In case you hadn’t realised, the seasons have changed and we’re now officially in autumn in Australia. Whilst in some parts of the country the summer weather is slow to disappear and it may not be too late to get your beach fix, in other parts the cooler days will have you already dreaming of your next summer’s beach escapes. To help you with the dreaming, we thought we’d give you our top five Australian islands you may not have heard about. On each one, you’ll have the chance to enjoy an ECO certified experience (or more), meaning that you can soak up the sun, discover something new and know that your visit is not going to cost the earth… or stop you from returning to your new favourite island in years to come.


Broughton Island, NSW


Broughton island 1 moonshadow

Image: Moonshadow – TQC Cruises


Situated just eight nautical miles north east of Port Stephens, NSW’s Broughton Island has a diverse landscape of volcanic peaks, sandy beaches and forest variation home to endangered frog species and a nesting ground for mutton birds and penguins. The island is also host to two of our Advanced Ecotourism certified operators, Moonshadow – TQC Cruises and Imagine Cruises. With these two operators running activities on the island, there is no shortage of choice and activities to suit everyone’s taste, whether you’re interested in a leisurely swim off the island or exploring the unique habitats and ecosystems on land and over water. Both of our operators provide unique experiences and services with options in dolphin watching, snorkelling, and guided walks.


Broughton island 2 moonshadow

Image: Moonshadow – TQC Cruises


Rottnest Island, WA

Sitting just nineteen kilometres off the coast of Freemantle, Rottnest Island hosts pristine beaches, clear water, historical sites, natural attractions and several restaurants. With two of our certified operators (Rottnest express, & Rottnest Island Authority) on the island there are several options for travellers seeking accommodation for long stays or quick and easy day trips. With island activities including snorkelling, cycling, skydiving and island exploration. It is also a great place to see the native wildlife including the adorable and unique Quokka. There are many more hidden gems to find on Rottnest island.


Rottnest 2

Image: Rottnest Island Authority Facebook


Bedarra Island, QLD          


Bedarra 2

Image: Bedarra Island Resort

This is a true tropical island getaway. Part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, it’s possible to get here by boat from Mission Beach, or via helicopter, if you’re feeling adventurous. Since 2011, Advanced Ecotourism and Climate Action Business certified Bedarra Island Resort has had a comprehensive sustainability program in place for off grid electricity production, waste management, and revegetation projects. This is a great spot to relax and enjoy the island of Bedarra while maintaining your own commitment to sustainability.


bedarra dinner

Image: Bedarra Island Resort


Dirk Hartog Island, WA 

Holding Advanced Ecotourism Certification on its accommodation and operations, Dirk Hartog Island hosts an Eco lodge, villas, and camping. Sitting just off the coast of Western Australia, the island is accessible by barge, charter boat or light aircraft. With swimming, snorkelling, walking tracks and island exploration, visitors won’t be short on activities. The island also boasts several unique and breathtaking attractions including Rose Lake, rock pools, blowholes and a historical lighthouse.

Rose Lake 2

Image: Dirk Hartog Island

Magnetic Island, QLD

Just eight kilometres off the coast of Townsville, with an average of 320 sunny days per year, 24 kilometres of walking tracks and 21 beaches, Magnetic Island is a must do for tourists seeking an adventurous getaway. If you have ever dreamed of seeing an ideal tropical sunset or exploring the pristine waters of a World Heritage site by kayak, then Magnetic Island Sea Kayak Tours are for you. Holding Advanced Ecotourism Certification, and Green Travel Leader status on its tour operations. Magnetic Island Sea Kayak Tours offers visitors the option of a guided morning kayak tour or an afternoon sunset tour which boasts some of the most beautiful sunsets in Australia, and exploration of the pristine waters and local coral.


Sunset image1

Image: Magnetic Island Sea Kayak Tours

We hope we’ve inspired you to plan your next island holiday. Is there an island that you love, that we haven’t featured? Tell us about it in the comments below!


We are excited to welcome our newest certified operator, Cape Tribulation Horse Rides, who have just achieved Ecotourism Certification for their horse rides, Polaris UTV Afternoon Tour, Polaris Electric UTV Night Adventure and Quad Bike Eco Walk.

 Image 1 cape trib Facebook


As the only horse riding operator in the area, Cape Tribulation Horse Rides offers customers a once in a lifetime experience riding horses along beautiful Myall Beach or taking electric ‘Polaris Ranger’ buggies and quad bikes through the rainforest. There are many plant species seen throughout the tours, and the area is home to a wide range of bird species and butterflies. Fortunate customers may even get the chance to see white-breasted eagles and crocodiles hanging around the trails. During whale season, humpback whales can be spotted from the beach as well.

Image 2 cape trib Facebook 


On the daytime tours, experienced guides take customers through the rainforest. Here, customers have the opportunity to see native plants and wildlife – including tree kangaroos! Guides also take customers to crystal clear mountain streams and to the beach, where they can go for a refreshing swim and enjoy refreshments and lunch.


Image 4 cape tribprovided by owner 


If anyone is keen on a night tour in the oldest rainforest in the world, Cape Tribulation Horse Rides have got just the thing. During their Polaris Electric UTV Night Adventure, customers get the Jurassic feel while navigating through the Daintree area. Cape Tribulation Horse Rides have got self-driven, electric ATVs to assist all customers on this exciting opportunity.


Image ATV Website 


With experienced and well-trained staff members, Cape Tribulation Horse Rides ensures that their operation leaves a minimal impact on the environment and provides all guests with unforgettable tours. Their emphasis on sustainability can be seen in their use of solar power to run all electrical equipment, use of electric vehicles for tours, encouragement to staff to ride or walk to work, use of biodegradable products wherever possible, preference for locally sourced products to reduce emissions and support the local community, monitoring of emissions, use of organic waste to make compost, reuse and recycling paper and plastic, monitoring of soil conditions, participating in feral animal and weed control and working with relevant organisations to report injured, rare or endangered wildlife.

We here at Ecotourism Australia are happy to welcome Cape Tribulation Horse Rides to as a certified operator and would like to congratulate them on their achievement.   


 [Photos from Cape Tribulation Horse Rides’ website and Facebook page.]