Eco-Friendly Resorts/Retreats

A lot of accommodation offered in the Bynoe, Finniss River and Dundee areas are offered by people who have lived for a while in the immediate area. They know the seasons and how the environment changes during the year. They know the risks and adjust accordingly. With great incite they offer affordable and considerate locations to enjoy.

However, there are some, who see a quick buck and develop under the auspice of “Eco Friendly” without any due consideration for the surrounding flora/fauna, environ, guests or neighbours. Like so many places today, they haven’t lived in the surrounds and have no idea. Business comes before anything else. Don’t be fooled by their glossy pictures or marketing strategies, it’s all gimmicks & hype with little if any basis to their claims! Do your homework before deciding to part with your hard earned dollars. Think twice about lining the pockets of those that don’t care about anything but the money unless you make the conscious informed decision to do so. According to our survey, the majority of respondents want a quiet, safe, self-catering family vacation/accommodation, not hoon-ville, rowdy partying or large expensive resorts.

Some Resorts/Retreats may cite function/education facilities with bars/restaurants etc. but that means noise, excess lighting and traffic! Ok if you are in party mood, but if not are you prepared to pay a high price for high end or luxury accommodation only to find some arrogant group booking taking over the whole place day and night with no regard to yourselves? How would you feel if you booked a week’s holiday with the focus of relaxation only to find 20-40 school kids running a muck on a school camp! Eco-Friendly being just token words as our wonderful fauna that we want to see and appreciate is not necessarily going to stay around organised (or disorganised) chaos. They are just pushed further and further away into smaller and smaller locals! Accommodation star ratings mean nothing to our fauna.

Have you seen sites announcing themselves as eco-friendly but displaying pictures of people tracking wildlife with guns at the ready and implying shooting/hunting safaris, especially as they rip up the ground on quad bikes? That’s really reducing, minimising, or excluding harm upon flora/fauna and ecosystems or the environment isn’t it? NOT!  I visited one website that stated there were kangaroos to see at their place within an hour’s drive from Darwin. Sorry to spoil the illusion, but there are no kangaroos just wallabies in the top end! They really know their stuff! Ever seen the environmental impact reviews of these places? No? You’re not likely to either!

These “out of towners” won’t let on about and support you with the sand flies,

Annoying March Flies.

mosquitos, march flies, wasps, spiders, snakes and other undesirables either which are more prevalent at certain times of the year. Yes we may know about the dangers of crocodiles but your holiday vacation will be very uncomfortable if you and yours are covered in itchy welts for the whole time. Just imagine your wedding party bathed in a swarm of blood hungry suckers or your honeymoon ruined by constant itching. It’s also an hour or more to medical assistance! Want to listen to pig hunters shooting day and night?

Besides the usual, here are a few things you should consider when booking accommodation in the Bynoe, Finniss River and Dundee locations:

  • Who manages the accommodation? Is it managed by paid staff or local owners?
  • Are staff/owners easily available for immediate assistance? On site, local area, back in Darwin?
  • What insurance and in particular liability insurance does the accommodation have?
  • How many camping/caravan/room/cabin sites are available? The more there are the more potential for noise, lighting and disruption if quiet and tranquil is your goal.
  • Is there private or shared bathroom facilities? Internal or external?
  • Is the accommodation nestled within trees and bushland? Overhanging branches? Great for shade but branches drop and so does the wildlife. Ever woken up in a green tree ants nest!

    Green Tree Ants Nest
  • If a bush fire was to approach, would you be safe?
  • What shade structures are there for everyone or privately?
  • Is the accommodation roofing and under floor areas accessible to wildlife like snakes/spiders to crawl in/on or under?
  • Are there great looking low set tropical/native bushes around camp sites or guest accommodations? Great places for snakes to hide!

    Northern Brown Snake: Highly venomous snake. Known to inhabit the Finniss River area.
  • Is the site well cleared with easy line of sight for nature’s intruders i.e. snakes? Or might you suddenly have an encounter at close range?
  • Are there private cooking and BBQ facilities including kitchen or are you forced to eat at the sites restaurant or travel some distance? What precautions have been taken for opportunistic ants?
  • What parking areas are available close to accommodation sites? Room for car and boat or caravan? What is the security like?
  • How far is it to launch a boat? Are there boat ramps accessible dry and wet seasons?
  • How far are you away from a water source? The closer you are the more potential for problems. Fresh or salt water. Will the water source rise in the wet season? If so be prepared for everything to move up to join you too!

