TAS: Huon Bush Retreats - Paul Dimmick and Michael Higgins
Paul Dimmick and Michael Higgins are the owners of Huon Bush Retreats, a property located near Huonville, south of Hobart. The property is a dedicated wildlife sanctuary and eco-tourism village situated within an extensive private habitat reserve. It is Paul and Michael's intent to pass custodianship of the sanctuary on to like-minded people who will care for it into the future. The natural values of the property are protected by a covenant with the Tasmanian Government.
As part of Mount Misery Habitat Reserve, an informal 14 square kilometre group of private properties and intervening public lands, it is protected as public reserves and private conservation covenants. A walking track from Huon Bush Retreats to Mount Misery has 30 interpretive panels and allows easy access to a range of natural habitats and day visitors are welcome on the walking track network. The experience provided lives up to its name as a bush retreat and the end of valley privacy is protected by 4km of winding gravel road which is steep in sections. As a result, visitors do not need a 4WD but will need to be comfortable driving on gravel roads.
As part of Mt Misery Habitat Reserve, we value all aspects of the natural environment, including landscapes, rocks, soil and water. Vegetation ranges from open grasslands, acacia groves, young eucalypt regrowth, towering oldgrowth with 60 meter tall, 350 year old giants and even a small section of rainforest. The wheelchair accessible lookout is a fine place for bird watching. Many bird species can be seen throughout the site and wildlife abounds with animals free to come and go as they please, all the while knowing they are protected on the property. Huon Bush Retreats is the perfect place to learn about wildlife in their natural habitat.
Wildlife known to inhabit the property includes brushtail (Trichosurus vulpecula) and ringtail (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) possums, rufous wallabies (Thylogale billardierii), bats (Vespadelus spp.), spotted-tail quolls (Dasyurus maculatus), eastern barred (Perameles gunnii) and southern brown (Isoodon obesulus) bandicoots, Bennett's wallabies (Macropus rufogriseus) and various snakes. Several dozen species of birds are regularly seen and heard on the property including wedge-tailed eagles (Aquila audax), black-cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus spp.), sulphur-crested cockatoos (Cacatua galerita), currawongs (Strepera spp.), owlet-nightjars (Aegotheles cristatus) and several species of owl.
Huon Bush Retreats works closely with the South East Tasmanian Aboriginal Corporation and has permission to share a few Aboriginal stories on the interpretive panels along the walking track. In constructing the walking track some special locations have been deliberately avoided.
Tourist accommodation is available in self contained cabins, deluxe tipees and campsites. Eco-friendly facilities include carbon neutral wood heating, natural water and composting toilets. Electricity is 12-volt solar, there is no 240 volt electricity. Measuring a range of inputs and outputs according to the Government climate change methodology gives a net CO2 intake of 3800 tonnes per annum.
"We have built something great, won a few awards and shared it with thousands of visitors. Now it is time to move onto other things so we are seeking buyers with equal passion to look after this beautiful area into the future." - Paul and Michael, 2016.