Australian Walking Company planning eco-sensitive accommodation on KI Wilderness Trail

TRAIL PLANS: AWC is planning eco-sensitive lodge accommodation at two sites along the trail within Flinders Chase National Park and will also renovate and operate the historic lighthouse keeper’s cottages at Cape du Couedic.
TRAIL PLANS: AWC is planning eco-sensitive lodge accommodation at two sites along the trail within Flinders Chase National Park and will also renovate and operate the historic lighthouse keeper’s cottages at Cape du Couedic.

Australian Walking Company has finalised plans for eco-sensitive accommodation on the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail and lodged development applications with the KI Council. 

The company was chosen after the State Government called for Expressions of Interest, then requested a proposal to develop accommodation facilities and services associated with the trail. 

AWC have submitted plans to build eco-sensitive lodge accommodation at two sites along the trail within Flinders Chase National Park and will also renovate and operate the historic lighthouse keeper’s cottages at Cape du Couedic, for use by both AWC and the non-walking public.

Geoff Dixon, AWC co-owner, said the plan provided the opportunity to grow advocacy and fund protection for Kangaroo Island's natural wonders.

“Lodgement of the development application marks the next step forward in our quest to elevate Australia as a world-class walking destination. It also provides the opportunity to grow advocacy and fund protection for Kangaroo Island's natural wonders,” Mr Dixon said.

“Our lodges will utilise innovative best practice environmental technologies to preserve the local ecology, and we are thrilled to offer what will be an unparalleled, immersive and fully guided experience on the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail.”

TASSIE LODGE:  An example of other accommodation built by AWC on the Bay of Fires Lodge Walk in Tasmania.

TASSIE LODGE: An example of other accommodation built by AWC on the Bay of Fires Lodge Walk in Tasmania.

The AWC will spend approximately $4 million developing the eco-sensitive accommodation.

Two eco-sensitive wilderness lodges, accommodating up to 14 guests, have been designed to blend seamlessly with the sand dune landscape, with earthy-toned elements, timber joinery and locally sourced artwork that draw inspiration from Kangaroo Island’s icons.

Infrastructure utilising off-grid sustainable lodge systems with lightweight modular sleeping pods and suspended floors will ensure minimal ground impact.

Locally sourced building materials will be used where appropriate, and AWC will engage local expertise and resources for site development, revegetation and environmental offsets.

The $5.8 million KI Wilderness trail was a State Government initiative designed to strengthen Kangaroo Island’s reputation as an international tourism destination. Opened in October 2016, more than 4000 walkers have now experienced the 61km trail. 

Bookings for AWC’s Kangaroo Island Lodge Walk will open in January 2019, with the first walk departing in October 2019.

The trail and existing campsites, as well as other heritage accommodation sites, remain as they are for people not booking through AWC.

First information session is 2.30pm to 6pm on Tuesday, November 20 at the KI Yacht Club. All welcome. AWC plans future sessions and to meet with residents on the western end of the Island.

TASSIE LODGE:  An example of other accommodation built by AWC on the Bay of Fires Lodge Walk in Tasmania.

TASSIE LODGE: An example of other accommodation built by AWC on the Bay of Fires Lodge Walk in Tasmania.

About AWC

Australian Walking Company (AWC) was formed in August 2015 in a landmark partnership between Geoff Dixon and Brett Godfrey, on behalf of multi award winner Tasmanian Walking Company.

Through new investments, the AWC aims to refine the current perception and raise awareness of Australia's outstanding walking destinations and associated product offerings.

Delivering environmentally sustainable guided walks with contemporary luxuries, the AWC will operate its own off the grid accommodation, complete with guides and chefs, serving the best of Australian produce and beverages. 

Following the acquisition of the Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk in 2015, the AWC consortium now own four of the 12 Signature Collection ‘Great Walks of Australia’. 

Brett Godfrey (as CEO) and Rob Sherrard (as Deputy CEO) conceptualised what became Virgin Australia in 1993.

In 1999 they convinced Sir Richard Branson to back their plan. At inception and with just $10m in seed capital they took Virgin Blue from two aircraft and two routes at launch in August 2000, to an IPO in late 2003 valuing the airline at $2.5B, operating over 60 aircraft and 5,000 staff.  

Jointly, they have invested in several other tourism ventures including Tasmanian Walking Company, Quamby Estate, Low Head Pilot Station, Lake House, Entally Estate in Tasmania and Makepeace Island in Queensland, a joint venture with Sir Richard Branson.

Brett’s other tourism interests include board positions with Auckland International airport, Canada’s Westjet airlines and as Chairman of Tourism and Events Queensland. 

Geoff Dixon has investments in the hospitality sector operating venues across Sydney and Brisbane, and has family owned hotel interests.

Geoff is well known from his previous appointments as CEO of QANTAS from 2001 to 2008 and Chair of Tourism Australia from 2012 to 2018.  He is also a current ambassador for the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation and remains involved in a number of ASX listed boards. 

Scott Malcom is chairman of the Sydney based corporate advisory firm, Greenstone Partners, which he founded in 2003.

Prior to Greenstone Partners, Scott was a director in Credit Suisse’s investment banking department in Sydney. Scott is also an investor in leading NZ adventure tourism operator, Active Adventures.

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