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ECOCLUB.com Rating

Name of Property (Country):

"Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa" (Australia)

ECOCLUB.com Rating:

1 ECOCLUB Sun1 ECOCLUB Sun1 ECOCLUB Sun1 ECOCLUB Sun0.2 4.2 out of 5




Lodge Address: 20 Daintree Road, Daintree, Queensland 4873, Australia  

Number of Rooms:

 Fifteen (15) Rooms 

Average Double Room Rates (excl. breakfast):

AUD$ 400.00 (approx EUR 260)

Name of Applicant (Title & Role):

Terry Maloney ("Owner & Operator")

Official, Legal Proprietor(s):

Daintree Eco Lodge Pty Ltd

Operating Since: 1993

Rating Application Date:

21 October 2009

Rating Period:

Opened: 1 December 2009  Closed: 31 January 2010

Breakdown of Ratings - (Total Raters): 4, 5, 5, 3, 4
Rating Explained:  This rating is voluntarily produced by ECOCLUB.com Members following an application by the Lodge. The first 5 sections of this application correspond to the current ECOCLUB.com Criteria . Each section is of equal weight (1). When a criterion was fully met in their view, raters awarded a full point (1), when it is not met but they felt genuine effort was being made, half a point (0.5) and when they felt that it was not met and no effort was being made to meet the specific criterion, no points (0). Therefore, the maximum possible rating was 5 and the minimum 0. The final rating is calculated as the average of all ratings. For more information on the ECOCLUB.com Rating see here 



(1.a) Who owns the Lodge?: Please clarify if private, family, public, municipal, NGO, cooperative, as well as the nationality and place of birth of the owner.
Privately owned by Terry and Cathy Maloney – an Australian owned and operated family company.

(1.b) Who manages the Lodge?
The Maloney Family and staff

The Maloney Family
1b: The Maloney Family Cathy, Terry (back) & daughters: Therese Corinne, Kelda (front)

(1.c) How many rooms are there?
15 (Fifteen) rooms.


1c: Located in a lush tropical valley of World Heritage Listed Daintree Rainforest, 15 villas - "tree-houses" are designed to minimize impact on the environment and capitalize on the location. The lily pond features indigenous creatures such as barramundi, fresh water turtles and some eels and has been planted with chosen plants to attract birds, frogs and butterflies.

(1.d) How many beds are there?
20 (Twenty) beds.

(1.e) How many employees are there?
25 (Twenty-five)

(1.f) How many employees are from the same village / city?
25 (Twenty-five)

(1.g) If applicable, do employees or the community own any shares or share part of the revenue?
Incentives offered as part of employment contract.

(1.h) What is the total area of the land?
30 acres of freehold rainforest surrounded by World Heritage National Park

(1.i) What is the total area of the Lodge including rooms and common areas (in sq. metres)?
15 individual “treehouse” style rooms (50 sq. metres each), one rainforest restaurant and meeting building (420sq. metres) and one spa, pool and reception building (350 sq.metres) 1570 sq. metres.

(1.j) What is the total building footprint (in sq. metres)?
Built on the first 2 acres of the 30 acre property, 15 individual “treehouse” style rooms (50 sq. metres each), one rainforest restaurant, kitchen and meeting room building (420sq. metres) and one spa, pool and reception building (350 sq.metres). The large section bordering the World Heritage Listed National Park will only be accessible for future nature and educational trails to be developed in conjunction with the local Kuku Yalanji Rainforest Aboriginal people leading to their ancient walking track from Mossman to their creation place, Roaring Meg.

Property MapArea Map
1j-1 & 1j-2:
The lodge sits on 30 acres of freehold rainforest and 28 acres of the property is treated as conservation zone and includes some A1 pristine rainforest.

(1.k) Who has access to the Lodge’s facilities and its land and for what uses?
In-house guests, day visitors for accommodation, dining, Aboriginal experiences, spa and wellness facilities. Local Aboriginal community members – cultural ties. Youth programs – elders and youth programs i.e.: wildlife and rainforest rangers, school and university groups.

