Latest news and insights from various sources relating to UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Looking for a holiday escape on the magnificent 90 Mile Beach in the East Gippsland region with fun activities and relaxation for the whole family? Our newest certified member, Lakes Beachfront Holiday Park, may be your perfect place for your next family holiday.
We are excited to announce that this holiday park has recently achieved Nature Tourism Certification. Congratulations!
Lakes Beachfront Holiday Park is a unique holiday park, located in Lakes Entrance in Victoria at Lake Tyers Beach – only 3 hours’ drive from Melbourne. The park is set in a beautiful, quiet bush landscape, with direct access to secluded beach frontage on magnificent 90 Mile Beach, offering a full range of holiday accommodation, caravan, and camp sites.
At Lakes Beachfront Holiday Park, you can choose to simply relax and read your favourite book or explore the delights and natural wonders of the East Gippsland region. Unwind by relaxing by the pool or by indulging in golf, fishing, surfing, waterskiing, beach volleyball, bocce, tennis or long walks on the beach. Relax and enjoy the atmosphere of an open fire.
A range of child-friendly options are all set up in a beautiful and peaceful environment with Koala Kid’s Club programs in the school holiday season and other activities including; a large solar heated pool with spa and toddler beach pool, jumping pillow, playground, giant chess game and plenty of room for bike riding.
The team at Lakes Beachfront Holiday Park is passionate about preserving the beautiful patch of East Gippsland and aims to foster responsible sustainable environmental management in everything they do. The villas and cottages are designed and built with environmental initiatives to maximise energy and water efficiency. This includes ceilings constructed to make use of natural lighting, LED lighting in all rooms, solar heating, instant gas hot water systems and bore water on gardens and pool.
Lakes Beachfront also strives to improve the physical and biological environment of the park. Indigenous plants like Banksias and Tuckeroos are planted around the gardens and camping sites for biodiversity conservation to provide shelter and feed for birds and other animals during extreme weather conditions.
Holidaying with Lakes Beachfront Holiday Park supports the sustainability of the region. The team sources from local suppliers and the park employs local people. Partnerships with local, climate-friendly businesses and strictly adhering to local waste and recycling programmes are just some of the park’s other sustainability initiatives.
[All photo credits: Lakes Beachfront Holiday Park]
Master Reef Guides are scattered along the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in Queensland, residing as far north as the Ribbons Reefs, all the way down south to Lady Elliot Island. Currently, there are 13 in the Southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR), 40 in Far North Queensland, 22 in Central Queensland and 8 roaming at this time.
ECO certified Great Barrier Reef tourism operators can apply to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to become High Standard Tourism Operators. High Standard Tourism Operators receive a number of benefits, including the ability to nominate Master Reef Guides. But what is a Master Reef Guide?
[Photo credit: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority]
Master Reef Guides are striving to be the world’s leading coral reef guides sharing the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Each Master Reef Guide cohort undergoes rigorous training to achieve their prestigious title. The program is developed and delivered by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), a Protected Area Manager member, the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators and Tourism and Events Queensland, and ECO certified tourism operators with the philosophy that storytelling and reef interpretation are integral to fostering appreciation for the iconic Great Barrier Reef in travellers.
This year, nineteen Master Reef Guides were added to the Master Reef Guide family from nineteen ECO certified operators.
“We thought we were coming to learn more about coral polyps and zooxanthellae, and we have come away from this knowing about so much more, about the history of this place…” said Madison Drabble from Advanced Ecotourism certified Lady Musgrave Experience.
[Photo credit: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority]
The group spent one week on Heron Island near the Tropic of Capricorn, building on their scientific knowledge of the reef and learning storytelling techniques which will be the key to educating travellers coming to see the Great Barrier Reef each year. Alistair Chegwidden from Advanced Ecotourism certified Down Under Cruise & Dive praised the importance of storytelling after his experience, stating “This is the next step to make sure that we have someone on that boat to make sure that those guests are getting the right information and having fun.”
The Master Reef Guide program was led by world leading mentors and educators imparting knowledge from their life’s work onto future Great Barrier Reef ambassadors. The program was facilitated by Fiona Merida, Assistant Director Strategic Engagement and Fred Nucifora, Director Strategic Engagement. Expert trainers included James Cook University Distinguished Professor Sean Ulm who shared research on the coastal occupation of Australia and its cultural significance. , World renowned Cinematographer and shark researcher, Richard Fitzpatrick, Director of Biopixel, passed on his wealth of knowledge on reef biology and , cinematography and demonstrated the power of piecing this together to tell an incredible story. The field school program also featured researchers such as Dr. Jimmy White with a PhD in Marine Biology, the first to track Dwarf Minke Whales with satellite transmitters, and Dr. Jessica Stella whose PhD delved into the effects of climate change on tiny invertebrates that live in branching corals in the Great Barrier Reef. Paul Groves, Project Manager from the GBRMPA presented on The Importance of Reef Monitoring along with Peta Ross, Assistant Director, Indigenous Compliance, who gave the Master Reef Guides an unforgettable session on Cultural Awareness and the importance of Sea Country to Traditional Owners.
[Photo credit: Ocean Rafting. L-R: Ocean Rafting Skipper/Eco Host/Master Reef Guide, Toby Lodewijks, Ocean Rafting Skipper/Environmental Manager/Master Reef Guide, James Unsworth and Ocean Rafting Eco Host/Master Reef Guide, Taylor Chen.]
“The quality of guest speakers that we have had has been second to none,” stated Toby Lodewijks from Advanced Ecotourism certified, Climate Action Innovator, Green Travel Leader and Hall of Fame member Ocean Rafting. Toby’s experience in the fifth cohort of Master Reef Guides means that he joins two of his colleagues, James Unsworth and Taylor Chen, in holding this prestigious title. Certified with Ecotourism Australia for over twenty years, Ocean Rafting now has the largest team of accredited Master Reef Guides in the Whitsundays Region. “I’ve had the opportunity to meet some amazing people from all walks of life, whether that’s science based, adventure based, cultural based…” said Toby of his momentous achievement.
The program’s aim to produce experts who educate and inspire travellers is a vital part of marine conservation and comes in time with conversations on the world stage about the importance of protecting the Great Barrier Reef. The Master Reef Guide program is part of an array of concerted efforts to share the unique beauty of the Great Barrier Reef. .
Ecotourism Australia congratulates the 5th cohort of Master Reef Guides!
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
[All images courtesy of Huskee]
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.
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 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!
[All images courtesy of Wildlife Wonders.]
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.
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.”
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.
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
Athens working toward sustainable tourism by commissioning destination assessment in partnership with GSTC
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.
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.
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.
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