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SAPPHIRE COAST, NSW, AUSTRALIA
Tanja Lagoon Camp (TLC) is a unique pocket of land on the edge of a coastal lagoon in Mimosa Rocks National Park on Australia’s Sapphire Coast. Over the last 100 years, this 40-acre private holding has been a saw-milling site, dairy farm and Bed and Breakfast. Since 1998 TLC’s owners, Sam and Loz, have repaired the damage done by over-grazing and logging that left 98% of the land in disrepair. Committed to restoring native habitats and helping others to connect with nature, TLC operates as a Wilderness Camp where environmental education sits alongside low-impact tourism.
Libby Hepburn, a partner in the business, is the founder of Atlas of Life in The Coastal Wilderness — an initiative to build a biodiversity atlas in the region relying on the data provided by citizen science. TLC is in the process of creating a citizen science hub so that the community and visitors can get involved. By planting over 7000 new saplings across the property, TLC has also created a vital wildlife corridor — partly to secure the future of the endangered Long-Nosed Potoroo. This commitment to conservation has won regional attention; TLC has been selected as a release site for arboreal marsupials like sugar gliders.
The guest experience at TLC revolves around taking inspiration from sustainable living and nurturing an appreciation of wild places. With experience working for the National Outdoor Leadership School, founders of the Leave No Trace movement, Sam and Loz educate staff and guests in environmental sensitivity. Four of the six planned safari tents have been built using local craftsmanship and timber — in consultation with the Local Aboriginal Land Council to ensure minimal impact and opportunities for Aboriginal People. Although there is no restaurant onsite, guests can enjoy locally-sourced breakfasts of organic muesli, Tilba Milk, Wild Ryes coffee, sourdough, local honey and eggs — if the resident chickens are laying well.
Tanja Lagoon Camp joined The Long Run in 2018 and committed to a holistic balance of the 4Cs – Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce – as a means to contribute meaningfully to the biodiversity and the people of their local region.
Before TLC was taken over by Sam and Loz in 1998, this 40-acres of land was used for logging and dairy farming for over 100 years. When Sam and Loz purchased the property, it was over-grazed, cleared of trees and separated from the surrounding forest by barbed wire fences. By planting over 7000 new saplings across the property since 1998, TLC has also created a vital wildlife corridor — to allow native animals to safely traverse across the property and help to secure the future of the endangered Long-Nosed Potoroo. TLC has since become a release site for WIRES (Wildlife, Information, Rescue and Education Service), specialising in arboreal marsupials such as sugar gliders, yellow belly gliders and ringtail possums. The TLC vision is enhanced and supported by association with the Atlas of Life in the Coastal Wilderness (ALCW). This is a regional conservation project established to build a biodiversity database. With the combined resources of TLC and ALCW, they are creating a Citizen Science hub to be based at TLC with the aim to develop a model for other operators and National Parks on a regional and global scale.
TLC co-owners, Loz and Sam have worked as outdoor educators with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), since August 2000. NOLS are the founders of Leave No Trace. At TLC, they are highly committed to educating members of the public, guests and staff about the Leave No Trace principles and ethics.
TLC is committed to working with the Local Aboriginal Land Councils in developing opportunities for Aboriginal People to care for country and culture. TLC has established relationships with both the Bega and Eden Aboriginal Land Councils. Whenever possible they support the development of Indigenous tourism initiatives such as The Bundian Way – a rare surviving ancient pathway used by Aboriginal people over thousands of years linking the high country at Kosciuszko and the coast at Eden. The Bundian Way is associated with seasonal gatherings of Aboriginal tribes on the Snowy River for Bogong moth collection and on the Eden Coast during whale migration. The Eden Aboriginal Land Council have created a cultural center at the coastal gateway near Pambula – The Monaroo Bobberrer Gudu Keeping Place. TLC is also perfectly situated for showcasing the Gulaga and Mumbulla mountains, both rich in significance to the Yuin people. TLC aims to support the Biamanga Board in the development of their own tourism initiatives to honour these sacred places.
Since the founders took over this property, they have transformed this over-grazed farming land into a magical wilderness. TLC now has four handcrafted safari tents to accommodate guests; offering visitors the chance to experience wilderness, adventure, hospitality, and conservation education. They work closely with the Sapphire Coast Tourism group to help change the image of tourism in the region and to encourage more local operators to become low impact destinations and celebrate the beautiful nature of the region.
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