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


Happy International Women’s Day 2021! Ecotourism Australia are proud to be an organisation driven by hard working and passionate women. EA’s Board is chaired by ecotourism expert and pioneer Dr Claire Ellis and she is joined on the Board by Directors Alysia Brandenburg, Dr Noreen Breakey, Caroline Densley, Wendy Hills, Janet Mackay and Rosie Sandover.

Now over to our members! Earlier this month, Ecotourism Australia sent out a survey asking you to share the inspiring stories of women who are shaping the future of the ecotourism industry in Australia. We would love to share the responses with you.

IWD 2021’s theme is #ChooseToChallenge, EA is committed to championing female voices in the ecotourism industry who are challenging traditional ideas and providing new perspectives. 


Sophie Teede

Sophie Teede

Environmental Manager, Busselton Jetty

Sophie is currently employed by Busselton Jetty Incorporated as the Environmental Manager. She began her tourism career in 2011 when she was employed as a Tour Guide at the Underwater Observatory when it reopened after extensive refurbishment. This role was short lived as she was promoted to the role of Underwater Observatory Manager in 2012. It was during this time that Sophie continued with her Marine Science degree and went on to graduate with honours. After the birth of her daughter Isabelle, Sophie returned to the Busselton Jetty as the Environmental Manager in 2017. Her responsibilities include overseeing educational programs, marine monitoring and research, tour guiding, further development of the Underwater Observatory customer journey and future development of the proposed Australian Underwater Discovery Centre.

“She isn’t afraid of getting her hands dirty”

Sophie and the dive team clean the windows and the brackets of the Underwater Observatory weekly. This involves her using her SCUBA diving qualifications, braving the water of Geographe Bay (rain, hail or shine) and scrubbing the eleven windows below the water’s surface for upwards of an hour. Some days are more trying than others, but Sophie always returns to the administration building with a smile on her face. Sophie’s SCUBA diving qualifications, including specialties of deep and wreck diving help her to ensure that the subsea components of the Observatory are maintained to a high standard and bring a real-world perspective to her tours.

Sophie founded the Busselton Jetty Pile Rehabilitation project in 2015. This project requires using fragments of existing corals and sponges found on Busselton Jetty piles and relocating them to new piles installed at the jetty. The project has been a huge success receiving national and international recognition. The program helps spread awareness and in turn, supports further development at the not for profit, Busselton Jetty.


Hayley Morris

Hayley Morris

Executive Director, Morris Group (Northern Escape Collection)

Hayley is the sustainability values driving force behind the Morris Group of companies, including the award-winning Northern Escape Collection ecolodges. Hayley co-founded the environmental NGO Sustainable Table in 2009 to empower people to make decisions about ethical eating and was also central to setting up the Morris Family Foundation, which grants between $2-$3million annually to projects fighting climate change, promoting sustainable and regenerative agriculture, equitable growth, just societies, and health and wellbeing for all.

As the Executive Director of the Morris Group, she has ensured that these values of investing in good people and working to protect the planet through ethical and sustainable business leadership are throughout the award-winning Northern Escape Collection ecolodges. While busy ‘walking the walk’ of running a business striving for sustainability across operations, she is also a thought leader in environmental philanthropy, having been a board member with the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network, and hosting the Deep Dive at Orpheus Island each year to promote philanthropic investment in projects to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

Hayley shows it is possible to run a successful luxury tourism business while also embedding sustainability across all operations, from big things like solar panels to small things like having no single use plastic at the ecolodges and hiring chefs who bring a sustainable food philosophy.


Monique Farmer

Monique Farmer

CEO, Women Want Adventure

Women across Australia are taking a walk on the wild side, getting back to nature to find their ‘inner wild’ and its Founder of Women Want Adventure, Monique Farmer making it happen. Monique started Women Want Adventure while working as a Physical Health and Outdoor Education teacher 4 years ago. She’s created a community that’s all about supporting, nurturing and empowering women to kick off their heels, lace up their boots and get back to nature. She’s a passionate advocate for educating women on our natural environment and experiencing the outdoors in a safe way for all fitness and experience levels. Since starting Women Want Adventure, she’s been guiding over 4800 women across Australia on hiking, kayaking, camping and a range of outdoor experience.

Monique recognized a need within the outdoor industry to encourage more women to break down barriers to getting outside and challenge themselves. She’s helped change thousands of lives, including impacting the Outdoor Industry standards for female guides.

You won’t find Monique behind the desk, she’s out there guiding trips, paddling the kayak, chatting with women on the trails, setting up tarps and immersed in what it takes to run a business with impact. She’s all about bringing women together and truly deserves the recognition of the impact she has had in women’s lives.


Lizzie Corke

Lizzie Corke OAM

CEO, Great Ocean Road Ecolodge/Conservation Ecology Centre/Wildlife Wonders

In 2000, Lizzie co-founded the Conservation Ecology Centre to develop and deliver solutions to the most urgent conservation challenges in the Otways. She works to facilitate this important work by leading a team committed to effective conservation and through organisational development, building partnerships, and engaging community. Ecotourism plays a critical role in the CEC’s funding and engagement programs – the Centre established the Great Ocean Ecolodge in 2004 and Lizzie is currently working the development of a new social enterprise ecotourism venture ‘Wildlife Wonders’ on the Great Ocean Road. 

