No Butts about Detour Adventures

Advanced Ecotourism certified operator, Detour Adventures of Bathurst NSW has eliminated the possibility of their guests littering during their tours by providing smokers with portable personal ashtrays. The ashtrays are branded with Detour Adventures’ full colour logo and contact details and make for handy and practical souvenirs for guests to take home with them after the tour, also providing sensational eco-friendly visibility for their business.

Detour Adventures has taken this innovative approach to tackling the issue of cigarette butt litter with the help of No Butts. No Butts is an organisation dedicated to working towards a butt-free Australia. They are a world leader in manufacturing and distributing the most advanced, economical and intelligently designed range of stainless steel outdoor ashtrays, cigarette ash bins, personal ashtrays and Butt Bins.

Managing Director of Detour Adventures, Ian Redpath says, “Detour Adventures is proud to be fully certified for Advanced Ecotourism by Ecotourism Australia – and we take the issue of protecting our environment very seriously.”

Detour Adventures take guests on tours through a number of National Park areas in the NSW Blue Mountains region, the provision of Branded Personal Ashtrays help to ensure guests leave no trace on the fragile environment they are visiting.

“They’re our customers and we take them to these incredible locations – and it’s our responsibility to ensure that our guests take only memories and leave only footprints,” says Ian.

According to No Butts, over 1,000 Tourism based businesses across Australia are now providing No BuTTs award-winning Branded Personal Ashtrays to their guests and patrons.

Keep up the good work, guys!

Read more about Detour Adventures’ achievement here.

To find out more about No Butts, click here.

Coodlie Park achieves Advanced Ecotourism and ROC certification

PagePictures_Attraction02Congratulations to Coodlie Park for achieving Advanced Ecotourism and Respecting Our Culture (ROC) certification for Coodlie Park Farm Retreat, and for their ‘Australian Wildlife Adventures’ tours; Nullarbor Traveller, Great Australian Bight Safaris and Xplore Eyre.

images Situated on the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia, Coodlie Park Farm Retreat offers three unique accommodation types; private cottages, budget dormitories and bush camping, all with access to a private beach and peaceful bush environment. There is also plenty of Aussie wildlife that call the Coodlie surrounds home and are regularly sighted nearby.

ROC LogoCoodlie Park is also a member of YHA, making it a part of the worldwide network of accredited International Hostels, and a registered Willing Workers On Organic Farms (WWOOF) Host Farm.

Australian Wildlife Adventures offer experiences for all types. Nullarbor Traveller tours operate wildlife camping adventures between Adelaide and Perth for budget travellers, ranging from three to ten days in length. If you’re prefer a few more creature comforts, Great Australian Bight Safaris offer two to nine day, medium budget, all-inclusive, accommodated tours between Port Lincoln and Perth with a destination focus on the Eyre Peninsula. Alternatively, Xplore Eyre provides a more exclusive, personalised tour product with tailored two to eight day tours for groups of two to seven people. Each tour combines local knowlegde, fresh produce, and some amazing experiences.

There’s something for everyone at Coodlie Park!

To find out more about Coodlie Park, click here.

To find out more about Ecotourism Australia certification, click here.

Question time with Cath from Kayak Noosa

Global Eco Conference is always a fantastic opportunity for us to meet some of our Ecotourism Australia certified operators and talk to them about what our certification is doing for their business. This year, Cath Withyman of Kayak Noosa was among the inspiring business operators we met and were lucky enough to hear speak about their work.

We took the opportunity to get in touch with her following the conference to ask a few questions about efforts towards sustainability and how EA certification has benefited her business. Her responses offer some insight into the initiatives tourism operators can take to improve their business, not just for themselves, but for the benefit of the environment and the local community in which they operate.

unnamedKayak Noosa are located at Noosa on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast and offer guided kayak sailing adventures that give clients the experience of river and ocean paddling and kayak paddling and kayak sailing in the amazingly beautiful Noosa region. Kayak Noosa is owned and operated by Rod and Cath Withyman and have proudly introduced in excess of 10,000 people to the recreational activity of kayaking since 2006. Their tour products are Advanced Ecotourism certified.

Kayak Noosa’s goals for conservation and sustainability are simple:
“Do all that we can to protect and conserve the environment so that our kids will be able to enjoy and appreciate the same wonders of nature that we have.

