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

WELCOME HUSKEE TO THE ECOTOURISM AUSTRALIA BUSINESS COMMUNITY

The Australian Good Design Awards winning team Huskee has become the newest addition to Ecotourism Australia’s list of Business Members!

Huskee is a design company that focuses on developing products from the waste material of coffee production. Their vision is to design beautiful and practical products that enable the transition to a waste-free world. Huskee is also a certified B Corporation, which is a business that meets the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.

HuskeeCup

HuskeeCup is a designed closed-loop product that serves home, café and corporate markets as an alternative to single-use items and reduces waste from the coffee farm through to the café. The idea of HuskeeCup is for users to rethink what a cup can be. Products are made from the discarded coffee husk, which is the waste material created from the coffee bean during the milling stage of coffee production.

HuskeeCups are built to handle the rigours of a café, with strong durability whilst remaining elegant and attractive.

HuskeeSwap

With the HuskeeSwap initiative, Huskee supplies cafes with their sustainable HuskeeCups, available in a café-ready range of sizes, saucers, and lids.  HuskeeSwap is a swap program that enables cafés to transition away from single-use disposable cups by infinite swapping with a reusable takeaway coffee cup from Huskee. The swaps work by cafés and consumers using and exchanging a single cup, significantly altering consumer behaviour and café workflows to enable sustainable coffee consumption ecosystems. This program aims to normalise reuse with HuskeeCups and to drive more sustainable behaviours by recollecting and repurposing all HuskeeSwap cups at the end of their lifespan.

HuskeeSwap

Further Steps – HuskeeLoop

HuskeeLoop is Huskee’s end-of-life program that aims for more sustainable efforts by repurposing damaged cups into amazing new Huskee products and creating an ultimate closed-loop ecosystem. For more about this initiative, visit this website

Copy of huskeecup14

HuskeeCup is a great way for coffee lovers and businesses owners alike to reduce their ecological footprint and make use of the waste produced from the coffee industry.

For more information, visit the Huskee webpage or check them out on their Facebook & Instagram.

[All images courtesy of Huskee]

WILDLIFE WONDERS – THE WILD SIDE OF THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD

It is a great pleasure to welcome Wildlife Wonders onboard as an Advanced Ecotourism certified member of the Ecotourism Australia family.

Wildlife Wonders is 5km south of scenic Apollo Bay along the Great Ocean Road, Victoria, surrounded by the beautiful beaches of the Bass Strait and the glorious mountains of the Otway Ranges. It was established by the Conservation Ecology Centre (owners of Ecotourism Australia Green Travel Leader accommodation business, the Great Ocean Ecolodge) as an initiative to introduce flora and fauna to visitors which they have never seen or are very unlikely to see in the wild.

A 1.4km, 75-minute guided tour with an experienced conservationist guide enlightens guests with countless interesting facts and exciting stories. This ecotourism attraction engages people with nature and invests 100% of its operating surplus into conservation projects. Brian Massey – an Art Director of “The Hobbit” films and the landscape designer of New Zealand’s award-winning Hobbiton experience, has crafted and created the Wildlife Wonders experience with the support of a team led by Conservation Ecology Centre’s COO, Shayne Neal. As they have recognised, every Otway journey is magical, from walking through a rainforest, hunting waterfalls to searching for glow worms and admiring ancient forests to discover mysteries behind historic shipwrecks. Yet, there is always a special kind of magic behind the experience provided by Wildlife Wonders.

Wildlife Wonders welcome article pic 1

To educate younger generations on Australian wildlife and the importance of protecting it, Wildlife Wonders offer discounted guided tours for school groups with a whole range of free activities including storytime for pre-schoolers, protected paper animal folding sessions, kids’ talks on different species and more.
The Wildlife Wonders café and gift shop are open to the public and all profits contribute to the conservation of unique Australian plants and animals across the Otways. Many species that have been driven to extinction in other parts of Australia still survive within the habitats of Otways. However, without significant action, there is a high possibility for these species to vanish forever. Koalas, eastern grey kangaroos, swamp wallabies, Tasmanian pademelons, eastern bettongs, southern brown bandicoots, long-nosed potoroos, sugar gliders, feathertail gliders, Otway black snails, southern boobooks, laughing kookaburras, superb fairy-wrens, gang-gang cockatoos, eastern yellow robins, common blue-tongued lizards, southern brown tree frogs, southern right whales and humpback whales are some such species that Wildlife Wonders has paid special attention to.

