Today people are becoming more aware of sustainable living and the positive impact it has on the environment. Here are 10 of the best eco-friendly holiday destinations that all have one thing in common - promoting nature.
Everyone loves going on holiday, I'm pretty sure that's a fact! But everyone has a different idea of what a holiday is. For some it'll be laying by a pool and doing nothing for two weeks, for others it'll be trekking up a mountain and sleeping under the stars.
People are now becoming aware of sustainable living and the positive impact it has on the environment. Because of this, it's becoming more important to not only have beautiful spa treatments, but to also know that you're causing the least amount of impact on the environment. Here is our top 10 list of places that are both sustainable and feature something special about them.
1. Lady Elliot Island – Great Barrier Reef, Australia
This beautiful island is a Coral Cay and is situated within a highly protected Green Zone. It’s known for its stunning marine life and unspoilt coral reefs – it’s the place to go if you’re interested in snorkelling and diving. There’s a reef education centre on the island so you can learn about the marine life and history of the island.
This holiday is very much about the island and the ocean, not the accommodation - which is simple and understated. Lady Elliot Eco Resort has been awarded Advanced Eco Certification by Ecotourism Australia.
2. Bangkok Tree House – Thailand
Such amazing architecture has been used to create five very different types of stay. The 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle' ethos is massive at this stunning retreat. Bamboo plays a big part in the structure of the buildings - there’s a natural swimming pond, and outdoor showers.
The Tree House is situated in the ‘Green Lung of Bangkok’, which is the last place in Bangkok that still lives at a slower pace of life, even though they are minutes from the Skytrain. The only way to access the Bangkok Tree House is by foot, bike or boat. As part of your stay you are given a bike to get around on.
This retreat might not be for everyone because as much as it’s luxurious, it's still very natural and back-to-basics. They even suggest doing your research before booking.
3. Eco Beach Resort – Broome, Australia
This is a beautiful part of Australia and is very secluded, and quite simply breathtaking. Sustainability is key to Eco Beach Resort, with solar paneling, waste water reuse (to water grounds), and a menu put together from food they grow on site using local produce. Put simply, they have a long list of eco credentials!
Eco Beach has got most areas covered when it comes to beach holidays with stunning water, whale watching, turtle monitoring, indigenous tours, yoga, a day spa, four-wheel driving through the dunes and bush walks.
You have a great choice of accommodation, with eco villas lining the garden and fronting onto the beach. The main 'Beach House' or their 'Eco Tents' takes your holiday into official Glamping mode!
4. Luna Lodge – Costa Rica
If you’re wanting a real eco holiday where you feel like you’re part of the fight for the environment, then Luna Lodge seems to be a pretty good choice. The lodge was built almost completely with sustainable products, with locals making all the furniture within the lodge. They also only hire local Costa Rican staff, and commission locally produced art to sell in their shop. The support of their community is quite inspiring. There are regular talks given about environmental issues and massive beach clean ups. Luna Lodge runs off 100 per cent hydro energy and uses solar panels for warming shower water.
There’s an organic salt system in the swimming pool, a stunning spa and plenty of yoga classes. The tours and activities that run from Luna Lodge are endless from waterfall walks, rainforest ridge hikes, lagoon kayaking, surfing, horseback riding and gold panning.
5. Eco Camp – Patagonia
If you love the outdoors and enjoy hiking, cycling, climbing, fishing, kayaking and photography, Eco Camp looks outstanding! Eco Camp Patagonia is a carbon neutral company and they are continually working to make the camp as sustainable as possible. They use 40 per cent solar energy and 60 per cent hydro electricity.
You can stay in a Standard Dome Igloo which is absolutely stunning. The reason it’s standard is that you share a bathroom with a few others. Or you could stay in a Superior or Suit Dome, which has to be seen to be believed!
6. Aquila Eco Lodges – Grampians National Park, Victoria Australia
These lodges really are an eco experience. They collect their own water using the roofs of all the buildings, generate power with solar energy and deal with all waste on site. They use a food waste composting system and flushing compost toilets.
This is a great place to get away and unwind, go walking and visit art galleries, horse riding and cycling. All lodges are self-catering, but a list of restaurants and wineries are supplied, as well as information on where you can get a massage, etc.
7. Earthships – Taos, New Mexico
Earthships, if you’ve not heard of them before, are quite astounding. They’re quite literally born from the ground. They’re built using waste that we throw away. The main structures are tyres, tin cans, glass and plastic bottles that make up the walls, and this is all bedded in with mud and cement.
Earthships are built to be off grid with thermal/solar heating and cooling, solar and wind electricity, contained sewerage treatment, water harvesting and its own food production. If you take a holiday in an Earthship you’re going to enjoy the actual accommodation more than the surrounding areas. However if you’re wanting to get out and about, Taos is full of exciting adventures like rafting, horse riding, museums, art galleries, lake walks and climbing. A few Earthships have now been built in Australia; fingers crossed for a hotel or two!
8. Daintree Wilderness Lodge – Queensland, Australia
The Daintree Rainforest is world heritage listed and for good reason as it’s absolutely stunning! The Wilderness Lodge will bring out your inner Tarzan and Jane, with wooden cabins set deep in the rainforest above the ground and connected by boardwalks.
You’ll truly enter a different world and time. Natural spring water, which is accessed via a bore, supplies the whole resort with fresh water. The water waste, which includes showers, toilets and sinks, is dealt with using Bio Cycle which is a system that uses bacteria to break everything down.
9. Cosy Tents – Victoria, Australia
Glamping is becoming more and more popular, and Cosy Tents show us just why. You stay in beautiful European tents, all with a queen size bed, wood burner, and plenty of candles and lanterns as there is no electricity in the tents. There’s a communal fire pit and BBQ area, and you share the bathroom facilities with other guests, which has minimised the amount of structural work required.
You can bring your own food and cook for yourself if you wish too, and you can order a ‘Brekkie Box’ that gets delivered to your tent in the morning. Cosy Tents is just 10 minutes from the village of Daylesford which is renowned for its fine dining and award winning day spas, the village is bursting with arts and culture, making it sound like a very inviting place to visit!
10. Binna Burra Lodge – Queensland, Australia
If you want a genuine Australian nature experience full of adventure, then this authentic heritage listed lodge might be your cup of tea. There are a few different places to stay here: the Sky Lodges, Grooms Cottage, and there is also a rainforest campsite if you want to pitch your own tent or bring a camper van, but the Mountain Lodges have been welcoming guests since the 1930s and its popularity seems to be only getting stronger.
Activities include daily guided walks, Hatha Yoga, enjoying a communal cheese platter at the historic library, abseiling, flying fox through the tree tops, archery, spa treatments, and many more. There is also lots of exciting adventures for kids in the Echidna Club.