    King Brown Snake : One of the longest venomous snakes in the world. Recently spotted on Hardcastle road.
  • Rising flood waters, rivers and billabongs can smell. Accommodation close to or over water sources can smell and develop mold. They may look inviting in a picture but your nose won’t know till it gets there!
  • Are water sources on the property or close by protected by fencing or other deterrents so croc accidents are minimised and children can’t easily access either? Crocs do move around some distances.
  • Where is the septic tank? Are the wet season rains and rising water tables going to over whelm it? There is no town sewer system in these areas. That fish you just caught and are cooking– what’s it been swimming in?
  • Is the site hilly? Will there be lots of walking up and down slopes/stairs? Does the accommodation cater for the disabled?
  • If the site is on a significant slope are the grounds terraced or has the site been cleared retaining the original landscape. Wet season rains can contribute to significant erosion of cleared lands if not managed well.
  • How good are walking paths or bike tracks? Again erosion issues and potential for loosing ones footing? Turning an ankle can be painful!
  • Can you control the outside lighting? Is there excess lighting that will attract flying insects? Insects bring cane toads and other frogs and in turn this brings snakes.
  • Does the accommodation have bar facilities? Be prepared for drunken idiots stumbling around! If BYO, then this can be just as bad if you’re not looking for a booze up!
  • Does the accommodation offer a swimming pool? Are you prepared for noise!
  • Does the Retreat/Resort offer guest motor bike or quad bike rides? More noise, dust etc.?
  • Does the Retreat/Resort offer night walks? Potentially more light, noise and carry-on.
  • Do you have to buy insect repellent or sprays or does the accommodation offer free of charge? There isn’t much opportunity to buy locally.
  • Is the accommodation positioned close to a road or set well back? On a corner? Nothing worse than traffic noise and dirt road dust.
  • Does the accommodation have fly screen protection? Is there al fresco dinning/bar without necessary protection from insects etc. The last thing you want to swallow is the natives!

    Golden Orb Spider
  • Does the accommodation have air-conditioning or fans or both? A nice enclosed breeze way? It can get hot and steamy in the top end!
  • How is waste managed? Accumulating food scraps and other wastes attract mice, rats and again snakes.
  • What is the water source for the accommodation use? The best is rain water. The worst is river/billabong/dam water.
  • Where is waste/grey water going? What’s that puddle you just stepped in?
  • Is the electricity provided by generators? These can be noisy. Does it have solar power?
  • Is mud racing/motorbike riding circuits available in wet areas? Have you heard of Melioidosis?
  • Are you in an area renown for pig or goose shooting/ hunting i.e. Finniss River and associated flood plains? Gun shots can be unnerving for the unprepared.
  • Do you want a place that excludes pets? Can you take your beloved canine, and if so what protective measures are in place? It’s no fun for “Fido” if he has to be chained up all the time! The prey instinct is often high in many breeds and they are likely to chase wallaby well out of your sight.  Even trained hunting dogs are lost, never to be seen again. Good fencing etc is a must. Keep them away from water. Many a dog has been lost to a croc attack!

Don’t be taken in by the use of marketing terms such as “ECO”. We humans impact wherever and whenever we go.

Whatever you want to do, wherever you go and stay in this unique place in the world, please choose wisely and be safety and environmentally conscious!

Bynoe Mobile Coverage

Bynoe, Northern Territory to get better mobile coverage

Update: April 2018. The mobile tower on Hardcastle Road is complete and working!

Mobile phone coverage in the Bynoe Harbour and Finniss River area has been a significant issue for people living, working, holidaying and travelling in this part of the country for considerable time. In some locations reception is only possible using additional equipment such as a car kit, external antenna or repeater kits for rural & regional areas as handheld reception has been non existent. All an added expensive addition.  Communication, especially in times of emergencies has and will have an impact on outcome.

The Australian Government has committed more than $200M to the Mobile Black Spot Program to improve mobile coverage along major regional transport routes and in small rural communities.

On 1 December 2016, the Australian Government announced that round 2 of the program will deliver 266 new or upgraded mobile base stations across the country with construction of base stations under round 2 of the program expected to commence in 2017/18.

The good news is Bynoe in the Northern Territory has been funded to receive a Telstra macrocell. Better life, better travel, better holidays, better all round!

The map below indicates this tower is to be built at the corner of Fog Bay Road and Hardcastle Road.