To say it has been a tough week for interNATIONAL PARKtours, Binna Burra Lodge, the Groom family and our Beechmont community would be an understatement. We would like to take this opportunity to update you on our situation and thank you for all of your support.

As you may have seen via various news sources, a very large bushfire recently swept through our piece of paradise. For more than two weeks, fires have been burning in the Gold Coast Hinterland. On the afternoon of Friday 6 September, Binna Burra and the southern end of Beechmont (including our office in Timbarra Drive) were evacuated and eight homes in Timbarra Drive were lost that night. Early on Saturday 7 September, Binna Burra Lodge was destroyed in the fire along with Alcheringa, our original Groom family home down the hill from the main lodge. Amazingly, the historic Groom’s cottage, pottery shed, Binna Burra campground and the Lamington Tea House have escaped damage. Please note Binna Burra and the last 3km of the road will not be accessible to the public for some time until they re-establish the safety of access and services. On all levels, it’s been a heartbreaking time for the whole family with the loss spanning four generations – from my grandparents, founder Arthur Groom & family matriarch Marjorie Groom (whose small cottage was next to Alcheringa) to my own children Luke and Inari who both worked part-time at Binna Burra. All of our staff and guides who live in the area were safe in the evacuations and the interNATIONAL PARKtours office, my house and my brother, Dave’s house and art studio were miraculously spared.

We want to thank the Rural Fire Brigade and all Emergency Services for their amazing response and effort in saving so many homes in the neighbourhood. interNATIONAL PARKtours’ very own Suzanne Noakes and Barry Davies are volunteers of the Beechmont Rural Fire Brigade and have been actively fighting fires for the past two weeks. We are all in awe of their courage and strength during this time. We are also grateful for the beautiful community we live in, and the support they have given over this challenging time.

Due to our office shed being destroyed during the fire, our power and phone lines were damaged so we have been working remotely for almost two weeks from various cafes and local homes. Our office phones and emails have remained operational throughout this time, thanks to our dedicated staff. We would like to thank our understanding guests, tour leaders and all operators if we have been a little harder to contact than usual! We have only just returned to the IPT office today (Thu 19/09) as all services came back online.

Lastly, we would like to thank all of our past and present guests who have reached out to us with love and support. We may not have personally replied to your phone calls or emails but your warm sentiments have meant so much. It's been a very emotional week for my father Tony, brother Dave and our respective families. We have visited the ruins of Binna Burra plus the family home of Alcheringa (home of our matriarchs, Marjorie and Connie). The picture below is of Tony and I in front of Groom's cottage this week. We are now calming our adrenaline filled bodies and focusing back on the wonderful world of walking holidays.

Lisa and the interNATIONAL PARKtours team

Binna Burra, interNATIONAL PARKtours
and the local community

We are devastated with the loss of Binna Burra Lodge but it will be rebuilt (visit the news section of their website to find out about future plans). Binna Burra also represents the birthplace of interNATIONAL PARKtours, which started in 1975 with Tony and Connie Groom offering their first walking tour to the USA & Canada. Tony had been working as the lodge manager, when he was offered a Churchill Fellowship to study visitor facilities in national parks. When he returned to Binna Burra after his extended travel, lodge guests asked him to take them on a tour of the USA & Canada national parks he had seen. In essence, interNATIONAL PARKtours was born out of Binna Burra’s wonderful guests.

How can you support the community recovery?

People have been asking how they can support the community during this time. You can support local businesses and our wider friends and family in the following ways:

  • Although Lamington National Park is closed until further notice, the mountain communities of Beechmont, Springbrook and Tamborine plus the greater Scenic Rim area are all open. The coffee shops, cafes, galleries, wineries and accommodation will appreciate your business, especially in the next few weeks.
  • Please go to the Binna Burra website for updates about the lodge and support the Friends of Binna Burra GoFundMe page (which will assist with the restoration and management of the cultural and natural heritage after the lodge is rebuilt)
  • Consider purchasing an art piece from our family member, Dave Groom. Visit www.davegroom.com or contact him to arrange a visit to his gallery (which narrowly escaped the fire)
  • One of our staff members, Adi Brown has lost her home in the neighbouring street. Her family work and study part-time so a friend has set up a fundraiser
  • We are considering shorter tours of the Scenic Rim and Gold Coast hinterland area, working Binna Burra guest activities guides who have an amazing knowledge of the local ecosystems. Please express your interest if you would like further information on these new journeys
  • Consider booking on our upcoming tours in the first round of Early Bird discounts (see below). Please keep sharing the interNATIONAL PARKtours brochure and website with friends and family

First round of early bird discounts close soon...

Save $500 on the following tours by booking before midnight on September 30 2019:

New Zealand - Southern Wilderness & Coastal Gems:  10 - 26 Feb 2020
Sri Lanka – Wilderness & Nature Safari:  22 Feb – 7 Mar 2020
Tasmania – Tarkine to Tasman Peninsula: 6 – 20 Mar 2020
Gardens of Singapore: 9 - 15 Mar 2020
Secrets of the Scenic Rim: 22 - 27 Mar 2020
Morocco – Casablanca to Marrakesh: 29 Mar - 17 Apr 2020

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or phone 1300 197 201
28 Timbarra Drive, Beechmont, Qld 4211 Australia

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