Top 11 ecotourism resorts and lodges in Australia
Learn a new definition of luxury with camps, treehouses and island retreats that allow you to experience the incredible nature around you without disturbing the precious environment.
You won’t feel bad about your next holiday at one of these eco-friendly resorts that give you the opportunity to see nature up close. And comfort won’t be sacrificed with 5-star luxury accommodation that comes with mouth-watering food and jaw-dropping views.
Each resort below is an exclusive destination where you can learn about the surrounding environment and enjoy your holiday in the rainforest, along the beach or in the bush, knowing that your impact is minimal and conscious efforts are made to help the conservation of wildlife and nature.
Experience the beauty of the world's oldest rainforest in one of 15 boutique accommodation options.
- Solar panels offset any energy usage.
- Self-sufficient in water usage by using collected rainwater.
- Partnered with Rainforest Rescue to plant 2,500 trees in the forest.
- Amenities at the lodge are eco-friendly or have fair trade accreditation.
- A donation of $50 per guest goes to the Reef Keepers Fund to preserve the Great Barrier Reef.
Try sleeping in one of six private treehouses for the ultimate adventure luxury holiday in the Cairns highlands.
- Guests can participate in tree-planting activities.
- Awarded Advanced Ecotourism Eco Certification.
- Self-contained waste disposal systems are in place.
- Uses 100% renewable energy for the entire business.
- Only natural soaps, linens and biodegradable detergents are used.
Wake up to views of the Indian Ocean in a villa or luxurious safari tent in the Kimberley at this award-winning beach resort south of Broome.
- Bamboo floorboards and eco-friendly composite decking.
- Solar energy is used for each villa and guests can check their personal usage.
- Windows and doors have been designed to maximise the ocean breeze, cooling each villa naturally.
- The resort sponsors and assists the Eco Beach Sea Turtle Monitoring Program, which collects important data on nesting turtles and educates the community about the conservation of sea turtles.
Discover the outback in luxurious comfort with activities that get you closer to nature in the Mareeba Tropical Savanna and Wetland Reserve in northern Queensland.
- Natural materials and solar energy are used in the safari tent accommodation.
- The conservancy is helping to save the Gouldian finch from extinction by reintroducing it back into the environment.
- Income from sustainable tourism goes to the not-for-profit organisation Wildlife Conservancy of Tropical Queensland, which maintains the reserve.
5. The Frames
Experience 5-star luxury accommodation in Renmark, South Australia for a unique romantic retreat with plenty of nature to see and food to try.
- Local and eco-friendly supplies are used whenever possible
- Guests are provided with electric bicycles to explore the area
- All pools are solar heated and air conditioners have pre-set temperatures
- Rainwater is collected and a bio sewage system uses recycled water for garden irrigation
Experience a safari at home in Dubbo, New South Wales at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo, where animals come straight to the doorstep of your African-style lodge.
- On-site research is undertaken to improve methods of conservation for animals, plants and more
- The Taronga Environmental Sustainability program uses solar panels to conserve energy, reuses water to flush toilets, manages waste and much more
- Taronga supports field observations around the world, has breeding programs both locally and internationally, has a wildlife hospital and cares for animal welfare on-site
Enjoy a private cabin in Freycinet National Park, Tasmania that overlooks the picturesque waters of Great Oyster Bay.
- Guests are encouraged to follow a "leave no trace" philosophy
- Audits are performed regularly to learn if practices can be further improved
- Cabins are designed to fit naturally into the forest setting and not disturb wildlife
- Organised tours educate visitors on the importance of the native ecosystem in the national park
You can't get accommodation any closer to the Great Barrier Reef than Heron Island Resort: located on a natural coral cay, you're on one of the wonders of the world.
- Heron Island is a protected habitat for a number of wildlife species
- Strict guidelines are in place to not disrupt the nesting of turtles as Heron Island is a significant breeding ground
- The island has its own power generator, water production and wastewater treatment, which is also used for the Heron Island Research Station and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Ranger Station
Exclusive "wild bush luxury" is available at Bamurru Plains, allowing you to see and hear all the wildlife around you from one of ten safari-style bungalows.
- Bore water is filtered and stored in reusable bottles for camp purposes
- The camp design has minimal impact on the surrounding environment
- 75% of the camp's energy comes from solar panels, including water heating
- Products such as linen, soaps and laundry detergent are chemical- and bleach-free, and linen is hung to dry naturally
The perfect romantic getaway set in the bush with mountain views as a backdrop, you can sleep under the stars and also enjoy wine tastings in Boonah, only 15 minutes away.
- The property is 100% powered by solar energy
- The site is self-sufficient, generating all power and collecting water on-site
- Tents are surrounded by 40 hectares of natural eucalyptus forest where a variety of plant and animal species thrive
This beachside safari camp is located in Cape Range National Park, where views of both beach and bush make for a true Australian wildlife experience.
- Linen and guest amenities are organic and chemical-free
- Composting toilets are used and waste is taken to Exmouth for responsible disposal
- 5% of the business's income is donated to the Department of Parks and Wildlife for conservation causes across Western Australia
- The camp was designed to have minimal impact on the natural environment, with colours that blend in and boardwalks to protect the flora and fauna
- Tents face the ocean so the coastal breeze acts as a natural cooler, while electricity is almost 100% generated from solar panels and hot water is heated by gas
Why we chose these accommodation options
- All of these accommodation options have a clear sustainability plan that is practised on the property.
- These properties encourage guests to consider their use of water, energy use and waste.
- There is a growing focus on giving back to the community.
- The property generates its own water and energy supply
- The property carefully considers where it buys resources supplied to guests.
- The property is involved with protecting local flora and fauna through external initiatives.
What to know before you go to Australia
- Invest in a reusable water bottle that you can fill up at your accommodation and when you're out and about.
- Many tour and activity operators in Australia have Eco Certification, meaning these tour companies are committed to minimising damage to the environment. Before booking, contact the operator and look for verified user reviews to see how they are implementing environmentally friendly practices.
- You will notice that many Australian restaurants and cafes you visit pride themselves on sourcing food from local suppliers. Do some research before you go to see where you will be able to find dining spots that buy from local suppliers.
- Australia is known to offer great weather all year round. Before booking your accommodation, contact the property to see if there are safe roads nearby so you can make your way around on foot or hire a bike from the property if they are available.
- You will find wildlife everywhere you go in Australia. Although it may be tempting to feed and interact with animals, it's important to know that this can lead to aggressive behaviour, which can also have a negative effect on their wellbeing. Keep all food packed away when you are not consuming it and let the wildlife source their own food.
What to avoid when booking eco accommodation in Australia
If you're looking to book eco-friendly accommodation, but the options you're looking at are not upfront and do not specify their eco policies, chances are they're not living up to eco-accommodation standards. Look online or contact the property to find out about their eco policies and practices.
You may be impressed by accommodation that claims to be eco-friendly, but it's important to look at the lengths they are going to in order to put sustainable practices in place. If a resort or lodge says they replace towels every three days, this does not make the accommodation eco-friendly. Here are some things you should consider before booking a stay:
- Does the property have a wastewater system in place?
- Where does it source its food and supplies from?
- Is it involved with any conservation programs or initiatives?
- Has the property gained any sustainability awards or received Eco Certification?
- What recycling and composting practices are in place?
- Do staff encourage guests to book activities and experiences through eco tour operators?
- Are guests educated about how they can take sustainable measures during their stay?
- Can guests get involved with local community projects and initiatives during their stay?
- When looking at verified guest reviews, is there any mention of eco practices?
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