Lizzie is the recipient of the Banksia Foundation 2005 Prime Minister’s Environmentalist of the Year award and was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2020 for service to conservation and the environment. She has previously served as a Director of Ecotourism Australia and as Chair of the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority Community Advisory Group. Lizzie and team have just launched Wildlife Wonders, a new ecotourism attraction on the Great Ocean Road supporting sustainable funding models for conservation and generating local, regional employment and business opportunities through the social enterprise aspect of the operation.


Laureth Rumble

Laureth Rumble

Marketing and Management, Pumpkin Island and Elysian Retreat

Laureth Rumble’s childhood dream took her from a small diving mecca, Sodwana Bay, in South Africa to living on Pumpkin Island in the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Her experience in hospitality was shaped by a series of family-owned restaurants, boutique hotels and guest houses where she started working as a young girl. Her spirit for adventure took her to all corners of the globe from mixing cocktails on super yachts in the Mediterranean to looking after celebrity children.

Now, Laureth and her husband Wayne have set their sights on boutique, sustainable island retreats. They pride themselves on exceeding guest expectations and providing an exceptional experience with a strong emphasis on giving people the chance to disconnect from busy lives.

Her love of the ocean, art and all things beautiful have inspired the style of the retreats and their combined passion for the environment and renewable energy have set the tone for their ethos and operational structures.

Laureth’s passion for people, her caring nature and her vision for a better future inspires her guests, the teams on the islands and friends and family.


Lisa Shreeve

Lisa Shreeve

CEO, Busselton Jetty

Lisa is a fantastic spokesperson for the ecotourism industry and uses her extensive network to communicate issues and work on solutions. Lisa likes to keep moving forward and consistently looks for new ways to improve the Busselton Jetty ecotourism model.

“Lisa does what she says she will do – every time!”

With a Bachelor of Business, a Masters in Regional Development, and Environmental Auditing qualifications, Lisa has worked in the non-profit, public sector and private sector for the past 28 years. As CEO of Busselton Jetty Incorporated, one of Western Australia’s most spectacular ecotourism tourist attractions, Lisa is committed to ensuring the social, economic and environmental sustainability of the Jetty

Lisa lives in Busselton with husband Nathan and daughter Calista, two dogs and two bunnies, with a son Cooper at University in Perth. Lisa came into tourism as the CEO of Busselton Jetty in 2015, and it is her mission is to ensure the Jetty is here for future generations.


Jess Backham

Jess Beckham

Ecoguide, tour leader, snorkel instructor and Coxswain, Polperro Dolphin Swims & Canopy of Care

Jess started her career as a research assistant with Polperro Dolphin Swims & Canopy of Care, where she would observe dolphin behaviours and collect data at the direction of PhD students. She then went on to train as an instructor, qualify as an Eco Guide and became a marine biologist in her own right.

“Jess is a natural educator and enthrals tourists, students and even politicians with her deep passion for the ocean”

As part of her role, she delivers Polperro Dolphin Swims’ Canopy of Care program to adolescents in a manner that not only brings the curriculum to life but also enables students to become custodians of their future. Jess is applauded for her dedication to ensuring access and inclusion for all abilities, backgrounds and cultures.

Being young and able to relate readily to all ages, she is especially able to ensure young people go away with hope rather than helplessness, with ability rather than inaction and with amazing and indelible memories to last a lifetime. Jess has shared her knowledge and practices within the Wildlife Act (Marine Mammals) with whale tour operators in the Pacific Islands. She has travelled widely, applied herself to studies and shared without reserve to ensure that caring for the future is a shared responsibility and something we can all contribute to.


Joy Ensor

Joy Ensor

Owner, Yelverton Brook Eco Spa Retreat & Conservation Sanctuary

Joy Ensor’s career in ecotourism started with Perth’s King Park Guides back in the late 1970’s, completing their hands-on training to become an accredited tour guide. In 1988 she then purchased a raw 100-acre bush block with her husband Simon and over the past 30 years has built it into a thriving ecotourism destination. As Joy and husband Simon developed Yelverton Brook into a predator-free sanctuary, she began offering it as a safe release site for endangered and rehabilitated injured native wildlife.

As a member of Ecotourism Australia’s Hall of Fame, educating people on native Australia is of paramount importance to Joy and she has regularly spoken at conferences around Australia. Joy was a founding member of the Skal International Bunbury/Margaret River chapter, later becoming President of the group. She has often attended National Assemblies, speaking on Ecotourism and it is benefits to the wider tourism members.

Joy was a board member of Australia’s South West, and member to the Regional Tourism Association. She believes her industry involvement importing to adding in a small operator’s perspective with a strong ecotourism focus to champion, helping people to see the much bigger picture of the impact of tourism. 

Over the years, Joy has developed Wildlife Journals for guests to record their sightings which make remarkably interesting reading. She also writes about the most popular wildlife, birdlife and fauna on their website as well as sharing live videos on their Facebook page.


[Cover photo: Shea Wittig, Dr Noreen Breakey, Nadine Schramm, Fay Dawson, Claire Ellis, Alysia Brandenburg, Caroline Densley, Wendy Hills, Janet Mackay and Alyssa Sanders]



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.

ora 2

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. 

ora 4

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.