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.

Jungle Adventures Cape Tribulation introduce the human hamster wheel!

Advanced Ecotourism and Climate Action Leader certified operator, Jungle Adventures Cape Tribulation (also known as Jungle Surfing), have opened to the public the world’s first “Human Hamster Wheel” interactive cable lift as part of their Jungle Surfing Canopy Tour. The innovative and sustainable cable lift acts as a treadmill, using man-power to winch guests into the treetops for their Jungle Surfing adventure.

With no mainland electricity supply and a UNESCO World Heritage Site to preserve, the team at Jungle Surfing had to get creative and think outside of the box for a minimal impact solution for transferring their surfers skyward. It was over a light-hearted discussion in the staff hut that the concept of a Human Hamster Wheel was born.

“We’re extremely proud of the wheel which utilises customer power to introduce the concept of alternative/sustainable energy production as part of our tour experience. We think it’s pretty innovative, as do our customers” says Managing Director, Sheena Walshaw.

Jungle Surfing is situated in the pristine Daintree Rainforest at Cape Tribulation, 2 and a half hours North of Cairns. The Queensland Tourism Award-winning Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours take guests on a unique rainforest tour through the treetops using a series of flying fox ziplines. Surfers stop at five different tree platforms to soak up spectacular birds-eye views of the rainforest, cascading streams, and the Great Barrier Reef shoreline.

Jungle Surfing has a stong commitment to sustainable best practice, with the ultimate aim of becoming a carbon neutral tourism destination. Their mission is to be a benchmark and inspiration for their community and other tourism businesses in wilderness locations, and their goal is to protect and promote the pristine natural environment surrounding them through the provision of unique, adventurous and educational activities with sustainable operations and minimal environmental footprint.

They can’t promise you a cube of cheese for your efforts, but they can deliver epic views of a Jurassic world perched on the shoreline of the Great Barrier Reef. The team at Ecotourism Australia love what they’re about!

Visit the website: Jungle Surfing.

Learn more about the Human Hamster Wheel.

Congratulations to Flyboard Cairns

Congratulations to Flyboard Cairns for achieving Advanced Ecotourism certification for their innovative Flyboard Experience, Charters and Special Events.

Flyboarding is an exciting and innovative new water sport that uses pressurized water to power a wake board like device to enable the flyer to dive through the water, hover above its surface and perform all manner of tricks and stunts. Customers can come and experience the Flyboard water jet devices with Chris and Luke offering one-on-one instruction and personal attention. Flyboard Cairns has a variety of packages suited to individuals or small to medium groups.

Flyboard Cairns have also become sponsors of Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre patient, ‘Barbarella’. She is an Olive Ridley Turtle who was found trapped in Ghost nets up in Cape York and transported to the Centre with the assistance of Pennefather Rangers and Qantas Link. Marlin Coast Vet Hospital treated Barbarella and were able to save her life by amputating a flipper. She has received ongoing treatment for the deep hole in her top shell but has been recovering well with a healthy appetite. Sponsorship of a patient assists the centre to meet the cost of her food while she continues her rehabilitation with the care provided by Jennie Gilbert and the dedicated team of volunteers at Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre. Check out the turtle rehabs Facebook and Website to see how you can get involved at the centre too.

To find out more about Flyboard Cairns, click here.

To find out more about Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation, click here.

(Photos Courtesy Christian Miller)

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.

Advanced Ecotourism Certification for Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat

Congratulations to Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat for achieving Advanced Ecotourism Certification.


Narrows Escape is a boutique 4½ star rated luxury resort comprising six fully self-contained secluded cottages nestled in 7 acres of rainforest in the Blackall Range, near Lake Baroon, Montville, adjacent to Kondalilla National Park in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast hinterland. The facility is aimed at the luxury adult couples market, providing an exclusive rainforest retreat experience. Located at the start of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk, Narrows Escape is attractive to visitors from Queensland, interstate and internationally.

Narrows Escape

For more information on Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat, click here.

For more information about Ecotourism Australia’s ECO certification program, click here.