Tourists are hearing the call of nature and choosing more eco-friendly holidays, according to a popular travel site
Nearly 80 per cent of TripAdvisor’s online users are now seeking eco experiences over standard luxury, although they’re still unwilling to compromise on comfort.
Chief executive of Eco Tourism Australia Rod Hillman says Australia is a big driver for eco travellers and the trend is growing globally.
“Eco tourism is about the experience. It’s about being in a natural area where you get to learn about the area and engage and connect with nature itself,” he says.
Hillman claims we are living in a different lifestyle, and as most of us are time poor, we are looking for more intense and engaging experiences to break from daily traditions.
“Australia is blessed to have such a good system of national parks and because of this we have a lot of interest from overseas travellers.
“Our beaches, our rainforests, our national parks, our deserts, our mountain ranges… we just have so much to offer.”
Of the areas in Australia to visit for eco adventures, Hillman lists Kangaroo Island, the Kimberley region, the Red Centre, Gippsland, and the Great Ocean Road as some of the largest regions for eco-tourism.
Hillman also suggests checking out Tourism Australia’s ‘National Landscapes’ program which showcases 11 of Australia’s best destinations to experience outstanding nature and culture.
Is nature calling? Below are five eco-tourism destinations that might interest you:
Great Barrier Reef- QLD
One of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World and World Heritage-listed, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system on the planet. Australia’s largest island National Park, Hinchinbrook Island will introduce you to the many magnificent and diverse marine animals including, whales, turtles, sharks, clownfish, giant clams, and rays. Between November and March head to the beach at Mon Repos, east of Bundaberg or to Lady Elliot Island, to witness female turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs. Hatchlings usually emerge from the nest from mid-January.
Australian Alps- NSW
Spanning one territory, two states and 16 national parks and reserves, the Alps offer magnificent vistas and year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure. Ski or snowboard the winter slopes in Perisher or hike through summer wildflowers in Victoria’s Alpine National Park. Discover unique plants and animals around Mount Kosciuszko, connect to ancient and modern history and take in the endless horizons on walks and drives in the Snowy Mountains. Here on Australia’s roof-top, you’ll find many ways to challenge yourself and rekindle your spirit.
The Kimberley- WA
In Australia’s remote north-west corner, The Kimberley’s dramatic landscapes date back to the dinosaurs. Embrace adventure, connect to living Aboriginal culture and experience eco-luxury against the Kimberley’s incredible colours and endless horizons. Fly over the World Heritage-listed Bungle Bungles, 4WD the Gibb River Road or stay with an Aboriginal community on the Dampier Peninsula. See abundant wildlife, hunt for precious gems and learn about the region’s rich and thriving art tradition.
Red Centre- NT
You can lose and find yourself in Australia’s Red Centre, a place rich in Aboriginal culture and rugged outback beauty. You’ll also find the iconic natural wonders of Uluru, Kata Tjuta, the MacDonnell Ranges and Kings Canyon. Explore them all from Alice Springs, the outback town framed by ancient mountain ranges and endless plains. Here in our red heart, you can ride a camel, sleep under the stars, swim in secluded waterways and discover the spiritual dimensions of Aboriginal art.
Kangaroo Island- SA
Meet native wildlife in their natural habitats, including pelicans and penguins at Kingscote and Penneshaw, sea lions at Seal Bay and tammar wallabies, brush-tailed possums and kangaroos across the island. The island also has opportunities for trekking along remote cliff tops and through forested valleys and adventure caving in Kelly Hill Conservation Park. For a more cultural experience, you can listen to the legend of Ngurunderi, the Dreamtime figure who chased two disobedient wives to Kangaroo Island before rejoining the spirit world.
Would you consider becoming an eco tourism traveller on your next holiday?