Wangat Lodge, set on the Chichester River amongst the forest in the sub-tropical foothills of the Barrington Tops, means, in the local Gringai dialect, a place where whispers are heard. The lodge was built in the early 80s by retired foresters Geoff and Isabel Armstrong, their vision being to create a place where people could connect with nature, learn about ecology and have adventures! Through their efforts, degraded pastoral land was rejuvenated into a fertile forest now home to an incredible array of native animals - koalas, echidnas, wallabies, platypus, quolls, frogs, bandicoots, pademelons, goannas, bettongs and over 100 species of birds... the list goes on! It’s establishment as a conservation area and wildlife refuge will help ensure it remains so for many years to come. The reins were passed to Ken Rubeli who's long legacy here is integral to it’s history and the place it is today. He, along with many noteworthy Wangat employees, continued the great work of Geoff and Isabel. His Lightfoot school camps are firmly lodged in the memories of many who came here as children and he has fostered relationships with numerous Wangateers, many of who have been coming for over 20 years!
At Wangat there is an emphasis on accessibility and inclusion, the hope being to share its wonders with as many as possible. Accommodation is simple and affordable allowing the rich and complex surroundings to speak. It is the perfect place for a relaxed, intimate stay, for a family getaway or, as is so often the case, for large groups of friends and family to return year after year and for whom Wangat will, in no small way become theirs.
So, now for a new chapter at Wangat... In December 2017, Dan Lyons and his wife Verity Keniger took those reins from Ken and became proud owners of this majestic place. It’s safe to say their vision is not dissimilar to those of Geoff, Isabel and Ken, seeing Wangat as a place for environmental and social wisdom. Through their own outdoor adventure programmes, workshops, festivals and more they will look to continue enhancing Wangat’s burgeoning existence, inviting participation along the way. Grateful for their new life and excited for all the future will bring, they pinch themselves everyday to check they’re not dreaming!
Together they look forward to raising a family here, to growing a garden, fruit forest and a rewarding future and to sharing all this with those who visit. They welcome guests both well-seasoned and new and hope to kindle in many more young people connection, love, respect and awe for the natural world.
Hope to see you soon in the wilds of Wangat!