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

New Australia’s South West Sustainable Tourism Observatory joins the UNWTO Observatory NETWORK (INSTO)

    Madrid, 9 October 2019 – Australia’s South West Sustainable Tourism Observatory, has officially become the latest member of the World Tourism Organization’s International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO). The Observatory will work to monitor tourism in the south-west of Australia and help guide its sustainable development.    The Australia’s South West Sustainable […]


Whether you’re looking for a relaxing cultural holiday or something more adventurous, the Northern Territory’s Katherine region is a traveller’s dream destination. Full of breathtaking gorges, misty waterfalls, thermal springs, sparkling rapids and monsoon forests, there’s something for everyone to enjoy, and so many different ways do it.

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Photo Credit: Cooinda Lodge Kakadu

One of the best parts of the Katherine region is that most of its natural attractions are located just on the outskirts of town. So, it’s incredibly easy for visitors to find their way around and immerse themselves in the history, rugged beauty and culture of this majestic region. And just to make things even easier, there are some pretty amazing ecotourism businesses in the area who will help make your experiences as fun, unique and unforgettable as possible.

If laid-back is what you’re after, why not hop on a cruise and take in the serenity and intimacy of the Katherine and Daly Rivers – observing the crocodiles, turtles and other wildlife that inhabit the region’s river environments? If you’re looking for something a little bolder, jump in a canoe and get up close and personal to the mesmerising Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge.

Perhaps you’re looking to explore the cultural and natural landscapes of the Nitmiluk and Kakadu National Parks in a little more detail. How about joining one of our operators on a guided tour or hike? Not only are these an incredible opportunity to take in the region’s spectacular scenery – as you’ll be walking over rock plateaus, through woodlands and camping in areas where very few people have camped before – but they’re also a great way to learn about the fascinating history of region, its local wildlife, traditional bushfoods and the Aboriginal people’s special ancestral connection to this country.

Sounds pretty amazing doesn’t it? Check out the list at the end of this article for all of our ECO certified experiences in this majestic region or read on if you’d like a little more inspiration.


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Photo Credit: Gecko Canoeing and Trekking

Gecko Canoeing and Trekking

Enjoy sleeping under a blanket of stars and waking up to a chorus of birds (and a hot cup of coffee)? With Gecko Canoeing and Trekking, you’ll get to experience the Katherine River, Nitmiluk Gorge and Kakadu National Park at their best, with comfortable ‘downstream’ touring, incredible wildlife ‘close ups’ and some really wild walks all on offer. This passionate team runs single or multi-day river tours and trekking adventures. To find out more about their tours and how to book, check out their website now – and get even more inspired by their fantastic video gallery!


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Photo Credit: Nitmiluk Tours

Nitmiluk Tours

Nitmiluk Tours offer a great variety of experiences, including cultural safari tours, gorge cruises, canoeing trips and helicopter flights that allow visitors to experience all the natural beauty, vastness and historical treasures of the Nitmiluk region. They’ve also got accommodation in the form of caravan and camping sites and even chalets – perfect for those wanting to settle in for a couple of nights and kick back after their daily adventures. So, if you’re looking for an authentic and unforgettable holiday experience, head on over to their website for more information on all their Australian Outback Tours.


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Photo Credit: Cicada Lodge

Cicada Lodge

If you’re a sophisticated traveller looking for an authentic Indigenous and natural Australian experience of a lifetime in the heart of northern Australia’s ‘Timeless North’, you can’t go past Cicada Lodge: a sanctuary of elegant comfort, just 29kms from the historic township of Katherine. The lodge boasts a level of excellence in accommodation, service and dining and provides training programs and employment to the local Jawoyn people, safeguarding and ensuring their future and celebrating their culture. For more information on the rooms, exclusive tours, services and amenities on offer, check out their website – and be sure to check out all their exclusive accommodation packages.


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Photo Credit: Mount Nancar Wilderness Retreat

Mount Nancar Wilderness Retreat

Mount Nancar Wilderness Retreat offers an outback experience for adventurous travellers seeking to immerse themselves in the Northern Territory’s’ Top End Bush. Only a short distance away from your camp, under a thousand stars, there’s an abundance of wildlife and natural habitats just waiting to be discovered! With guided bush walking, bird watching and boat tours available as part of your wilderness experience, you can do your best to spot them all. And for all those anglers out there, there’s barramundi just waiting to be caught from the river bank. So, don’t miss out on the sights, sounds and aromas of the top end Northern Territory, check out their website for more information on how to book your next stay.


