Australia has no shortage of national parks and heritage sites worthy of exploring – thousands of such areas are at your disposal so you will be spoilt for choice. However, that’s not everything. What also makes this country the perfect choice for an eco-friendly vacation is that it prides itself in sustainable tourism practices. Read on to learn about some of the best eco-friendly locations that are bound to sweep you off your feet!
If you want to get immersed in a patch of untouched wilderness, head to northeastern Australia. Only a little over an hour north of Cairns, you will find yourself in Daintree, the continent’s largest continuous tropical rainforest area that stretches over 1,200 square kilometers. This wildlife area boasts plant and animal species found nowhere else in the world – it is one of the best places in Australia for birdwatching (with over 430 species to watch out for!), but possums, wallabies and platypuses can be spotted too. When it comes to accommodation, you will be delighted to find many sustainable options. If you want true pampering while surrounded by the greenery of the rainforest, make sure you choose a spa lodge. Getting a massage and then cooling down in the crystal clear water will be an invaluable experience.
Just a stone’s throw away from the Daintree Rainforest, you will find yourself on the coast and at the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. It’s certainly a bucket-list destination for nature lovers and those who appreciate all the amazing wonders of our planet, as the Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef in the world, its size being so impressive that it can be seen from space! And a truly luxurious place located an hour’s flight from Cairns is Lizard Island. This beautiful, secluded island will make you feel like you are truly far away from the rest of the world while letting you enjoy 24 private beaches and amazing suites – all with our environment in mind! Guided tours, nature walks, relaxing spa experiences and snorkeling will make your stay colorful, and you are sure to have a trip of a lifetime!
A notable national park in the close proximity of the buzzing city of Sydney, Blue Mountains is a great choice for active travelers but also for those who want to enjoy some peace and quiet in a secluded place in nature. There are some award-winning sustainable lodges such as Love Cabins that grant privacy to you and your significant other and that will make you feel like you’re in a completely different world. In the meantime, you can also choose from lots of activities in the area, such as going on a Blue Mountains trek and exploring stunning waterfalls nestled in scenic gorges, marveling at the fireflies at night or exploring some of the Jenolan Caves under the surface. Whether you are taking a day trip from Sydney or spending a weekend in the Blue Mountains, it’s an amazing eco-friendly choice.
Moreton Island just off Brisbane’s shores is another great eco-friendly destination option. This large sand island is sometimes referred to as “The Gem of South East Queensland” and it certainly is; the scenic sand dunes, the Blue Lagoon freshwater lake, the iconic Cape Moreton Lighthouse and the Champagne Pools that are named after the look of water crashing over the volcanic rocks are just some of the beautiful sceneries worth checking out. All of this is made even better by Tangalooma Island Resort that fuses the natural surroundings with ultimate comfort. The resort is actively supporting the local dolphin population you are encouraged to learn about at the Eco Centre, and if you want to take the experience even further, consider participating in a bottlenose dolphin feeding program that will make your stay truly memorable.
This list would not be complete without giving special attention to Australia’s smallest state, Tasmania. Just on this island, you will find 19 exquisite national parks, which can make deciding on just one quite hard. Unless you have time to tour several of these amazing landscapes on your Tasmania trip, make sure the Freycinet National Park is up on your bucket list. This peninsula on the east of Tasmania has become a popular destination thanks to iconic sights such as the Wineglass Bay, the Hazards Mountains, Coles Bay as well as several other tranquil, secluded beaches you might have all to yourself. You can find great accommodation options here too such as Saffire Freycinet Hotel or Freycinet Lodge that advocates eco-friendly practices. Besides viewing the aforementioned iconic sights, make sure you taste the local seafood that is as fresh and delicious as it can be!
Finally, a truly majestic place in South Australia is Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park. It’s a true landscape of the Australian Outback, with red mountain ranges and vast territories dotted with bushes you can explore on foot, on driving safaris or even from bird’s-eye view. The Arkaba wildlife sanctuary will bring you closer to wildlife while allowing you to enjoy wining and dining in style, out in the open. Conservation is an important matter in Arkaba and even guests can take part in the effort to do something good for the local environment, which is a very rewarding experience.
Western Australia often doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Located all the way on the northwestern edge of the continent, the Cape Range National Park with the Ningaloo coast is a worthy competitor if you want to go off the map. This is also a great spot if you want a true Aussie experience that involves sleeping at campgrounds under the starry sky. Worry not, as you can easily stay conscious of the environment while embarking on this adventure, as many campgrounds were designed with special attention to sustainability in mind. For example, Sal Salis prides itself in generating all of its electricity with solar panels, while even supporting wildlife conservation with a portion of their profits. Wildlife tours will allow you to get to know the local fauna up-close. Plus, don’t miss out on scuba diving and seeing the underwater creatures. If you’re really brave, you might try out swimming together with whale sharks!
Remember, being an eco-conscious traveler does not only mean picking the right destinations and the right accommodation, it’s also about the small, conscious steps that you take during your travels, such as opting for reusable travel amenities instead of disposable ones. If you combine these two things, you can be sure that you are making the most of your vacation while not harming our precious environment in the process, and you are sure to have a great time in a beautiful place. Preserving these natural treasures that we still have time to see with our two eyes is of the utmost importance, but we don’t have to give up comfort or luxury in the process.
+ Words: Nina Simons
Nina is a lifestyle blogger, yoga aficionado and a travel enthusiast with a distinctive taste for home decor. She's passionate about learning new things and sharing meaningful ideas. In her free time, she loves to design clothes and furniture.