Jump aboard the world’s first solar train and make your way to a slice of paradise nestled amongst nature.

A recent trip to the stunning coastal region of Byron Bay prompted us to reflect on Bennett + Bennett’s involvement in the award-winning, five-star Elements of Byron resort project and the solar-power heritage train that will take you there.

Located within the flourishing North Beach precinct and Byron Arts Estate, the resort can be reached via three kilometres of coastal rail corridor, directly from Byron Town Centre.

The heritage Byron Bay Train, originally constructed in Sydney in 1949, has been artfully restored and in a world-first, uses solar panels to generate the energy it requires to operate (plus enough additional power for 17.5 homes each year). To support the re-modeled train, the existing railway line and bridge that had been untouched for 13 years, needed be repaired and made structurally sound.

To thoroughly investigate these structures, Bennett + Bennett conducted a 3D scan using photogrammetry. For those who may be unfamiliar with this technique, photogrammetry uses photographs and a known scale length to determine the 3D coordinates and measurements required to create accurate 3D models or drawings. In this case, we provided 3D point cloud and elevation in a 3D format to assist in planning the railway and bridge repair.

Above: 3D pointcloud data, that have been captured from helicopter during various stages of development. Calibrated aerial and terrestrial photos are taken and processed using photogrammetry to generate accurate 3D colour pointclouds that can be used for data extraction, contouring, modelling and analysis.

Now immaculately restored, the vintage rail carriages travel directly to North Beach, home of the unique development that is Elements of Byron. Set on 50 acres of land, the resort site features preserved bushland, wetland and sand dune, with almost 2km of magnificent beach frontage. The littoral forest and natural lakes are home to native wildlife, while the curved roof of the Pavilion and over 200 villas inspired by naturally occurring forms offer creative construction at its finest.

Bennett + Bennett were engaged early in the piece to conduct the original site detail survey and tree pick up prior to the resort design as the developer was keen to minimise impact on the landscape. We have since provided all survey set out of buildings, services, roads and facilities and the subdivision of the site, various easements, in addition to photogrammetry, aerial photography and titling to enable effective decisions to be made in the design and construction of this exceptional resort project.

In all, we can testify to the fact the Byron is not only renowned for its relaxed, coastal vibe but also a touch of luxury and award-winning innovation.