Ecotourism is a hot travel trend, with 71% of TripAdvisor members saying they plan to make more eco-friendly choices.
We don’t have to travel very far to encounter this movement. Australia is a global leader in ecotourism experiences, with Ecotourism Australia one of only 10 organisations worldwide to be formally recognised by the United Nation’s Global Sustainable Tourism Council. Fantastic Ecotourism experiences are also nationally endorsed by the T-QUAL Tick, Australia’s symbol of tourism quality, which means they have undergone rigorous assessment to ensure they deliver a quality experience.
Ideal for a short break with family over the long Easter weekend, EcoLodges of Australia is a collection of Australia’s quality T-QUAL endorsed lodges. Each complements its surrounding landscape, whilst providing powerful and enriching opportunities to explore the natural world with people who care, and in architecture that inspires.
Below is a list of T-QUAL endorsed EcoLodges to provide some getaway ideas for an eco-friendly Easter break:
Bell George Wilderness Lodge, Kimberley
Located just off the iconic Gibb River Road and nestled in the King Leopold Ranges, the lodge is conveniently located close to some of the Kimberley region’s most beautiful gorges. It sits on an indigenous-owned site, close to the Imintji Aboriginal community. Environmentally-friendly tented cabins blend into the natural surrounds and feature twin beds with private en-suite bathrooms. All cabins have a spacious private deck offering views to the escarpment. It is the perfect base for exploring the West Kimberley on an outback adventure. Bell Gorge Wilderness Lodge is only open from May to October.
Bungle Bungle Wilderness Lodge, Kimberley
The lodge provides easy access to the stunning bee-hive shaped domes of the Bungle Bungle Range, and the breathtaking beauty of Piccaninny Creek, Cathedral Gorge, Echidna Chasm and Mini Palms Gorge. Accommodation at Bungle Bungle Wilderness Lodge is spread across two sites in order to avoid overcrowding and maximise the bush environment experience. Upstream from Bellburn is the Piccaninny Lodge site, which features just ten tented cabins, ensuring an intimate experience. Dining at the lodge offers a magical experience; guests enjoy home-style breakfasts and delicious, freshly prepared three course dinners, all amongst the backdrop of the Kimberley Outback. After dinner each night, guests can relax with new friends around the campfire. Bungle Bungle Wilderness Lodge is only open from May to October.
Karijini Eco Retreat, Pilbara, North West Australia
A unique, environmentally friendly eco lodge located amidst the Karijini National Park in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. It is the first and only permanent up-market, luxury accommodation in the national park. Karijini Eco Retreat offers an authentic outback experience at an affordable price whilst operating in perfect harmony with the environment. Karijini has a range of accommodation including 82 campsites, five group campsites, 40 upmarket eco tents with en-suite bathrooms, 10 dormitory-style eco tents with shared facilities and unpowered camp sites. The retreat features a unique outback style restaurant serving authentic Australian cuisine.
Mitchell Falls Wilderness Lodge, Kimberley, North West Australia
Close to the famous Mitchell Falls in the Kimberleys. Featuring just 24 tented cabins, this exclusive lodge offers intimate, small-scale accommodation in the wilderness. Each day, guests enjoy home-style breakfasts and a delicious, freshly prepared three course dinner. The lodge is perfectly situated in close proximity to thunderous Mitchell Falls, cascading over the plateau’s edge and into the Mitchell River. Mitchell Falls Wilderness Lodge is only open from May to October.
Banubanu Wilderness Retreat, North East Arnhem Land
This simple hosted beach retreat owned by the Yolngu Aboriginal people is nestled into sand dunes on the northern tip of Bremer Island, one of the offshore islands in the Arafura Sea. Surrounded by two beaches and rocky headlands, this remote private place offers plenty for nature lovers, fishermen and those who just want to chill out and relax. The retreat accommodates up to 14 people comfortably with two cabins and four twin share tents. Banubanu and its fittings are constructed with local materials, some of them recovered from the beaches on the island, to keep an ultra-low impact on the surroundings. Guests are accommodated comfortably with environmentally-friendly facilities that ensure Banubanu remains in a pristine state. A wind generator and solar panels, with a generator as back-up when necessary, powered lighting, refrigeration, and fans throughout the retreat. Meals are available but guests must arrange alcoholic beverages at time of booking if desired. The retreat is a 15 minute charter flight from Gove Airport or a 40 minute transfer by boat from the mainland.
Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris, Top End, Northern Territory
Each cabin has its own unique natural setting and patio to relax under on cool evenings with views of the surrounding bush. While the lodge can accommodate up to 40 guests, it aims to keep guest numbers to smaller groups where possible. This is a landscape of rugged ranges fringed by idyllic billabongs, flood plains, paper bark swamps and monsoonal rainforests. The valleys and caves have been occupied by Aboriginal tribes for more than 50,000 years and offer magnificent galleries.
Rawnsley Park Eco-Villas, Flinders Ranges
Overlooking the southern side of Wilpena Pound, Rawnsley Park Station provides the perfect base for exploring South Australia’s Flinders Ranges. There are six styles of accommodation available ranging from the Traditional Australian homestead to holiday units, luxury eco-villas, a caravan park and park cabins. The luxury one and two-bedroom eco-villas are located on an elevated secluded site with breathtaking views of Wilpena Pound and the surrounding ranges. Enjoy the view from your private verandah or watch the stars from your bed via the skylight and retractable over-bed fabric ceiling. Rawnsley Park Station offers a range of touring options and activities, including 4WD tours, scenic flights over Wilpena Pound, guided bushwalks and mountain biking. The Flinders Ranges are rich in Aboriginal culture and abundant native animals. See wildlife in their natural habitat, including Red and Grey Kangaroos, Emu and the Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby.
Bloomfield Lodge, Far North Queensland
Enchanting and beautifully remote, in an unspoilt corner of Far North Queensland, Bloomfield Lodge is one of Australia’s most exclusive luxury retreats. Set on the shores of the Coral Sea, with the Daintree Rainforest right outside the door, and the Great Barrier Reef just across the bay. There are 17 individually designed natural timber retreats encircling the main rainforest lodge, each site specially chosen for its naturally beautiful surroundings. All rooms have a verandah with views of the rainforest and en-suite facilities. Guests can Indulge in a soothing massage, relax by the pool or take a stroll along a deserted beach. Adventurous spirits can take advantage of Bloomfield’s unique location and discover some of Australia’s most incredible plant, animal and marine life with a guided rainforest walk or a cruise along a jungle fringed river. They can visit cascading waterfalls, spend a magical day snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef without another boat in sight, or experience some of the world’s finest game fishing.
Jabiru Safari Lodge, Mareeba, Tropical North Queensland
Jabiru Safari Lodge at the Mareeba Wetlands is located just over an hour west of Cairns and Port Douglas, on the northern edge of the Atherton Tablelands. The 2,000 hectare reserve of open savannah woodland, grassland, and freshwater wetlands provides a unique outback setting for the lodge, allowing guests to fully appreciate the environment. The lodge has two types of accommodation: deluxe and eco African-style safari tents each accommodating up to three guests. There are no telephones or televisions in any of the cabins. Guests can enjoy wildlife safaris with expert guides sighting kangaroos, wallabies, emus and abundant birdlife. The Wildlife Conservancy of Tropical Queensland has spent more than 10 years developing the reserve and relies on volunteers for its day-to-day work and fund raising.
Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort, Great Barrier Reef
At Lady Elliot Island on the Great Barrier Reef, clients can step off the beach and snorkel, swim or dive in an underwater holiday world of brilliantly coloured species of marine life, or just simply relax and soak in the natural island atmosphere. The resort offers a range of comfortable accommodation, with each suite, unit, room and cabin designed to minimise impact on the island while enriching guest’s experience of the seasonal wildlife. Lady Elliot Island is one of only three island resorts on the Great Barrier Reef, and the only resort with direct flight access to the island airstrip. The island is located within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and is teeming with life and live corals, and famous for its resident population of manta rays.
Silky Oaks Lodge, Daintree, Tropical North Queensland
Spectacularly situated on the Mossman River, Silky Oaks Lodge is a perfect location from which to explore Tropical North Queensland. This luxury boutique hotel lodge and Healing Waters Spa consists of elegant spacious lounges and living areas adjoining an open-sided Tree House restaurant which overlooks the surrounding rainforest and river. There are 36 contemporary river and treehouses that connect with the natural environment each featuring wide verandahs and luxurious spa baths. From the comfort of this award-winning eco lodge guests can experience the adjoining Daintree National Park and explore the nearby Great Barrier Reef.
Thala Beach Lodge, Port Douglas, Tropical North Queensland
Thala Beach Lodge is a deluxe nature resort located between Cairns and Port Douglas on a stretch of private, untouched coastline. The views from the lodge take in the Far North Queensland coast from Double Island to Cape Tribulation, and from the sparkling waters of the Great Barrier Reef to World Heritage forests. Panoramic views are to be enjoyed in Osprey’s Restaurant where guests dine among the birds in the surrounding treetops, whilst enjoying modern Australian cuisine with friendly and attentive service. The bungalows sit on high poles and look through the forest canopy, providing a magical relationship with the natural world surrounding them.
