You don’t just book The Frames for somewhere to lay your head, you book for the experience. Upon the peaceful banks of the Murray River in South Australia, you will find The Frames; a completely unique luxury accommodation experience. Often described as the perfect escape, The Frames offers beautiful architecture accompanied by an array of experiences; from flavour safaris to distillery visits, gondola cruises, massages and walking tours. The Frames has recently been recognised for their exceptional service within the industry and entered the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards Hall of Fame for Self-Contained Accommodation. This is an incredible achievement for a business with such humble roots.
Going back to where it all began, The Frames is the vision and cultivation of Cathy and Rick Edmonds. The pair simply set out to create a luxury lodge style of accommodation that would highlight and embrace the beauty of the Murray River. Being descendants of three generations of families in the Riverland, the Murray River is a place they love so deeply. When asked what the early day of The Frames was like, we got one answer…tough! Bringing such a grand vision to fruition proved difficult. However, setbacks, hidden issues and all the usual roadblocks made their resolve even stronger and still powers the exceptional product they deliver.
The pair’s passion project soon became the established world class luxury lodge it is recognised as today, and it is Cathy and Rick’s commitment to providing guests with a second to none experience and always asking questions about how to make The Frames more efficient and adaptive to market trends that sees success for this business. The couple often seeks advice from experts about how to do things better, proving their trust in others’ expertise. They are never afraid to ask the big questions, particularly about caring for the environment and how they impact on it. With roots so deep in the region, the humble duo give all the credit to their team and those who have assisted them along their journey.
When asked about the Hall of Fame achievement, owners Cathy and Rick say:
‘Winning this award means we are doing something right. It is a reward for all of the hard work the team at The Frames has put in and continues to put in to create an experience for our guests that is second-to-none’
When you visit a place that is so tranquil and beautiful, it is often easy to forget the efforts and struggles it would have taken to get the product to where it is today. Cathy and Rick say the three biggest lessons learnt over the years include the need to continue the fight, never losing sight of the goal and where possible, taking a step back and looking at what you’ve achieved with pride.
The Frames have held ECO Certification for close to a decade, proving their commitment to the environment and the local area. They are able to present the Riverland in such a unique way that they highlight its important natural and economic value to their guests. We are so proud of this team and thrilled to have had them as a part of our family for so long. Congratulations, The Frames, on such a highly acclaimed award and keep up the amazing commitment!
For more information about The Frames, visit their website.
2019 is the International Year of Indigenous Languages, and to celebrate, we’re delving into the world of Indigenous tourism and how this can support the preservation of cultures and languages. Whether or not you’ve already read our introductory piece on this topic, we thought we’d set the scene by sharing some best practice examples of successful Indigenous tourism projects from around the world. We’ll then be sharing some of our favourite Indigenous ecotourism stories from our own backyard through the Ecotourism: Celebrating Language and Culture series. For more information on any of the below projects, check out their websites.
TOMARAPI Eco Tourist Lodge, Oruro Bolivia
The Suni Uta Choquemarka, an Aymara indigenous group, is located in the heart of the Sajama National Park (Bolivia’s first protected area). The construction of the Tomarapi Eco Tourist Lodge was done in harmony with the landscape, using materials that did not harm the environment, including unique details in the facilities so that travellers can enjoy necessary creature comforts in their adventure in the altiplano. Tomarapi has local guides that will introduce you to the community and their customs. This community is helping with the conservation of Sajama National Park while at the same time the lodge provides the community with economic alternatives to reduce the migration of families and continue conserving biodiversity.
Find out more: TOMARAPI Eco Tourist Lodge, Oruro Bolivia
KAPAWI Ecolodge, Ecuador
Kapawi Ecolodge was built following ecotourism principles, inspired by the “natural history of the area, including its Indigenous cultures, whose areas have been adapted for this activity in a spirit of appreciation, participation, and responsibility”. When it opened in 1996, Kapawi Ecolodge set the standards for community ecotourism in Ecuador, promoting practices that protected wildlife, generated local employment and empowered local communities. Kapawi Ecolodge was built respecting Achuar construction styles and using building materials from the forest. Energy is generated 100% from solar photovoltaic panels, while local building materials are still used to preserve the Achuar style. Many lessons have been learned over the years, including the need to develop community enterprises to ensure that local materials, like leaves for the roofs, are farmed in local communities to reduce the pressure on natural resources from the forest.
Find out more: KAPAWI Ecolodge, Ecuador
EXPERIENCIAS RARAMURI, Chihuahua, Mexico
The Centre for Responsible Travel (CREST) has been working for the last four years on a project funded by the Christensen Foundation and with two local organizations (CONTEC and Mano del Mono). The project includes two Indigenous communities, Huetosachi and Bacajipare, located near the rim of the spectacular Copper Canyon. The experiences offered to tourists here include participating in cooking and handicraft demonstrations with the women in Huetosachi and a variety of hikes and storytelling experiences in the canyon led by licensed guides from Bacajipare. One of the key lessons from this project has been the business model generation for tourism, focusing on the communities involved and taking the time to create with them their tourism experiences, negotiating with tour operators and respecting the culture and environment of the communities. The project has also attracted media, won several awards, and been chosen by the Chihuahua State Tourism Department as an outstanding example of responsible cultural tourism.
