Jon & Peta's Story
Jon & Peta Nott found the property now known as Rose Gums in February 1994. As a professional builder, Jon was looking for a site to build their dream home, as well as fulfilling their vision to develop a small eco retreat. Bordering the World Heritage listed Wooroonooran National Park on two boundaries, at the end of a no-through-road and only 15 minutes to the small villages of Malanda and Yungaburra, Rose Gums Wilderness Retreat became a reality and opened for business in 1998.
The property had been nearly all cleared for farming after World War One but due to its topography, was never very good for dairy herds and mostly used for ‘dry’ cows. Over the years the forest naturally regenerated in many areas except the ‘top’ 70 acres of basalt country.
However, the property was infested with weeds – lantana, tobacco bush and glycine were rampant in the cleared areas and Jon & Peta had a huge job ahead of them to eradicate the weeds covering almost 30% of the property, in order to reforest with native species. During 1995 through to 1998, in co-operation with the Community Rainforest Reforestation Program (CRRP), over 20,000 mixed native tree species were planted. However, weed control (mostly grass and glycine) was to take every weekend for the next 5 years to ensure that the young trees could reach some maturity and develop a canopy to withstand the competition of the weeds. Since then a further 5,000 trees have been planted by Peta and Jon themselves and they have their own onsite nursery to supply the retreat’s ongoing reforestation program
The warm, high rainfall climate has enabled the new trees to thrive and now there is an amazing forest, which is habitat to many birds and animal species. Research scientists have monitored the growth of the trees and also recorded how the new forest has “come alive” with our unique Australian wildlife, the most rewarding of which is the return of the Southern Cassowary. In 2007 Rose Gums was declared a Nature Refuge by the Queensland State Government. Environmental care
Jon & Peta are delighted to share their vision with their guests who come from all over the world to marvel at this little piece of paradise hidden in the rainforests of tropical north Queensland.