The Berrysmith Foundation intends to establish the Karaka Eco-Park as a prototypical showcase of sustainable food production based on natural ecosystems, creating an education park and working aquaponics farm that provides educational opportunities to children and eco-tourists on how to sustainably produce food using natural ecosystems.
The Karaka Eco-Park development is a ten year project that will transform the existing site. The first five years of the project will be dedicated to establishing and creating wetlands, waterways and delivering 21 hectares of planting across six planting zones (Lowland Forest, Riparian Planting, Restored Wetland, Coastal Riparian Planting, Naturalised Stream, and Coastal Wetland). The second five years will focus on the planning and construction of the aquaponics farm and interactive educational showcase for sustainable food production.
Once completed the Karaka Eco-Park will enable visitors to tour through the sustainable food production journey via navigable waterways, walking tracks, an education centre, and wildlife lookouts.
The masterplan for the Karaka Eco-Park is based on the following programme of delivery:
Approximate timing – an evolving site
0 – 2 years
- 20 hectares of pioneer planting
- Naturalised stream construction
- New bore for Lot 5 or pipe from existing bore by existing farmhouse
- Further planting
- Eco building at coastal edge
- Eco park roading
- Farmhouse renovation
- Tourism opportunities start
- Eco park open to visitors
- 2 – 3 buses per week — initially targeting school group tours
- The story of the site is interweaved into the visitors’ experience, including the aquaponics, which is to come
- Commercial aquaponics area up and running
- Open to educational tour groups and bookings
Development of the project
The Berrysmith Foundation has progressed its unique vision for the site through engaging a multidisciplined team of professional advisors to provide an innovative and exciting development that maximises the efficient use of the site accentuating its strategic location
- In order to provide for a navigable waterway through the site, an existing 346m farm drain will be naturalised into a meandering natural stream extending for 945m
- A 1.8km long Visitor Tour Loop road will be constructed through the Karaka Eco-Park.
- Two pedestrian boardwalks are planed: a 1,050m (approx.) Wetland boardwalk, and a 510m (approx.) Coastal Boardwalk.
- As part of the operation of the Karaka Eco-Park, the existing farmhouse will be restored to provide a visitor hub, and accommodation for Eco-Park staff (seasonal workers) will be provided for in WWOOF Accommodation
- Areas are also provided for the future aquaponics activity and education centre.
- Additional features provided for within the Karaka Eco-Park are Bird Sanctuary Lookouts, a sheep paddock, an organic orchard, village green, a native bushwalk, and parking areas.