Needing a break from the hustle and bustle of the big city, we headed for the high country of Ravensbourne National Park for a short break. Rob and Annette had graciously invited us to stay at their “Escape.”
We charged up overnight to 100% (335 km in our 2019 Model 3 SR) and packed up the car and headed northwest, forgetting a few things as we usually do. Ravensbourne is only 172 km from Brisbane, so we knew that range was not a problem. Rob had warned us that we would be doing some climbing, but after years of driving out to Warwick and climbing through Cunninghams Gap, we knew how to account for that. The 6 km climb used 18 km of range, but we picked up some regen as we cruised downhill.
We only passed one other Tesla on the road out of Kilcoy — he looked shocked to see another EV.
We stopped for lunch at the picturesque town of Esk. Looking around for some shade (we didn’t find any), we spotted the newest addition to the Queensland Electric Superhighway — new chargers all wrapped up, not unlike Christmas presents.
The staff at the Enigmas Café not only make a good coffee, but they are full of information. Two locals own Teslas. They passed on news about the QESH chargers in Winton. Apparently, a canopy had to be built over the chargers to stop them from overheating in the Western Queensland summer — would have thought that was obvious. This led to a conversation about the fact that most decisions about EVs and chargers are being made by people who don’t drive EVs.
During lunch, the temperature in the car soared to 49 degrees Celsius — time to activate the air conditioning.
Then it was off to Ravensbourne Escape. The trip from Bracken Ridge on the northside of Brisbane to Ravensbourne was 172 km. In our Hyundai Sonata V6, it would have cost us AU$34 in petrol. Instead, we were able to avail ourselves of the free charging at our “Escape” studio apartment.
“Ravensbourne Escape is a beautiful collection of 11 luxury holiday and getaway houses for short-stay getaways or family holidays.”
The first thing we did on arrival was plug the car in! Then we took in the incredible view south.
Very relaxing. “Disconnect from the world, connect your EV,” Rob told us. Tess was happy — she was being well fed with the Zappi. Other buildings are equipped with MG chargers as part of MG’s drive to spread chargers through the regions.
Rob and Annette met us at the studio apartment and showed us around the retreat. Of particular note was the Starlink satellite on each house providing high-speed, low-latency internet. One group of 3 studios shares one Starlink connection with another house via “Ubiquiti” nanobeam microwave-style transmitters, which cuts the monthly subscription cost by 75%.
Rob was considering the NBN’s SkyMuster, but it was more expensive, has high latency, and has a 100-gigabyte limit. There are few reliable NBN options in this area and SkyMuster (the only viable one) is currently losing market share to Elon Musk’s Starlink Australia wide.
In building the apartments, Rob has paid particular attention to sustainability. The luxury studios are built around a zero-carbon footprint using recycled plastic, sustainable materials, steel, and as a result are also very low maintenance (VLM).
Ravensbourne Escape is high up on the escarpment, with unique long-range views. It is surrounded by lush subtropical rainforest on one side and drier eucalypt on the other. Heavy rains over the past 18 months as Australia has experienced La Niña mean an increased fuel load. Climate change is increasing the fire risk. So, fire protection is also built into new houses to the highest levels. Rob explains that the latest studio, Affinity (where we are staying), exceeds the latest standards, sitting on steel stumps and clad with fire-resistant “Modinex” that imitates wood. “You can’t build a wooden house up here anymore.”
Rob describes himself as an innovator. He has had a long history with IT innovation and is frequently quoting Clarke’s law: “Whatever you invent something for, it will be used for something else.”
Although we could have spent all our time at the apartment, looking at that view, we thought it would be advisable to play tourist, so we spent Wednesday visiting the local hot spots. Sadly, a lot of them were closed on Wednesdays — mainly opening for the tourist trade on the weekend. However, we had a refreshing bushwalk at Ravensbourne National Park, took in the view at the lookout, and visited the town of Crow’s Nest.
Crow’s Nest is well serviced with destination chargers at the local motel and caravan park. According to PlugShare, they have had some good reviews from Model 3 and S owners: “Great to be able to charge in the shade; easy access close to the café (the Curly Carrot).” Charging is free for café customers, and costs a mere $5 per hour for non-customers.
Crow’s Nest is named for “Jim Crow,” a First Nations man who lived in a hollow tree — Jim Crow’s Nest. He is honoured and remembered at the park in the centre of the town. He often helped earlier timber-getting settlers and bullockies with directions. We even got to see a Model X as we wandered around in the heat. Then it was off to the pub for a beer and a hearty lunch.
Rob is thinking about the future. The time is soon coming when he will be able to let his aging diesel go and invest in an EV, but which one? He has his heart set on an ID Buzz. I told him it will be a few years before they get out to Australia. It’s okay, the diesel will last that long. Though, the maintenance costs keep mounting. The ID Buzz will do everything he needs — haul the rubbish, do the shopping, and take the tourists out to dinner and pick them up when they have had a few of the local wines, or shots from the local Pechey gin distillery.
Rob says, “We class our bunch of holiday homes a ‘Retreat’ as it is designed around ‘getting away’. As we say, RElax … REfresh … RE-energise … and now, of course … RECHARGE!”
I don’t like paywalls. You don’t like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don’t like paywalls, and so we’ve decided to ditch ours.
Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It’s a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So …