Eco-Tourism is a highly sought after style of vacationing, and few countries do it better than Australia.
I have been on a quest to find the best luxury eco-friendly resorts around the world, which started with my post on Africa, which you can find here. As I was finishing up Africa, my attention turned to Australia because I knew, if any country could do eco-friendly right, it was here!
Ok, Daintree, you had me at private waterfall! This eco-lodge is in the heart of the Daintree Rainforest and offers exquisite sustainable luxury in a location that leaves you speechless. There are 15 eco-friendly bayans that will have you waking up the sound of birds that will have you revitalized and recharged throughout your whole stay. Did you know that this tropical rainforest is the world’s oldest?
There is no TV or Wi-Fi in any of the guestrooms which will have you hearing and seeing the rainforest in ways you never imagined. A full breakfast is included with your stay, and the water comes from the purest source while not affecting the fragile ecosystem leaving the lightest footprint possible. You can see more of their conservation efforts here. Not only does Daintree offer adventure and relaxation in the rainforest and the village, but there are also reefs and beaches to give you the water element you are lusting after.
This nature reserve also sits on the Daintree Rainforest and is the only beach lodge between Cairns and Port Douglas. The bungalows are built high on stilts and nestled in the forest canopy, which gives you a magical feeling; all bungalows offer ocean, mountain, or forest views. Not only do you get to actually sleep in the rainforest, but you are vacationing while being sustainable and environmentally sensitive. You can find more of the conservation efforts here.
If you’re not relaxing on your private balcony, you can meander the paths through the rainforest that bring you to two kilometers of private sandy beaches. Not only is the beach private, but there are also secluded coves and rock pools. This reserve houses its own organic coconut plantation, with natural swimming pools and waterfalls. There are free guided nature tours available, that include tree planting, stargazing, wildlife, and bird-watching. And when you dine, you are sitting among the birds while enjoying the finest food and five-star service.
This retreat is owned and operated by the Taronga Conservation Society Australia, in which every stay here contributes essential funding towards the care of Taronga’s animals and educational programs around the world. This is located in the native bushland setting of the Taronga Zoo, with rooms and suites that overlook the wildlife habitat, many of which have stunning views of Sydney Harbor. Not only is dinner and breakfast included, you get an immersive and exclusive animal experience with complimentary admission to the zoo.
This retreat is Sydney’s newest elegant eco-retreat that allows you to be a step away from a lush sanctuary where koalas and echidnas roam, and platypus swim. There is also a clubhouse for drinks and canapes, as well as a fine dining restaurant that is only available to retreat guests. When this retreat was opened in 2019, the major feature was to make sure that there was a strong focus on being environmentally sustainable and having the utmost respect for the wildlife and natural landscape. You can read more on the environmental initiatives here.
Kingfisher is located on the World Heritage site Fraser Island, near the Great Sandy Strait, with glorious views of the natural surrounding. The rooms here sit ever so lightly on the land which allows the wildlife to be uninterrupted; you never know if you’ll wake up to an orchestra of frogs! The resort uses architectural design, infrastructure, and activities that minimize the effects on the environment, as well as conserving energy and minimize waste. You can find more on their conservation efforts here.
One unique feature is there is transport available to take you to an island (about 4 hours drive) in which you can see the Great Barrier Reef. If you prefer to stay at the lodge, there are pools, restaurants, and bars all set here at the resort. You can also take a guided nature walk that will have you indulged in nature, native storytelling, and feasting your eyes upon creatures that only come out after dark. All villas have a fully-equipped kitchen and full laundry facilities, which means you can stay here for an unlimited amount of time.
Did you ever stay inside a glass bubble in Tasmania? Me neither, but here we are! This lodge offers simplicity with comfort located in the Freycinet National Park and holds a glorious waterfront location. There are two styles of pavilions; bay views or bush views. Now, the bay views have the option of 'over the bay' views (which can be found at the Bay View Coastal Pavilions) or 'through the trees' views. Not only are the views spectacular but each pavilion holds a king bed, a separate living area, and an outdoor bathtub which is perfect for those romantic moments.
There are three locations for dining, all of which give you a seasonal menu with regional ingredients, including some of the best seafood around. There are also a plethora of activities and a walking tour that is a 'must' to ensure you have an incredible holiday. Freycinet is an eco-lodge that does everything it can to protect and respect the surrounding environment. You can find their extensive list of achievements here.
Luxurious and fully-inclusive. Swell Lodge is the world’s most exclusive eco-lodge featuring just two glass-fronted eco-chalets where you can wake up in Australia’s most unique, wildlife-filled National Park and gaze out over the uninhabited coastline while your private chef prepares gourmet meals using only fresh and locally foraged meals. Each eco-chalet has a private walking trail through the jungle where you will pass crabs and exotic birds on your trek to the sea. Once you have arrived at the majestically blue water, it isn’t uncommon to see dolphins, parrotfish, or tuna jumping from the depths.
As for the lodge, it is 100% solar-powered and has been awarded Ecotourism Australia’s highest level of certification ‘Advanced Ecotourism’ and ‘Climate Action Business’ which are only reserved for exemplary operators. You can read more about all of their eco-efforts here. While you may think how much luxury can I be afforded while staying in only one of two chalets available; the list goes on for how you will be pampered during your stay here. You may not ever want to leave.
Deep inside the rainforest, you will find a luxurious oasis immersed in natural beauty. Byron at Byron is nothing more than exquisite elegance beneath the rainforest canopy which offers you the ocean breeze and a sense of being exactly where you need to be. Byron believes in a Mindfully Safe stay, which means they have upped the ante on hygiene and well-being. They’ve partnered with The Indigo Project and Beyond Blue to rid any apprehension and do some good at the same time. The Indigo Project brings you meditation while Beyond Blue supports mental health and all these fundamental needs.
The hotel has recently gone cashless, contactless, and paperless as well as instituted a deep-cleaning program that is second to none. The food is passionately local with over 80% of the ingredients coming from within a three-hour drive of the resort, as well as the beef is farmed by the hotel. There is a spa that uses local and indigenous products which adds to the resort's commitment to responsible luxury. The goal is to embrace environmental change in order to enhance and never compromise the experience. There are no plastic straws, fully solar powered, and all products are recycled and bio-degradable. The last main impact is social, in which the community is supported by engaging the local workforce to sponsor education and work programs for young indigenous Australians. You can read more about their eco-efforts here.
Alto Hotel on Bourke is the first Australian hotel to receive the coveted EarthCheck Gold Certification and has also been awarded several sustainability awards. This hotel is a boutique apartment hotel located in Melbourne’s CBD district, that offers apartment living with true hotel-style hospitality with a selection of rooms that will fit any need. The location, in the center of the city, makes for an easy walk to a plethora of activities, dining, and nightlife.
When you stay here, you are getting not only Australia’s first carbon-neutral hotel, you are also getting a hotel that uses 100% of its electricity from renewable sources. All rooms are equipped with energy-saving key-tags that switch off the lights when you leave the room. There is an extensive list of all of the economy-saving efforts that are protocol for the Alto Hotel, in which there is a Green Team to make sure that all initiatives are supported by everyone on the staff. To see the list, click here.