Latest news and insights from various sources relating to UN Sustainable Development Goals.

AUGUST ADVENTURES: WATER

With spring just around the corner, it’s time to start planning your next holiday on the water. To help you out we’ve found a few of the more adventurous water-based ecotourism experiences that our incredible Ecotourism Australia certified tour operators have on offer. Prepare to be inspired!

GREAT OCEAN ROAD SURF TOURS (VIC)

 Great Ocean Surf Tours Water Article

Photo Credit: Great Ocean Roads Surf Tours.

Passionate about people, nature and all things surfing, the staff at Great Ocean Road Surf Tours want to take you on the ultimate ride.

Great Ocean Roads Surf Tours make learning how to surf and improving your surfing an easy, fun and unforgettable experience, with lessons and tours that can be tailored to individual or group needs, wants and skill levels.

For beginners, the 1-Day Surf Tour is a great place to start. You’ll learn about beach and ocean awareness before being given an easy to follow, detailed surf lesson with hands-on coaching. For the more experienced surfers out there looking to improve their ability, there is Next Level Surf Coaching. This option includes surf coaching and video analysis in half day, full day, squad coaching and weekend camps. How awesome!

So, if you’ve always wanted to give surfing a go or you want to take your surfing to the next level, look no further. Check out their website for more information. www.gorsurftours.com.au/

ADVENTURE BAY CHARTERS (SA)

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Photo Credit: Adventure Bay Charters.

To all you thrill seekers out there, why not join Adventure Bay Charters for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view Australia’s legendary great white sharks?

Offering a unique, all-inclusive eco-alternative to traditional shark cage diving, Adventure Bay Charters were Australia’s first Advanced Ecotourism certified white shark tour and shark cage diving experience, using MUSIC to attract sharks to its vessel, instead of traditional baits and berleys.

Why music? Because caring for the sharks and the marine environment is one of Adventure Bay Charters’ top priorities. By using music instead of food to lure these majestic creatures, not only do visitors get the opportunity to rock out with an apex predator, but it’s much less harmful to the sharks. Unlike baits and berleys, music encourages sharks to investigate without becoming aggravated. This prevents unnecessary physical harm caused to sharks by attacking the shark cage and boat.

So, don’t wait around! With their small group sizes and the world’s first world’s first aqua sub, Adventure Bay Charters can offer participants multiple diving opportunities and the best chance of seeing sharks in the wild.

adventurebaycharters.com.au/

NITMILUK TOURS (NT)

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Photo Credit: Nitmiluk Tours.

Winding along 12km of sheer rock and extending more than 70m high, Nitmiluk Gorge is a breathtaking maze of waterways, sculpted into the landscape over millions of years by the incredible Katherine River.

Nitmiluk Tours is an operator in the area that specialises in experiences that explore the Nitmiluk Gorge, immersing visitors in the history, rugged beauty and culture of the Northern Territory.

One of the most exciting ways Nitmiluk Tours allows you to get up close and personal with the mesmerising Nitmiluk Gorge is by allowing you to canoe your way through its many wonders. With single and twin canoes available for half day or full day hire, visitors can go out and enjoy the tranquillity, either by themselves or with family and friends.

As a world-renowned destination for Australian wildlife and Indigenous history, some other amazing opportunities and activities to check out whilst you’re in the Nitmiluk National Park include: Nitmiluk Gorge Cruises, the Footsteps of our Ancestors tour and the Nitmiluk Caravan and Camping sites.

For more information on Nitmiluk Tours, check out their website

RNR WHITE WATER RAFTING (QLD)

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Photo Credit: RNR White Water Rafting.

RnR White Water Rafting are white water rafting specialists here in Australia, offering breath-taking scenery and five-star rafting experiences on Queensland’s Barron and Tully Rivers.

With no experience necessary, RnR is a fun and exciting activity for the whole family, and a great way to discover the pristine rainforest and beautiful rivers of Tropical North Queensland.

Something else that’s great about RnR is that they have departures all year round. So, if now isn’t the perfect time for you to go on holiday, don’t worry! The rapids aren’t going anywhere or closing anytime soon. Just jump online and pick a date/time that works best for you. 

