What rocks our world?

We respect the planet and everything she provides for us.

René grew up surrounded by forests in the province of Utrecht in the Netherlands and Nelleke grew up in Apeldoorn. Her father was the director of national parks for the region which included the parklands ‘de veluwe’ and ‘de apenhuel’, so both spent a lot of time in nature. But it was the beautiful tropical, yet cool climate of the Atherton Tablelands that drew them to this area. Since arriving in the early sixties, they have spent a lot of time in the Queensland bush, camping by rivers, fishing and of course fossicking. They have always adopted a ‘leave only footprints behind’ approach to the natural world around them.

Today, they live in a single bedroom bali style home with large sliding doors that rarely close. They live in harmony with insects, snakes, spiders, bats, possums and wallabies. They have always taken a keen interest in the world around us and the environment that we live in.

René and Nelleke’s daughter Ghis takes that approach to another level. She and her husband live off the grid on a farm and actively observe sustainable living practices in everything they do. Since taking over management of The Crystal Caves in 2014, Ghis has improved the day to day efficiency of the operations starting with a new track lighting system that replaced hundreds of 150 watt incandescent spotlights to 4 watt led lights that reduced the electricity output to a third. The roof was insulated with wool batts and energy efficient air conditioners replaced old models. Over the years, many renovations have taken place and any building materials that come out of the building are donated to the local men’s shed or recycled into fixtures and fittings in the shop. All our display benches are made from an internal wall framing and our glass display cases are from a closed down décor shop in Spence street, Cairns.

In 2023, we signed up to the ecoBiz program which is funded by the Queensland Government to support businesses to further improve their energy, water and waste efficiency and we are getting down to the nitty gritty of the little things to continue to care for our planet.

A few of our practices and choices are noted below:

  • We ask our suppliers to package goods in newspapers instead of bubble wrap
  • We limit our plastic bin liners
  • We offer only kraft paper carry bags (long before plastic bags were banned)
  • We use only 100% recycled office paper and toilet paper
  • We print double sided if we print at all
  • We reduce paper waste by not keeping printed eftpos receipts
  • We recycle our guidebooks and hygiene bands
  • We recycle all paper and cardboard into packing material
  • We use rechargeable Ledlenser headlights

Staying connected, staying united.

As a business…

We recognise the importance of staying connected to our industry and as such we are very active members of the following organisations:

  • Tourism Atherton Tablelands
  • Atherton Tableland Chamber of Commerce
  • Tourism Tropical North Queensland
  • Townsville Enterprise
  • Australian Tourism Industry Council

Giving back to the community.

The Crystal Caves donates vouchers, goods and cash to over 80 charity organisations across the entire region. From schools and kindergartens, to sporting and fishing clubs and some delightfully specific clubs like the Cassowary Coast Poultry Club, the Ravenshoe Seed Savers and the Tableland Competition Car Club. And while we love the gratitude, in line with our sustainability commitments, we always ask that the organisation does not use their hard earned funds to mail a physical, laminated certificate of appreciation.

Personally, René and Nelleke have a soft spot for any dog related organisations and donate generously to dog charities as well as ongoing donations to the Royal Flying Doctors, Angel Flight and Cancer Council.

How we chose our 3 major charities that we support with monthly donations:

Remote Animal Assistance – $500/mth
Our entire team are obsessed dog people. René and Nelleke have bred pedigree cocker spaniels and currently spoil a ginger spoodle. The idea of any animal doing without food or medical attention breaks our heart. We are a proud rescue partner and sponsor of Remote Animal Assistance.

Red Cross – $500/mth
In March 2006, our region endured the devastating impact of Cyclone Larry, noted as the most formidable cyclone to strike Queensland in nearly a century. The farming community of the Tablelands was particularly hard hit. Ghis and Adrian were harvesting avocados when the cyclone’s unexpectedly rapid and destructive passage devastated their crop and livelihood. Amidst widespread losses among all farmers in the area, Ghis initially felt overwhelmed by a sense of every person for themselves. However, witnessing firsthand the remarkable efforts of the Red Cross during this crisis rekindled her faith in community support. Since then, Crystal Caves have remained a dedicated supporter of the Red Cross.

Salvation Army – $250/mth
Both Ghis and Nelleke are avid readers. In 2002, Ghis received Bryce Courtenay’s novel “Matthew Flinders’ Cat” as a gift. After reading it, she passed it on to her mum, and once they had both finished, they discussed the novel and pondered whether the Salvation Army, prominently featured in the story, was based on real events. A quick Google search confirmed their suspicions. Impressed by the Salvation Army’s impactful work in the homelessness sector, Nelleke began donating regularly.

If you are involved with a charity organisation and would like to apply for a donation, please email us on info@crystalcaves.com.au

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