The easiest paths to finding an eco stay is to choose a local destination, instead of flying to another state or country.
Booking genuinely eco-friendly accommodation is another way to make a difference to the environment and the communities where you travel.
A simple approach to check an operator’s credentials is to look for the Eco Certified Tourism logo. Ecotourism Australia’s certification assures travellers that a resort is high quality and backed by a solid, well-managed commitment to sustainable practices.
Here are eight of Australia’s best eco stays and experiences.
Discovery Rottnest Island
Discovery Rottnest Island is the first accommodation development on Rotto in more than 30 years and its first low-impact glamping experience. Behind the reinforced sand dunes of Pinky Beach, this collection of 83 tents, made from sustainable materials, includes premium options with ocean views, kitchenette, walk-in robe and double-vanity ensuite bathroom. For larger families, there’s a new Deluxe Duplex Family Tent with a shared deck and outdoor kitchen and shower. Also launching this summer, the revamped Pinky’s Beach Club has a fabulous, fresh lawn space for open-air dining.
The property relies upon the eco-accredited energy, water and waste resources facilitated by the Rottnest Island Authority, which has achieved Advanced Ecotourism Certification for all its accommodation, camping and tours. Catch a ferry from Fremantle or Perth to reach this paradise and spot a quokka or even a rare blue whale.
Daintree Eco Lodge
Stay in a treehouse with a hot tub on the balcony, in the only boutique accommodation in the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest. The Daintree, home to 430 species of birds and considered the oldest living tropical rainforest on earth, borders on another of the world’s natural wonders, the Great Barrier Reef.
Don’t miss the spa, offering treatments inspired by Indigenous wisdom, using native botanical ingredients and the pure waters of its onsite waterfall.
This sustainable resort is a 90-minute drive north of Cairns.
Roar & Snore at Taronga
Sleep at the world-famous Taronga Zoo in family-friendly tents with comfortable beds set up within earshot of the animals. It’s a family-friendly destination but adults-only nights are also offered most weeks throughout the year. Join the nocturnal tour after a harbourside dinner and wake up to views of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. In the morning, an up-close experience might involve feeding a giraffe or watching elephants have a shower.
More luxurious accommodation is offered at the neighbouring Wildlife Retreat, overlooking the enclosures, with solar panel power and recycled water systems.
Roaring 40s Kayaking
Embark on a multi-day adventure immersed in the Tassie wilderness with this Southwest Tasmanian sea kayaking expedition. Paddle between remote campsites along wild rivers, sheltered bays and the Southern Ocean, exploring the waterways of Bathurst Harbour and Port Davey. A flexible itinerary allows time for short walks, relaxing on beaches and hearty meals with an optional glass of wine. Extensive kayaking experience is not necessary, but you should be fit and adventurous. The journey begins at Cambridge Airport, near Hobart, with a scenic flight to the first campsite at Melaleuca.
Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris
Mt Borradaile is an Aboriginal sacred site in 700 square kilometres of leased area owned and managed by its traditional custodians, the Amurdak people. Guided tours focus on Indigenous culture and the landscape of rugged ranges, paperbark swamps, savannah woodlands and sandstone caves with ancient rock art and burial sites. Cruise along a billabong to see the sunset over the floodplain and spot both estuarine and freshwater crocodiles.
Backing onto the Arnhem Land escarpment are four-star eco-cabins with verandahs and ensuite bathrooms. A lodge houses a communal dining space, lounge, bar, library, outdoor deck and swimming pool.
In Victoria’s Grampians National Park, Aquila has only four self-contained lodges. The one-bedroom treehouses and the two-bedroom lofts are solar-powered, with red gum floors, day beds set in huge windows, private kitchens and patios with barbecues.
Rainwater is collected for drinking and bathing, and a worm-based composting system manages the waste on-site. The 40-hectare property has interpretive walking tracks to help visitors spot the native flora and fauna, including many species unique to the Grampians.
There’s no restaurant, but breakfast hampers can be ordered and it’s a short drive to Dunkeld and local wineries.
Go on an outback safari in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges, where a maximum of 10 guests stay on this 24,000-hectare private wildlife conservancy. Guests can participate in the mission to restore Arkaba’s biodiversity with hands-on activities such as tracking a radio-collared feral cat, setting up the trip cameras that monitor sites across the property, or joining a biologist on land surveys. A native garden rewilding project will see old cypress pine fence posts and recycled farming relics reimagined into a new guest space.
Book the homestead for two nights and travel before 28 February 2022 to receive an additional night in a swag, camping at one of Arkaba’s Wilderness Camps.
Eco-certified Sal Salis is an exclusive, high-end camp, where the wildlife is at your doorstep. Wedged between Ningaloo Reef and Cape Range National Park, the 15 solar-powered, ensuite tents are elevated above the dunes to prevent erosion. A few footsteps away is a 260-kilometre-long stretch of reef, most famous as a haven for whale sharks and one of the best places in Australia to watch the sunset.
Native birds, kangaroos, humpbacks and manta rays are other common sights. Join in the guided hikes, snorkelling and kayaking adventures (included in the rates), and enjoy the open bar and lively dinner parties held under the stars with other guests.