Fiona Lidgett on Bush Oasis’ wetland plans

With council approval locked in, Fiona Lidgett reflects mid-journey towards building a new wetland at Nome, Townsville.

“It took us nine months to get here,” says Fiona, owner of the Bush Oasis Caravan Park.

Despite significant design and water engineering costs, the project is deeply satisfying and is already attracting its fair share of serendipity.

“I saw an animated video of the wetland; it’s just amazing,” she says.

Conservation volunteers will assist with its construction, she says, following a chance encounter with a senior executive of Conservation Volunteers Australia.

“He said they’d love to get on board and help us. They’re very passionate about branching out into this kind of ecotourism.

“The volunteers will plant out and landscape the wetlands.”

ACS Engineering’s visualisation showcasing the wetland that was approved at Townsville City Council in early November.



Once completed, Fiona believes 400 bird species will use the new wetland adjacent the traditional bush park, more than half the known species to visit the state. Including one of the caravan park’s favourite guests, a small, vibrant sunbird nicknamed Tinkerbell.

“They’re so gorgeous, they will come right up to you and build these amazing nests. They’re very busy little creatures.”

And once the wetland’s built, visitors can watch these feathered friends at play in their own habitat.

“We’re planning to install wide boardwalks and viewing platforms with telescopic lenses so that people can look through,” Fiona explains.

The waterhole will sit within a 5-acre plot between the park and the Billabong Wildlife Sanctuary.

“We aren’t a beach-fronted park.

“We wanted something unique that looks towards our future sustainability and to support the environment,” says Fiona.

Guests will soon be able to wake up to birdsong at a glamping site or sip their favourite beverages overlooking the wetland at an on-site cafe. An events venue is also on the cards.


“We’re not far from Ramsar wetlands,” says Fiona.

“Some of those wetlands don’t have a water supply year-round but ours will, it will have a big fountain in the middle.”

But it won’t be coming from council water she says as the caravan park isn’t connected.

“Our water is recycled; it’s purified for household consumption through reverse osmosis. It’s cleaner than what comes through the tap.

“And once the wetland is established, the water will provide the habitat.”

In anticipation, Bush Oasis is replacing its water management system with one incorporating a larger underground pump that will feed into the wetland and help to keep the park green.

“It will mean much less water wastage,” she says.

Solar arrays on the main dwellings improve the park’s resilience.



Reassuringly, the new pump central to the high efficiencies waste treatment plant will resist flooding, given the park couldn’t take visitors for several weeks following unprecedented floods in Townsville earlier this year.

“We couldn’t access the plant due to water damage. By getting this new high-efficiency pump it will improve our self-sufficiency.

“We’re also pairing solar arrays on the office and managers’ house roof with a back-up battery bank to improve our resilience in an emergency,” she says.

Indeed, with a Waterstar tick within reach, Bush Oasis keeps rolling out green initiatives.

“We’re looking at the environment, finding different ways to run our caravan park sustainably

“We’ve [also] upgraded our amenities block, fitting automated lighting and self-flushing urinals so there’s no need to touch the taps,” says Fiona.

And its naturally-heated, optically-lit PebbleCrete pool is a hit, open 24/7 and exclusively for adults. It’s mixed with glow rock, which absorbs heat during the day warming the water and illuminating the pool after dark.

“When the sun goes down you see all this rock twinkling like little stars. It’s like you’re looking up into the sky. A nice feature that uses no energy bar the sun’s heat.

“Glow rock is often used in public spaces, just something a little bit different,” she says.