Billabong Camp, Taronga Western
Billabong Camp offers an immersive bush camping experience within Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s Australian wildlife area, with accommodation in canvas tents located around a picturesque billabong. Each campsite includes tents which are made from heavy duty canvas with a solid floor. There are two tents per campsite to accommodate families. Each tent can sleep up to three people, with two stretchers and one sleeping mat. The Billabong Camp package includes guided behind-the-scenes walking tours as well as close encounters with some iconic Aussie wildlife, two-day Zoo admission and meals.
Paperback Camp, Jervis Bay
Combining unique luxury tented accommodation with wonderful food and warm hospitality, Paperbark Camp is a peaceful bush retreat in beautiful Jervis Bay on the unspoilt south coast of New South Wales. Accommodation comprises five original safari tents, six deluxe tents, and one family sized King Deluxe tent, all built above the ground, with verandahs and indoor/outdoor private en-suite bathrooms and all the hotel amenities you would expect from a luxury camping experience. It is best suited for adult couples or families with older children. Jervis Bay is a nature-lovers paradise with spectacular coastal scenery, clear and calm water for swimming and pristine white sand beaches for strolling and relaxing. The property has some easy walking trails that meander through paperbark, gum and mangrove forests and are perfect for a stroll before breakfast where they may spot kangaroos. Complimentary bikes and canoes are provided and are an eco-friendly way to explore the local area.
Roar & Snore, Taronga Zoo, Sydney
Clients can also camp in safari tents in the heart of Taronga Zoo in Sydney, with spectacular views of the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Roar & Snore is a fully hosted experience that includes architecturally designed tents, a sumptuous roast feast, drinks in the main tent and up-close animal encounters. The tents are furnished with fully dressed double and single beds. The experience includes captivating behind the scenes tours before the crowds arrive.
Zoofari Lodge, Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo
Zoofari Lodge offers a more upmarket experience, staying in a lodge set alongside Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s African Savannah, where guests can wake up to the sounds of animals such as giraffes, zebras and elephants. Zoofari Lodge comprises of 12 luxurious African-style canvas covered lodges with private en-suite bathrooms. Savannah Lodges sleep up to four people, with a double bed and two single beds. Serengeti Lodges sleep up to six people with a queen bed, two single beds and a sofa bed. There is also a saltwater swimming pool, bar and library. The Zoofari Lodge experience provides the opportunity to see exotic and endangered wildlife, and even get up close to a number of animals on exclusive behind-the-scenes tours.
Freycinet Eco Retreat, East Coast
Freycinet Eco Retreat is located at Mt Paul, which is a 1,200 acre property situated in the centre of the Freycinet Peninsula. The property offers accommodation in self-contained eco-cabins, and a cottage (Saltwater Shack). It also has a private camp site (with facilities) and a venue (the Arc). All cabins have stunning water views. The lodge’s location is ideal as a base for exploring Tasmania’s east coast, with the Bay of Fires only an hour and a half away, and Freycinet National Park and Wineglass Bay on its doorstep. Mt Paul is a registered Land For Wildlife property, and the lodge is currently engaged in raising orphaned wombats ready for release back to the wild. Guests can enjoy bushwalks, swimming, kayaking, rock climbing or indulge in wine tasting in the famous Freycinet region’s cool climate wines and sample fresh oysters, mussels, rock lobsters from the local marine farm.
Corinna Wilderness Experience, North West Coast
Corinna is an oasis in the heart of the Tarkine rainforest in the western wilderness of Tasmania. There are plenty of accommodation alternatives at Corinna, including ‘the old pub’ with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities and 19 self-contained cottages, with own en-suite, built to the original 100 year old miner-style construction. The cottages all back directly onto the Tarkine rainforest. They have their own verandahs, fully equipped kitchens, rainwater tanks and heating. Corinna is an historic mining town, around 60 kilometres north of Strahan and 70 kilometres west of Cradle Mountain. The Tarkine is the largest temperate rainforest in Australia and is a living link with the ancient super continent of Gondwanaland.
Tarkine Wilderness Lodge, Tarkine
Tarkine Wilderness Lodge is also located on the north-west Coast of Tasmania, and sits on 200 acres of privately owned land on the edge of the Tarkine rainforest. The Tarkine Wilderness Lodge offers guests the exclusive use of the lodge and facilities including three luxurious suites with en-suite bathrooms and beautiful vistas of the surrounding rainforest. Guests can indulge in fine Tasmanian wines and produce, take part in guided rainforest walks or see the vast rainforest from above on a helicopter tour.