Eco-tourism has come a long way. Once upon a time, ‘green’ getaways were associated with less-than-luxurious conditions, but with more and more travellers choosing to connect with nature and stay in sustainable places, that’s changed. These eco escapes don’t just tread lightly on the environment – they teach you how to do it, too. On your trip, you can learn about the natural surroundings, whether it’s the beach, bush or rainforest, and how the resort is making a conscious effort to conserve it. At some, you can even step up your own green game and get involved!
For a feel-good holiday, check out these conservation hotels across the country.
In the Flinders Ranges, Arkaba is a sprawling wildlife sanctuary that has won awards for its conservation programs. During your stay at the Homestead, you’ll spot galahs, cats, kangaroos and emus. If you’re feeling inspired, you can help the team with hands-on activities, like tracking animals and setting up cameras. And if you’re really game, you can book Arkaba’s three-day, 40-kilometre walk of the grounds.
Wilpena Road, Flinders Ranges, SA
Located in a tropical rainforest between Cairns and Port Douglas, Thala Beach is committed to the conservation of its 145-acre property. The surrounds are stunning, and you can explore them with wildlife walk and coconut tours. The resort also calls on local elders to share their stories, and offers star gazing nights. When you’re bursting with knowledge, dine among the treetops at Osprey’s restaurant.
5078 Captain Cook Highway, Oak Beach, Port Douglas, QLD
Set on a 7,000-acre wildlife reserve in the Blue Mountains, this conservation resort is awe-inspiring, and the accommodation takes luxe to a new level. During your stay, you can go to ‘Conservation Hour,’ and help the Field Guides with planting trees, protecting wombats, and testing water quality. The day spa will be waiting for you when you’re back.
2600 Wolgan Road, Wolgan Valley, NSW
You don’t need to travel too far for a safari experience. In Canberra, the Jamala Wildlife Lodge is connected to the National Zoo & Aquarium. You’ll meet some of the most incredible and endangered species on earth, and find out how you can help their survival. Back at your treehouse, the resort’s resident giraffe, Humbekhali, might pop his head in for a visit!
National Zoo & Aquarium, 999 Lady Denman Drive, Canberra, ACT
Perched on Kangaroo Island, this luxury lodge is surrounded by unspoilt nature. There’s wildlife everywhere you look, from echidnas and possums to kangaroos and koalas. Opt for a guided walk through the wilderness of the Flinders Chase National Park, or along the limestone clifftops. And if you can squeeze it in, take the trip to Seal Bay to see the sea lion colony.
Hanson Bay, Kangaroo Island
In the Margaret River region, this 100-acre conservation sanctuary is incredible. While you’ll spot wildlife from your spa chalet (perhaps as you soak in your private hot tub, with a glass of wine in hand), you can also wander the many walking trails and see kangaroos, possums and bandicoots up close – many of which Yelverton Brook has played a huge part in protecting.
118 Roy Road, Metricup, Margaret River, WA
Cross-country, Ramada has jaw-dropping views of the pristine Kimberley wilderness and Indian Ocean. The eco-resort goes above and beyond with its ‘green’ efforts, and gives guests the chance to adjust the energy usage in their villas. While it’s perfectly acceptable to bliss out by the infinity pool, you can also go whale watching, and join marine researchers on turtle patrols.
323 Great Northern Highway, Broome, WA
Tassie’s Freycinet Peninsula is breathtakingly beautiful, and Saffire is dedicated to keeping it that way. After waking up to views of white-sand beaches and the pink-granite rocks of the Hazard Mountains, you can hike, sign up for a sealife tour, or watch the Tasmanian Devils scurrying around the lodge’s huge devil enclosure – and maybe even adopt one.
2352 Coles Bay Road, Coles Bay, TAS
Go bush at Bamarru Plains, a one-of-a-kind experience in the Northern Territory’s Top End. The camp has nine luxe safari bungalows, but chances are, you won’t be spending much time with them, when there are wallabies and water buffalos grazing outside. The camp encourages guests to get involved, ask questions, and explore the animal kingdom on their doorstep.
Swim Creek Station, NT
Just a ferry ride from Brisbane, the whole of Moreton Island is national and marine park, home to dolphins, dugongs, turtles, whales, tropical fish and seabirds. At the resort, the bucket list experience is hand-feeding the wild dolphins that swim up to the beach, but if you want more, just stroll to the Eco Centre and chat to the enthusiastic eco-rangers.
Moreton Island, QLD