Registrations Open For Clean Up Australia Day 2015

Clean Up Australia Day 2015 is quickly approaching – the event will take place Nationally on Sunday the 1st of March 2015.

Last year, Clean Up Australia Day saw 572,406 volunteers collect 15,708 tonnes of rubbish across 7,140 sites across Australia. This year, Clean Up Australia is celebrating 25 years of volunteer action with the theme “Put Yourself in the Picture”, and registrations are now open!

There are a number of ways you can get involved:

Join a site: You can volunteer to join an exiting registered Clean Up site.

Register a Clean Up site: Do you know of an area near you that could do with some TLC? You can register a Clean Up site on behalf of your team/school/business/group.

Donate: You can show your support by making a donation to Clean Up Australia, or by Sponsoring a Clean Up site.

The Ecotourism Australia team will be Joining the Clean Up site at Gardens Point Mangroves in Brisbane CBD to volunteer and lend a helping hand!

How will you be getting involved?

Do You Have Second-Hand Glasses To Donate?

Advanced Ecotourism and Climate Action certified operator Tri State Safaris are collecting second-hand eye-glasses to donate to the people of the Yasawa Islands of Fiji.

Owner/Operators, Michael and Joanne McCulkin, travel often to Fiji’s Western Division, the archipelago where Yasawa Islands are situated. Through their travel experiences they have found that poor eye-sight is a common condition in the local people, and often those affected cannot afford glasses.

Michael and Joanne have decided to help. During 2015, Tri State Safari will be collecting donations of old, damaged and un-needed prescription or reading glasses from around Australia to deliver to the people of the Yasawas. By donating your old glasses, you can help make a difference to the lives of people who need them. Donated glasses are cleaned and repaired by experts who have volunteered their time to the cause.

Tri State Safaris is an multi-award winning tour operator, based at Broken Hill in NSW. They operate 4WD tours for small groups in Broken Hill and surrounding National Parks, the Simpson Desert, and the Kimberley.

Tri State Safaris invite anyone to send their donated glasses to their office in Broken Hill:
P.O. Box 867, Broken Hill, NSW 2880

They also encourage their guests to bring their second-hand glasses on their next tour. To find out more about their tours, visit their website.

Surf Instructors Save Drowning Girls On Victoria’s Surf Coast

Surf instructors from Advanced Ecotourism certified tour operator, Great Ocean Road Surf Tours, rescued three people from drowning in a dangerous rip at Urquharts Bluff, near Anglesea Victoria recently, receiving much praise.

Two young girls, aged 12 and 14-years, were part of a family group who were swimming at Urquharts Bluff, about 5km east of Anglesea around 10am on January 7th. The particular stretch of beach is notoriously dangerous, with currents or rips between 200-300 meters offshore, and the conditions at the time were hazardous. “There are signs warning people of the dangers,” said Sgt Warburton, referring to signage on the beach. According to reports family members had tried to help the girls, but found trouble themselves in the dangerous rip. Further down the beach, another man also required assistance, and had to be pulled back to shore.

Fortunately on this day the Surf Instructors from Great Ocean Road Surf Tours were due to hold a class on the unpatrolled beach, and prevented a double drowning by paddling out on their boards to save the struggling swimmers. Two people have died at Surf Coast beaches in the past fortnight, the girls were very lucky. Rescue helicopters were called to the  scene before the victims were transported via ambulance to Geelong Hospital, both girls were in a stable condition and treated for exhaustion and having swallowed a lot of water.

Ecotourism Australia commends Great Ocean Surf Tours and their instructors for their bravery, quick thinking and fast acting – you’re everyday heroes!

Great Ocean Road Surf Tours is a surf school offering a range of surf tours from Melbourne, Torquay and Ocean Grove. To find out more about their tours, click here.

To read more about the rescue in the Geelong Advertiser, click here.