 

CAIRNS DIVE CENTRE (QLD)

 Cairns Dive Centre FB

Photo Credit: Cairns Dive Centre.

Proudly operating throughout the Great Barrier Reef and Fitzroy Island along the beautiful coast of Queensland, Cairns Dive Centre is one of the largest scuba training agencies in the world. Offering day cruises and live aboard trips for snorkelers and divers as well as dive courses from open water to dive instructor.

So, whether you’re wanting to do a Day trip to Fitzroy Island, Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, sign-up for a Learn to Dive Course or just looking to further your diving education, Cairns Dive Centre has you covered.

Let them take you on an adventure full of beautiful hard and soft corals, great drop-offs, exciting walls and spectacular swim-throughs. Not to mention, if you’re lucky, you may even get to see some of the reef’s spectacular local wildlife. Who wouldn’t love to see some clown fish, stingrays, reef sharks and turtles!

DISCOVERY ONE KIMBERLEY CRUISES (WA)

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Photo Credit: Discovery One.

If you prefer to adventure without getting your feet wet, Discovery One will take you on an unforgettable experience, allowing you to discover the Kimberley Coasts’ unspoilt wilderness from the safety and comfort of a vessel.

Visitors are given the opportunity to explore ancient rock art and geological wonders, magnificent waterfalls, stunning sunsets, picturesque rock pools, curious wildlife, secret beaches and so much more! With special up-close experiences, and a marvellously comfortable, relaxed feel that’s only made possible by small group sizes and the use of a beautiful catamaran (25ft), instead of a larger cruise ship, you’re sure to learn something new and get a new understanding of this special part of the world.

So, do yourself a favour, and find out how to book your very own Kimberley Cruise now.

 

 

 

MEDIA RELEASE: Ecotourism in Australia delivers over 14,000 direct jobs and $1.6 billion annual revenue

Australia’s ecotourism industry directly employs over 14,000 people and contributes a combined annual revenue of $1.6 billion, according to findings of an Ecotourism Australia membership analysis this week.

These figures, drawn from Ecotourism Australia’s 500 high standard tour operator members, translate to a 54% increase in jobs and a 14% increase in annual revenue in the past two years.
 
“Ninety-six per cent of our members operate in rural and regional Australia, so these numbers clearly demonstrate the positive impact ecotourism businesses are having in regions, said Ecotourism Australia CEO, Rod Hillman.
 
“These are real jobs that encourage people to stay in our regions, invest in regions and build our communities.”
 
On a state basis Queensland remains a strong leader, with ongoing good growth in revenue and job creation, and Tasmania, New South Wales and South Australia also showing solid growth.
 
“The growth in jobs over the past two years is truly remarkable, with states like South Australia doubling its job numbers,” says Rod Hillman. “All states have increased their employment by between 20% and 100%.”
 
Other findings from the analysis include:

  • Victoria and the Northern Territory have slipped slightly in annual revenue but have made improvements in job creation – Victoria by 80% and the Northern Territory by 19%
  • Tasmania has shown a dramatic 40% growth in revenue and an 18% increase in employment
  • Western Australia had an 11% increase in revenue with a strong employment increase of 40%
  • New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory had steady revenue growth of 23% and the same growth in employment
  • Queensland had solid employment growth of 64% with annual revenue growing by 18%
  • South Australia has doubled its employment and grown its annual revenue by 18%

In summary, Rod Hillman notes, “ecotourism is an important contributor to sustainable and thriving regional communities. Ecotourism businesses create and maintain sustainable employment and bring – and keep – revenue in regions.”

 

ENDS

 

For questions and comments, please contact Rod Hillman – CEO: 0427 279 414

To download our media toolkit, please visit www.ecotourism.org.au/about/media-toolkit/

CONGRATULATIONS TO CENTRAL COAST MARINE DISCOVERY CENTRE FOR ACHIEVING CERTIFICATION

Congratulations to the Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre (CCMDC) for achieving Advanced Ecotourism and Climate Action Business Certification for their Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre, Schools Program and Wings, Whales and Wildflower Tours!

The Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre focuses on research and educational resourcing to create greater understanding and appreciation of catchments, coasts and oceans within the community. The centre delivers a range of high quality innovative and interactive educational programs, activities and experiences and has a café, book and gift shop and runs a community support group.

CCMDC 1 adult education

It also runs a range of activities for children, such as ‘Become a Junior Marine Scientist.’ Talks are often given in the evening by experts on marine topics such as shipwrecks, heritage, diving, fish and other creatures of the oceans and estuaries, and staff are always keen to share their passion and commitment to sustainability principles with their visitors.

Parklife, the café within the centre, focuses on clean eating for kids, organic coffee and having no processed foods. It actively promotes upcycling and recycling and food scraps are composted for the edible garden or given away as part of their #soupdaddy project to feed the Central Coast’s homeless.

CCMDC 1 kids excursion

CCMDC’s Schools Program includes a range of fieldwork and excursion programs for both primary and secondary school students. These programs allow children to learn about marine life and the importance of taking care of the environment. For high schools, outcomes are based on syllabus requirements related to science and geography and the teaching of field skills through learning about local ecosystems. Both school programs are led by qualified CCMDC staff.

Participants of the centre’s Wings, Whales and Wildflower tour have the opportunity to observe, learn about and enjoy the coast by land or sea. Taking groups to the nearby national parks, reserves and waterways, these tours showcase the dynamic and changing nature of the seasons on the Central Coast. All tours include an activity or walk, a hot lunch, an expert talk and the opportunity to see local flora and fauna.

CCMDC 1 crab

The Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre has become a valuable education resource for both local and visiting schools through its school programs, a developing hub for research activity and a key tourist attraction for the Central Coast. It is operated and maintained by more than 50 active volunteers and occasional paid teachers.

Once again, we welcome CCMDC to the Ecotourism Australia family, and congratulate them on achieving certification!

 

For more information about CCMDC, check out their listing in our Green Travel Guide, as well as their website and Facebook page.

 

[Photos: Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre Facebook page]

ARE YOU IN THE DARK ABOUT LIGHT POLLUTION?

When you hear the word pollution, the Milky Way is probably not the first thing that comes to mind (unless, of course, you’re talking about the iconic blue-plastic wrapped chocolate bar).

However, according to the IDA – the International Dark Sky Association – light pollution is a serious issue and because of it, many people on earth have never seen the original Milky Way – our galaxy, home of the sun and moon and canvas for an estimated 100 billion stars.  

Dark skies article binna burra

Photo: Binna Burra Mountain Lodge

But what is light pollution, and, beyond the possibility of engendering FOMO* among those that live in our brightly illuminated urban areas, does it really have a significant effect on the life of our planet?

According to the IDA, it very much does, and in fact, science shows that the reduction of darkness can have alarming side effects on the environment, human health, energy consumption and our safety.

First, artificial night light disrupts plant growth and confuses animals. Migrating birds can crash into buildings and turtle hatchlings mistakenly journey toward onshore glows instead of heading toward the shimmer and safety of the ocean.

For humans, artificial light disrupts circadian sleeping patterns and increases the risk of developing obesity, depression, sleep disorders, diabetes, breast cancer and more. If poorly designed, bright streetlights can impair driver and pedestrian vision, causing unnecessary accidents and danger.

Blackout Todd CarlsonTowards Toronto Goodwood Ontario

Photo: Before and during a suburban blackout / Todd Carlson

So where does all this light pollution come from, and how long has it been a problem?

According to the IDA, light pollution is a side effect of industrialisation, and has become a growing concern over the past 100 years or so. With sources of light pollution including buildings, advertising, factories and sporting venues, the biggest culprit is perhaps not what you’d expect: the inconspicuous and humble common streetlight.

Often using traditionally shaped, ‘round’ bulbs, streetlights not only light up what’s beneath them, but also the sky above and to all sides. It’s an inefficient, und unnecessary, use of light – and energy.

