In the tourism industry today, green is definitely the new black. With new sustainable and eco-friendly accommodation options constantly popping up across Australia, there has never been a better time for a green getaway.
Make no mistake, ‘going green’ isn’t exactly roughing it. From budget-friendly hostels to luxury rural resorts, here are our top picks for green hotels you need to visit in Australia.
Emirates One & Only Wolgan Valley
Located in the World Heritage-listed Greater Blue Mountains, Emirates One & Only Wolgan Valley is a conservation-based resort and the perfect luxurious long weekend escape for Sydneysiders. It was the world’s first hotel to receive CarbonZero’s internationally-accredited carbon neutral certification. Some of the sustainable practices in place at Wolgan Valley include water conservation, energy reduction and wildlife protection. Under Executive Chef Nancy Kinchela’s direction, guests only eat and drink local and sustainable products at Wolgan Valley. They can also participate in conservation efforts, including wildlife safaris, horse-riding adventures and heritage tours. Sign me up!
If you feel like paying our capital city a visit, check out Ovolo Nishi. It’s located inside Canberra’s most sustainable property, the Nishi Building. Ovolo Nishi’s 68 boutique rooms include views of either Lake Burley Griffin, the bush or the internal atrium, which is dominated by Tasmanian ferns. Each room is fitted with beds made from reclaimed oak and salvaged Australian furniture. Meanwhile, the Grand Staircase is built with recycled timber from a demolished house and a basketball court (seriously). Book through their official website to enjoy a free breakfast and happy hour daily. What more could you want?
Thala Beach Nature Reserve
Far North Queensland’s Thala Beach Nature Reserve is a member of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World. Located on a private headland between Cairns and Port Douglas, the family-run eco resort has Advanced Eco Certification. Its boutique timber bungalows are built on stilts within the forest, to provide both privacy and minimal environmental impact. Complimentary onsite activities include star gazing, Australia’s only coconut tour, and nature and wildlife walks. Otherwise, relax on the private beach or dine amongst the treetops at Osprey’s Restaurant.
Lady Elliot Eco Resort
Located smack dab in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef on Lady Elliot Island, Lady Elliot Eco Resort aims to be 100% sustainable by 2020. Some of the eco practices already in place include solar panels, the eradication of plastic water bottles and straws, as well as a carbon offset program. This green property has suites, cabins and tents available. But let’s talk about the best part – the snorkelling and diving opportunities. There are 20 dive sites surrounding Lady Elliot Island, where you can spot manta rays and several different turtle species on the daily. Guests can also step straight off the beach to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, or join a guided snorkelling tour. Escape the drab southern winter and head to Lady Elliot Island during May to October for whale watching opportunities as well.
Who needs Kenya’s Giraffe Manor when we have Zoofari Lodge? Located at Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo behind the African Safari Exhibit, Zoofari includes 15 African-style eco lodges. From your Animal View Lodge deck, you can spot giraffe, ostrich and antelope. Your stay at the Advanced Eco Certified Zoofari Lodge also includes zoo admission, a buffet breakfast, an African-style banquet dinner, a behind the scenes tour and access to the saltwater swimming pool.
If money is no option, check out Swell Lodge, the self-proclaimed world’s most exclusive eco lodge on beautiful Christmas Island. Located in Christmas Island National Park, the single solar-powered luxury chalet (with more joining the crew soon) overlooks the ocean. With severe environmental restrictions, Swell Lodge uses the latest technology to ensure there’s minimal environmental impact. It also has crab-safe vehicle attachments – a necessity on Christmas Island – and a carbon offset program. A stay at Swell Lodge is all-inclusive and includes a private chef, but things to do on Christmas Island include golf, nature walks, and snorkelling and diving.
Kingfisher Bay Resort
Follow in the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s footsteps and stay at Kingfisher Bay Resort. Known as one of Australia’s leading ecotourism resorts, it’s located on Queensland’s World Heritage-listed Fraser Island. Ecotourism Australia named Kingfisher Bay Resort a Green Travel Leader, as it was designed to integrate with the environment, not impose on it. There are hotel rooms, villas and wilderness lodges available. Kingfisher Bay Resort also conducts its own tours, which have Advanced Eco Accreditation.
From remote rainforest bungalows to an award-winning lodge within a zoo, Australia definitely has some top green hotels that are awaiting your visit. Which eco experience will you choose?