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Photo Credit: Cooinda Lodge Kakadu

Cooinda Lodge Kakadu

Cooinda Lodge Kakadu’s village style accommodation is located beneath a canopy of trees beside Yellow Water Billabong, where crocodiles and birds are seen on the flood plain amongst paperbark, pandanus and fresh water mangroves. Within its oasis-style atmosphere, Cooinda Lodge offers an inviting shaded swimming pool, bistro-style dining, bars, a petrol station and a store that offers locally-made crafts as well a wide range of essentials for touring. Click here to find out more about the newly refurbished rooms available and fantastic facilities on offer at Cooinda Lodge.


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Photo Credit: Ayal Aboriginal Tours Kakadu

Ayal Aboriginal Tours Kakadu

If you’re looking to get out and explore the area from a unique perspective, Ayal Aboriginal Tours Kakadu will take you on an exclusive tour of a rarely seen area of Kakadu. Learn about the fascinating history of buffalo hunting and take a walk around the Gabarlgu Billabong and South Alligator mangrove forest to discover more about the local wildlife, traditional bushfoods and our special ancestral connection to this country. For more information on all their tours and additional services on offer, follow this link to the Ayal Aboriginal Tours website, and start planning your next trip now.

A note of caution: remember the seasons!

While you’re planning your trip to the Katherine region, it’s important to note that there is very distinct seasonal diversity. Both the peak of its dramatic wet season and the most comfortable moments of its sunny dry season transform the region from one holiday oasis to another, providing two utterly unique adventures. So, you might actually want to plan two trips…

If you’ve only got one shot, then nothing beats the shoulder season, from August through to September (the end of the dry season). You’ll get the best of the dry season’s blue skies, but with smaller crowds, making it the best time to comfortably explore the region’s many hidden gems.

For more information on all our certified operators in the area, click on the following link to check out our Green Travel Guide and search for either of the following ‘Katherine’ or ‘Northern Territory’.

And don’t forget to check out some of our Top End and Darwin-based operators:

MEDIA RELEASE: Douglas Shire and Mount Hotham Make Prestigious 2019 Top 100 Sustainable Destinations List

Two destinations currently progressing through Ecotourism Australia’s ECO Destination Certification program have been awarded a place in the prestigious 2019 Sustainable Destinations Top 100 list, announced yesterday in Croatia.

The list, now in its 5th iteration, features destinations from 28 other countries, including the USA, UK, Canada, Germany and Slovenia.

Douglas Shire (Queensland), which also featured in last year’s Top 100 list together with Australia’s Red Centre, is joined this year by Mt Hotham (Victoria), which began its ECO Destination Certification journey only a few short months ago.

Being recognised among other world leading destinations for their sustainability efforts – all nominating destinations had to provide extensive evidence and be judged by an international team of experts – is something which both Douglas Shire and Mt Hotham see as extremely valuable:

“Being named in the Sustainable Destinations Top 100 has been very positive experience for the Douglas Shire and has enhanced the destination’s sustainability credentials,” said Douglas Shire Deputy Mayor Abigail Noli.

Mt Hotham’s Alpine Resort Management Board, which manages a very sensitive ecosystem, noted that sustainability and environmental issues are important considerations for their guests in choosing which destinations they visit.

“This success demonstrates that we are taking concrete steps to improve the management of our destination, and that we are a leader amongst our peers and competitors in this space,” Mt Hotham Alpine Resort Management Board CEO, Jon Hutchins said.

With the demand for sustainable travel experiences growing worldwide, Ecotourism Australia CEO Rod Hillman said that it’s important for destinations claiming to be ‘green’ to be able to back up their claims:

“Our most recent membership survey showed that 73% of our certified tourism operators feel that there is a growing consumer demand for certified, sustainable travel experiences. For a visitor to enjoy a truly sustainable holiday, the entire destination needs to be involved, and leadership is needed at the highest level.

That’s why we’re working closely with Douglas Shire Council and Mount Hotham – among other destinations – to develop Australia’s leading ECO Certified destinations, paving the way for Australia to be recognised as a global leader in fostering responsible, sustainable tourism industry development that is backed up by strong action and a whole-of-destination approach.”