“Even if you don’t care anything about stargazing, this should worry you,” said stellar astronomer, Lucianne Walkowicz, in a TEDx talk in 2012, “because it means that 60-70% of energy we use to light the outdoors is wasted by blotting out the stars.”

So what’s the bright side (pun intended)?

It’s here that the IDA’s mission to preserve and protect our precious dark skies comes in. Along with educating the public and policymakers on the importance of night sky conservation and providing assistance and research into responsible outdoor lighting, the IDA also certifies International Dark Sky Places.

The Jump Up Australian Age of Dinosaurs

Photo: Australian Age of Dinosaurs

Currently, there are 120 certified Dark Sky Places worldwide, which fall into one of six categories: communities, parks, reserves, sanctuaries and urban night sky places. Locations of certified Dark Sky Places can be found on the IDA’s interactive Dark Sky Places map. In Australia, Warrumbungle National Park near Coonabarabran in NSW is Australia’s only certified Dark Sky Park, and in May this year, our very own Nature Tourism certified Australian Age of Dinosaurs became Australia’s first certified Dark Sky Sanctuary.

Whether you’re an avid star-spotter, aspiring astronomer or want to do your part in baby turtles achieving their adult potential, there are a few things you can do to help combat light pollution:

  • Educate yourself. Check out the IDA website (www.darksky.org) for great resources and informative blog articles.
  • Only use lighting when and where it’s needed.
  • If safety is a concern, install motion detector lights and timers.
  • Properly shield all outdoor lights.
  • Keep your blinds down and curtains drawn to keep light inside.
  • Become a citizen scientist and help to measure light pollution (check out this website for more info).
  • Choose LEDs and compact fluorescents (CFLs), which can help reduce energy use and protect the environment, but make sure these are warm-white bulbs. Also make sure you read this myth-busting article on LED lights, first.
  • Dimmers, motion sensors and timers can help to reduce average illumination levels and save energy.
  • Visit a certified Dark Sky Place and tell your friends and family how special they are. With experience comes appreciation, and with appreciation comes protection.
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Photo: Earth Sanctuary World Nature Centre

Insider tip:

Some of our certified operators offer amazing stargazing experiences! Check out: 

What’s your favourite star-gazing place in Australia? Let us know in the comments below!

 

[Header image: The Milky Way from Warrumbungle National Park / Bill Hatcher]

*FOMO = fear of missing out

CLIMBING ADVENTURES… AND MORE

Tired of dull day to day life? Seeking some outgoing adventurous activities? You should consider some of the fantastic Ecotourism Australia certified tour providers who specialise in climbing and adventure!

Riverlife climbing 1

Riverlife Adventure Centre – QLD

Located just outside the heart of the Brisbane CBD at Kangaroo Point, Riverlife Adventure Centre runs instructed abseiling and rock climbing activities for young and old. For anyone living in or visiting Brisbane this is a great opportunity to get into cliffside rock climbing and abseiling with great views of Brisbane city. Rock climbing can be undertaken during the day or at night on weekends with the Riverlife Adventure Centre lighting up the cliff side with vibrant colours and spotlights.

Raging Thunder Cairns Canyon 1 

Raging Thunder Adventures – QLD

Comprising of abseils, rappels, rock slides, cliff jumps and ziplines, Raging Thunder Adventures Ecotourism certified Cairns canyoning tour is a half day adventure through the Crystal Cascades waterfall series and is a great introduction to Australian canyoning only a 25 minute drive from Cairns city. This one is a little more adventurous than your typical climbing experience as canyoning is the process of travelling through canyons by utilising climbing techniques and riding natural waterfalls. Be prepared to get a little wet with this one! No prior experience is needed, and the tour is open to children over the age of eight.

