After five years of planning, Emirates opened the 1,600-hectare Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley in October 2009 – one of Australia’s first luxury conservation resorts. Nestled in the Wolgan Valley beneath spectacular sandstone escarpments, this environmentally sensitive resort is in keeping with the unique wilderness of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage area in New South Wales – about three hours drive from Sydney. Bordering the Wollemi and Gardens of Stone National Parks, guests enjoy a true wilderness experience during their stay – while still enjoying the finest luxury hospitality.
The resort buildings themselves take up less than 2% of the conservation reserve, and have been designed with green buildings principles in mind – they boast the latest designs to minimise energy and water consumption, such as heat pumps, solar panels and passive ventilation systems. To further confirm this commitment, Emirates was proud to announce that, on opening, Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley became the first carboNZero©™ certified hotel in the world, and the first carbon neutral resort in the world to be certified through an internationally accredited greenhouse gas programme.
The property is located a short distance from a secret canyon in the Wollemi National Park, in which the Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis) was discovered by an intrepid naturalist in 1994. The Wollemi Pine belongs to a 200-million-year-old plant family, the Araucariaceae, and its discovery in modern times has become one of the most exciting botanical finds of the century. The significance of its discovery has been compared to the equivalent of finding a live dinosaur in the present time. A number of Wollemi Pine specimens have been planted in an appropriate habitat on site, and its distinctive leaves are the basis for the resort’s emblem.
Emirates invested over AUD 125 million into this project to ensure the conservation of the unique biodiversity of this valley. The property was previously used for cattle grazing and suffered numerous environmental stresses - from streambank erosion and vegetation clearance, to infestation with feral animals and weeds. Cattle have now been removed from the site and an extensive revegetation programme has been undertaken to stabilise eroding waterways and re-establish vegetation and wildlife corridors. Emirates has planted over 175,000 native trees and shrubs across the site and is actively removing feral animals and introduced plant species.
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