Waste is another key focus for Gash and his team. As Lady Elliot Island is 80 kilometers from the mainland, there is no weekly garbage truck. Instead, a supply barge comes from Gladstone every three months, with some rubbish taken away by the light planes that also ferry guests back and forth between the island and Hervey Bay, Bundaberg, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Glass is crushed and converted to sand, while aluminum cans are returned to the mainland for recycling. Around 250 kilograms (551 pounds) of food waste is composted each day via an on-site Composting Apparatus, known as OSCA, along with the cardboard boxes it’s delivered in. The Resort was also the first on the Great Barrier Reef to ban single-use plastic water bottles in 2012, so guests either bring their own reusable bottles or can buy one made from stainless steel or recycled plastic from the resort’s gift shop. And you won’t find a plastic straw here, either.
When Gash first visited, sea birds were a rare sight. Now, as we sit on the beach sipping prosecco at sunset, thousands of black (white-capped) noddies stream across the sky, often complemented by breaching humpback whales. Red-tailed tropicbirds, which can only be found on just a handful of islands on Australia’s East Coast, can also be seen nesting under the trees just meters from the beachfront units. During summer, Wedge-tailed shearwaters—that have a call that sounds like a crying baby—are known to keep guests awake at night.