Congratulations To Ocean Park Aquarium

Congratulations to Ocean Park Aquarium for achieving Ecotourism certification for their Aquarium Tours and 4WD Adventure Tours.

Ocean Park is an award-winning, Eco-friendly aquarium located on the shores of the Shark Bay Marine Park in Western Australia. Guests may explore the wonders of the marine park with a marine scientist on a fun, highly educational guided tour of the aquarium. In the company of a marine scientists, guests are guaranteed a fun and highly educational experience, as they watch shark feeding, meet rescued sea turtles, and see venomous sea snakes and stonefish. Alternatively, guests can take a 4WD tour exploring the rugged terrain of the World Heritage listed Shark Bay, Steep Point, and Francois Person National Park on a fully guided eco tour.

Ocean Park Aquarium has a comprehensive Environmental Policy to ensure they operate in the most sustainable way possible. The Ocean Park is powered by one of the largest private solar installations in Western Australia, generating 273 kilowatt hours each day. The installation powers the parks lighting and pump systems, as well as a reverse osmosis desalination unit for generating fresh water. The educational guided tours of Ocean Park Aquarium engage the public in sustainable thinking by promoting ecosystem understanding. They also look out for the environment in which they operate by contributing to the conservation objectives of the Shark Bay World Heritage Area, Shark Bay Marine Park, Francois Peron National Park and Edel Land. The Ocean Park is also a rehabilitation centre for injured marine reptiles, working with the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife to care for injured marine life and release them back into the wild.

To find out more about Ocean Park Aquarium, please visit their website.

Congratulations To Sugarbag Safaris!

 Congratulations to Sugarbag Safaris for achieving Respecting Our Culture (ROC) certification, and Ecotourism certification for their 5 Day Kakadu, Katherine & Litchfield Tour, and Private Tours.

Operating out of Darwin in the Northern Territory, Sugarbag Safaris take guests on unforgettable Private tailored or 5 Day Tours visiting World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park, Litchfield and Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Parks, and Arnhemland. Sugarbag Safaris are privately owned and expertly led by award-winning EcoGuide of Australia certified guide, Hamish Clarke. Guests enjoy his 17 years of guiding experience, and eclectic local knowledge of the flora, fauna and culture of the Top End.

Hamish is dedicated to developing in his guests an appreciation for the natural wonders and Traditional Indigenous Culture of the Top End while identifying the environmental impact of human influence. He works closely with National Park Agencies to conserve the environment in which he operates, participating in conservation programs and reforestation, feral animal and erosion control, and monitoring programs. He also supports local initiatives in the best interest of sustainable development and preservation of the natural environment. His close personal relationship with the local Indigenous community also guarantees a quality, genuine cultural experience.

Whether your interest is bird watching, nature and wildlife photography, bushwalking, bush tucker, local history or just soaking in all the Top End has to offer, Hamish’s expertise will ensure you an in-depth experience like no other. Hamish is renowned for his commitment to customer safety, passion for the outdoors, his sense of humour – as well as for cooking up a mean steak over the coals!

To find out more about Sugarbag Safaris, visit their website.

Congratulations To Wakarla Glass Gorge Tours

Congratulations to Wakarla Glass Gorge Tours for achieving Nature Tourism Certification for their Camping Accommodation and Tag Along Tours.

Situated just five hours north of Adelaide in the Flinders Ranges, Wakarla Glass Gorge Tours offer guests the opportunity to explore the spectacular landscape and learn about the fascinating Indigenous history attached to the area, led by local Adnyamathanha guides, Reg and Auntie Enice.

Discover authentic Indigenous arts, history and culture while listening to Reg and Auntie Enice share the Dreaming Stories of their ancestors. Guests on tour have private access to the historic Oratunga Station in the Northern Flinders Ranges, and enjoy the opportunity to see ancient rock engravings, not assessable to the general public. Also available are Bush Camping or Shearers Quarters accommodation for the ultimate outback experience; join Reg and Auntie Enice around the camp fire as they share their stories and knowledge of the Flinders Ranges.

Wakarla Glass Gorge Tours operate with the principle aim to avoid environmental harm and minimise their impact, while maximising care for the environment and guest experience. They strive to continually improve their environmental performance, and regularly support local communities and organisations with established environmental programs and policies, like land management and catchment groups. The in depth interpretation offered on their tours educate guests to develop an appreciation and understanding of the Flinders Ranges and reduce their environmental footprint in sensitive bush areas.

Discover your adventurous spirit on popular walking trails around Wilpena Pound, watch as eagles soar overhead and spot the rare and threatened yellow footed rock wallabies hidden in rocky outcrops.

To find out more about Wakarla Glass Gorge Tours, visit their website.

Cobbold Gorge Tours Achieve Advanced Ecotourism Certification

Congratulations to Cobbold Gorge Tours for achieving Advanced Ecotourism certification for their tour products and accommodation.