How has Kayak Noosa been involved with conservation in the local area:

“Locally and internationally we are involved with a number of conservation and environmental projects. One example is, for the past 6 years we have been involved with the National Clean Up Australia Day activities. We make our fleet of kayaks available to the public to use at no cost. We coordinate the river clean up activities and are site coordinators for this annual event. Not only do we remove litter from the Noosa River on this day, but each day we are on the water we are picking plastic and debris out of our waterways.

“We also support our local waterway conservation groups, Noosa Landcare and Noosa Integrated Catchment Association by allowing them use our kayaks for their river monitoring and Seagrass programs.

“On a broader scale, we donate $1 from each of our Dolphin Adventure tour bookings to the Sea Shepherd Society to assist in their Southern Ocean anti-whaling operations.”

What other initiatives do you have underway or are you involved with to promote sustainability and environmental responsibility?

“Education:
All of our guides are outdoor educators, interpreters and naturalists in their own right with varying degrees of experience/expertise in a wide variety of areas. We love to share our passion, knowledge and enthusiasm for the marine environment, through interpretation and teachable moments as they unfold in a casual and laid back manner.

“We have developed a set of Marine Mammal viewing guidelines that are in line with the National Guidelines. These can be viewed by clicking here.

“We have also developed our visitor travel tips to assist our visitors in making responsible choices when they travel. These can be viewed here.

“Recycling:
Our office program is pretty straightforward. All paper/plastic/metal/tin products are separated & recycled. On the water we are always collecting rubbish, flotsam and debris, which we bring back to shore with us for disposal. Waste from our tours is separated into recyclables, garbage and compost. We strongly encourage guides & guests to reduce, reuse and recycle.

“Composting:
We compost all organic waste for re-use on our fruit and vegetable garden. Our worm farm also enjoys the benefits of organic food waste.

“Local and Organic Foods:
We organically grow most of the fruit and salad ingredients for the meals provided on our kayaking adventures. Our fruit orchard and vegetable garden is based on Permaculture principals, which helps to ensure the long term sustainability of our agricultural practices.

“Where and whenever possible, we strive to buy local and/or organic foods and support the producers and suppliers of local and organic products.

“Energy Efficiency at the Office:
Kayak Noosa’s home office is run out of a small energy efficient building constructed of rammed earth with solar power and solar hot water. All our water is harvested on site and is 100% pure from the clear skies above.

“We are currently working with the owners of the Boathouse Marina, where our Kayak Centre is located, to investigate ways to improve our energy efficiency. We are advocating for the installation of solar power at this premises.

“Gear and Equipment:
We purchase ethically sourced products and buy as locally as possible.”

unnamed

How did the Eco-certification process help your business?

“We were one of the first companies (as Aussie Sea Kayak Company) to be certified under the original NEAP program in 1997. Since then we were re-certified as Kayak Noosa in 2008 and then gained Level IV certification this year, 2013.

“We find that the process of reviewing all aspects of our business is highly beneficial. Taking a good hard look at what we do, how we do it and identifying ways we can improve is always positive. The certification process facilitates this detailed business analysis and ensures that we have the background systems and processes in place to consistently deliver a high standard environmentally focused experience.”

Once getting certified, what have been the benefits of Eco certification for your business?

“Certification for our business was a way of validating and recognising our environmental focus and sustainable business ethics. It has helped us to gain recognition and raise the awareness of our environmental efforts within our local community and most importantly to our customers.

“While our customers do not necessarily choose us because we have ECO certification, they do comment that they recognised we have achieved certification, and often ask us about the process and what the certification represents. We also use it as a talking point on our tours to educate our guests about eco certification and how they do have the option to choose responsible tourism businesses when they travel.”

What advice would you give to other tourism operators?

“Use the resources and skills of the EA team when you go through the process. They can often help with suggestions or templates. Also, don’t give up, it is a big undertaking and does take time, commitment and organisation. However, it is the actual process that is the most beneficial part of certification. It is the reviewing, planning and changes made as you go through the process that is the most beneficial part.”

To find out more about Kayak Noosa, click here.

To find out more about Ecotourism Australia certification, click here.