(1.l) What was the total turnover (total sales) of your last year of operation? (please state in your local currency)
AUD$1.91 million



(2.a) Lodge Siting (how was location chosen):
The land is a parcel of rare freehold land, with the original developers committed to building the best eco tourism property at the time. The land is adjacent to the majestic Daintree River and neighbours World Heritage listed National Park. The Lodge’s site and design was developed in line with the eco principles that capitalised on such aspects as natural ventilation, property’s own micro-climate because of the lush valley, waterfall and vegetation etc.

Daintree Rainforest
2a: The Daintree rainforest is 135 million years old (65 million years older than the Amazon)

(2.b) Policy followed during construction:
Minimal disturbance to the natural vegetation, whereby elevated boardwalks were built and services strapped to their underneath in order to control human traffic and alleviate the digging of vegetation for such services, trees were built around or relocated on the property rather than cut down. Buildings were constructed off site and craned into place and existing dwellings and infrastructure were renovated into resort facilities.

(2.c) Lighting:
All globes are low voltage energy efficient, resort ground lighting is on a timer, all power including lights to villas is operated on a key tag basis, therefore when guests are not in villa power/lighting is not in use.

(2.d) Heating:
Due to the location being in the tropics, the need for heating is not as important as the need for cooling, however all the villas have individual reverse cycle air conditioning units, which are powered by the key tag system.

(2.e) Cooling:
Being situated in the tropics, the site and design of the buildings was paramount to capitalise on the natural ventilation by use of louvered windows, glass sliding doors and micro screened balconies Located in a lush tropical valley, it has it’s own microclimate, it can be up to 10 degrees cooler than the nearby coast. All villas do have reverse cycle air-conditioning, operated by key tag power control and ceiling fans. The restaurant has extraction fans removing the hot air, and is built over a creek, which cools from underneath, and therefore no air conditioning.

(2.f) Cleaning:
All products must be bio-cycle friendly, and majority are natural ingredients i.e. Vinegar, orange and lemon extract. No harsh chemicals i.e. bleach are used on the property.  Chemical free micro-fibre cleaning materials are being introduced where possible and practical.

(2.g) Water Management:
The property is self sufficient in it’s water usage, the property’s pristine freshwater stream supplies water for all guest and resort facilities. The water is naturally filtered through rocks, then pumped via a 70 metre bore to a header tank. Whilst it is pristine spring mineral water, a state of the art, ultra violet filter system has been installed prior to usage. The water is in a sense only diverted from it’s natural path, whereby it is used for facilities, tertiary treated by the property’s own bio-cycle system which returns it back as drinking grade water, used for the property’s irrigation.

2g: The properties pristine waterfall fed by a natural spring. Local aboriginals regard this as a special “women’s” place. Women and children would bathe and gather while the men hunted on the coastline.

The property’s pristine waterfall is fed by a natural spring. Local Aboriginals, the Kuku Yalanji, regard this as a special “women’s” place. Women and children would bathe and gather while the men hunted on the coastline.

(2.h) Cooking:
The kitchen operates on gas for cooking and has limited operating hours in order to control usage. The cuisine is designed for healthy eating, using fresh local produce and healthy cooking techniques. No deep frying occurs (saving electricity, waste oil and healthier for the consumers). The Restaurant has it’s own grease trap which traps waste prior to water waste being treated in the Bi-O-Cycle system. The grease traps are commercially emptied on a regular basis.

(2.i) Waste management:
All recyclable items are collected and sent for recycling. All paper is re-used for printing, and then shredded and sent to local schools for compost. All food scrapes are collected and composted. Garden and green waste is mulched and used throughout the property. As much as possible commodities are bought in bulk, alleviating packaging and re-using containers. Individual guest amenities have been replaced with re-fillable dispenser units.

