There are many amazing eco-friendly locations all over the world, and Australia is among them. This is a country with both big urban centers and untouched natural landscapes. From diving the coral reefs, to walking the sacred Aboriginal land and meeting the diverse wildlife, Australia has national parks full of flora and fauna that will leave you breathless. Here’s a list of the top 10 eco-friendly locations in Australia for mindful travelers who want to experience the unbelievable beauties of our planet.
The Daintree Rainforest is part of the Wet Tropics of Queensland UNESCO World Heritage Site, covering around 1,000 square miles of land. The area is full of waterfalls, sandy beaches, mountain peaks, valleys and forests among some of the oldest on the planet. This is also home to a large percentage of frogs, reptiles, marsupials, bats and butterflies.
Aside from the rare Bennett’s tree kangaroo, the rainforest also includes wonderful bird life native to the area. This includes Mountain Thornbills, Victoria’s Riflebirds, Lovely Fairywrens, and Pale-yellow Robins, as well as a rare species known as the Southern Cassowary. This is the perfect place for ornithologists and bird lovers who want to witness unique and extraordinary species.
When in Sydney, find some time and go to the Blue Mountains National Park, located only 50 miles from the city. The Blue Mountains is under a eucalyptus forest that emits blue haze, hence the name. A favorite spot for hikers and nature lovers, the Blue Mountains have numerous rivers offering beautiful views.
Be sure to check out Three Sisters Peak, the most famous landmark in the Blue Mountains, and Mount Werong, standing 4,000 feet above sea level. With 37 bushwalking trails, this is the ideal place to turn a visit to Sydney into an active holiday. Lastly, Scenic Skyway is one of the interesting features allowing hikers to walk on a glass floor over the ravine and through the rainforest.
Kosciuszko National Park
Kosciuszko National Park (about a five-hour drive from Sydney) is part of the Australian Alps National Parks and Reserves and covers some 2,700 square miles. The park is named after Mount Kosciuszko, the highest mountain on the continent, but other peaks are prominent here as well like Mount Jagungal and Bimberi Peak. These high mountains make this park the most desirable spot for alpine skiing, but be sure to dress warm because temperatures tend to be below freezing.
Alternatively, the summer months are picturesque and the whole area blooms, causing hikers from all over the world to flock and enjoy the alpine scenery. You may even encounter a herd of wild horses or endangered animals like the dusky antechinus or the mountain pygmy possum.
Kakadu National Park
Kakadu National Park consists of floodplains, hills, basins, lowlands, estuaries and four major river systems, which make it a wonderful place for nature lovers. The area has rich wildlife includeing more than 280 bird and 60 mammal species.
However, this is also the land of Aboriginal people who have been living here for 20,000 – 40,000 years. You will find over 5,000 art sites belonging to the indigenous culture. There are 500 Aboriginal people living here and the land is being given back to them thanks to the 1976 Aboriginal Land Rights Act.
Hunter Valley is the oldest wine region in Australia, full of family-owned wineries and beautiful scenery. Visitors can book one of many Hunter Valley packages which include wine tours and accommodations surrounded by the amazing greenery. There are various activities here besides wine tasting and fine dining, like skydiving, hot air balloon rides and horseback riding, for the more adventurous.
Barrington Tops National Park is situated in the upper Hunter Valley and is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area where you can go hiking on one of its many trails. Namely, the Aeroplane Hill Walking Track will take you through wetlands and woodlands and the Antarctic Beech Forest Walking Track winds through the gum forest.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park or simply Uluru is a sacred land of the Anangu people who live here and take care of it. The big red rock is now an iconic landmark of Australia which attracts thousands of tourists every year wanting to learn more about its rich culture. But beware! The Anangu people discourage the practice of climbing the rock since it has spiritual significance in their culture and also strong winds on the top can be quite dangerous.
Besides rich animal life and wonderful landscapes, you will also learn about the area’s history from the Anangu guide. There are ancient petroglyphs here which are thousands of years old and you can see them during many tours.
Freycinet National Park
Tasmania is an island state full of natural wonders and Freycinet National Park is one of them located on the east coast. It is famous for pearly white beaches, pink granite mountains and amazing blue seas covering 65 sqare miles of land. One of the best Australian beaches, Wineglass Bay is located here and you can hike to the Hazard Ranges to observe the whole area.
Surfing, rock climbing, bushwalking, and sea kayaking are very popular activities here, although if the time is right you can swim with dolphins as well. Wildlife is diverse and you will quite possibly see the famous Tasmanian devil, wallabies, and wombats. There is an eco-lodge in the park for those who like outdoor activities like camping and want to spend their nights in the astounding scenic ambiance.
Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world located north of Brisbane. This is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a top location for families going on vacation and backpackers. The area has more than 100 freshwater lakes like Lake Wabby and Lake McKenzie which are popular tourist destinations.
Additionally, Fraser Island has land under mangrove forests, rainforests, beaches, and cliff formations which offer diverse ecosystems to explore. Besides more than 300 bird species, explorers can spot saltwater crocodiles, flying foxes, and cute swamp wallabies. Furthermore, one of the last dingo families calls this area its home while marine life is full of dugongs and tiger sharks.
Whitsunday Islands consist of 74 islands on the tropical coast of Queensland. The park is full of secluded beaches ideal for those looking for crystal clear waters and sunbathing. Whitehaven Beach is the most popular and in 2010 CNN named it the most Eco-Friendly Beach in the World.
Favorite activities here are snorkeling and scuba diving thanks to the diverse marine life, although cruising the islands is popular as well. From May to September every year, humpback whales use the area as a calving ground and attract tourists who want to admire these gorgeous animals. Because of the magnificent colors of the soft white sands and turquoise sea, the area is often referred to as tropical paradise.
Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most important ecological spots on the planet with 900 islands and 3,000 reefs covering 133,000 sqare miles of the ecosystem. Diving and snorkeling are not only popular but mandatory here if you want to meet the magnificent marine life. The Queensland coast is full of mangroves and salt marshes where saltwater crocodiles and frog live.
Besides sharks, stingrays, sea turtles and almost 5,000 species of mollusks, the area is also home to 1.5 million birds. Unfortunately, due to pollution and climate change, the Great Barrier Reef has started to decay but Australia is doing everything it can to keep it alive.
All in All
It is very hard to decide where to travel to Australia since the country is full of diverse ecosystems rich in natural beauty. Some locations require a one-day trip while others require several days to explore and discover their secrets. However, these top 10 eco-friendly locations will keep mindful travelers occupied and satisfy their thirst for adventure.
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