Additional information

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Photo: Douglas Shire
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Photo: Mt Hotham


Whether you’re a homeowner, developer, designer or builder, EcoHouz takes the stress out of designing and developing eco-friendly homes. Helping to lead the sustainable living revolution by striving to inspire people to purchase responsibly and providing clients with the information, tools and services needed to live more sustainably, EcoHouz can help you whether your location is urban, rural or off-the-grid.


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Carefully considering every aspect of design, components and fabrications, EcoHouz’s innovative team facilitates a large range of eco-products and services that can reduce environmental impact while still maintaining a high quality of living for their clients without compromising on life’s little luxuries.

Additionally, if desired, EcoHouz will oversee each and every project from start to finish, managing everything from consultations and project management to searches, negotiations and selection processes. This ensures that every step of the manufacturing and construction processes is done in the most environmentally friendly way possible and that sustainable solutions are being kept at the heart of all project designs, planning and construction.

“Ecohouz is a switched-on community of sustainable solutions providers, helping to create smart houses of the future. By educating customers about the tools and services they need to become more sustainable, we believe families will purchase more responsibly, knowing their decisions are helping reduce the impact on the environment and sustaining the planet for further generations,” says EcoHouz’s Director of Eco-Performance, Andrew Blake.

So, not only do clients get to rest assured knowing their EcoHouz will be an amazing space to live, work and flourish in (sustainably!), they also get to feel good about their decision to purchase more responsibly – as it will be helping to protect our planet, children and future generations to come. 

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We’re happy to introduce EcoHouz to the Ecotourism Australia community as our newest Business Member!

For more information on EcoHouz, check out their website.


From its two beachfront campuses in Byron Bay (NSW) and the Gold Coast (QLD), registered training organisation Envirotech Education delivers world-class business technology and sustainability education to adults and youth seeking to leave a positive footprint in their chosen industry.

Through nationally accredited programs embedded with industry tools and practical projects, business acceleration and blended learning programs as well as free tutoring, mentoring and academic services, Envirotech Education facilitates domestic and international students’ career pathways, nurturing entrepreneurship and preparing them to enter the workforce.

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Established in 2008, Envirotech Education remains one of only a handful of education institutions around Australia which not only has a sustainability faculty but also offers a Diploma in Sustainable Operations and related environmental courses, such as a Certificate IV in Environmental Management and Sustainability.

A paperless organisation, Envirotech Education’s vision is to bring students into the 21st century through innovation and modern technology. Educational platforms and project based practical training allow students to proceed at their own pace, dependent on their abilities and desired career outcomes. Intakes are on a rolling basis, with study programs commencing every month.

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Other courses offered by Envirotech Education include web design and development, digital media and technology, leadership and management, business, early childhood education and care, marketing and communications, hospitality/culinary services and English language.

For more information about Envirotech Education, visit the Envirotech Education website.



Nature is everywhere, from national parks and bushlands right through to the rural and urban landscapes we live in, and that it is why it is so important, regardless of where you live in Australia. Not only is nature essential to our health, wellbeing and quality of life, our economy depends on it and Australia’s nature is so unique and diverse that we have a responsibility to ourselves and the rest of the world to protect and conserve it. 

For some people, immersing themselves in nature and basking in its beauty is enough to remind them of the importance and value of both nature and conservation. However, there are many who are looking for more hands-on, interactive and/or educational experiences.

That’s why we are grateful to have so many certified operators who are passionate about and committed to conserving and protecting Australia’s unique biodiversity and fragile environments (and why we love introducing you to them!). Going above and beyond to offer diverse experiences that help visitors connect with nature in different ways and settings, encouraging people to get involved and enhancing their desire to care for nature, helps to build and share the knowledge needed to improve its care around the world today and for future generations to come.

So, for those who are interested in conservation and would like to get involved, or who perhaps don’t know a lot about it and would like to find out more, we’ve put together a list of some our certified operators who are active in this space. We’ve highlighted the ways they are currently engaging in conservation, and how you can support them and/or get involved.

