Standing at Glasshouse Ecolodge the quirky, quaint and green accomodation that sits in the shadow of Mount Tibrogargan (the 364 metre high monolith which is not only higher than Uluru but 23 million years older) and surrounded by the 12 peaks that make up the World Heritage listed Glasshouse Mountains Range range, the Church is an example of how the past and present, natural and man made, are all welcomed and fused together to make this the resort that it is.
Once situated at Wivenhoe, a few kilometres down the road, the Church fell into disuse and disrepair. Owner of Glasshouse Mountains Ecolodge, Keith Murray, purchased the 120 year old church 20 years ago, relocated it from Wivenhoe to Barrs Road, Glasshouse Mountains, and painstakingly restored it wooden slat by wooden slat.
For 12 years it was his family home and later became accommodation for guests. The Church features a kitchen, library, mezzanine bedroom – and the pulpit in the corner. It’s huge (sometimes used as the yoga studio for tens of yogis to come and bend and stretch, to give you an idea), and is a luxurious, relaxing and magical space. Like the rest of the resort.
There are lovingly restored train carriages available, one being the dining area and kitchen where breakfast featuring locally produced honey, coffee and jabonica jam can be munched upon. I stayed in an 1880 Victorian train carriage, one of only 23 built between 1882 and 1886, that was once at risk of destruction and is now a quirky haven for holiday makers, with original signage and sash windows. Even the bedside tables are from timber sourced from the property.
All around the grounds are art assembled from pieces from the local Beerwah scrap yard, forcing a reconsideration of what waste really is. ‘Flestering’ it is called – an example of seeing your world with imagination and desire to create. There are no televisions. There is a library, board games, bush walking, bird watching, and star gazing. The plant-a-tree initiative has seen over a thousand trees added to the site, attracting new wildlife and bird life to the area, and is a clear manifestation of the belief that visitors should positively add to their holiday location, not just leave as it is.
Come dinner time, managers Robyn and Rick will recommend local spots, or you can cook your own dinner together, picking herbs from the community garden to enhance even the plainest of ingredients, raiding the ‘Garden of Eaten’ and finishing it off with one of the 65 fruits in the orchard and coffee grown on site.
All of this is part of the eco-tourism philosophy that the resort and its owners and managers practice. Tourism can have a positive effect on the world, and not only should any destination not harm its environment, but rather enhance it, working with it to improve the landscape, the community, and the lives of those who visit.
Sleeping in a restored church, star gazing with your new partner, planting a new tree to symbolise a new start cooking dinner with ingredients picked from the ground, climbing a nearby mountain and marvelling at the beauty of your world – can you imagine anything more romantic?
Images from the Glasshouse Mountains Ecolodge
Ms Gingham says: This ecolodge will give anyone a new appreciation for the old. The idea of cooking from an organic garden will be pure heaven for the avid cook!
About Francesca: Francesca Baker is a freelance writer currently wandering the world with her eyes wide open and scribbling about. Partial to music, reading, culture, walking, cycling, wine, crazy events, smiling, and life, you can read her musings here and follow her on twitter.