(2.j) Insect, pest control:
The villas are micro-screened preventing insects in guest rooms. Other resort buildings use repellents rather than insect kill products. Onsite staff relocate any wildlife i.e. snakes, spiders, melomies that may come too close to daily human activity. Over the past six years, we have developed a native, natural and organic range of face, body and lifestyle products called Daintree Essentials, including insect repellent of native lemon grass, eucalyptus and citronella and an after bite product of Tasmania Lavender and tea tree oil.

(2.k) Energy Sources, Use & Saving Measures:
Power saving key tags are installed in all villas to control power supply and discontinue use when guests are not in the villa. Energy efficient products are purchased over others, and all staff are educated in energy efficient methods. In-keeping with the pristine environment the property encourages all staff and guest to be mindful of carbon footprint.

(2.l) Noise Protection:
Due to the size and nature of the property, guests and staff naturally respect the ambiance of the property and therefore there is no unnecessary noise.  

(2.m) Accessible by public transport?: (If yes, please provide instructions from nearby city.)
Public transport is limited however there is one bus service offering a once daily route between Cairns and Daintree.

(2.n) What is the recommended way of reaching your Lodge from the nearest International airport?
Depending on length of stay and whether the guests prefer to be individual travellers, the property recommends use of it’s own transfer service whereby up to 7 passengers can be combined into the one service. Otherwise there is the option for limousine services, private transfers or self drive.

(2.o) Distance from nearby village / city:
3.5 km to Daintree Village, 27 km to Mossman

(2.p) Architectural Features:
The buildings were designed to capitalise on the site and have minimal disruption to the natural aspects of the land. Capitalising on the microclimate and natural ventilation was important and strategic placement to afford privacy and blend in with the surroundings. High ceilings, cross ventilation, minimal guttering (for rain to reach it’s target destination, the rainforest floor), elevated boardwalks to minimise disturbance for guests travel, for utilities such as power, water, communication to be easily installed and accessible.

Architectural Features
2.p: Each villa is elevated to minimise disturbance to the vegetation while capitalising
on the natural ventilation whist giving the guest a “birds eye” view.

(2.q) Construction Materials:
Buildings are constructed using steel frame and hard wood with insulated roofing and fire-resistant Hardie Plank cladding and blockwork.

(2.r) Landscape Management:
Gardens include tropical and native plants and are landscaped in keeping with the rainforest environment. Re-vegetation is committed to using only native plants. Waste materials are mulched and composted and used in the gardens, water is tertiary treated through the bio-cycle and used for irrigation.




(3.a) Initiation or participation in local projects:
We support a variety of local organisations, schools, businesses and charities including community events i.e. Naidoc Week, Carnival etc. Terry & Cathy Maloney, the owners of Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa have recently set up a not for profit foundation (Karrba) in order to further support the Aboriginal community and provide benefits in welfare, education, training and employment.

Student visitsSchool visits
3a-1 & 3a-2: School students visit to gain an insight in to the tourism and hospitality industry.

(3.b) Contact, cooperation with local organisations:
Where possible goods are purchased locally. We are a member of local and domestic tourism associations.

(3.c) Direct Donations:
Donations are provided nation wide with a higher percentage to local organisations, schools, community groups, sporting associations. Guests have the opportunity to donate to the Karrba Foundation.

(3.d) Who took the initiative to build this Lodge?
The original development of the property was by a Swiss- German consortium who had a vision to build the first of its kind eco resort in tropical North Queensland. The ongoing property development has been a labour love by the current owners, Terry & Cathy Maloney.

