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.

Bike It N Hike It achieve Ecotourism certification

Congratulations to Bike It N Hike It for achieving Ecotourism certification for their two-day and multi-day cycling and hiking tours of Victoria’s iconic countryside:

  • Mountain to the Sea (10 days)
  • The Great Southern Land (5 days)
  • The Other Great Southern Land (5 days)
  • The Great Ocean Road &12 Apostles (2 Days)

Based in Melbourne, Bike It N Hike It was borne out of owner, Robert Van Meurs’, love for Victoria’s many hiking and cycling trails, and a hobby of planning cycle trips for friends and social groups. Mr Van Meurs has tailored trips to suit various age groups and levels of fitness, while being sure to incorporate that sense of adventure experienced when immersed in nature.

Itineraries are designed for riders to see the best of what Victoria has to offer. The bike trails are all off-road, utilising disused railway lines throughout Victoria. Gradients are low and the tracks well maintained, and bikes are available in adult and children’s sizes. All multi-day tours are fully catered, serving up breakfast, morning tea, lunch and dinner.

Bike It N Hike It are a low impact operation, committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, adapting to climate change, and contributing to the conservation objectives of Victoria’s National Parks. Their goal is to educate guests on the Victorian countryside and on how to reduce their impact by developing their appreciation and understanding of our natural environment and cultural heritage, all while creating a positive and memorable experience.

Find out more about Bike It N Hike It here.

See their Green Travel Guide listing here.

Geelong to host Wildlife Tourism Conference, September/October 2015

Geelong, Victoria will play host to Australia’s third National Wildlife Tourism Conference later this year, with this years conference theme “Wildlife Tourism: A Force for Biodiversity Conservation and Local Economies?”

What: Australia’s third National Wildlife Tourism Conference
Theme: “Wildlife Tourism: A Force for Biodiversity Conservation and Local Economies?”
When: 29 September to 2 October 2015
Where: Geelong, Victoria

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN

Wildlife tourism is an important aspect of tourism, often offering experiences unique to the area visited. It includes viewing birds, whales, butterflies, kangaroos and other wildlife behaving naturally in their own habitats in the wild, well-run captive situations with native and other animals, and other wildlife experiences that can grab the imagination of all tourists or appeal to the specialist. It has the potential to provide employment in regional areas, stimulate local economies by encouraging tourists to spend an extra night (or week ), and support conservation by restoring or protecting habitat, breeding rare species, contributing financially or practically to conservation and research projects, or providing quality public education.

The structure of the conference will largely be presentations in the mornings and roundtable discussions in the afternoons – a structure that has proved successful and popular in previous workshops.

Major themes will include:

International aspects

  • How do other countries asses the value of, promote and manage wildlife tourism? What problems have they faced and what solutions have they found?
  • Which associations perform a similar role to Wildlife Tourism Australia in other countries, and what are their goals and activities?
  • What is new in wildlife tourism in our our nearest neighbours (New Zealand, New Guinea, Southeast Asia, Antarctica), and could there be more cross-promotion of wildlife travel between our countries, and promotion of our general region to the rest of the world?

Contributions of tourism to conservation

  • How are tour operations currently contributing to conservation of wildlife and their habitats (including monetary contributions, habitat restoration, public education, conservation breeding, citizen science etc.)?
  • What is the potential for increased contribution by wildlife tourism and the tourism industry in general to conservation of wildlife and habitats?

The value of wildlife tourism to local economies

  • What do we already know of the contributions of wildlife tourism to local and regional economies?
  • What kinds of wildlife tourism can encourage tourists to visit less-traveled regions, spend an extra night , or make repeat visits?
  • What obstacles are faced by small businesses and NGOs trying to stay afloat while offering high-quality wildlife experiences and interpretation to visitors?

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS – NOW OPEN

Who should attend?

