To start our first full day in Port Campbell we visited Kylie Trebel at her property, The Place of Wonder. Kylie studied horticulture, but now is opening her own restaurant and lives off her own three hectare property where she grows over 120 different species of fruit trees along with a variety of other self-sustained plant life. She doesn’t grow the vegetation in lines, doesn’t water, and doesn’t till the soil in an attempt to emulate natural habitats. Her gardens are certified organic and she gives regular workshops helping others in her community to live, garden, and cook sustainably. She is a strong believer in the earth’s natural processes and encourages microorganism growth to promote soil health by creating food forests that require virtually no maintenance. We also learned about her poly house that includes a cool cubbard system, where natural cold air is filtered through holes in the floor allowing powerless cooling. She recycles wherever she can; after her roof collapsed, she used the materials to improve her property. Kylie also hosts people at her house for banquet dinners showcasing the produce grown in her garden in order to teach people about her ways. She also offers local meal boxes complete with fresh, seasonal produce and preparation instructions to make a meal for four people. Our group had the privilege of touring Kylie’s gardens and sampling some of her delicious recipes such as her rhubarb crumble cake, rosemary scones with pumpkin jam, and parsley crackers with kimchi.
Our second stop of the day was to Apostle Whey Cheese, where we met with Julian Benson. He talked us through their dairy farming processes and their production of milk and various cheeses. Efficiency is extremely important to them, and he explained their reliance on fossil fuels despite the green house gas emissions due to the size of the operation and the cost. They also maximize efficiency with more environmental practices. They have planted copious rows of trees strategically around the farm to keep the cows naturally warm and protected from wind, this optimizes the feed to protein conversion rate and reduces the total meal needed. Throughout the farm they have implemented several other beneficial practices: there are a number of rain collection tanks, the food waste is donated as meal to a local pig farm, and water effluent is damned and used for irrigation.
The last thing our group did was go to the Twelve Apostles, a series of rock formations standing up to 160 feet (50 m) tall. They are part of the Twelve Apostles Marine National Park, which is about 7500 hectares in area and 17 km long. The Park is home to many important and diverse marine species. The characteristic shapes of the Apostles were formed through years of erosion of the limestone that the rocks are comprised of. The Twelve Apostles were originally called the Pinnacles, but the name was changed in subsequent years. Our group had the opportunity to hike the trails by the Twelve Apostles for the afternoon and view an incredible sunset later on.