Silky Oaks Lodge, Mossman, Queensland © Tourism and Events Queensland
Australia’s most eco-friendly destinations
Connection to nature and sustainable practices abound at some of our most eco-friendly destinations.
Eco-friendly travel is here stay. Responsible travel experiences can be found all across Australia, but there are some regions where sustainability is a way of life. Immerse yourself in nature and tread lightly on the planet at some of our favourite eco destinations.
Eco-highlight: Australia’s first certified Eco Destination
Port Douglas in Tropical North Queensland is home to two UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites – the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. There are many sustainable experiences here, but don’t miss the Mossman Gorge Cultural Centre. Along with protecting the rainforest and spectacular Mossman Gorge, the centre is a showcase of Kuku Yalanji culture. Join Ngadiku Dreamtime Walks, conducted by the local Indigenous people. You’ll visit culturally significant sites, trek over trickling rainforest streams and learn about traditional environmental protection practices.
Explore top thing to do in Port Douglas
Lord Howe Island
Eco-highlight: Nature conservation over mass tourism
On Lord Howe Island, a two-hour flight from Sydney, 75 percent of the island’s vegetation remains intact and a marine park protects the diverse underwater life. The island is progressing towards Eco Destination certification and limits the number of visitors to 400 at one time to prevent overcrowding. The island is a haven for over 130 permanent and migratory bird species. Seabirds nest here in their hundreds of thousands, and this special bird bonanza is best experienced on a tour with respected nature guide Ian Hutton OAM.
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Eco-highlight: Certified Eco Destination with premium food and wine
A three-hour drive south of Perth, the Margaret River region has some of Australia’s most exquisite natural beaches and unique forests, as well as a thriving wine industry. Visit an integrated farm and winery at Glenarty Road and stay for a long lunch beside the vibrant vegetable garden. If time permits, join the Forage on the Farm tour to discover how sheep, pigs, vegetables and wine grapes can co-exist without the use of pesticides and fertilisers. Plus, learn why the Fathoms Cuvee sparkling was aged underwater in the Southern Ocean.
Get a taste of Margaret River
Eco-highlight: Iconic pine trees and sustainable practices
A remote volcanic outcrop just a 2.5-hour flight from Sydney or Brisbane, Norfolk Island rears up from the depths of the Pacific. Being a small island, it has introduced creative sustainable practices, like turning waste into reusable products. With no mammals or snakes, this is a place of birds, bucolic farmlands and quirky history. Visit the Botanic Gardens and Norfolk Island National Park to see the iconic Norfolk Pines, the Norfolk Island tree fern (the tallest on earth) and the pretty native hibiscus.
Discover the beauty of Norfolk Island
Lady Elliot Island
Eco-highlight: Island regeneration
On the Southern Great Barrier Reef, Lady Elliot Island is a beacon of sustainable practices. The resort here helps revegetate the island, remove invasive species and runs entirely on renewable energy. The island is one of the best places in Australia to snorkel with manta rays, and for divers, there’s the chance to get involved with a citizen science conservation programme called Project Manta. Individual mantas can be identified by the unique markings on their undersides, and divers are encouraged to submit their photographs to help unlock the puzzle of the manta’s life.
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Eco-highlight: Wildlife haven on land and sea
Kangaroo Island, just 13km (8mi) off South Australia’s coastline, is a nature lover’s paradise. It’s famous for its abundant wildlife and its thriving eco-conscious food production scene, from pure Ligurian-bee honey to sustainably farmed oysters. Experience Kangaroo Island on a luxury full-day tour with Exceptional Kangaroo Island. Ethical, non-invasive wildlife viewing is the top priority, and you’ll gaze in wonder at wild koalas, kangaroos and rare Australian sea lions. Lunch is a private barbeque featuring some of Kangaroo Island’s favourite sustainable produce.
Read the guide to Kangaroo Island
Eco-highlight: Marine tours and eco-friendly farming
With its breathtaking ocean cliffs and rustic farmland, Bruny Island in Tasmania is a southern hotspot for eco-friendly travel. Just a one-hour drive from Hobart, the island is home to marine experiences, organic food producers and all 12 of Tasmania’s endemic birds. Base yourself right in the heart of nature at the Earthcheck-recognised 43 Degrees apartments. This boutique accommodation is purpose built for sustainability and is powered entirely by solar. Connect to nearby hikes like the Fluted Cape walk and tour the dramatic coastline with Bruny Island Cruises.
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Eco-highlight: Mountain immersion and nature experiences
A short drive west of Sydney, the Blue Mountains offer rocky cliffs, canyons and forested valleys, crisp mountain air and soul-lifting hikes. Don’t miss the iconic (and Advanced Ecotourism certified) Scenic World, where you can ride the world's steepest railway and hop on an aerial cable car to descend into Jamison Valley. For an added thrill, try Beyond Skyway, where you’ll harness up and climb onto the cable car roof, 270m (886ft) above the valley.
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Eco highlights: Sustainable wining and dining
Outside Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula is a foodie’s delight. If you follow the Wine Food Farmgate Trail, you’ll sample everything from farm-fresh strawberries to heirloom vegetables and gourmet pies. With a growing organic and biodynamic food and wine scene, the best way to taste your way through the region is with Mornington Peninsula Plunge Wine Tours. This luxurious, small group tour takes guests through organic wineries and an organic dairy and includes a locally sourced lunch with matching wines.
Check out the Mornington Peninsula
Eco highlight: Oyster farming in postcard-worthy scenery
Finding eco-friendly destinations in Tasmania is easy, and two and a half hours from Hobart is the unforgettable Freycinet Peninsula. The region is famous for its sustainable oyster industry, and with Oyster Bay Tours, you’ll be immersed in more ways than one. Don the waterproof wading pants and follow your guide out to the oyster racks, where you’ll discover the fascinating process of producing these juicy molluscs. Learn to shuck your own oysters direct from the pristine sea and slurp them down with a glass of local Riesling.
Explore the Freycinet Peninsula