Charter 1 Achieves Advanced Ecotourism Certificaton

Congratulations to Charter 1 for recently achieving Advanced Ecotourism certification for their tour products:

  • Abrolhos Islands Liveaboards
  • Carnac Island Eco Tours
  • Rottnest Island Eco Tours
  • Sunset Sails

Charter 1 are based at Fremantle, Western Australia and run eco tours, snorkel trips and extended liveaboard eco cruises to Rottnest and Carnac Islands, as well as the Swan River, over the summer months and the Abrolhos Islands from April – June. Guests experience a range of activities while onboard, including; snorkelling, wildlife/marine-life viewing, diving, fishing, sightseeing, kayaking and stand-up paddling. They operate their tours with two vessels, a 14.5m purpose built snorkel vessel, and Capella, is a 12.5m luxury, eco-designed sailing catamaran.


Owner/operators, Sarah and Matt have adopted a number of sustainable practices and offer high standard interpretation and educational elements within their tours. They say “It is our vision to be able to share … experiences with you as we take you on journeys to places near and far which will leave you with memories of a lifetime.”

For more information on Charter 1, click here.
For more information on Ecotourism certification, click here.

Tasmania To Open National Parks To Development By Tourism Enterprises

Like most States and Territories in Australia, Tasmania is seeking Expressions of Interest from tourism operators to develop tourism enterprises within their National Parks.

Ecotourism Australia supports sustainable and responsible tourism development within National Parks but only if it:

  • Follows appropriate guidelines and safeguards to ensure there is an acceptable balance between conservation and use, and it
  • Provides the tourism enterprise with a clear opportunity to succeed.

At a minimum it should follow strict guidelines, like the Tourism in Australia’s Protected Areas Forum’s (TAPAF – a group of representatives from State and Commonwealth park and tourism agencies) “Best Practice Guidelines for Eco-Opportunities in Protected and Natural Areas”. These guidelines were developed by the Parks and Tourism Agencies themselves and provide an excellent basis for a consistent approach across States. They are designed to ensure conservation and tourism outcomes are delivered through sustainable tourism operations that continue to enhance Australia as such a desirable and unique tourism destination.

Although the guidelines are an excellent starting point they should be expanded to address important issues:

  • How should existing ‘pioneer’ operators be treated (operating outside the Park) – How to recognise those who initially created the attraction without limiting competition and new ideas?
  • What happens if the enterprise fails? Who is responsible for the clean-up or dismantling of the impact and infrastructure of the enterprise?
  • It doesn’t require Park based tourism operations to maintain a framework to measure success in meeting environmental, social and economic goals (triple bottom line) – such as eco certification.

The previous policy of tourism development adjacent to Parks has proven to be a serious issue to Park Managers where the Park is expected to cater for the ever increasing needs of the tourists as a development outside the Park grows. The Park itself has to develop infrastructure, services and the associated maintenance without any tangible financial benefit. Bringing the tourism industry, conservation, Indigenous groups and government together through mutual benefit should provide better conservation and cultural outcomes whilst improving the visitor experience.

Read more about the plans to open Tasmania’s National Parks to development, here.

Global Eco Heads West in 2015

The 23rd Annual Global Eco Conference will be staged on Rottnest Island, Western Australia 17 – 19 November 2015.

Announcing the Rottnest Island venue, Ecotourism Australia CEO, Rod Hillman said the sustainability initiatives on the Island and Western Australia’s leading work in marine ecotourism would make for an excellent location for Global Eco.

The conference was last held on Rottnest Island in 2001 in the wake of September 11 and the collapse of Ansett Airlines. “Delegate numbers were down but it was was the most amazing conference. Delegates used unconventional meeting rooms (like the picture theatre with its canvas chairs); were issues with push bikes, and did a circumnavigation of the Island,” said Global Eco Convenor Tony Charters.

The conference is being supported through the generous assistance of Tourism Western Australia, the Rottnest Island Authority and the Department of Parks and Wildlife.

Registrations for the conference are NOW OPEN.

Please visit the Global Eco website for further information.

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