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Tips for an eco-friendly holiday

Lauren Mueller

Lauren Mueller is the proud owner of Gladstone Hub wholefood and sustainability store, Whole & Happy, a place where you’ll find bulk foods, cleaning and skin care products, healthy snacks, sustainable gifts, books and more. Lauren is passionate about supporting women-run businesses and promoting local makers and producers.

Here are Lauren’s tips for eco-conscious visitors to the Macleay Valley Coast:

1. EAT SOMEWHERE THAT SOURCES LOCAL INGREDIENTS

I’m lucky enough to be able to grab lunch from Steam & Cedar next door. Dan goes out of his way to source fruit and vegetables from local farmers and even makes his own ice cream from Macleay Valley milk. I also recommend the brewed chai – our own recipe created in collaboration with Dan!

Garden Bar and Kitchen is where we go for an upmarket dinner or for big celebrations. They prioritise local produce and serve up delicious meals in a beautiful setting overlooking the river.

2. SHOP FOR SUSTAINABLE SOUVENIRS

Visit Whole & Happy to find a unique gift or sustainable product to take home. We make our own range of bath bombs and shower products to remind you of the smells and tastes of your holiday in the Macleay. We also sell plenty of local, handmade products that you won’t find anywhere else.

3. taste test some locally- caught seafood

Riley’s Food and Coffee Van in South West Rocks is one of the best places for trying locally- caught seafood. They source seafood from local suppliers Nautical Wholesale Seafood, which gets shipped to top restaurants in Sydney. It’s fantastic that Riley’s is making it available locally.

4. sourcE local fruit & veggies from the Eungai Creek Farmers Market

My top tip for sourcing local fruit and veggies is the Eungai Creek Farmers Market, held at the local hall on Friday afternoons. It’s a genuine community market where you can find eggs, honey, fruits and veggies as well as street food, home baked cakes, bread and plants.

5. BROWSE THE GOODS AT OP SHOPS

Gladstone Op Shop is one of my favourite sustainable places to shop. It’s just down the road from here and is run by lovely ladies who make the effort to pull out things they think I might like. I love going in there.

6. THINK RE-USE FOR YOUR KIDDOS AS WELL

Curious Joe is a really cool kids sustainable clothing store in South West Rocks. All the clothes are designed and made by Joe’s mum, Sophie, using fabric that is ethically sourced. The clothes are bright, fun and original.

7. most fun activities here are free & naturally sustainable

One of the great things about living in the Macleay Valley is that most of the fun activities are free and naturally sustainable. Exploring and snorkelling in our creeks is one of our favourite activities and one that I think is seriously underrated and incredibly beautiful. We’ve seen more tropical fish in our creeks this summer than ever before!

8. keep it simple with the kids

Something I love to do with the kids is explore Shelly Beach at the southern end of Crescent Head Point. Even when the town is busy during peak holiday season, we can have that whole beach to ourselves and spend hours exploring the rockpools and building rock towers.

9. and… Take three for the sea!

Take three for the sea! I have a little tin I take with me to the beach for picking up those tiny pieces of plastic that get washed up on the tideline. If everyone did this, it would make such a big impact.

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