(3.e) Did the local community participate in the decision-making process concerning the founding and creation of this Lodge?
Local Aboriginal elders have always been consulted with any developments and all projects undergone have had their support. This includes land and vegetation management, any construction or alterations, naming of the villas (each has its own Kuku Yalanji name and theme), including the Lodge known as “Wawu-karrba” healing of the spirit, creation of Daintree Essentials eg Binju Tea (meaning strong flavour) which combines native lemon myrtle, Davidson plum, lillypilly berries into a detoxifying, caffine free, high in antioxidant tea infusion. In 2005 a major enhancement was totally Aboriginal based with the addition of Julaymba Art Gallery for the local Kuku Yalanji artists to use as an outlet for their art and craft works, enhancements to the trail to the waterfall and the building of a large canter levered deck at the base of the waterfall, for use in Aboriginal experiences and out of respect for the special healing place of the waterfall. All these are carried out in consultation and full support of the local people.

Elder visits
3e: Elders frequent the property in support and to conduct traditional ceremonies ie: a smoking ceremony for a wedding couple – a traditional commitment ceremony organized by elders.

(3.f) How are profits distributed, and who decides about it?
Staff incentives and bonuses are paid and any surplus monies are returned back in to the business for further development.

(3.g) Are there any national and local taxes to be paid or are you exempt?
Yes, we abide by all national and local taxes.

(3.h) What percentage of consumables are locally sourced, how many are nationally sourced, and how many are imported?
All goods are nationally sourced and as much as possible locally sourced.

(3.i) Do you cultivate food for the guests?
Seasonal fruits and bush tucker are grown onsite and are available for guests.

(3.j) Do you have any agreements with local producers?
Due to national regulations all our goods must be purchased from licensed operators.

(3.k) Have ever you received any funding, state, national, private or international and for what purposes?
Minimal government grant funding has been received for developments made onsite which further enhance Lodge services, internet presence and an avenue for retailing Aboriginal art and artefacts.

Art gallery
3k: An Aboriginal art gallery was introduced to the Julaymba Restaurant at Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa, to provide a portal for the local Aboriginal people to share and retail their artwork and stories.

(3.l) What is the average double room rate (excluding breakfast) per room per night?
What is the average double room rate (excluding breakfast) per room per night? AUD$ 400.00 (approx EUR 260)




(4.a) Do your employees have health insurance?
No, under Australian standards private health insurance is encouraged however not essential and employees are covered whilst at work under a Workplace Health & Safety Agreement and Public Indemnity Insurance.

(4.b) Do your employees have paid leave?
Yes in line with Australian Industry Standards.

(4.c) Are your employees entitled to maternity leave?
Yes, currently unpaid inline with Australian Standards.

(4.d) Do you pay your employees above the minimum wage? (Please state minimum wage, and provide salary details)
Yes, employees are paid inline with the Industry Standards, all Salaried employees are paid above the award wage.

(4.e) Average and maximum working day, and work hours per week:
Inline with Australian workplace agreements, full time salaried staff work an average of 5 days/ 40 hours per week; Permanent part-time work a minimum of 15 hours a week and Casual staff a minimum of 3 hours per shift.

(4.f) Do you employ your staff all year round?  (If not, please explain arrangement)

(4.g) Do you employ immigrants? Are they offered the same remuneration & benefits?
On the rare occasion when international staff are employed, they must have Australian work visas and are therefore employed under the Australian Industry Standards with all the normal benefits and remunerations as per all staff.

(4.h) Do you employ trainees? Please explain what type of tasks they perform, how much they are paid, how many hours do they work and how do you source them?
Yes, all trainees are employed under the same Australian Industry Standards as per any staff member and paid accordingly, therefore the business wears the costs of training.

(4.i) Do you use volunteers? Please explain what tasks they are given?
Not at this stage.

(4.j) Do you offer concessions to elderly visitors?

(4.k) Is there disabled access at your Lodge?
Yes, with assistance.

(4.l) What measures are in place to protect the local (or the indigenous) population from some adverse impacts of tourism?
All culturally sensitive material is protected and any and all developments and activities are only incorporated with the support of the local Aboriginal elders.

(4.m) Do you undertake any poverty reduction initiatives or does your operation contribute to poverty reduction?
With the development of the non-profit Karrba Foundation, the owners have designed the foundation to benefit Aboriginal people in welfare, education, training and employment, which develop life tools and therefore reduce poverty in the long term.  

