7 Aussie travel experiences that help protect the planet
Help fund wildlife rescues in Hobart
Image: Tourism Australia
Come face-to-face with Tasmania’s unique wildlife for a good cause at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, just 30 minutes north of Hobart, where admission prices help to fund the rescue and rehabilitation of the state’s wonderous wildlife so that it may thrive into the future. Tassie devils, wombats, echidnas and Forester kangaroos are just some of the endemic wildlife you can see at the sanctuary during the day, with admission prices inclusive of a tour that runs four times daily. Opt for a night tour to spy nocturnal critters such as eastern quolls, tawny frogmouths and possums (including the rare golden variety) during their most active hours.
Where to stay: Hobart Central YHA
Support sustainable traditions in Perth
Image: Tourism Western Australia
Indigenous Australians have been practicing sustainable and regenerative land management for millennia. Learn more about the ingenious techniques utilised by the Noongar people of south-western Western Australia to nurture their Country (traditional lands) and sustain their people over generations on a cultural walking tour with Go Cultural in Perth. Not only can you expect to feel a deeper connection with the natural environment by the end of your tour, your participation in the experience also helps to support the continuation of sustainable Aboriginal knowledge and traditions for future generations.
Where to stay: Fremantle Prison YHA
Go ‘strawkelling’ in Sydney
With an estimated 8-10 million tons of plastic ending up in the ocean each year, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by plastic pollution. Sydney-based marine debris clean-up group Operation Straw invites you to do something about it by joining them on a ‘strawkle’ in Manly Cove on the Northern Beaches (typically held once a month in winter and twice a month in summer) to remove plastic straws and other marine debris. Operation Straw logs the amount and type of debris you find as part of the Tangaroa Blue Australia Marine Database Initiative, which enables scientists, government agencies, communities and organisations to use data for educational and research purposes, meaning your participation doesn’t only help to clean up the environment; it also supports science and helps to inspire positive change.
Prefer to stay dry? Pittwater Eco Adventures partners with Operation Straw and citizen science initiative AUSMAP to host beach clean-ups at Manly Cove to coincide with each strawkle event – one of their many great regenerative initiatives in the Northern Beaches area.
Where to stay: Pittwater Eco YHA, Sydney Harbour YHA, Sydney Central YHA
Pig out for the planet in Melbourne
Image: Visit Victoria
Victoria’s capital is a city on the forefront of Australia’s sustainable dining scene, home to an increasing clutch of restaurants and bars proving that food and wine can be delicious without putting the planet under unnecessary pressure. At Parcs (read that word backwards) in the city centre, chef Dennis Young repurposes ingredients destined for the (compost) bin into delicious creations, best washed down with a minimal-intervention wine. At nearby minimal-waste-focused ReWine bar, you can enjoy a sustainably-produced vino poured straight from the barrel to your glass (or into your reusable bottle). Meanwhile, part of what makes the Mexican fare so tasty at also-central Mesa Verde is the fresh produce plucked from its own rooftop garden.
Where to stay: Melbourne Central YHA
Support outback wildlife conservation in Alice Springs
Image: Tourism NT/Shaana McNaught
The Aussie outback might seem barren, but the red deserts of Central Australia brim with a surprising array of weird and wonderful creatures. Run by the Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory, Alice Springs Desert Park offers fantastic chances of spotting local wildlife and birds as you wander through three desert habitats, with visits supporting a number of conservation and research initiatives. You can also walk amongst red kangaroos, view dingoes and eyeball reptiles, invertebrates and rare or endangered critters of the night (such as the adorable bilby) in the park’s Nocturnal House.
Where to stay: Alice Springs YHA
Keep an eye on the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns
Image: Tourism Australia
Every visitor to the Great Barrier Reef can play a role in the safeguarding of this World Heritage-listed wonder by simply downloading the free Eye on the Reef app and logging sightings of marine life or incidents such as coral bleaching, injured marine life, or even coral spawning. This information is used by scientists to learn more about the natural icon and how to protect and regenerate it.
Discover how to survey the reef like a pro on a ‘marine biologist for a day’ experience offered by the likes of Passions of Paradise. Or learn more about the harmonious relationship between the reef and its Traditional Owners on a day trip to the reef with Indigenous-run Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel. Both operators hold Advanced Ecotourism and Climate Action Leader certifications from Ecotourism Australia in recognition of their advanced sustainability practices.
Where to stay: Cairns Central YHA
Hit the farmers’ markets in Adelaide
Image: Tourism Australia
Found in many Australian cities and towns, farmers’ markets aren’t just excellent places to pick up fresh local produce. They also help to protect the environment through initiatives such as regenerative agriculture, minimising wasteful packaging and reducing pollution.
Voted Australia’s ‘Most Outstanding Farmers’ Market - Readers Choice’ in the 2022 delicious. Harvey Norman Produce Awards, the Adelaide Farmers’ Market, held every Sunday at Adelaide Showground, is a great place to get a taste of South Australia, from seasonal fruits to locally produced gin. Look for Producer Guarantee certificates that identify stallholders selling products they produced themselves.
Where to stay: Adelaide Central YHA
Words: Sarah Reid
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