Anthology has entered into a partnership with Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) to add a new premium experience to their “Traveller’s Collection” – Wildman Wilderness Lodge.
This new addition will extend the company’s footprint in Australia – this time into the Northern Territory - adding to the four experiential destinations currently in the portfolio located in Tasmania and South Australia. Wildman Wilderness Lodge will be situated on the beautiful Mary River Wetlands – around half way between Darwin and Kakadu - and will offer travellers the opportunity to explore this amazing region while staying in a choice of stylish eco lodge and safari tent accommodation.
Grant Hunt, CEO of Anthology is no stranger to this region. “I am absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to add Wildman to our collection. I have been keen to develop this site for a number of years and I am grateful to now have that opportunity in association with local Indigenous interests. Anthology will also market and manage the business”.
The goal for Anthology since it launched in 2008 was to build a portfolio which would cater to the growing demand by travellers for premium quality experiential tourism – each experience having its own distinctive personality and style.
This is evidenced in the current properties in the portfolio – the award winning Bay of Fires and Cradle Huts Walks and the recently restored Quamby heritage homestead – all located in the stunningly beautiful and remote north eastern area of Tasmania; and Wilpena Pound Resort in the iconic Flinders Ranges region of South Australia.
Anthology is also about having a passion to do the right thing by the communities and environments in which it operates. Wildman Wilderness Lodge is no exception. Recycling an entire Resort – an Australian first Probably the greatest example of recycling in Australian tourism, the core buildings for the new resort property were once better known as Wrotham Park Station Lodge in Central Far North Queensland.
In early November, 2009, following the sale of the resort by GPT to IBA, a team of builders moved onto that site and took 28 days to dismantle the entire resort infrastructure down to all the fixtures and fittings. The cabin verandas and awnings were removed and the cabin structures lifted onto the back of semi trailers. The central bar and restaurant facility was dismantled piece by piece – with around 70% of it saved for the move. Two staff accommodation units were also packed up. Power generators, the water treatment system and the sewage treatment system along with key electrical infrastructure were also dismantled and readied for the journey. Water tanks have been sold to local station owners with new tanks being purchased for Wildman.
18 triple road trains transported the entirely dismantled infrastructure 2800km across country to a warehouse in Darwin where it currently sits under tarpaulins waiting for the last of the wet season to finish, so that construction can commence in earnest.
Something old, Something New When it is completed Wildman Wilderness Lodge will offer two distinct styles of accommodation. There will be 15 air conditioned cabins, ten from Wrotham and five newly built replicas. These are free standing, fully air conditioned structures with all the amenities expected in a luxury lodge including premium quality furnishings, king size beds and ensuite bathrooms. 15 new spacious safari tents have been custom designed for the site to complete the accommodation. Each is fan cooled with a private bathroom and luxurious bedding. Five tents will be configured for families and will sleep up to four people.
Hunt has worked with Justin Long Designs, the original architect behind Wrotham Park, and renowned Australian design firm, Pike Withers, and has taken his inspiration for the Lodge from the time he has spent travelling in Africa. Stylish interiors will be found throughout with natural colours from the region providing a sense of place, in the form of a resort in harmony with its surroundings.
The main lodge – also from Wrotham - will be expanded to house the bar and restaurant which will engender a low key but stylish place to relax for breakfast right throughout the day to after dinner drinks.
Out and About A range of experiences including tours, cruises and safaris will allow numerous opportunities for guests to explore this amazing wilderness area. These will include the signature tour – the Home Billabong sunset cruise - where guests can spot the numerous crocodiles slowly sliding through the waterway while sipping on chilled Gin and Tonics. In addition there will be full day wetland tours to view the amazing wildlife in its natural environment, overland wetland safaris, and quad bike safari tours for the more adventurous. Anthology and IBA are also in discussions around the provision of Aboriginal cultural touring and content in the area. Guests can also register their special interest and have guides plan tailor-made trips around fishing, landscape and wildlife photography and bird watching.
Wildman Wilderness Lodge is expected to be complete by the end of 2010. It will be open 1 March to 30 November each year and close for the wet season.