(4.n) Do you undertake any inequality reduction initiatives or does your operation contribute to inequality reduction?
We operate a non-discrimination employment practice employing all races, religions and minority groups, and actively encouraging employment of Aboriginals.

(4.o) Do you undertake any injustice reduction initiatives or does your operation contribute to injustice reduction?

(4.p) What is the minimum, average and maximum age of your employees?
Minimum = 17 years; Maximum = 55 years; and Average = 30 – 35 years

(4.r) How many employees do you have?
Twenty-five (25)




(5.a) Is there a local community / e.g. a nearby village?

(5.b) Do guests interact with the local community and how?
Yes, the immediate local village has a few shops, eateries and tour operators where guests are encouraged to visit. We employ members of the local Aboriginal community whereby guests can interact with them onsite.

(5.c) What type of information is available to guests at the property?
Local heritage, environmental and cultural literature is readily available in the guest compendiums and published books in the library. Also the internet is wireless and available free to use.

(5.d) What type of activities are available to guests at the property?
Day Spa treatments from massage to holistic body treatments, including Aboriginal inspired techniques and products; Aboriginal cultural activities including a guided interpretive walk and art & cultural workshop.

(5.e) Local guided tours for guests?
Ranging from wildlife river cruises, horse riding, guided walks, jungle surfing, reef trips on the Great Barrier Reef, croc spotting, Aboriginal cultural adventures and 4WD tours, scenic helicopter tours etc.

Culture preservationCulture preservation
5e: Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa is committed to sharing and preserving the local Aboriginal culture and history with guests and generations to come.

(5.f) Events / presentations held at the facility so far?
Numerous weddings from elopements to sole hire; Leukaemia foundation charity events; government and private conferences and retreats; health and lifestyle workshops. Often the local kuku Yalnji people are engaged to perform their special smoking ceremony – at specific weddings or events or to welcome and protect new staff members. 

(5.g) Specific programme for children?
Inline with external organisations i.e. junior rangers, School excursions and workplace programs.

(5.h) Research / Publications produced / assisted by the property so far?
Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa is featured as one of the few “Best Practice Examples in Australia”. Closing the Gap - Dusseldorp & Reconciliation Australia http://www.dsf.org.au/?catID=150 Tourism Australia Indigenous Product Directory International Eco Lodge Guidelines - Hitesh Mehta

(5.i) Is the local community at all involved in the operation of the Lodge and how?
Local Aboriginal elders are consulted on culturally sensitive issues and developments.



(6.1). Please state any awards or green certificates won by the property:

