Head to sunny Noosa for an escape that’s big on bliss but leaves only a small environmental footprint.
One of the easiest steps you can take in your quest to be a sustainable traveller is to think deeper about where you sleep on holiday. By seeking out eco accommodation and off-grid stays you can rest a little easier knowing you’re leaving a lighter footprint.
Luckily, in a green destination like Noosa – where locals are in tune with the natural environment and UNESCO designated the region a Biosphere Reserve in 2007 – there’s no shortage of eco retreats and green holiday homes to choose from to suit all budgets. Start with this list to book a green sleep on your next Noosa getaway or head to visitnoosa.com.au for inspiration.
Occupying a very special swathe of land on the shores of Lake Cootharaba, 40 minutes’ drive north of Hastings Street, Habitat Noosa sits at the jumping-off point for exploring the spectacular Noosa Everglades. This magical waterway and its River of Mirrors (named for the reflection of the melaleucas in its mirror-like surface) begs to be explored by kayak or canoe, both of which you can hire.
There are campsites set amongst the paperbarks and resident kangaroos, or you can opt for all the mod cons of glamping in one of the permanent safari tents. This is the kind of place where you can forget all the worries of the real world, and instead reconnect with each other and the sounds of the bush. Enjoy a locally roasted coffee or preservative-free craft beer brewed on site at the CootharaBar.
Mayan Luxe Villas
Literally rising from the earth on which it stands, Mayan Luxe Villas was hand built with rammed earth walls (created from soil dug from a dam on this working farm) and finished with recycled railway sleepers and reclaimed timbers in the impressive entrance doors, lighting and even the kitchen bench. The result is a luxurious three-bedroom retreat near the charming hinterland town of Kin Kin.
Move between your comfortable bed and the open-plan chef’s kitchen to the hammock, fire pit and circular concrete plunge pool outside. If you can’t bear the thought of leaving, pre-arrange catering by co-owner and Slow Food advocate Jodie Williams, who runs the nearby Kin Kin General Store. Fun fact: the handles on the entrance doors are from the movie, Pirates of the Caribbean!
Disconnect from the mainland on this houseboat for two on the Noosa River. The forced slowdown begins when you access the moored vessel via a sandy track and a short row in the provided dingy. Utilising recycled and recyclable materials in the build, along with solar, water desalination, composting and energy management systems, Oasis Noosa is a shining (double-glazed) example of sustainable luxury on a tiny scale. Explore your surroundings by kayak and dive below with masks and snorkels provided. There are also fishing rods on hand.
Beach Road Holiday Homes
Noosa North Shore
There’s something special about taking the five-minute car ferry across to the Noosa North Shore – it signals a departure from the hustle of everyday life. Here, a cluster of architecturally designed three- and four-bedroom eco-properties provide the perfect base for families to reconnect.
Surrounded by national park, the homes are powered by solar panels and fed by rainwater tanks, while the complex also includes three swimming pools, a tennis court and kids room. Pack your water bottles – you’ll find thrice-filtered drinking water in the communal lounge.
Can a sprawling beachfront mansion be sustainable? That’s the question hempcrete mogul Evgeny Skigin set out to answer as he built this striking abode, peering straight into Noosa National Park. The six-bedroom, 10-bathroom home of expansive shell-like domes utilises innovative eco-friendly building materials like hempcrete.
The house is crowned with a green roof, negating the need for heating and cooling and helping it to blend into the natural environment. Solar power and battery storage allow the house to run mostly off the grid. It’s a balance of luxury with sustainability and includes a movie cinema, gym and wet-edge pool.
Noosa Tablelands Escape
This sprawling, eco-friendly abode offers one adults-only safari tent set upon a raised platform with spectacular views over the Noosa Hinterland. Your privacy is guaranteed as you slip between the king-size bed and glass-fronted bathroom, to the deck for a barbecue and outside to a fire pit. There are plenty of luxurious touches, from the robes and slippers to the picnic hampers you can add to your stay while running completely off-grid.
With direct access to the Noosa Trail Network and an abundance of wildlife, it’s popular; prepare to book six to eight months in advance.
Take me there
Fly: There are flights from Ballarat to Noosa priced from $176; Launceston to Noosa from $276 and flights from Newcastle to Noosa are priced from $107. There are direct flights from Canberra twice weekly with Alliance Airlines (Monday and Friday) and Qantas (Sunday and Thursday). Fares includes 20kg checked baggage.