Cobbold Gorge tours has achieved Advanced Ecotourism certification for:

  • Cobbold Gorge Tour
  • The Ultimate Outback Adventure Tour
  • Robin Hood Cattle Station Experience
  • Cobbold Gorge Village (Accommodation)

Cobbold Gorge is situated deep in the heart of the Gulf Savannah region of Far North Queensland, only a six hour drive from Cairns and Townsville. Cobbold Village offers all of your modern comforts, as well as modern en suite cabin accommodation, and RV and caravan friendly camping facilities, while the unique environment boasts a spectacular landscape, North Queensland wildlife and birdwatching, for the ultimate Outback Queensland experience.

The protected Cobbold Gorge area is accessible only by guided tour. Cobbold Gorge Tours take guests to explore the ancient geological landforms on their awe-inspiring and educational, guided tours of the vast sandstone gorge. Then to ice the cake of your outback experience, the Robin Hood Cattle Station Experience offers a rare opportunity to experience life on a working cattle station! Cobbold Gorge is an ideal weekender destination for the whole family to enjoy.

In the establishment of Cobbold Gorge Tours the main criterion was, and is to this day, that the operation is conducted with minimum impact on the environment. In line with this commitment, they conduct their business in accordance to an outstanding and strict Environmental Policy. The 4720 hectare Cobbold Gorge Nature Refuge was established in 2009 through a voluntary, formal agreement with the Queensland Government. The agreement acknowledges a commitment to manage and preserve the land, which holds significant conservation and cultural values, while allowing them compatible and sustainable land uses to operate their business. Cobbold Gorge Tours is also an accredited Savannah Guides Station, whereby accredited guides foster ecologically sustainable, interpretive tourism and demonstrate high standards of operation. They also work in collaboration with Australian National University to classify and register fauna in the Cobbold Gorge Nature Refuge, which has lead to the discovery of a previously unidentified species of velvet tailed gecko which is to be named in honour of Cobbold Gorge. Through these efforts, their Advanced Ecotourism certification has been well-deserved.

To find out more about Cobbold Gorge Tours, please visit their website.

Image: Cobbold Gorge Staff proudly showing off their Advanced Ecotourism certificate

Congratulations To Peninsula Hot Springs

Congratulations to Peninsula Hot Springs on achieving Nature Tourism certification for their Natural Thermal Mineral Spring Baths that offer a great opportunity for guests to enjoy nature and relax.

Officially opened in 2005, Peninsula Hot Springs (PHS) is the first natural hot springs and day spa centre in Victoria, located just 90 minutes from Melbourne on the Mornington Peninsula. Natural thermal mineral waters flow into more than 30 pools, private baths and other bathing experiences from a geothermal aquifer 637 metres below the surface. Peninsula Hot Springs is a multi-award winning ecotourism attraction that sees more than 440,000 visitors per year. Entering the bathing area is like stepping into another world, a sanctuary where mind and body can relax in the beautiful natural surrounds.

Peninsula Hot Springs focuses on balancing the relationship between business and environment, incorporating sound environmental practices into every facet from initial construction through to daily management. They work towards the ultimate goal of developing an ecotourism facility which is recognised as a world leader in environmentally sound, minimal impact resort management. Well on their way to achieving this goal, they have introduced projects and policies for the protection and re-vegetation if their surrounding indigenous landscape, weed and pest management, protection of potential Aboriginal archaeological sites, waste, water and energy consumption.

Peninsula Hot Springs have also developed a climate change action policy through the engagement of an environmental consultant, which promises to educate guests on relevant environmental issues and climate change, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate their environmental impact, and sourcing local, sustainable produce and engaging sustainable service providers.

To find out more about Peninsula Hot Spring, please visit their website.

A third of all 2014 Qantas Australian Tourism Award Winners are ECO certified!

Ecotourism Australia certified operators took home a third of all awards at the 2014 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards, presented at a Gala dinner in Adelaide last week.

The Qantas Australian Tourism Awards celebrate the epitome of excellence in the Australian tourism industry. A broad and diverse range of tourism businesses enter their state and territory Tourism Awards, the winners of which progress through the National Awards as finalists.

This year, Ecotourism Australia proudly sponsored the Ecotourism category, and we were pleased to see that all finalists in the Ecotourism category were ECO certified. Further more, over 40% of all eligible finalists across all categories were ECO certified! The National awards are a clear demonstration of the high calibre of operators choosing Ecotourism Australia and joining a network committed to sustainable best practice and premium quality experiences.