2009 World's Leading Eco Lodge – WINNER (judged Nov 2009) – World Travel Awards
2009 Australasia's Leading Green Hotel – WINNER (judged Nov 2009) – World Travel Awards
2009 World’s Best Environmental Spa – SpaFinder
2009 World’s Best Boutique Spa - SpaFinder
2009 Best Spa and Health Retreat Experience - WINNER – Travelling In Australia
2009 Top 101 Spas of The World – Tatler UK
2009 Top 50 Eco-Lodges of The World – National Geographic Adventure USA
2008 Australia's Best Ecotourism - WINNER – Hotel Motel Awards for Excellence AU
2007 World's Leading Eco Lodge - WINNER – World Travel Awards USA
2006 World's Best Eco Spa – United Arab Emirates Millionaires Choice UAE
2006 One of the World's 5 Best Eco Lodges - Emirates Airlines UAE
2006 Top 20 Australasian Hotels - Conde Nast Reader's Choice USA
2006 World's Best Eco Resort - Finalist - World Travel Awards USA
2006 Australia's Leading Spa Resort - Finalist - World Travel Awards USA
2006 Top 10 Boutique Spas of the World - SpaFinder Reader's Choice Awards USA
2006 Australian Travel Innovators Award - Travel + Leisure Magazine AU
2005 Best Spa on the Continent of Australia - WINNER - SpaFinder World Spa Awards USA
2005 Spa of Australia - WINNER - SpaAsia Crystal World Spa Awards Thailand
2005 Top 10 Spa Retreats in the World - Conde Nast World Spa Awards USA
2004 Best Spa Australia and South Pacific - WINNER - Conde Nast World Spa Award USA
2004 Top 25 Spa retreats in the World – Conde Nast World Spa Awards USA
2004 Best Nature Based Tourism - WINNER – Wet Tropics Authority Cassowary Award AU
2003 Best Ecotourism Australia - WINNER – Australian Tourism Awards AU
2003 Best Deluxe Accommodation Australia - WINNER – Australian Tourism Awards AU 
2003 Most Pampering Eco Lodge in the World – Harpers and Queens UK
2003 Top 4 Spa Resorts of the World – Shape Magazine UK
2003 Top 5 Most Beautiful Spas in the World – Point De Veu – France
2003 Top 21 Australasia and Sth Pacific Spa Resorts – Conde Nast Traveller UK
2003 Top 25 Exceptional Destination Spas in the World – Eloise Napier UK
2003 Top 25 Spas of the World – Select Travel – Sweden
2002 Top 25 Spas of the World – Select Travel – Sweden
2002 Best Deluxe Accommodation - WINNER – Queensland Tourism Awards AU
2002 Best Ecotourism - WINNER – Queensland Tourism Awards AU
2002 Best Deluxe Accommodation - WINNER – TTNQ Regional Tourism Awards AU
2002 Best Ecotourism - WINNER – TTNQ Regional Tourism Awards AU
2002 Best Resort - WINNER – Hotel Motel Accommodation Association Industry Awards AU
2002 Best Conservation - Ecotourism - WINNER - Hotel Motel Accommodation Association Industry Awards AU
2000 Queensland's Best Resort - WINNER - Hotel Motel Accommodation Association Industry Awards AU
2000 Queensland's Best Conservation Resort - WINNER - Hotel Motel Accommodation Association Industry Awards AU
2000 Best Tourism, Hotel and Catering - WINNER – Spanish International Award Spain
2000 Best Unique Accommodation - WINNER – Queensland Tourism Awards AU
1999 British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow Award - Site & Design - British Airways UK
1999 Best nature spa retreat in the world - Tatler Magazine UK
1999 Best Unique Accommodation - WINNER – Tourism Tropical North Queensland Awards

Staff share awards
6.1 - Staff share the excitement of winning awards with Managers and Owners

(6.2). Have there been any independent (i.e. not paid or otherwise related to you) newspaper, radio, TV or guidebook reviews on your property, which may support any of your replies above? If so please provide detailed information and links (up to 10).

Harpers and QueensHarpers and Queens
6.2a &6.2b: Harpers And Queens, UK

Asia SpaAsia Spa
6.2c & 6.2d: Asia Spa

Accommodation Managers GuideAccommodation Managers Guide
6.2e & 6.2f: Accommodation Managers Guide

(6.3). Please propose up to 5 people with full title and contact details who are well-informed about your Lodge and are ready to back your statements in this application.

Three references replied confirming the accuracy of the application.

(6.4). Is there anything else you feel relevant to this questionnaire, that you have not already covered?


(6.5). Please sign to indicate your agreement with the following:

I hereby declare that all my answers are true and accurate to the best of my knowledge and understand that I and/or my company will not have the right to veto or 'hide' our ECOCLUB Rating, which will be decided in the manner specified at http://www.ecoclub.com/rating if we find it unfavourable. I also understand that the rating will be valid for a minimum of 1 Year, and a maximum of 3 Years. By submitting this questionnaire I indicate acceptance of all ECOCLUB Rating terms, conditions and procedures as stated at http://www.ecoclub.com/rating and understand that these may be modified at any time without notice.

(Please enter (paste) your signature below or type your initials to indicate acceptance)

Your Name: Terry Maloney - Date: 21 October 2009



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