Responsible Wanderlust: 9 Ways to Be an Eco-Conscious Traveler Down Under

5 min read

Every choice we make impacts the planet and everyone we share it with – especially when we’re traveling. Supporting businesses with a social conscience or commitment to environmental sustainability is valuable whether we’re at home or exploring someone else’s backyard.

While traveling in Australia, seek out its eco-tours, off-grid accommodation, social enterprise cafes, green initiatives and ethically-sourced food. Most importantly, connect with its First Nations People whose profound understanding of sustainability is unrivaled.

Here are a handful of suggestions to get you rolling.

Experience the Magic of a Spiritual Odyssey on Tasmania's Forestier Peninsula

Nohoiner Adventure on Tasmania’s Forestier Peninsula is a journey like no other. Local Aboriginal healer and culture guide Sheldon Thomas, and Tasmanian adventure specialist Ben Rea, have joined forces to offer this one-day experience. Nohoiner is a physical, historical and spiritual journey into the Tasmanian landscape while also, as Rea explains, “an opportunity to explore parts of ourselves we didn’t know existed”

Sip with Purpose: Enjoy World-Class Coffee at Melbourne's STREAT Cafes, Empowering Disadvantaged Youth

Melbourne has some of the world’s best cafes and coffee, so why not pick one that goes beyond simply making a good brew. Since 2010, hospitality social enterprise STREAT has supported over 2000 of the city’s marginalized and disadvantaged young people through training and employment. Their tagline is “Tastes good. Does good”. STREAT now has four cafes, but head to their fully-licensed cafe, roastery and bakery in the inner-city enclave of Collingwood to get a full sense of the project. 

Discover the Heart of Sydney With First Nations People

You don’t really know Sydney until you’ve been on a Dreamtime SouthernX tour. “Aboriginal people invite you to come meet us,” says its founder Margret Campbell, who is a proud Dunghutti-Jerrinjah woman. The Rocks Aboriginal Dreaming walking tour is a rich 90-minute introduction to culture designed to help visitors “feel connection to our saltwater harbor environment [as they] explore ancient stories deeply embedded within landscapes”. Dreamtime SouthernX also provides employment opportunities to other First Nations People. 

Sleep for a Cause: Stay at Change Overnight in Launceston, Australia's First Social Enterprise Hotel

Every night you spend at Change Overnight, in Tasmania’s northern city of Launceston, helps to make the world a better place. Australia’s first social enterprise hotel donates a portion of what you pay for your accommodation to a local or international cause. “We are unapologetically global,” says Tara Howell, one of Change’s four young Tasmanian owners. This boutique self-check-in hotel has state-of-the-art keyless access to 18 self-contained apartments, two of which are ADA compliant. 

Ascend to Sustainable Heights: Explore the Breathtaking Blue Mountains

The commitment of Scenic World to sustainability is as awe-inspiring as the views you’ll have of the surrounding World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains from its railway, skyway, cableway, walkways and lookouts. Located in the New South Wales town of Katoomba, an easy 90 minute journey from Sydney, this third-generation family-owned business is focused on minimizing its carbon footprint and serving as an environmental steward for future generations, and is accredited by Ecotourism Australia as a green travel leader. 

Explore Australia Zoo: Home to the Crocodile Hunter's Continuing Mission for Wildlife Preservation and Conservation

Queensland’s Australia Zoo remains in the capable hands of the family of late ‘Crocodile Hunter’, Steve Irwin. Their dedication to animal conservation stretches well beyond the critters you’ll see, in the fur and flesh, during your visit. As well as having an onsite wildlife hospital, Australia Zoo funds international and national conservation projects to help save threatened and endangered birds and animals such as the cheetah, the Sumatran tiger, Queensland’s own cassowary and, of course, the crocodile. 

Unearth 50,000 Years of History: Discover Australia's Outback and Kakadu National Park with Ayal Aboriginal Tours

When you’re ‘on Country’ in Australia, you’re in the hands of a people who have been the continuous custodians of the land for over 50,000 years. Get to know the Australian outback, such as the magnificent Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory, through the eyes of its Traditional Owners. Spend an afternoon on a Kakadu Historical Buffalo Camp and Wildlife Tour with family-owned and operated Ayal Aboriginal Tours Kakadu (runs May to October). 

Gaze at the Stars Sustainably: Embrace the Night Sky at Earth Sanctuary, Alice Springs' Carbon-Neutral Star Attraction

A father and his three sons opened Earth Sanctuary just outside the Northern Territory town of Alice Springs in 2000, determined to prove to themselves and others they could create a completely sustainable tourism business. The center offers guided astronomy tours, dining and overnight accommodation. Earth Sanctuary is, as co-owner Tom Falzon puts it, “the ultimate outback location for your space adventure”. They are now 100 percent carbon neutral. 

Savor the Flavors of Tradition: Sample Indigenous Produce and Game Meats at Adelaide's Something Wild Market

Ever eaten a magpie goose pie, or tried green ant gin? Something Wild sells a range of Indigenous produce at Adelaide Central Market in South Australia’s capital city and supplies some of the country’s top restaurants. Their fresh, native greens, fruits and game meat – think kangaroo, emu, goat and crocodile – have been harvested by Aboriginal people, in keeping with ancestral tradition. Something Wild was dreamed into being by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander man and former AFL (Australian Football League) player, Daniel Motlop. 

Satisfy your wanderlust even further with our tips on life-changing Aussie experiences you won't want to miss.

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