Ecotourism Australia certified operators won a total of eight Gold awards, ten Silver and seven Bronze, including all awards across the following categories:

  • Major Tour & Transport Operators
  • Adventure Tourism
  • Ecotourism
  • Tourist Attractions
  • Australian Tourism Legend

Also to be commended are Advanced Ecotourism certified Pennicott Wilderness Journeys. They took home two Gold awards for their product Bruny Island Cruises in the Ecotourism and Tourist Attraction categories, Gold for their product Tasmanian Seafood Seduction, the prestigious Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism, and saw Robert Pennicott named an Australian Tourism Legend!

“In an age where quality is king, customers are increasingly choosing credible and authentic operators that can demonstrate their sustainability and commitment to high quality experiences. The sheer number of ECO certified operators recognised at these awards is a clear indication of this trend to quality” says Rod Hillman, Chief Executive.

We would like to congratulate and commend all of our certified operators for their phenomenal achievements in this years’ Awards program. Here is a full list of our certified award winners:

Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism: Pennicott Wilderness Journeys (Advanced Ecotourism)

Australian Tourism Legend: Robert Pennicott (Pictured)

Major Tourist Attractions
Silver: Taronga Zoo (Advanced Ecotourism)

Tourist Attractions
Gold: Bruny Island Cruises (Advanced Ecotourism)
Silver: Taronga Western Plains Zoo (Advanced Ecotourism)
Bronze: Capricorn Caves (Advanced Ecotourism)

Ecotourism
Gold: Bruny Island Cruises (Advanced Ecotourism)
Silver: Out of Sight Tours (Advanced Ecotourism & Climate Action Business)
Bronze: Life’s An Adventure – Blue Mountains Products (Ecotourism)

Heritage & Cultural Tourism
Silver: Venture North Australia (Advanced Ecotourism & Respecting Our Culture)

Indigenous Tourism 
Silver: Tri State Safaris/Mutawintji Eco Tours (Advanced Ecotourism & Climate Action Leader)
Bronze: Mossman Gorge Centre (Ecotourism and Respecting Our Culture)

Major Tour & Transport Operators
Gold: Par Avion Wilderness Tours (Nature Tourism)
Silver: SeaLink Ferries, Tours & Holiday Packages (Advanced Ecotourism & Climate Action Business)
Bronze: Cruise Whitsundays (Advanced Ecotourism)

Tour & Transport Operators
Silver: Fun Over Fifty Pty Ltd (Advanced Ecotourism, Ecotoruism & Climate Action Leader)
Bronze: Life’s An Adventure – Blue Mountains Products (Ecotourism)

Adventure Tourism
Gold: Enchanted Adventure Garden & Tree Surfing (Ecotourism)
Silver: Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours (Advanced Ecotourism & Climate Action Leader)
Bronze: Life’s An Adventure – Blue Mountains Products (Ecotourism)

Unique Accommodation
Silver: Rawnsley Park Station Eco Villas (Advanced Ecotourism & Climate Action Business)
Bronze: Taronga Western Plains Zoo (Advanced Ecotourism)

Deluxe Accommodation
Gold: Yondah Beach House (Ecotourism)

New Tourism Development
Gold: Tasmanian Seafood Seduction (Advanced Ecotourism)
Silver: The Frames (Nature Tourism)

To see the complete list of award winners, please click here.

Tri State Safaris help bring a brighter future for Vinaka Fiji

Towards the end of last year, Advanced Ecotourism and Climate Action certified Tri State Safaris started a campaign to collect second-hand eye glasses to donate to local people of the Yasawa Island of Fiji. Over the past five months, they have collected over 60 pairs of specs and handed over their first donation to Vinaka Fiji.

tristate fiji

Almost five months have passed since the couple decided to help. In a recent newsletter, Tri State Safaris reported about their achievements and thanked participants. They have managed to collect more than 60 pair of glasses, with numbers constantly growing. In February, owners Mick and Joanna met up with Elle, a representative of Vinaka Fijii, and handed over their first donations (pictured). Elle was positively overwhelmed by the generosity of Tri State Safaris and their extended community.

Tri State Safaris was established in 1992, running tours from Broken Hill to Broome. Owners, Mick and Joanne McCulkin, created the company out of the passion to share Australia’s Outback experience with like-minded adventurers. Whenever the couple is not busy with work, they enjoy travelling to Fiji’s Western Division, including Yasawa Island. It was during these trips that they came to realise a problem all too commonly encountered by locals; many had poor eye-sight and were unable to afford glasses.

Vinaka Fijii is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to improve the quality of life for people living in poverty. As part of the project, Vinaka Fiji agreed to fix, clean and fairly distribute glasses to Fijians in need.

In their newsletter Tri State Safaris claims that their mission is not over yet and they will continue to collect glasses throughout this year.

If you have any old reading glasses, prescription glasses or sunglasses, don’t leave them to collect dust. Help change a life and take the time to send them to Tri State Safaris at P.O. Box 867, Broken Hill, NSW, 2880.