Wildlife Wonders welcome article pic 2

“Wildlife Wonders provides an alternative funding model for conservation – helping us break free of short-term funding cycles – leading to more effective and efficient conservation efforts.” – Lizzie Corke, CEO

Wildlife Wonders is a social enterprise based on three key enablers: engagement, enterprise and ecology – and they adopt Ecotourism Australia’s definition of ecotourism in their operations. Through this social enterprise business model, every visitor to Wildlife Wonders becomes a part of their research and conservation efforts in protecting wildlife and nature. Their purpose in business is to support wildlife conservation and research across the region and beyond through community engagement.

We encourage Wildlife Wonders to continue their good practice in protecting and conservating Australian flora and fauna and raising awareness, especially among younger generations. We are proud to call you family!

Check the Wildlife Wonders website and Facebook page for more details on their conservation projects and tour details.

 

[All images courtesy of Wildlife Wonders.]

 

 

 

LAY WASTE TO LANDFILL: MT BARNEY LODGE RECYCLING FOR A CAUSE

For many, landfill is a convenient and final waste management solution for materials that tend to hang around longer than we wish they would. But for some tourism operators, diverting waste from landfill was the only option for a sustainable future – and it meant getting creative. The waste series ‘Lay Waste to Landfill’ explores the outstanding innovations from our ECO certified operators who go above and beyond to turn their waste management systems into a force for good. 


Mt Barney Lodge has a longstanding commitment to environmental protection and sustainable practices, so when Queensland introduced its Containers for Change program which enables people to exchange cans and bottles for 10 cents each, it was no surprise they jumped on board. Made all the easier through their groundskeeper’s efforts to collect bottles, the lodge eased into this simple initiative.

But what started as a simple way for that groundskeeper to earn some extra cash became an opportunity for one of the ecolodge’s owners, Tracey Larkin, to embark on a journey of education, creating a recycling movement amongst guests that inspired conscious recycling beyond their ECO holiday.

Mt Barney Lodge QLD MBL team

Just a couple of hours drive from Brisbane, Mt Barney Lodge is Advanced Ecotourism certified, a Climate Action Business, and will achieve Hall of Fame status in 2022 for reaching the milestone of 20 years of ECO certification. Its setting at the foot of magnificent Mount Barney makes Tracey and her staff some of the lucky few who experience Southeast Queensland’s biodiversity daily – and it makes them even more aware of the importance of looking after the area.

Over the past two to three years, the team has taken a closer look at their waste management stream. Starting with composting, they moved to soft plastics for Plastic Free July and encouraged guests not to bring plastic water bottles to the lodge. But how would they take advantage of the Containers for Change program without simply taking the profits for themselves? “You’ve always got good intentions about what environmental thing you’ll put it towards, and then it just gets consolidated,” Tracey stated. “For us, it was more [about] what can we do with this item now there’s a price tag attached.”

Mt Barney Lodge QLD MBL recycle containers

After careful consideration, the team landed on a decision to redirect the profit of each can and bottle possible to the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO), the largest environmental legal service in the Asia-Pacific. Since 1985, the EDO has been a legal force for environmental and wildlife protection, offering free or low-cost legal advice to communities, taking landmark environmental cases to court, and holding governments accountable. Tracey’s decision to support the EDO stems from a deep appreciation and recognition for the lodge’s natural surroundings, and rightly so.

“We would much rather put our 10-cent money towards an organisation who’s protecting the environment that our business depends upon,” she said.

