As the conversation on climate and our environmental impact rages further into the mainstream, the number of people considering eco lodges as an alternative to their traditional hotel or resort stay is on the rise.
Research indicates that roughly 1 in 5 of us are after a genuine eco-tourism experience, and for good reason. Eco-tourism lets conscious travellers experience the many facets of the Australian landscape while still ensuring its preservation. There are just as many comforts out there among the trees, so don’t assume you’ll be roughing it either.
We’ve rounded up the best luxury eco lodges in Australia, so you can start dreaming up your next green getaway.
Spicers Hidden Vale, Grandchester QLD
Just an hour’s drive from Brisbane, Spicers Hidden Vale combines the style and comfort of a luxury retreat with the warmest of country welcomes. Discover a genuine regional adventure that combines a breath of fresh air with luxury, ‘paddock to plate’ dining and a generous range of nature-based activities.
Food produce is grown onsite in the market garden to reduce food mileage and to verify its origin and freshness. To ensure no resources go to waste, Hidden Vale has put in place rain barrels to catch and store rainwater for watering the veggie garden and surrounding grass. The Hidden Vale team has partnered with Settler Hives who provide seeds for guests as a parting gift so guests can plant them in their own gardens. The aim of this is to have more bee food in our environment to sustain the bee population and therefore an abundance of flowers, fruit and vegetables will be pollinated.
As the restaurant produces more organic waste than can be composted onsite, Spicers Hidden Vale works with Mallow Sustainability to reduce waste. They are a small hobby farm that picks up 275L of organic waste per week to produce organic compost. As of January 2019 they have diverted 5 tonnes of food waste from landfill.
Coastal Pavilions, Freycinet, Tasmania
Our southernmost state is teeming with unspoilt wilderness and the Freycinet National Park is one such spot. Set on the Freycinet peninsula, Coastal Pavillions provides bush or bay views in architecturally stunning cabins made of Tasmanian timber.
Prior to construction an ecologist, archaeologist, engineers and members of the aboriginal community were consulted. No cranes were used — just human hands, trolleys and a slow and steady approach to ensure a minimal-impact build.
Silky Oaks Lodge, Mossman, Queensland
The Daintree is part of the oldest surviving rainforest in the world and beneath its canopy you’ll find the 36 treehouses and four riverside suites of Silky Oaks Lodge.
Designed to pay respect to its surroundings, these aren’t the treehouses of your childhood. The secluded and peaceful eco lodges are luxurious… to a point. There’s a beauty spa and fine dining, but no TV or wifi. Soaking in the sounds of the wildlife is your entertainment.
Once cleared for grazing, the 34-hectare site has been carefully regenerated. Everything from garbage to kitchen fat is recycled and grey water is treated so it can irrigate and rehabilitate the land.
Rawnsley Park Station, Hawker, South Australia
Back in 1968, the owners of Rawnsley Park sheep station built cabins on their farm to make a few extra quid from the odd tourist. Fast-forward 50 years and the property, still in the family, is an acclaimed eco lodge designed with sustainability top of mind.
The cabins of today are energy-neutral, designed for natural ventilation and using innovative materials such as walls of rendered straw bales. Views take in Wilpena Pound, a spectacular amphitheatre of mountains in the Flinders Ranges, or from bed, skylights afford a view of the stars above.
Ramada Eco Beach Resort, Broome Western Australia
Sitting in the pristine Kimberley region, Eco Beach Resort is all about minimal impact. Elevated boardwalks connect 25 beachfront villas and 30 safari style tents where the sound of the ocean will lull you to sleep. When the sun rises, it provides power for the resort.
Take a dip in the pool or venture a few metres further into the Indian Ocean where, depending on the time of year, you can spot whales, dolphins, manta rays, sharks, turtles and even the occasional croc. The kitchen is mostly stocked from Eco Beach’s own organic garden, with local fisheries and farms providing the seafood and meat.
Wildman Wildnerness Lodge, Arnhem, Northern Territory
About halfway between Darwin and Kakadu National Park, a collection of small-scale boutique eco lodges and safari tents sit along the banks of the Mary River.
Wildman Wilderness Lodge is an ideal jumping off spot to explore Kakadu and the Top End. The resort’s tour guides are skilled in anthropology, zoology and wildlife studies and, where possible, recruited from local Aboriginal communities.
Once upon a time, the buildings formed a sheep station in far north Queensland until they were dismantled in 2009. Over 28 days, the structures, fixtures, fittings, power generators and water treatment system were pulled apart and piled onto road trains before being reconstructed 2,800km away.
Love Cabins, Blue Mountains, NSW
If you’re looking for a truely remarkable nature experience, these Love Cabins will seduce you with their charm. The uniquely designed, private bush cabins are nestled amongst 600 acres of spectacular world heritage Blue Mountains bushland.
Each cabin gives you the opportunity to experience a secluded wilderness setting in comfort. The Secret Treehouse comes complete with spa, kitchenette, queen bed, fireplace and floor to ceiling windows and is ideal for couples looking for a romantic weekend escape.
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