Whilst the world of travel is ever expanding, and fewer places off-limits for adventure-seeking travellers, we are also becoming increasingly aware of the negative impact of our love of travel for the planet. Whether it’s yearly long-haul flights to the other side of the equator, or quarterly mini-breaks in neighbouring towns and countries (or both!), it is becoming clear that our insatiable love for travelling the globe is the very thing destroying it.
This has given rise to the eco-vacation tourism that aims to negate the harmful effects of travel, or even to be an active part of the fight against climate change. There are countless destinations and activities to choose from when planning your own eco-vacation, but below we have summarised some of the best ecotourism vacations available.
When you think of Australia, you might think of Sydney or Melbourne or the Great Barrier Reef. You perhaps haven’t considered Brisbane – but that is a mistake, especially if you are interested in ecotourism!
If you want to explore Brisbane city, options like CityCycle allow you to do it in a green way. CityCycle is a bike hire company that permits you to pick up a bike from one of 150 stations around the city centre, and drop it off at any station where there is a space available. It’s very affordable, and can even be free if you return the bike within 30 minutes.
If you want to get out of the city, there are tons of opportunities for eco-tourists. From eco-safaris to zip line tours, to dolphin watching, to wine tours and so much more, Brisbane is without a doubt one of the best ecotourism places in Australia.
Krabi is best known for white, sandy beaches and coral reefs, but there is so much more for the eco-tourist to explore. You can support areas that do not receive the benefit of the tourist economy, such as Koh Klang island, a mere 5-minute boat ride from the main town. It is so tranquil that you will feel as though you’ve entered another world – and you might even enjoy a fishing lesson from the locals.
Furthermore, there’s a bike-friendly hotel which opened in September 2018. The Holiday Inn Express Krabi Ao Nang Beach has amenities to facilitate a cycling trip and supports the overall mission of ecotourism. If you’re a cyclist, then this is a must-see!
Koh Yao Noi, Thailand
Koh Yao Noi is perhaps a lesser-known destination. It is one of the bigger ‘small islands’ off Phuket, with a small population and an economy supported by farming and fishing. Tourism is not a big industry on the island, but this is changing. Visitors can travel to Koh Yao Noi by taking the direct flight from Bangkok to Phuket and then taking the ferry to Koh Yao Noi.
The Koh Yao Noi Ecotourism Club was established in 2002 to support community-based tourism on the island. If you are wondering what to do in Koh Yao Noi considering its small size, the Ecotourism Club will be sure to help! They will organise for you to see local trades, such as fishing and basket making, and will provide a homestay so you can get immersed in local life.
New Zealand is perhaps a more obvious destination for ecotourism, what with its huge eco-diversity and range of landscapes. However, it is not only the natural environment that makes it so amenable to ecotourism; New Zealand is very committed to improving its environmental record and aims to eliminate the use of fossil fuels by 2025. Even the national airline, Air New Zealand, has promised to ditch single-use plastics such as cups, lids, and bags from their flights, which will eliminate 24 million pieces of plastic each year!
There are many options for unforgettable eco-destinations in New Zealand. At the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve, keen divers can witness one of the most diverse displays of marine life and volcanic rock in the world. At the Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Reserve, one of nature’s most impressive displays of geysers, hot springs and sulphuric craters awaits ecotourists. Or at Tongariro National Park, a range of landscapes including active volcanoes, lush rainforests, desert plateaus, and icy peaks will greet adventurers.
British Columbia, Canada
For many people, Canada evokes images of wide, cold expanses of landscapes relatively untouched by tourism. However, British Columbia is the most eco-conscious of the Canadian provinces, ranking highly for energy efficiency, green jobs, and green buildings.
Furthermore, British Columbia is a nature lover’s paradise. Within this province, you can find rich forests, rugged coastline, breathtaking lakes, and national parks. Adventure-seekers will find an array of exciting activities available, such as skiing, snowboarding, rafting, and canoeing.
These are just a few of the huge range of possibilities available for the eco-conscious traveller. Whether you are looking for a beach vacation, an adventurous getaway, or to drink in some stunning scenery, there’s something for everyone in the growing industry of ecotourism today.