
- In August 2021 34 kW of solar PV was installed, the maximum allowable by the Network Service Provider (NSP). This project also included an upgrade to circuitry to improve efficiency (improved harmonics and power factor). Further upgrades to lighting, equipment and hot water were installed in 2022 under the Australian Governments Hotel Energy Uplift program.
- As part of its zero-waste goal, Spicers Peak Lodge’s restaurant, The Peak, has replaced the plastic prep containers in the restaurant kitchen with stainless steel. It uses a specialist recycler for latex chef’s gloves and works only with suppliers who agree to eliminate styrofoam boxes and plastic bags from their deliveries, reducing the amount of waste that enters the premises in the first place.
- In The Peak’s kitchen, preparation leftovers go to the local farmer's pigs to create a positive loop for organic waste.
- Instead of plastic water bottles for guests, Spicers provides refillable glassware in both guest rooms and the restaurant.
- Spicers’ own coffee brand, Glossy Black Coffee was developed as an initiative to raise funds and awareness and to protect the habitat and breeding grounds of the rare glossy black cockatoo. The cockatoo’s habitat is found throughout South East Queensland, including Spicers’ nature refuges.
- Joining The Last Straw campaign, Spicers, across the group, stopped 40,000 straws from entering landfill in just one year.
- The Turner Family Foundation is working on a Reconciliation Action Plan that incorporates land and bushfire management practices that are informed by First Nations knowledge of the land and environment.
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