Post-pandemic Australia needs regenerative travel. Sustainable travel — which aims to minimise or counterbalance the negative impacts of tourism on the environment and local communities — does well to help reduce our impacts when on the road, but we must take the themes of sustainable travel and expand on these even further if we are to reach our climate goals fast.
The future of travel must leave our environment in a better state than we find it, by fostering greener, smarter, and less-crowded travel experiences. It’s possible to travel and care for the environment at the same time, it just takes a little planning and work to understand one’s impact.
In Australia, the need for eco-friendly, sustainable and regenerative travel experiences has never been greater. Following the devastating bushfire season of 2019/2020 and the events of the global pandemic that followed, the Australia tourism industry needs our support now, more than ever, to help make up for lost time and no-show visitors.
Thankfully, getting Australians to explore their own backyards is no hard task. In fact, recent travel data would show that 53% of Aussies want a holiday in the next six months, and the great news? We’re more excited than ever to get out there and explore all there is to offer in our own beautiful country — from our global cities and white sand beaches to the Red Centre and pristine coastlines.
Below, and with the help of Tourism Australia, we’re helping you embark upon your next holiday from a considered and thoughtful place. Here are five ways to ensure an eco-friendly holiday in Australia.
1. Seek out sustainable getaways
Australia is brimming with eco-friendly hotel experiences and sustainable accommodation offerings. If you know where to look, you can ensure a truly one-of-a-kind stay in unique dwellings like off-grid tiny homes, luxury lodges, even all-inclusive eco-retreats.
“Eco-conscious travellers looking to minimise their footprint will find a huge range of eco-friendly accommodation options on offer, with operators providing responsible and educational stays, that respects both the natural environment and the traveller,” Tourism Australia says.
To find your next stay, check out the Luxury Lodges of Australia collection. The curated guide showcases properties in every state, including New South Wales’ Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, which in addition to being the world’s first carbon-neutral hotel, also boasts locally-sourced culinary experiences, and lets guests take part in conservation efforts — from tree-planting to wombat spotting.
2. Travel by foot
When you can, consider taking the slow approach to take in natural landscapes by foot. “Not only is this method of transport particularly health-conscious, but eco-friendly courtesy of its minimal carbon footprint,” Tourism Australia says.
Australia has countless walking tracks that vary in length and degrees of difficulty — from six-day treks like the Overland Track in Tasmania to mountain climbs and trails through green valleys.
You can find your next walk at the Great Walks of Australia site. Discover trails of all types, some of which include eco-camping spots, food experiences, and views for literal days.
3. Take a tour with a local Aboriginal guide
In what Tourism Australia considers perhaps “the richest of all travel experiences available in Australia”, an Indigenous experience held by a local Aboriginal tour guide is a meaningful way to enhance any travel experience while supporting local communities and helping to preserve the oldest living culture in the world.
“Steeped in creation stories that interconnect spirituality, the land, social life and care of the environment, passed down for tens of thousands of years — the Aboriginal culture has endured the ages to become the oldest living culture on the planet today. What is even more remarkable is that the preservation of Aboriginal culture is largely attributed to the art of oral storytelling through verbal teachings, song, music, art, dance, ceremony, and ritual,” Tourism Australia says.
A culture so intrinsically connected to Land, an Aboriginal tour experience will teach those who take part the significance of a sense of connection to the natural environment.
Check out these Indigenous travel experiences around Australia.
4. Dine at Australia’s sustainable restaurants
When choosing restaurants to eat at on holidays, look for those doing right by the environment by growing their own produce, foraging seasonal, local and Indigenous ingredients, and employing local staff.
“With a shift towards zero-waste, a wave of new sustainable restaurants are curating their menus to make the most of their seafood, meat and produce. The best part? They’re doing so in a classic Aussie, a no-fuss style that showcases the food at its finest — fresh, simple and unpretentious,” says Tourism Australia.
The best way to find sustainable restaurants is to read up about their values, chefs and menus. With the new wave of sustainable restaurants entering the landscape all over Australia, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
5. Offset your emissions
You may have thought to offset your emissions while travelling by plane via the checkbox at the end of the checkout (still, only around 1% of travellers actually do this). But while offsetting your emissions on flights is important, you don’t need to travel by air to do this.
You can make donations at any time to offset your personal carbon emissions, made via car travel, for example, through companies like Greenfleet. Offsetting groups like these invest your money in offset programs, which may involve the planting of new trees, forest conservancy, or investing in sustainable energy sources like solar and hydro energy.