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


Ecotourism Australia is proud to recognise Rick Murray with an Ecotourism Australia Honorary Life Membership. 

The Ecotourism Australia Board recognised Rick, a long-time Chair and Director of Ecotourism Australia, for his untiring contribution to EA and the broader ecotourism industry on Tuesday evening.

Rick’s involvement with Ecotourism Australia spans EA’s lifetime and his involvement with the Board in particular spans over 14 years, serving as a Director from 2006 until retiring in 2020. Rick was elected Chairman for nearly five years and Deputy Chairman for two years.

Pioneering experience-based, minimal impact tours in 1990’s Australia with Odyssey Tours & Safaris, Rick has been actively involved at the ‘coal face’ of nature-based tourism for over 30 years and has a detailed knowledge of the interaction between tourism and our natural and cultural heritage right across the north of the continent. Rick’s experience covers lands including Protected Areas, Aboriginal Freehold lands and Pastoral Leases. 

Over the years Rick has spoken at Ecotourism conferences and provided advice in regions as diverse as Sabah Malaysia, Papua New Guinea’s Western Province, Tasmania, Central Australia, the Pilbara and the south and west coasts of the Gulf of Carpentaria, commonly on the interaction between government and private enterprise in the development of a sustainable regional economy. 

Over the past three decades Rick has served on several tourism industry committees and Boards, particularly those focussed on issues affecting our natural and cultural environment and on the continual improvement of industry standards among tour operators and guides. He served as a member of the Advisory Board of Tourism NT from 2006 until 2011. He was Chairman of the Kakadu Tourism Consultative Committee and a member of the Kakadu National Park Board of Management, from 2002 to 2015, and in 2018, Rick was awarded the NT Tourism Minister’s Perpetual Trophy.

Now based near Grafton in Northern NSW, Rick provides tourism business development services through his tourism consultancy, Middle Star Pty Ltd. Middle Star supports the development and sustainability of quality tourism businesses that are focussed on the natural and cultural environment in northern Australia and beyond.

Rick Murray is the fourth person to be presented with an Ecotourism Australia Honorary Life Membership; the other three recipients – Ross Dowling OAM, Tony Charters AM and Rod Quartermain receiving theirs in 2013, 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Thank you, Rick.


Rod Hillman
CEO Ecotourism Australia
0427 279 414

Ecotourism Australia thanks City Wine, Brisbane for their hospitality on Tuesday evening; a special thanks to Upcycle Studio for supplying the membership frame. 

Cover Photo: Rod Hillman, Rick Murray & Claire Ellis


Congratulations to Beyond Byron E Bikes for achieving Ecotourism Certification!

Based in the Byron Bay hinterland, in the charming Mullumbimby, Byron E Bikes offers guided tours on electric mountain bikes so everyone, no matter your fitness level, can enjoy a day out in nature.

E-Bike Tour

Photo: Beyond Byron E Bikes / Instagram

Beyond Byron E Bikes’ vision is to bring everyone closer to nature with their tours and to promote the use of electric bikes as a sustainable way of transport. They believe, as do we, that the deeper people’s connection with nature is, the more they will fight to protect it.

Beyond Byron E Bikes is fully licensed by National Parks NSW to operate. They offer four different tours to discover the Byron Bay hinterland area and the local national parks. Discover secret beaches, country lanes, hinterland cafes and other hidden spots that only the locals know.

Lush Hinterland Beach E Bike Tour

Photo: Lush Hinterland & Beach – E-Bike Tour

Hells Hole & Rainforest, their most popular tour, goes for about five to six hours and will allow you to explore Mount Jerusalem National Park rainforest by bike. It also involves a short hike to the Hells Hole falls where you can go for a refreshing swim in the pools.

Hells Hole Rainforest E Bike Tour

Photo: Hells Hole & Rainforest – E Bike Tour

All food provided in their tours is locally sourced, and they assess their suppliers based on a set of sustainability principles. The batteries used for the bikes are recharged in a facility fully powered by renewable electricity and are easily recycled. Plus, you can also buy an e-bike while you are there! Not only are e-bikes a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, but also to help improve your physical condition, and therefore your health.

Their partnership with means they plant one tree for every tour they run, going beyond offsetting their carbon footprint. is a local environmental NGO based in Byron Bay whose mission is to grow and plant trees that will reforest cleared land in subtropical Australia.

Congratulations once again to Beyond Byron E Bikes for achieving ECO Ecotourism certification and welcome to the Ecotourism Australia family!

For more information about Beyond Byron E Bikes visit their website, Instagram, or Facebook page


Douglas Shire Region

Low Isles the Seaside Paradise

Low Island consists of a small sandy cay with vegetation and a Commonwealth Heritage listed lighthouse. Low Isles and the surrounding Great Barrier Reef have been described as one of the most spectacular, complex, but fragile eco systems in the world. Operating in such a sensitive location can cause severe damage to the environmental quality, biodiversity and cultural heritage, if not controlled appropriately.

Low Isles and the surrounding area have proved how important stewardships with community, researchers and governmental organisations can be. To establish innovative approaches, different stakeholders have been working together for decades.

Tourism operators contribute to reef monitoring, coral restoration, adhere to responsible reef practices and deliver interpretive information to thousands of tourists. Read more on Douglas Shire Region’s Story.


