60 per cent of Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat is protected by a perpetual Voluntary Conservation Agreement negotiated with the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). The property owner and NPWS work in partnership to manage the land in accordance with the Voluntary Conservation Agreement. Voluntary Conservation Agreements provide permanent protection for special features of an area with high conservation value.
Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat is habitat to:
Formerly part of a banana plantation, the property that is now Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat was purchased in 1988. Four years were spent planning, restoring and building the Retreat, which opened in 1992. The Voluntary Conservation Agreement on Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat was initiated by the land owners. Taking about one year to process, the agreement was signed in May 1997 and set aside 60 per cent of the 102-hectare property as a buffer to the adjacent nature reserve. The NPWS not only helped prepare a plan of management but, through Conservation Volunteers Australia, has also helped Crystal Creek attract voluntary labour for projects, provided project building material, and helped design and produce interpretive boards on the property.
Nature-based activities are undertaken within the Voluntary Conservation Agreement area and guests do not enter the nature reserve, which acts as a gene pool for regeneration of flora and fauna. The Retreat development itself is outside the area declared under the Voluntary Conservation Agreement. Under these agreements low-key tourism activities, for example, interpretation, birdwatching and bushwalking are permitted. There are no restrictions on economic activity undertaken on other parts of the property.
The Tweed Valley, Coolangatta and their hinterlands receive around 660,000 visitors annually, spending an estimated $166 million. Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat is one of the prime destinations in the area, offering luxury accommodation for couples immersed within a total rainforest experience. The Retreat is open all year round and attracts approximately 3500 visitors annually. It is the only property that is adjacent to a National Park and has running water.
Source: Pursuing Common Goals, Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources, June 2003