• Lifestyle

Dreaming of eco family travel

5 sustainable stays to plan for

By Felicity Bonello

As our state borders begin to shutter open we are daring to dream about all the sustainable stays our beautiful country has to offer. Eco-tourism has come a long way, where you could once be assured of less-than-luxe accom, that’s all changed. And the beauty we’ve discovered is that there’s incredible lessons to learn about the natural surroundings of each stay, along the way. With a holiday on the horizon everything just feels better, don’t you think? These are a few of our favourites.

Arkaba – SA

Picture African safari meets the Australian outback, and you might just get the gist of this impressive wildlife conservancy and eco-tourism venture. This former sheep station encompasses 60,000 acres of outback terrain in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges, which is a 4.5 hour drive from the heart of Adelaide.

They’re doing a wonderful job of funding the regeneration of the land that over many years has suffered environmental damage, and they’re winning awards for their conservation programs to prove it. Between safari drives, walking safaris, family adventures, wildlife spotting, fossil hunting and dining on bush tucker, expect to spot galahs, kangaroos, emus; and get hands on with various conservation activities.

People hiking at Arkaba
An experience at Arkaba in is more than a holiday. You will also contribute to & learn about conservation projects. Image: @granthuntphoto / Instagram

Jamala Wildlife Lodge – ACT

Let’s hit the road to Canberra and visit the multi-award winning Jamala Wildlife Lodge which is connected to the National Zoo and Aquarium. The perfect combination of luxury and adventure, expect to meet some of the most incredible and endangered species on earth, while finding out how you can help their survival.

All money raised from animal encounters at Jamala Wildlife Lodge supports The National Zoo and Aquarium’s regional breeding and educational programs, with cash donations given to animal conservation in the wild and to animal welfare programs. Lions, tigers, a cheetah and bears are just a heartbeat away from the jungle bungalows, while back at the treehouse accommodation, the resort’s resident giraffe might pop his head in for a visit.

Bedroom at Jamala with giraffe
At the Jamala Wildlife Lodge treehouse accommodation, you may get a visitor. Image: Jamala Wildlife Lodge website

Tangalooma Island Resort – QLD

A sublime eco-friendly escape located just a 75-minute ferry ride from Brisbane, the whole of Moreton Island is a national marine park, home to dolphins, dugongs, turtles, whales, tropical fish and seabirds. The resort embraces environmental protection and encourages guests to visit their Eco Centre.

Run by a passionate and dedicated team of Eco Rangers, it’s here you can expect to learn through interactive experiences (yes, you can hand-feed the wild dolphins that swim up to the beach), about the importance of conservation and the protection of our natural wildlife; all the while soaking up the wonders that Tangalooma Island Resort has to offer. When it comes to accommodation, choose from hotel rooms, units, villas and apartments; they’re all set within the lush, landscaped gardens and national park, and most have ocean views.

Family adventure seeking in the bay
The whole of Moreton Island is a national marine park, worth exploring as a family. Image: @keiranlusk / Instagram

Bamurru Plains – NT

Fancy a bit of bush luxury? Then it’s time to gear up for an extraordinary bush experience in Australia’s Top End. On the edge of the Kakadu National Park, this safari lodge has access to 300km of floodplains and savanna woodland. There’s bird and wildlife on the doorstep, and Bamurru is designed to inspire a greater awareness of Australia’s unique and specialised environment. Because the coastal floodplains and wetlands of the Top End are sensitive habitats, the camp’s presence is low impact and in tune with the surrounding environment.

You can expect to go on guided walks and game drives in search of brumbies, buffalo, dingos, and wallabies; you’ll see hundreds of birds take flight, and given this area is home to one of the largest crocodile populations in the world, you’ll be captivated by the untamed wonder of this place. Guests sleep safely inside 10 rustic-chic bungalow tents—which have doors, not zippers – and are decked out with plush beds (swags for the kids!) and spacious bathrooms.

Because the coastal floodplains and wetlands of the Top End are sensitive habitats, Barramu's camp presence is low impact and in tune with the surrounding environment. Image: @wildbushluxury / Instagram
Because the coastal floodplains and wetlands of the Top End are sensitive habitats, Barramu's camp presence is low impact and in tune with the surrounding environment. Image: @wildbushluxury / Instagram

Unyoked – VIC, NSW, QLD and ACT

The whole idea of the Unyoked philosophy is to create stays within tiny cabins which have a tiny carbon footprint. It’s all about low-impact, essential-things-only holidays that aim to get you back to basics. This incredible start-up has a small collection of hidden gems found throughout Victoria, NSW, QLD and now the ACT that provide unique off-grid experiences.

You’ll choose your own adventure when you get to your stay; Unyoked feel there are too many commitments in the world already, but whether your tiny home stay is pitched high on a hill in the Byron Hinterland or somewhere picturesque in the Southern Highlands you can expect privacy, respite from the world you’ve just escaped and a tiny home that’s fitted with all your eco-essentials.

Unyoked eco cabin
Unyoked have created stays within tiny cabins which have a tiny carbon footprint. Image: @terencechinphotography / Instagram

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