Photo: Douglas Shire

Lorde Howe Island

Restoring Paradise – Predator Free Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe Island is getting ready to celebrate the success of 40 years protecting its unique species by removing the last introduced feral mammal pests. In 1980 the conservation story began for Lord Howe Island. There is now a spectacular increase in all flora and fauna further enhancing Lord Howe Island as hotspot for biodiversity. The success of the restoration of Lord Howe Island will enhance its World Heritage values, and its reputation as a world leader for ecotourism. Continue reading about Lord Howe Island’s Story here

Lord howe

Photo: Lord Howe Island


Transforming an Industrial City – One Sustainable Story at a Time

Unlike other cities, Townsville isn’t telling anyone ‘what sustainability is’ and ‘how it is done’, rather it aims to communicate and implement sustainability differently and relevantly so that the community can ‘figure it out for themselves’ and ‘act in ways that matter to them’. Townsville, as a destination, is reducing the ‘flight, fright and fight’ reaction of the community by making sustainability easy to process and relevant to them. Townsville’s Citysolar (Design System for Change) is a whole-of-Community Collaborative framework for action, which begun in 2004. This framework for action introduced tools and processes for communicating in meaningful ways within the city which led to community collaboration and action. People creating their own preferred sustainable and resilient future. Read more about Townsville’s sustainability story.


Photo: Townsville

Bay of Plenty

Te Hā Tāpoi – The Love of Tourism

Bay of Plenty’s ambitious aspirations are to flourish while balancing the needs of people, the environment, and the tourism industry. Their plan was created alongside the local community, local iwi (indigenous people) and the local tourism industry to be a guiding document that helps to contribute to a place that residents not only live but love. It means sharing our love of “our place” with the world to the betterment of the community, not against it.

Bay of Plenty understand that tourism is a key contributor to the region’s economy. Visitors spend and job creation is often the core focus for a destination. Bay of Plenty instead spread their vision of not just ensuring economic growth and not just sustainability; they go further and strive for regeneration.

Access Bay of Plenty’s Story here.

Bay of plenty

Photo: Bay of Plenty


World’s First Dark Sky Nation

The stars and night sky have a huge significance to the Niuean way of life. The knowledge of the night skies, held by the elders in the community, has been passed down through the generation. Niueans wanted to ensure a sustainable future for their skies through both protection of the important aerial wildlife species, preservation of cultural astrological stories for future generations and an opportunity for innovative employment through night sky tourism.

To become a Dark Sky Nation, Niue needed to ensure long term measures were put in place reducing light and air pollutants. Niue received Dark Sky Sanctuary and Dark Sky Community Status with the whole country protected through the International Dark Sky Association in March 2020. Culturally, the Dark Sky designation will also protect the Island’s heritage, enabling the timeless customs of stargazing, story-telling and navigating alive. Read more about the Dark Sky Nation.


Photo: Niue

The Green Destinations Story Awards’ voting for People’s Choice closes 3 March, 2021. Winners will be announced at the Green Destinations Story Awards at 2 PM CET Friday, March 12th 2021.




Ecotourism Australia is delighted to welcome Off-Road Adventures to our growing community, as we congratulate them on their achievement of the Nature Tourism Certification for their range of nine adventure tours. This certification recognises Off-Road Adventures WA’s dedication to creating exciting tourism products in natural areas that leave minimal impacts on our environment.

Off-Road Adventures operates in Albany, a port city in Western Australia filled with waterways, lush beaches, and historical rugged coastline known for its tourism, natural environment, and preservation of heritage. Surrounded by spectacular coastline and turquoise seas, Off-Road Adventures WA is in the perfect environment to offer luxury off road adventures through which adventurers can take in the magnificent mountain ranges, towering ancient forests, rolling deserts, stunning wildflowers, and whale migrations. 

ora 1

If you have ever been deterred from going on a 4WD adventure for fear of getting stuck in a bog or getting lost in an unknown forest, fear no more on the Pemberton 4WD Tag-Along Adventure where you will spend 2 nights and 3 days in a bush camp experience like no other.  Guided by the capable and knowledgeable Off-Road Adventures WA hosts, this tour offers the perfect balance of exploring and learning with time to stop, relax and get those perfect insta snaps with the most stunning of views along beaches, river crossings and scenic forest drives. Perfect for friends, families and couples, this tour is an excellent introduction to four wheel driving, scaling the largest inland dune system in the Southern Hemisphere.

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For all our fishing and beach camping aficionados, Off Road Adventures WA offers the Bremer Bay to Fitzgerald National Park 2-night, 3-day tour.  This fun-filled trip treks along remote beaches and botanical wonderlands full of breathtaking views.  Take a break from your phone as you explore, fish, enjoy views and relax in the tour’s refreshing no rush schedule.  Adventurers will have the opportunity to explore sealed roads in one of the biggest and most botanically important national parks in Australia, assuring you some spectacular, once in a lifetime sights. 

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Having spent much time exploring Western Australia, Rick and Liz Muller, the owners and guides of Off-Road Adventures WA can not only share their magical spots but also their invaluable knowledge and understanding of the history and nature in the area.  They are also are conscious of using expert contacts to gain information on special heritage or significant aboriginal sites to ensure adventurers have the most complete experience possible whilst also respecting the areas and traditional owners of lands explored. 

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Off-Road Adventures WA are very conscious of the potential impact of 4-wheel drives and for this reason ensure that cars are only driven on designated tracks to cause minimal damage on eco-systems.   Another element that we may never even consider, is the importance of proper tire pressure to reduce damage to the land.  Off-Road Adventures WA also pride themselves in minimal impact-camping which includes elements such as choosing campsites and parking at least 100m from rivers or lakes and staying for short amounts of time especially when it comes to otherwise undisturbed sites.  

ora 5

As we can see, Off-Road Adventures WA have all the elements necessary for an exciting, ecologically conscious adventure in the wilderness of Albany and we welcome them with open arms to the Ecotourism Australia family!

To find out more about Off Road Adventures WA, visit their website or Facebook page.