  • Wildlife tour operators (including birding tours, whale-watching, reef-diving etc.)
  • Managers and other staff of ecolodges, rural B&Bs, farmstays etc. who offer bird-watching or other wildlife experiences
    general tour operators and guides who include wildlife-watching amongst their activities
  • Zoos, wildlife parks and museums
  • Researchers and students of wildlife tourism, ecotourism, nature tourism, nature interpretation/education and related topics
  • Conservation managers
  • Travel agents and tourism organizations
  • Local and state government bodies
  • Others with an interest in tourism which involves wildlife

To read more about the event, please click here.

(Image courtesy of Tourism Australia)

Geelong, Victoria will play host to Australia’s third National Wildlife Tourism Conference later this year, with this years conference theme “Wildlife Tourism: A Force for Biodiversity Conservation and Local Economies?”

What: Australia’s third National Wildlife Tourism Conference
Theme: “Wildlife Tourism: A Force for Biodiversity Conservation and Local Economies?”
When: 29 September to 2 October 2015
Where: Geelong, Victoria

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN

Wildlife tourism is an important aspect of tourism, often offering experiences unique to the area visited. It includes viewing birds, whales, butterflies, kangaroos and other wildlife behaving naturally in their own habitats in the wild, well-run captive situations with native and other animals, and other wildlife experiences that can grab the imagination of all tourists or appeal to the specialist. It has the potential to provide employment in regional areas, stimulate local economies by encouraging tourists to spend an extra night (or week ), and support conservation by restoring or protecting habitat, breeding rare species, contributing financially or practically to conservation and research projects, or providing quality public education.

The structure of the conference will largely be presentations in the mornings and roundtable discussions in the afternoons – a structure that has proved successful and popular in previous workshops.

Major themes will include:

International aspects

  • How do other countries asses the value of, promote and manage wildlife tourism? What problems have they faced and what solutions have they found?
  • Which associations perform a similar role to Wildlife Tourism Australia in other countries, and what are their goals and activities?
  • What is new in wildlife tourism in our our nearest neighbours (New Zealand, New Guinea, Southeast Asia, Antarctica), and could there be more cross-promotion of wildlife travel between our countries, and promotion of our general region to the rest of the world?

Contributions of tourism to conservation

  • How are tour operations currently contributing to conservation of wildlife and their habitats (including monetary contributions, habitat restoration, public education, conservation breeding, citizen science etc.)?
  • What is the potential for increased contribution by wildlife tourism and the tourism industry in general to conservation of wildlife and habitats?

The value of wildlife tourism to local economies

  • What do we already know of the contributions of wildlife tourism to local and regional economies?
  • What kinds of wildlife tourism can encourage tourists to visit less-traveled regions, spend an extra night , or make repeat visits?
  • What obstacles are faced by small businesses and NGOs trying to stay afloat while offering high-quality wildlife experiences and interpretation to visitors?

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS – NOW OPEN

Who should attend?

  • Wildlife tour operators (including birding tours, whale-watching, reef-diving etc.)
  • Managers and other staff of ecolodges, rural B&Bs, farmstays etc. who offer bird-watching or other wildlife experiences
    general tour operators and guides who include wildlife-watching amongst their activities
  • Zoos, wildlife parks and museums
  • Researchers and students of wildlife tourism, ecotourism, nature tourism, nature interpretation/education and related topics
  • Conservation managers
  • Travel agents and tourism organizations
  • Local and state government bodies
  • Others with an interest in tourism which involves wildlife

To read more about the event, please click here.

(Image courtesy of Tourism Australia)

Platinum Australia International Achieves Nature Tourism Certification

Nature Tourism CertifiedCongratulations to Platinum Australia International Pty Ltd for achieving Nature Tourism certification!

Platinum Australia International is a tour company that specialises in first class tours to the Great Ocean Road, Phillip Island, Yarra Valley Wine District, Golf Tours and many other unique and exclusive tours around Victoria and Australia.

They have achieved Nature Tourism certification for the following tour options:

  • Great Ocean Road Tours: with one and two day options running from Melbourne to Port Campbell and return, overnight guests enjoy Eco Lodge accommodation.
  • Phillip Island Tours: day trips visiting the Little Penguin Parade and The Koala Conservation Centre.
  • Yarra Valley Wine District: one and two day tours incorporating Healesville Sanctuary, and B&B accommodation with a local Yarra Valley provider.
  • Full Day Golf Tours: visiting various Melbourne Sandbelt Courses, sure to please golfers at all experience levels.

