As the conversation on climate and our environmental impact rages further into the mainstream, the number of people considering eco-tourism as an alternative to their traditional getaway is on the rise.
Research indicates that more than 20% 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.
We’ve rounded up Australia’s top luxury eco stays so you can start planning your next weekend getaway.
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 accommodation is 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 retreat.
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.
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, just human hands and trolleys, a slow and steady approach to ensure a minimal-impact build.
Wildman Wildnerness Lodge, Arnhem, Northern Territory
About halfway between Darwin and Kakadu National Park, a collection of small-scale boutique 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, ‘off-grid’ mountain experience, then the Love Cabins are just your style. These 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, and are ideal for couples looking for a weekend escape.
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