Posting their recycling movement on social media and through e-newsletters aims to educate people on the world of good they achieve, but perhaps their most effective method of education is sending a pre-stay email that notifies guests of the expectations around waste in their ecolodge. “We are educating people before they even get there,” Tracey stated, who noticed guests taking a keen interest in their waste management efforts upon arrival. Even the lodge’s groundskeeper is asked questions as he separates and recycles waste on the premises. As Tracey says, “that casual conversation builds education.”

The Containers for Change program has also provided a clear pathway for waste auditing. “We wanted it to be completely separate so we could tag it and know exactly, down to the last can…how many tens of thousands of bottles and cans have gone into funding since,” Tracey explained.

Collection of cans in a metal crate waiting to be sorted

Over the past 6 months Mt Barney Lodge has recorded 88,450 recycled bottles and cans, equating to $8,845 in donations to the EDO – an incredible achievement.

Through coordinating with the EDO, Tracey has created the container number C10404476 that guests can enter when they return items to Containers for Change that encourages guests to continue recycling for a cause beyond their ECO holiday. “Everything we do is about everyday ECO actions,” she said, noting that Containers for Change has broken down negative perceptions on a state-wide scale that being eco-conscious is difficult and requires a lot of effort.

With initiatives like this, it’s no wonder customers are returning again and again, knowing they are in trusted hands of Tracey Larkin and the Mt Barney Lodge team to make their holiday sustainable.

Do you have a novel waste management solution that stands out amongst the rest? Let us know at [email protected] to be featured in our ‘Lay Waste to Landfill’ series. 

 

All images courtesy of Mt Barney Lodge

MELBOURNE BOAT HIRE ACHIEVE NATURE TOURISM CERTIFICATION

Looking to experience the stunning Yarra River in style? Our newest certified members may be your answer to a Yarra River cruise to remember. Congratulations to Melbourne Boat Hire, the latest addition to the Ecotourism Australia family, who we are proud to announce have recently achieved Nature Tourism Certification. Offering a range of cruises to cater to every celebration, booking an experience with Melbourne Boat Hire is not only a beautiful way to take in the stunning Yarra River, but invites guests to glide through Melbourne’s city centre for views of its iconic skyline that cannot be achieved on the riverbanks.

Melbourne Boat Hire allow guests to have as much or as little control over their Yarra River cruise experience as they choose. Whether you are looking for a tour of Melbourne’s famous landmarks, or a private celebration with family and friends, you can be sure that each Melbourne Boat Hire cruise promises luxury with an ECO frame of mind. 

Small boat sailing through the still river with tall silver skyscrapers in front

Our latest member’s fleet of electric-powered boats make these river cruises stand out amongst the rest. Without the fumes of petrol or diesel-powered motors, their fleet make waves by eliminating the pungent smell of fuel and the potential for oil spillage into Melbourne’s waterways. Electric motors also make for quiet cruising, reducing noise pollution for people and marine life, while having a lower greenhouse gas contribution over their lifetime compared to petrol or diesel engines. Melbourne Boat Hire knows how to keep the environment in mind, providing a green alternative for cruisers to celebrate events knowing they are reducing their environmental impact on the Yarra River.

There are a range of ways you can enjoy an eco-friendly cruise for seasoned sailors and those new to driving boats. Booking their Self Drive Boat Hire lets you see the sights of the iconic Yarra River with most vessels needing no license required, granting a unique perspective of Melbourne that’s accessible for all. With the chance to sail up to four hours with as many as 12 of your closest family and friends, Melbourne Boat Hire give you the option to order one of their delicious food and beverage packages available, or simply bring a picnic lunch of your own.

Couple cheersing sparkling wine glasses with cheese platter in boat

Why not try a Private Cruise? With a skipper behind the wheel that lets you sit back, relax, and enjoy Melbourne’s iconic sights, Private Cruises allow you to design your very own itinerary and scheduled stops along the way. If you just want to relax and see where a Yarra River journey takes you, leave the planning to Melbourne Boat Hire – they will create an itinerary of must-see sights for a cruise to remember. Spending a couple of hours or a full day exploring Melbourne from the comfort of a private cruise is the best way for visitors to get to know Melbourne, or for Melbournites to appreciate their city in a whole new light.