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1. Taronga Conservation Society Australia

…is committed to the conservation of native species, with active involvement in breed and release programs, habitat recovery and the rehabilitation and release of injured or orphaned wildlife. This business also helps to protect and sustain wildlife in its natural habitat and provides support for work in the field through national and international conservation partnerships, field grants and fellowships. Visitors can explore and be inspired by its growing team of scientists, researchers and keepers – with over 20 daily keeper talks and shows and up-close animal encounters for visitors to enjoy across both the Taronga Zoo in Sydney and Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo.

Find out more: Taronga Zoo / Taronga Western Plains Zoo

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2. Phillip Island Nature Parks

…are world leaders in little penguin research and also study other wildlife including Australian fur seals and coastal birds. Phillip Island provides visitors with a wide range of immersive and educational environmental experiences, including self-guided viewing options and ranger-guided tours that’ll bring you up-close and personal with the island’s marine and coastal wildlife. As a not-for-profit organisation, your visit will directly contribute to the island’s conservation efforts. And you can help even more directly by volunteering with community locals and others from all over the world to assist with their revegetation and monitoring programs!

Find out more.

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3. Pacific Whale Foundation Australia

…is an international NGO (non-government organisation) and world pioneer in sustainable ecotourism, on a mission to protect the oceans through science and advocacy and inspire environmental stewardship. This NGO shares its love of whales and their ocean home through research-based whale watching ecotours, from which the profits support whale and dolphin research, marine education for children and ocean conservation programs in Australia and around the world.

Find out more. 

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4. Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre (CTRC)

…is a voluntary non-profit organisation dedicated to the rehabilitation of sick and injured turtles. Endeavouring to help in all efforts to rescue turtles in distress, CTRC shares its knowledge of turtle rescue, rehabilitation and research, raises awareness of issues faced by marine turtles through positive publicity and teaching, promotes humane and sustainable practices through cooperation and education and seeks to positively influence government policy relating to turtle conservation and the marine environment. Join CTRC on a guided daily tour and learn about not only the history of the organisation but the journey to recovery that injured or sick turtles undergo prior to their release back into the ocean.

Find out more.

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5. Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA)

…make it easy for people to care for nature by volunteering on one of their many conservation projects across the country. With the help of volunteers from all walks of life, CVA restore, rehabilitate and manage land to support the recovery of threatened species and conserve Australia’s unique plants and animals. CVA focus on protecting and enhancing nature in places where people need it most: close to home, along coasts, in waterways, in urban places and in community spaces. 

Find out more.

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6. Birds Australia Gluepot Reserve

…is Australia’s largest community managed and operated conservation reserve, which has successfully combined the elements of biodiversity conservation and enhancement through land management, scientific research and monitoring, environmental education and sustainable ecotourism. The reserve works hard to involve visitors in its conservation efforts where possible and inspire environmental stewardship through its bird observatory, visitor centre, environmental education courses and guided tours of the reserve.

Find out more.

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7. Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park

…is dedicated to helping save Australia’s endangered wildlife from extinction. Working hard to not only keep and breed rare animals but interact with programs aimed at saving them in the wild, it also makes it easy for visitors to learn about conserving native wildlife such as dingoes, barn owls and spot-tailed quolls with its ‘conservation in action’ wildlife shows. These shows are fun and educational, with the animals getting up to their clever antics and the keepers providing lots of insightful details about the different species and their conservation status.

Find out more.

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8. Zoos South Australia (Adelaide Zoo and Monarto Zoo)

…are involved in a wide range of conservation programs including captive breeding, habitat restoration, biological surveys, conservation education, wildlife disease management and so much more! All of these are funded by the Zoos SA Conservation Fund, generated from revenue taken from the zoos’ behind the scenes animal experiences, donations and fundraising efforts throughout the year.

Find out more.

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9. Crystal Creek Meadows

…is a luxury accommodation passionate about improving its property’s biodiversity through the rehabilitation of cleared, devastated land and regeneration with native species. Actively encouraging its partners, community and guests to participate, Crystal Creek Meadows engages in projects such as tree planting on the property to support its ongoing efforts to provide habitat for native birds and wildlife. A beautiful activity to share and perhaps to mark a special occasion or memory!

Find out more.

Together we have the power to create a world where people and nature can thrive in harmony for generations to come. So, travel wisely, choose thoughtfully and be sure to check out our Green Travel Guide for more information on our certified operators and their incredible conservation efforts.


[Header image: Taronga Zoo]