Find out more: EXPERIENCIAS RARAMURI, Chihuahua, Mexico
THE SANCTUARY AT OL LENTILLE, Kenya
Opened in 2007 as Laikipia’s first lodge, The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille in Kenya features private villas and is a pioneering example of sustainable tourism, community partnership and world class architecture. The team, together with the local communities, has proudly created, conserved and protected over 40,000 acres of pristine wilderness.
Ol Lentille is a pioneering example of how private partnerships with the community can successfully work in Kenya. Tourism has greatly impacted and improved the lives of the local community with over 5 USD million being raised and invested in the community: building schools, hospitals and water sanitation projects. In partnership with the Maasai community, this project balances luxury travel and economic development with ambitious conservation and community development programmes.
Find out more: THE SANCTUARY AT OL LENTILLE, Kenya
UGANDA COMMUNITY TOURISM ASSOCIATION (UCOTA), Uganda
UCOTA is the official umbrella body that brings together and advocates for the interests of community tourism groups in Uganda to ensure that the local tourist host communities benefit from tourism. To date, the association comprises over 70 member groups country-wide, representing 2,121 individuals of whom 63% are women. The groups operate small tourism enterprises ranging from traditional/ basic accommodation, interpretive guiding services and restaurants to craft shops, music dance and drama performances.
The impact of the community tourism group enterprises to the livelihoods of the locals is already manifesting through several community projects supported by the groups by way of responsible tourism, such as construction of clinics, schools, provision of safe water and literacy programs.
Find out more: UGANDA COMMUNITY TOURISM ASSOCIATION (UCOTA), Uganda
The women of Mulala have united in the form of the Agape Women’s Group. Through this group, they try to support economic activities of the members and start new income generating projects, like the Mulala Cultural Tourism Programme.
The Mulala women offer different tours:
- A tour of Mama Anna’s quaint cheese making unit.
- A nice garden where you can relax and enjoy a beverage or a simple, traditional meal
- Guided tours criss-crossing coffee and banana farms, walking through the forest reserve or by the Marisha riverbank and enjoying spectacular views of Mt. Meru and Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Also, you can visit the farms of the Agape Women’s Group. The women will explain their farming methods and show you the various economic activities they have started, like cheese making, bread-making, flower seeds, chill growing and sewing.
Find out more: MULALA, Tanzania
3 SISTERS ADVENTURE TREKKING, Nepal
Lucky, Dicky and Nicky Chhetri are three Nepalese sisters and pioneers in the field of female trekking guides. Since 1994, they have worked towards empowering women in Nepal through their trekking agency 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking and their NGO Empowering Women of Nepal. Entering an uncharted territory in the early ‘90s, no one would have dreamed of a Nepalese woman guiding a trek.
Breaking down social barriers, they created a training program through their NGO, Empowering Women of Nepal (EWN). This training program teaches local women the necessary skills for trekking and guiding. The success of these women has inspired others. Since 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking was established, close to 2,000 women from all over Nepal have completed the training. Many have become guides and/or gained self-confidence to find employment elsewhere. Their goal is to encourage women to become self-supported, independent, decision-making women.
Find out more: 3 SISTERS ADVENTURE TREKKING, Nepal
SAPA O’CHAU, Vietnam
In 2010, Shu Tan, Founder, Sapa O’Chau started the Sapa O’Chau cooperative. This is the first boarding facility where youth could board and study at the government high school only located in town. Youth also learn English from international volunteers and get their tour guide licence after a course with an NGO.
Today, Sapa O’Chau runs on the same social enterprise principles on which it was founded: working hard and giving back to Sapa and all ethnic minorities. It is made up of five inter-connected pieces: the boarding facility, the hotel, café, the Hmong handicraft store and the tour operation. In 2016, Sapa O’Chau Travel won silver for World Responsible Tourism Award – Poverty Reduction and inclusion and a finalist for the Tourism for Tomorrow Award. The founder, Shu Tan, spoke at Ecotourism Australia’s 2017 Global Eco Conference in Adelaide.
Find out more: SAPA O’CHAU, Vietnam
Did you know?
If you want to get involved with Indigenous tourism in Australia, Ecotourism Australia offers a ROC Certification program. This program encourages the tourism industry to operate in ways that respect and reinforce Indigenous cultural heritage and the living cultures of Indigenous communities.
ROC certified tourism operators are committed to protecting cultural authenticity and integrity, developing sound business practices, environmental protection and acknowledging Indigenous people’s spiritual connection to the land and water.