For celebrations for a crowd, Private Charters boast a 35 passenger capacity for any corporate, luxury, or casual event that is sure to leave an impression. With catering options tailored to your needs and maximum support from the Melbourne Boat Hire in making sure your celebration is just right, cruisers know they are in good hands in the large, luxury vessel Birrarung.

Melbourne Boat Hire VIC birrarung rainbow

For those personal milestones, romantic getaways, or corporate celebrations, Melbourne Boat Hire is dedicated to elevating the moments to celebrate through showcasing the natural beauty of the Yarra River and catering to your celebration needs. Congratulations again to our newest member whose Nature Tourism Certification represents their dedication to ecotourism on the Yarra River. 

 

All photo credits: Melbourne Boat Hire 

ECOTOURISM AUSTRALIA WELCOMES IRIS LODGE ALPACAS TO THE FAMILY

We are so excited to announce that Iris Lodge Alpacas, a tourism business for only 18 months, has successfully achieved ECO Certification at the Nature Tourism level. Well done! The lodge offers a great opportunity for guests to experience real life on a working farm. Guests can choose to have either a farm stay or a breakfast/afternoon tea with alpacas and can engage with day-to-day farm activities depending on their schedules and seasons. 

Alpacas 1

Even though it started as a normal farm more than seven years ago, Iris Lodge Alpacas have developed this concept of providing touristic experiences as a way of covering their farm costs. They started the farm with just two alpacas and have developed it for a farm with 60+ alpacas, two llamas, plus sheep, cows and horses. The purpose of promoting their farm experience is not only to give people an opportunity to get up close and personal with alpacas, sheep and cows, but also to explain how they have developed the farm, including what they have done to protect the environment, such as the water catchment to attract swift parrots to the farm. As a result of this water catchment, Iris Lodge Alpacas have been able to provide a home for hundreds of birds including hawks, eagles, pelicans, black swans, corellas, kookaburras, parrots and a variety of finches and meat birds. 

Alpacas standing in a field under the low afternoon sun.

Iris Lodge Alpacas have always been proud to say that they have constantly worked hard to improve their efforts in running a sustainable operation within the farm since the day they purchased the property. At the outset, it was a grazing property and barely had any trees. Since taking ownership of the property, current owner Sean Hooper and the staff have planted more than 9000 trees and grass varieties to make it a better place for farm animals as well as for other wildlife to flourish. One of their main concerns in choosing trees was to provide liveable habitats and food sources for critically endangered swift parrots living around the area. 

 Alpacas 3

Significant resources have also gone into erosion control measures and protecting Jilliby Jilliby Creek, which the farm fronts and which is a part of the local water catchment. Iris Lodge Alpacas always make sure that they harm no large trees during any of their development or expansion projects and make sure they are continuously removing exotic species such as lantana and blackberry to make more space for native species. Revegetation of areas that have been affected by previous farming activities has been one of their major concerns throughout the past few years.

Finally, Iris Lodge Alpacas’ waste management plan strictly adheres to local council recycling programmes and staff make sure no food is wasted as there is always a hungry chicken waiting for food. The farm uses solar power as a sustainable energy source and tries to only use biodegradable cleaning agents as protecting soil-based microorganisms is essential for them being a farm-based business.

Kudos to Iris Lodge Alpacas for promoting sustainable tourism practices in Australia and we expect more good practices in future. To get to know more about Iris Lodge Alpacas, please visit their website or Facebook page. 

It is also a great pleasure to announce that Iris Lodge Alpacas received $500.00 from WWF-Australia as an incentive to assist with the first year of the process.

Read more on WWF-Australia funding on Eco Certification in Central Coast – (More local tourism operators becoming ECO Certified | Central Coast Council (nsw.gov.au))

 

All images courtesy of Iris Lodge Alpacas