15th February, 2012

Top 3 Ecotourism Destinations in Australia

Since the first ecotourism holidays emerged in the 1980s, millions of travellers have enjoyed modifying their holiday plans to minimise impact local environments and communities. In Australia, it’s easy to get close to nature while reducing your footprint as a traveller. Whether it’s the sunshine state of Queensland or the red landscapes of the Aussie Outback, Australia offers plenty of opportunities for environmentally conscious travellers. These are three eco-friendly destinations to consider for your next holiday.

1. The Gold Coast Hinterlands

Just 30 minutes away from the stunning Gold Coast and the suburb of Surfers Paradise, the Gold Coast Hinterlands are probably one of the best kept secrets in Australia. Charming villages, vineyards, farmland, and parks and reserves feature this part of Queensland, which is just a close drive away if you’re staying at one of the luxurious Surfers Paradise resorts.

Visit the parks for some of the most amazing rainforest scenery for a real eco-holiday highlight:

  • Take the Hinterland Great Walk. This three-day hike will take you through the Numinbah Valley between the Lamington and Springbrook National Parks, which are part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, a World Heritage site. Go picnicking and don’t miss the numerous lookouts along the 54 km walk.
  • Tamborine Mountain Rainforest Skywalk. This 300 metre walkway is situated 550 metres above sea level, and offers views all the way to the coast. Tamborine Mountain has facilities for a range of outdoor activities, including horse-riding, swimming, picnic areas, hang-gliding, and walking tracks.
  • Lamington National Park. Located around 89 km from the Gold Coast, the World Heritage site of Lamington National Park is famed for its incredible beauty and abundance natural wildlife. With plenty of walking tracks, waterfalls, and indescribable sights, this park is another must-see destination on your eco tour.

Each of these destinations is located close to Surfers Paradise and the Gold Coast. Surfers Paradise accommodation can provide comfort and enjoyment for your eco-holiday.

2. Alice Springs

To visitors, Australia’s Red Centre encapsulates the desert landscapes and tall gorges that bring to mind the term ‘The Outback’. Alice Springs is both a travel hub and a destination in its own right.

  • Chambers Pillar Historical Reserve. Around 160 km from Alice Springs, this scenic 340 hectare reserve has camping and picnic facilities for travellers.
  • East MacDonnell Ranges. Filled with waterholes, gorges, and excellent walking tracks, these ranges stretch for hundreds of kilometres toward the east side of Alice Springs.
  • West MacDonnell National Park – to the West of Alice Springs lays West MacDonnell National Park. Don’t miss Simpson’s Gap or Glen Helen Gorge, which are dotted with picturesque gorges, formations, and landscapes.

3. Kakadu National Park

Kakadu National Park spans more than 110,000 square kilometres and is the largest national park in Australia. For the eco traveller touring Australia, this is a site not to miss.

Filled with wetlands, aboriginal cave paintings, and an incredible diversity of flora and fauna, Kakadu is said to have six seasons in one year (including a monsoon period) during which its landscapes undergo stunning transformations.

To see and do:

  • Ubirr. One the most famous rock art galleries in Australia, Urbirr also offers visitors a spectacular view during sunrise and sunset.
  • Nourlangie Rock. Another famous aboriginal rock art site along with the Nanguluwur art site.
  • Yellow Water. This billabong or waterhole is one of the most well-known landmarks in Kakadu National Park. Home to crocodiles, buffalo, and other animals, the billabong also see a migratory population of millions of birds every year. The best way to visit Yellow Water is via a chartered boat tour.