Stay for good: six social enterprise holiday spots around Australia

Stay for good: six social enterprise holiday spots around Australia

Many hotels have corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs that support charitable causes. Fewer are the hotels that go one step beyond and fund only initiatives that improve the world.

These places are a great way to get away. From a hotel run by a social enterprise that offers training programs to young people with disabilities to a wildlife conservation camp operated by a non-profit, they offer unforgettable getaways.

Mornington Wilderness Camp in Western Australia

Mornington Wilderness Camp is managed by the not-for-profit organization Australian Wildlife Conservancy. It welcomes nature lovers to an idyllic, isolated escape in Australia’s most valuable wilderness area.

Visits to this sanctuary of 3,000 sq km in the Kimberley help support the conservation of endangered species like the tiny but fierce northern quoll and the rainbow-hued Gouldian Finch.

The camp, which is only accessible via 4WD in the dry season and is open between May and September, is a favorite of birdwatchers. (More than 200 species have been recorded here).

All guests are welcome at the bush bar of the camp to enjoy an ale with a story as the sun goes down.

Hotel Etico in New South Wales

Hotel Etico is a 15-room boutique hotel located in the Mount Victoria Manor, an elegant manor house on the Blue Mountains.

Hotel Etico is based on a program that began in Italy and supports young adults who have intellectual disabilities. They gain experience, training, and knowledge that can open career opportunities within the hospitality sector.

From June 2021, guests can enjoy a cozy fireplace in the hotel after a long day of hiking.

Cape York Peninsula Lodge, Queensland

Cape York Peninsula Lodge is a community-owned hotel in Bamaga (Cape York), a remote Queensland township. It offers many activities, including fishing for barramundi and day trips to Thursday Island. This multilingual community speaks English, Torres Strait Creole, and Kala Kawa Ya.

Every stay at the lodge is a benefit to the local community, whether you drive or fly in from Northern Peninsula Airport (check weather conditions beforehand).

The lodge, which is run by the non-profit Indigenous company Bamaga Ventures and its associated businesses, helps to finance community needs and infrastructure, such as playgrounds, school uniforms, and scholarships.

The lodge expects the dry season of 2019 to be very busy. Book well in advance.

Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary, NSW

Book a stay in the new glamping Tents at Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary to rise and shine along with the koalas and help support the rehabilitation and recovery of native wildlife.

The koala sanctuary and hospital, operated by the council, will open its glamping tents in September 2020. This is to ensure the sustainability of the koalas in the wild.

The four-star glamping tented accommodation is located in bushland at the edge of One Mile Beach, Worimi Conservation Lands, and dunes. Each tent has a kitchenette, en suite, and a deck to enjoy the stars.

Djilpin Art, Northern Territory

Beswick, or Wugularr, is 112km away from Katherine and the home to the Jawoyn, who were granted native title in 1991.

Beswick is home to around 500 people from the Northern Territory and even beyond. Many of these are talented artists who display their work via the non-profit Aboriginal corporation Djilpin Arts.

Djilpin Arts, founded by the late actor, musician, and community leader Balang T.E. Lewis, is home to four National Architecture Award-winning Pavilions with queen beds, air conditioning, and verandas.

All profits from the community enterprise are used to support local artists who create prints, carvings, and jewelry, as well as fiber art, contemporary textiles, and fiber art.

This community has a strict alcohol policy, so do not expect champagne upon arrival. Before you leave, apply for a permit at the Northern Land Council.

Renmark Hotel in South Australia

According to legend, Harry “Breaker Morant” rode into the Renmark Hotel on his horse, an old, grand pub owned by Renmark’s farming community since 1897.

This Murray River institution, Australia’s first locally-owned hotel, has been a source of funds for the town for more than a hundred years through donations and sponsorships that have supported everything from sporting teams to flower festivals.

The 1930s saw the building undergo an Art Deco transformation. An elected local board oversaw it. The hotel offers a relaxed bar and restaurant as well as a museum and accommodation options that range from motel-style rooms to spa suites overlooking the Murray River.

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