Have you ever wanted to make a difference but not known where to start? You’re not alone. Thankfully, making a change through your everyday consumption, to reduce your impact and help the environment, is easier than you think. To give you some inspiration, we’ve created this quick A-Z reference guide on simple swaps that you can easily make in your everyday life. We’d love to hear if you’ve tried any!
A – Aluminium foil for silicone baking mats
B – Body wash for a bar of soap. Often, these come package free!
C – (Takeaway) coffee cups for bringing your own mug or keep cup. Mason jars or insulated water bottles work well, too!
D – Diapers for cloth nappies
E – Electronics being on at the wall for 24 hours for electronics being switched off at the wall when you’re not using them
F – Food packaging for bulk foods. If you don’t live near a bulk foods store, purchasing (unpackaged) fresh fruit and veggies at your local market can also help you cut down on packaging.
G – Buying new gifts for considering regifting items that don’t suit you, and instead of buying gift wrap, try wrapping gifts using things you already have, like tote bags, scarves or newspapers.
H – Plastic hairbrushes or combs for wooden hairbrushes or combes
I – Paying too much for energy for insulating your home better
J – Buying jars to store food and other items for recycling jars you already have.
K – Your K-Cup coffee maker for a French press.
L – Your old lightbulbs for energy efficient bulbs and turn them off when you’re not using them
M – Conventional makeup for zero waste makeup. Here some recommendations.
N – Chemical cleaning products for natural ones: make them or buy them, your choice.
O – Buying more for organising more – take inventory of what you already have and use it up before buying more.
P – Swap paper plates and plastic cutlery for real plates and real flatware next time you have a picnic
Q – Wondering about your carbon footprint for quantifying your carbon footprint. Here is an easy way to do it.
R – Plastic bottles for reusable ones
S – Single-use tea bags for tea strainers
T – Plastic toothbrushes for bamboo ones
U – Using everything once for reusing things that have served their original purpose. Here are some great ideas!
V – Meat for more veggies! Here are some ideas.
W – Throwaway plastic dish clothes for washable fabric ones
X – Food waste for checking eXpiry dates. Pay attention to them and put perishable fridge items in a triage box in your fridge.
Y – Plastic yoga mats for bamboo, hemp, jute, or natural rubber mats
Z – to a Zero Waste Lifestyle, make the change!
It’s hard to remember what you were doing 15 years ago. You may have been travelling the world, starting on a new career path, or perhaps planning for retirement. What we do know, however, is that 15 years ago, the team at Kimberley Quest were achieving certification, and they have been a valued member of the Ecotourism Australia family ever since!
Stemming from their recognition that travelers are seeking experiences beyond expectation, the Kimberley Quest team have worked to deliver exceptional experiences, time and time again. A Kimberley Quest expedition not only showcases the pristine wilderness of the Kimberley region, but gives you one of the most authentic Australian experiences you’ll ever find. The team has recently received an array of awards at the WA Tourism Awards for this exact reason, including Gold in the category of Tour and Transport Operator, silver for the Unique Accommodation category and bronze for Adventure Tourism. On top of that, along with mentioning the tours’ exceptional settings, Kimberley Quest’s reviews will consistently note the dedication of the crew and their absolute love for country that makes the experience second to none:
“All staff are world class. The group size and staff ratio to guests was spot on. The delicate balance between safety and adventure was achieved. The willingness to share in a love of country was exceptional. On top of all that, the meals were deliciously decadent without being pretentious.” (Nina H, June 2018)
The Kimberley Quest experience captures and highlights significant environmental awareness through local expedition guides, who share the history, culture, flora, fauna and marine environment with their guests. Living and breathing the common principle of “take only photos, leave only footprints”, the whole Kimberley Quest crew enhances guests’ experiences through providing everlasting knowledge and tools that encourage respect for and protection of the natural environment and culture. It’s this strong team that Kimberley Quest sees as its biggest asset, and it seems that their guests could not agree more:
“A well oiled machine’ would describe your company!! You have a formula that is a winner so keep doing what you are. For us this has been the most magnificent, amazing, awesome experience with a group of people who love the Kimberley and have taught us so much. Also their friendliness and sense of humour made it that much better.” (Judy & Glenn S – May 2018)
Without the crew’s profound love and knowledge of country, the Kimberley Quest experience would not be able to be delivered so consistently. Team members work closely with local Aboriginal corporations, parks and wildlife rangers and Indigenous rangers to ensure cultural heritage is respected and presented to guests through storytelling.
With business practices that align so well with certification criteria, it is no wonder Kimberley Quest have maintained Advanced Ecotourism certification for 15 years. We would like to congratulate them on their continuous work in providing exceptional experiences and sharing the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Australia. We are so delighted to see people who are truly passionate about what they do and who hold such respect for their country and culture receive such success and acclaim in the industry.
What do they offer? Take a look through their online brochure.