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Australia's best eco-friendly holidays: did you know, the world's best eco-holiday destinations are in our own backyard? In this edited extract from Explore Australia's new book Australia's Best Eco-friendly Holidays by Ken Eastwood, we check out some of the most ethical and innovative.


Sunshine Coast and hinterland: Glass House Mountains Eco-Lodge

The simple, down-market rooms here include the use of old train carriages for a communal kitchen and group area. An old church has also been recycled, and all greywater and blackwater is used on site to irrigate the chemical-free orchard that guests are invited to raid. Guests are also encouraged to plant a tree and contribute to ongoing conservation projects such as the Richmond birdwing butterfly (Ornithoptera richmondia) recovery program.

198 Barrs Rd, Glasshouse Mountains; (07) 5493 0008;

Townsville to Cairns: Jabiru Safari Lodge, Mareeba Wetlands

By staying in one of the five safari tents here, you will be contributing to wildlife conservation at the Mareeba Tropical Savanna and Wetland Reserve. Run by a non-profit trust that includes the Wildlife Conservancy of Tropical North Queensland, the 2000-hectare reserve has eight lagoons full of birds and is now one of the most important crane-roosting sites in Queensland. Two of the safari tents have solar power and gas appliances, and the others are on mains power. Barbecue packs and breakfast are provided, and there is a shared outdoor spa in the bush.

(07) 4093 2514;

Beyond Albany: Munglinup Beach Park

With advanced eco-accreditation and a quiet location to die for, this caravan park east of Hopetoun is a little special. It has wind generators and solar power providing nearly all the electricity, rotary composting toilets and an organic vegetable garden that you are allowed to raid if there is enough of something in season. There is a range of self-contained cabins and vans on site, as well as camping.

(08) 9075 1155;

Carnarvon to Port Hedland: Karijini Eco-retreat

Solar panels provide the majority of power for the 50 permanent safari tents in this eco-accredited retreat, which is owned by the Gumala Aboriginal Corporation and Gumala Enterprises Pty Ltd. Most of the tents have ensuites. There are also plenty of campsites.

(08) 9425 5591;

Dampier Peninsula: Goombaragin Eco Retreat

Built high on a cliff top overlooking Pender Bay, 160 kilometres north of Broome, this Aboriginal-owned-and-run resort has eco tents built on platforms and new chalets, primarily run on solar power and with greywater recycling. You can take on-site bushwalking cultural tours, discovering local bushfoods, creation stories and Aboriginal connections to the country.

(08) 9192 4717 or 0429 696 180;

Melbourne to Port Campbell: Cape Otway Centre for Conservation Ecology

There are not many better-thought-out ecotourism ventures than this superb multiaward-winning facility on Cape Otway. It has its own 66-hectare wildlife refuge and doubles as a shelter for injured and orphaned wildlife, including gliders, koalas and kangaroos. The hosts are dedicated to protecting, researching and conserving wildlife and offer intimate wildlife tours every day. There are only five bedrooms at the deluxe ecolodge, which includes a nature studies room and library.

(03) 5237 9297;

Kangaroo Island: Hour Cask Bay Sanctuary

Stay in luxury eco-campervan tents or camp in secluded camping spots on 200 hectares of yacca (grasstrees), forest, grasslands, samphire and hyper-saline lakes. The land is managed by a private conservation trust that plants some 9000 trees a year. The tents have solar-powered lights and ensuites with a chemical toilet. There are 20 kilometres of walking and cycling tracks, and bikes and canoes for hire.

(08) 8553 7278;

Australia's Best Eco-friendly Holidays (Explore Australia Publishing) by Ken Eastwood, RRP $49.95.
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Title Annotation:Eco-travel
Author:Eastwood, Ken
Publication:Habitat Australia
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Apr 1, 2010
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