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Lawn Hill Gorge tourism operator introduces solar powered boat

Lawn Hill Gorge tourism operator introduces solar powered boat
March 24, 2016

A solar powered boat at a remote western Queensland ecotourism resort is improving the experience enjoyed by visitors while also boosting the operator’s income.

Located on the Queensland/Northern Territory border, 1,200 kilometres west from Innisfail and 340 kilometres north from Mount Isa, the Adels Grove camping ground offers camping accommodation, activities and tours.

Previously, on-the-water tour access to the scenic Lawn Hill Gorge itself he-water access was only by means of canoes which presented difficulties for some elderly visitors. With petrol outboard powered craft ruled off limits by Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service, the full Gorge experience was being missed by a number of tourists as the only alternative was to walk to Indarri Falls.

The owners of Adels Grove had the opportunity to purchase two 10 passenger tourist boats that had been originally designed for operation with a 9hp petrol driven outboard motor. In consultation with Queensland National Parks it was agreed that a solar version of the pontoon would be acceptable to operate within the Gorge.

Adels Grove joint owner, Michelle Low Mow said that the solar powered boat has dramatically improved how their visitors could enjoy the Gorge, encouraged them to stay longer and as a result boosted their profitability.

Low Mow explains "previously we could only offer canoes for visitors to row, or a short walk to see the falls, but now we can offer a quiet and comfortable one hour ride along the Lawn Hill Gorge.

“This is extremely important as the majority of our visitors are over 50 and a lot of them are over 80 years of age.

"The boat cost us $60,000 and we charge $35 per head for the trip and as over 3,600 made the journey last dry season we earned well over $100,000.

"Adels Grove has been operating as a tourist facility for over 40 years, we have been the custodians since 2001 and we are open all year round. Our visitor numbers have steadily increased from 4,000 to 28,000 a year and we offer accommodation and camping facilities, as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner at the restaurant and fuel and a store for travellers.

"We are extending and are planning to build 10 more rooms ... and these will all use solar power.

“We plan to phase out the current diesel generating system over time.”

For more information go to www.adelsgrove.com.au/tours

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