Tourism villages for Kukerin

Toyah ShakespeareThe West Australian

A $1 million ecotourism village that officially opened in Kukerin last month is the first new tourism accommodation in the Wheatbelt for more than 10 years.

Mary's Farm Cottages, owned by Mary and Michael Nenke, is also believed to be the first eco-friendly tourism village in the Wheatbelt and has the largest independent solar system in the area.

More than 50 people, including representatives from the Shire of Dumbleyung, building contractors, Australia's Golden Outback and friends and family attended the official opening by Member for O'Connor Rick Wilson and blessing from Father Gayan Thamel.

The eight tourist dwellings on Dumbleyung-Lake Grace Road can host 48 guests at a time, expanding the Nenkes' broadacre farming and Cambinata Yabbies enterprise.

Mr Wilson said the opening of the accommodation, which was supported by a $250,000 tourism industry regional development fund grant, was a major win for the region's tourism.

"Cambinata Yabbies is already a destination … this means yet another reason to stay in Kukerin and the Golden Outback," he said.

"The investment made by the Nenke family in Mary's Farm Cottages is an example of how a small business can create a world-class tourism experience."

Mrs Nenke said the region lacked quality accommodation and the dwellings would cater for the existing visitors using their shearing shed function centre, as well as attracting more tourists.

She said a delegation of Chinese tour operators recently visited the cottages.

"It's an opportunity for Chinese people to be on a farm, see big paddocks, pet sheep," she said. Each unit has an ensuite and the village has a biocycle system to reuse grey water.

The centrepiece of the village is a 1948 Austin Loadstar, donated by Paul Nenke and transformed into a barbecue and picnic table by Ray Richards.

Ms Nenke said they would next seal the road leading to the units before expanding the project.

"Ultimately, we would build and add to the site, once it reaches 80 per cent occupancy," she said.

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