Blue Mountains National Park achieves Advanced Ecotourism certification

Congratulations to Blue Mountains National Park for achieving Advanced Ecotourism certification as an attraction and for their Discovery Walks, Talks and Tours products. Blue Mountains National Park joins Tidbinbilla and Yanchep National Park as the first National Parks in Australia to achieve Ecotourism Australia certification, setting a high standard for other Parks to follow.

imagesThe stunning Blue Mountains National Park is situated just west of Sydney, NSW and is part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. It boasts remarkable geographic, botanic and cultural values, including protecting sites of Aboriginal cultural significance.

Blue Mountains Discovery Walks Talks and Tours presents a vast array of talented, trained, experienced guides who will show you the best of the Blue Mountains, take you deep into canyons, or across windswept heath, scale vertical cliffs on heritage pathways next to giant waterfalls  and show you rare plants, animal hideouts, and much more. The program offers tailored walks, talks and tours for various group sizes as well as curriculum based tours for school groups.

anvil-rock-01.ashx

To find out more about Blue Mountains National Park, click here.

To find out more about Ecotourism certification, click here.

Have your say on the future of the Great Barrier Reef

The recent news that the federal government has approved a coal port expansion and dredging at Abbot Point in northern Queensland, has raised questions and concerns for the future of the Great Barrier Reef.

SkyNEWS reports the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) is yet to approve a permit to allow dredged spoils to be released into the waters. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Queensland Government have also released a draft strategic assessment and program reports on the future management of the Great Barrier Reef. The strategic assessment and reports are now open for public feedback with Reef Have Your Say, where individuals are given the opportunity to voice their opinions on the future of management of this World Heritage listed site.

The strategic assessment is the largest ever done in Australia and includes two components; Marine and Coastal, with GBRMPA leading marine research and the Queensland Government completing the assessment on the coastal zone surrounding the reef by looking at coastal management, planning and development framework.

The reports cover the Reef’s value now and how these values are being protected, both now and in the future, whilst supporting sustainable development within the area.GBR Turtle

The public consultation will be reviewed for the final strategic assessment reports for consideration by the Australian Minister for the Environment, and in 2015, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.

To have your say on the future of the Great Barrier Reef you simply need to complete an online survey or make a written submission, via email or post.

Don’t miss your chance, consultation closes on 31 January 2014.

For full details on Reef Have Your Say and how you can submit your views visit the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Website today.

2013 NSW Tourism Award winners announced

This weekend saw the announcement of the 2013 NSW Tourism Award winners and Ecotourism Australia is once again excited to see the number of certified operators taking home the well-deserved gold.

This year, nine of our certified operators took home a total of twelve Gold awards across 21 categories of eligibility. Ecotourism Australia would like to send out a big congratulations to each of our certified operators taking home awards.

We were also proud to see two certified operators make it to the NSW Tourism Awards Hall of Fame this year; Jenolan Caves: Written in Stone for Heritage and Cultural Tourism, and Moonshadow Cruises for Major Tour and/or Transport Operators.

Gold award winners for 2013 include:

Major Tourist Attractions – Taronga Zoo Sydney

Tourist Attractions – Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo

Ecotourism – Life’s an Adventure

Heritage & Cultural Tourism – Jenolan Caves: Written In Stone

Indigenous Tourism – Tri State Safaris/Mutawintji Eco Tours

Major Tour &/or Transport Operators – Moonshadow Cruises

Tour &/or Transport Operators – Life’s an Adventure

Adventure Tourism – Life’s an Adventure

Unique Accommodation – Billabong Retreat

New Tourism Development – TreeTop Adventure Park Sydney

Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism – Crystal Creek Meadows Luxury Cottages & Spa Retreat

Health & Well-Being Tourism – Billabong Retreat

Read more about the awards here.

We are moving office!

The Ecotourism Australia team is pleased to inform all friends, members and certified operators that we will be moving office on Wednesday 11 December 2013. 

map

Please update our contact details on your records to list our new details:

6/67 O’Connell Terrace, Bowen Hills, QLD 4006

Our phone number and email addresses will not change.

Please expect a delay in responses to any contact or inquiries made during the week 9 – 13 December 2013. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

In the event of emergency during this period, please call: 0427 279 414