cradle mountain canyons 1 

Cradle Mountain Canyons – Tas

Another great Ecotourism Australia certified canyoning experience can be found in Tasmania. Cradle Mountain Canyons has two Nature Tourism certified canyoning tours that can cater to first timers and experienced canyoners.  The Lost World Canyon tour is a great introduction to canyoning suitable for children aged eight and up, with all obstacles being optional. Strong swimming skills are not needed to complete this tour, so it is perfect for first timers.  The Dove Tail Canyon tour is for more experienced travellers, where, while no canyoning experience is necessary, there is a minimum requirement of being at least 15 years old with reasonable swimming skills and decent fitness levels. This is their most popular tour and features six waterfalls which require a mix of sliding, climbing and abseiling to overcome. A great adventure for anyone seeking something different!

k7 collection 

K7 Adventures – NWS

Now this is where the “and more” come into this article! Outside of offering eight different rock climbing and abseiling tours catering to both beginners and experts, K7 Adventures brings some truly unique and adventurous experiences to the table for those seeking something a little off the beaten track. K7 Adventures offers winter season mountaineering tours and courses that include ice climbing, snow climbing and an avalanche skills course that is both Advanced Ecotourism certified and accredited by the Canadian Avalanche Association who set the standards for avalanche education best practice. While some of these activities might not be for everyone, they offer a unique experience for anyone up for a challenge.

With so many great climbing adventures out there, now is a great time to book in a tour to plan your next adventure!

[All photos retrieved from operator websites and social media]

AUGUST ADVENTURES: CLIMBING… AND MORE

Tired of dull day to day life? Seeking some outgoing adventurous activities? You should consider some of the fantastic Ecotourism Australia certified tour providers who specialise in climbing and adventure!

Riverlife climbing 1

Riverlife Adventure Centre – QLD

Located just outside the heart of the Brisbane CBD at Kangaroo Point, Riverlife Adventure Centre runs instructed abseiling and rock climbing activities for young and old. For anyone living in or visiting Brisbane this is a great opportunity to get into cliffside rock climbing and abseiling with great views of Brisbane city. Rock climbing can be undertaken during the day or at night on weekends with the Riverlife Adventure Centre lighting up the cliff side with vibrant colours and spotlights.

Raging Thunder Cairns Canyon 1 

Raging Thunder Adventures – QLD

Comprising of abseils, rappels, rock slides, cliff jumps and ziplines, Raging Thunder Adventures Ecotourism certified Cairns canyoning tour is a half day adventure through the Crystal Cascades waterfall series and is a great introduction to Australian canyoning only a 25 minute drive from Cairns city. This one is a little more adventurous than your typical climbing experience as canyoning is the process of travelling through canyons by utilising climbing techniques and riding natural waterfalls. Be prepared to get a little wet with this one! No prior experience is needed, and the tour is open to children over the age of eight.

cradle mountain canyons 1 

Cradle Mountain Canyons – Tas

Another great Ecotourism Australia certified canyoning experience can be found in Tasmania. Cradle Mountain Canyons has two Nature Tourism certified canyoning tours that can cater to first timers and experienced canyoners.  The Lost World Canyon tour is a great introduction to canyoning suitable for children aged eight and up, with all obstacles being optional. Strong swimming skills are not needed to complete this tour, so it is perfect for first timers.  The Dove Tail Canyon tour is for more experienced travellers, where, while no canyoning experience is necessary, there is a minimum requirement of being at least 15 years old with reasonable swimming skills and decent fitness levels. This is their most popular tour and features six waterfalls which require a mix of sliding, climbing and abseiling to overcome. A great adventure for anyone seeking something different!

k7 collection 

K7 Adventures – NWS

Now this is where the “and more” come into this article! Outside of offering eight different rock climbing and abseiling tours catering to both beginners and experts, K7 Adventures brings some truly unique and adventurous experiences to the table for those seeking something a little off the beaten track. K7 Adventures offers winter season mountaineering tours and courses that include ice climbing, snow climbing and an avalanche skills course that is both Advanced Ecotourism certified and accredited by the Canadian Avalanche Association who set the standards for avalanche education best practice. While some of these activities might not be for everyone, they offer a unique experience for anyone up for a challenge.

With so many great climbing adventures out there, now is a great time to book in a tour to plan your next adventure!

[All photos retrieved from operator websites and social media]