Platinum Australia International’s tours are conducted by guides educated on cultural history, ecological significance, and wildlife native to the destinations visited to ensure guests have the best experience possible on and off the tour bus.

Platinum Australia International has a new website coming soon.

Find out more about Nature Tourism certification here.

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.

Victoria’s Sustainability Awards a Must for Certified Operators

Finalist in last year’s Premier’s Sustainability Awards, Phillip Island Nature Parks, is urging other Ecotourism Australia certified tourism operators to enter this year’s awards program, saying “it’s a great opportunity to be recognised for this important work.”

Phillip Island Nature Parks, Victoria’s most visited tourist attraction, was a finalist in the Environmental Protection category for its work saving the Summerland Peninsula, home of the world famous Little Penguin colony.

“Being recognised by these prestigious awards as a major tourist attraction with a commitment to sustainability has been great for our 200 permanent staff, our Phillip Island community and our status as a national and international destination,” says Nicoleta Giurgiu, Sales & Marketing Manager, Phillip Island Nature Park.

“We invest a substantial amount of money on national and international promotion. These awards acknowledge our commitment to the safety and protection of the penguins that so many people from Australia and around the world come to see.”

awards penguinsIn the 1980’s, the future of the penguin population was uncertain. A housing estate on the peninsula presented many dangers to the colony. Little Penguins were being killed by cars, foxes, dogs and feral cats. Their habitat was being destroyed by houses, fire and weed invasion.

In conjunction with the State Government, the Penguin Protection Plan was developed and launched in 1985. This paper included a raft of measures to protect the Little Penguins and their habitat, including road closures, fox control and a buy back of the housing estate to reclaim the peninsula for the penguins. The program was completed in 2012 and the Summerland Peninsula is now protected.

The Premier’s Sustainability Awards showcase organisations, institutions, businesses, community groups and individuals who demonstrate practical efforts to reduce their everyday environmental impact.

Entries are welcome in nine categories including Tourism and a new category for 2014, Cleaner Yarra and Bay.

CEO of Sustainability Victoria Stan Krpan said the awards are a great way to recognise and celebrate leadership in sustainability.

“The Premier’s Sustainability Awards are the most prestigious environmental awards in the state.”

“Finalists and winners receive valuable recognition from the Victorian government, their communities and customers. They can use their involvement in the program to demonstrate a genuine and practical commitment to sustainability and gain a competitive business advantage.”

This year the awards provide even more opportunities for recognition.  The categories are: Cleaner Yarra and Bay, Community, Education, Environmental Protection, Infrastructure and Buildings, Innovative Products or Services, Large Business, Small and Medium Enterprises, and Tourism.

The Premier’s Sustainability Awards are managed by Sustainability Victoria on behalf of the Victorian Government and the Premier of Victoria.

Entries close on Monday 2 June.

Visit www.sustainabilityawards.vic.gov.au for entry criteria and kits, queries and information sessions.

For media queries, contact: 
Catherine Newell, 0423 587 478, cath4@iinet.net.au
Erin Reeve, 0437 309 891, erin.reeve@sustainability.vic.gov.au

Torquay Surfing Academy achieves Ecotourism certification

Ecotourism CertifiedCongratulations to Torquay Surfing Academy for achieving Ecotourism certification.

Torquay Surfing Academy offers surf lessons and equipment hire at various locations along Victoria’s Surf Coast, with their primary office based in Torquay. They offer sessions for beginners to advanced surfers, and lessons are available in a variety of different formats including; one-on-one coaching, small group sessions, and large school or corporate group sessions. All lessons are performed on local beaches by highly experienced staff and will allow visitors to experience an unforgettable surf lesson!

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Torquay Surfing Academy also offer a five day surf camp. All sessions are filmed and photographed and all guests are offered access to footage at the end of the the experience.

To find out more about Torquay Surfing Academy or to book your own lesson, click here.

To find out more about Ecotourism certification, click here.