Hello followers and happy June!
This is Annie Sevec here to talk about our busy day today in northern Queensland. Our day was jam-packed with 3 exciting site visits all before dinner time, in which we visited a banana plantation, learned at a wind farm, and enjoyed a hike at a national park.
Our day started off by waking up early at Weatherby Station to the birds chirping outside. The view of the mountains was beautiful as we emerged from our tents. We enjoyed a good breakfast at the station with our group before packing up our things and tearing down our tents.
Before our departure, Kat, who lives at the station, spoke to us about the history of Weatherby Station. The station was built in 1878 and was occupied by the Grove Family. The Grove’s provided a resting and eating place for people who were traveling through the area in search of gold in the west. Kat explained to us that this history isn’t that far behind us, as older Queenslanders remember their parents telling them stories of what had happened there at the turn of the century. It was neat to learn more about the history of Weatherby, and it made us appreciate our overnight experience there even more.
Around 9 am, we said our goodbyes to John and Kat, then headed for Mt. Uncles banana plantation. This plantation is 2,200 feet above sea level so it has a cooler temperature and very clean air. This land is also unique because it is uncommon to see other farms with so much active forest surrounding it like Mt. Uncles does. We met with Robbie Watkins who specializes in banana production, and he told us more about the plantation. The plantation is a large producer of Lady Finger bananas, which are similar to plantation bananas but are said to be far more nutritious and high in natural starch.
Lady finger trees are 97% water and have root systems that are designed for mineral absorption for survival. This plantation is sustainable in that it uses a drip irrigation system in order to just water the areas that need watering. Robbie explained that this practice uses 50% less water than standard sprinklers, which saves a lot of water annually.
Robbie also works on the development of green banana flour, which is said to have lots of health benefits. This banana flour can replace your original wheat flour in baking, and the green flour is much higher in protein. Robbie stated that they have also developed a nutrient filled supplement of green banana flour to be a natural remedy for a variety of different health problems.
After speaking more to Robbie on different parts of the plantation, we headed to a cafe that is on the land and all received free green banana flour smoothies.
We said our thanks to Robbie, then drove to a market to pick up lunch. We ate wraps and fresh fruit with cookies for dessert at a nearby park. After our meal, we drove to Windy Hill wind farm where we met with workers Adam and Leigh. They explained to us that this is the only wind farm in Queensland, consisting of twenty 44-meter tall wind turbines. The energy from these turbines gets fed right into the grid to supply energy to the area. We learned that this wind farm is owned and operated by a coal company in Australia. Adam and Leigh also explained that environmental factors were taken into account when the turbines were constructed so they don’t harm the flight patterns or habitats of native birds. Not only is wind energy a sustainable resource for power but it also is important that the construction of this farm was done with the land and animals of the area kept in mind.
We then drove from the Wind farm to Mt. Hypipamee National Park and took a nature hike together to a scenic lookout over a big volcanic crater.
We walked further down the trail and came to some beautiful waterfalls. A few people from our group jumped into the falls for a quick swim despite how cold it was, but we enjoyed how refreshing it felt after a busy day.
After the falls we headed to check in at On the Wallaby Lodge, a fun overnight place in Yungaburra. We had a group reflection, ate a delicious steak dinner, then half of our group headed out on a night canoe trip where we were able to see a variety of Australian animals all along the river bank, such as wallabies, paddy melons and opossums.
Our activities today were all so unique in their own way, and they all tied to certain aspects of sustainability. The banana plantation was neat because it exhibits environmentally friendly irrigation practices as well as creating products that help human health in many ways. The wind farm creates power from a renewable energy source, and helps to reduce several long-term costs when it comes to generating power in the future. And lastly Mt. Hypipamee park exhibits the natural beauty in the area, and seeing things like this help us want to do a better job of preserving as much of our environment as we can.
The events of the day were fun but also all worth while and unique in their own ways. We grew from the experiences we had and are now able to bring back even more knowledge of sustainability when we return to the States in 1 week!
Link to Yungaburra, the location of our two night stay in Queensland : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yungaburra,_Queensland
Link to On the Wallaby Lodge Lodging destination: http://www.onthewallaby.com
Link for Mt. Uncles plantation : http://www.mtuncle.com/au
Link for the green banana flour product company: http://www.naturalevolutionfoods.com.au
Robbie of Natural Evolution & Mt. Uncles plantation: Rob@naturalevolutionfoods.com.au
Link for the Queensland wind farm we visited: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windy_Hill_Wind_Farm
Link for Wind Farm in Ravenshoe, Queensland: http://www.queensland.com/attraction/Windy-Hill-Wind-Farm
Link for the national park crater we visited: http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/mount-hypipamee/
Another link for the crater: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Hypipamee_Crater
All Photos on this page courtesy of Annie Sevec.