This story, Vintage Port, written by Judy Friedlander, was published in Media Monitors Incisive Insight. We have extracted the portion that talks about us from a longer story.
Media Monitors Incisive Insight
By Judy Friedlander
Founded on gold fever in 1877, Port Douglas is booming once more, these days on tourism.
One of the most inspirational points on the compass in the Port Douglas region is located approximately 40km north of town on Boulder Creek, which has its source in the Daintree National Park.
The Botanical Ark – part domicile, part nature’s laboratory and part world salvation – is one of those places you are reluctant to disclose because of its extraordinary importance and value, plus the fact that its custodians, Alan and Susan Carle, are so busy with their work, inquisitive tourists can monopolise too much of their time and compromise their quest.
However, the Carles need qualified, continued support. You just know that one day this story will be a Hollywood epic and top actors will vie with one another to play this extraordinary couple who have risked life and limb to pursue a most inspirational cause.
The Botanical Ark is a 12ha garden planted with hundreds of rare and endangered fruits, trees, herbs and medicinal plants that the Carles have collected over the past 20 years on more than 80 expeditions to rainforests around the world. The Ivory Coast, the Congo, Ghana, Cameroon, Madagascar, Souther India, Pacific Islands, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and countries on the Amazon are all stamped on their passports.
The season of choice for the gathering trips is the rainiest month of the year, as that is when seeds blossom – and make themselves noticed. A modern-day Noah, Alan Carle has slept on rainforest floors, climbed huge trees, canoed down remote rivers, been threatened by corrupt, gun-wielding border officials and even been mugged by eight people in his quest.
“The basis for life on earth as we know it is green plants,” Alan Carle states. “If they go, we go.
“Rainforests occupy 5 percent of dry land on the planet and yet contain 60 percent of the world’s land-based plants and animals. And the rainforest a disappearing at an acre a minute.”
Carle speaks of his sadness at retuning to places in Africa and South America a few years later to find verdant and pristine rainforests decimated by loggers and industrial estates: “And as the indigenous people become subsumed, so their knowledge disappears.”
The Carles now grow more than 400 species in their garden and have always adhered to strict quarantine and government guidelines. Their mission statement – to actively participate in global rainforest conservation and preserve minor and little-known species – saw them win the top award in the prestigious Slow Food Movement gongs in Italy in 2000.
The Botanical Ark Retreat
Surrounded by its famous botanical gardens that have taken 20 years to establish, the Botanical Ark Retreat also offers an experience of indulgence. The plantation-style house features its own 25m freshwater swimming area fed by the Whyanbeel waterfall. The home comfortably accommodates eight people and is ideal for honeymooners, family reunions, private hideaways or for simply enjoying with friends. Large, open timber verandahs invite you to contemplate nature and the good life. Spa options are available.
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“We have visited many wonderful places around the world and [the Botanical Ark] is one of the most beautiful places.”
Couple from Melbourne
“An amazing place. Enjoyed every moment!”
Couple from Sydney
“Words cannot describe how amazing this place is.”
Couple from Australia
“You have created heaven on Earth.”
Couple from Bundaberg, Australia.
“You have the most beautiful place and we are privileged to have stayed here.”
Family from New Zealand.
“This is a beautiful, amazing and blissful place.”
Guest from Sunshine Coast, Queensland.
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