Queensland sustainable tourism stories - example Lady Elliot Island

Welcome to our Queensland sustainable tourism stories and examples. Long admired for its leadership in sustainable tourism, in recent years Queensland, Australia, has lost some of its mojo on the sustainability front – a view expressed by leading “local” sustainable tourism experts Steve Noakes and Stewart Moore. Lagging leadership on the political front of course doesn’t mean that you can’t find exceptional examples of best practice in sustainability, or inspiring stories of responsible tourism.

During our five weeks visit of Queensland, Australia’s “Sunshine State”, we had the chance to experience many hotels, tours and destinations. Here are the stories of those Queensland sustainable tourism businesses and professionals which impressed us the most.


Pilot Peter Gash, Lady Elliot IslandLady Elliot Island, Great Barrier Reef

Sustainable tourism wasn’t always the focus of tiny Lady Elliot Island, a coral cay that marks the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia. In fact, what is now known as one of the best examples of rehabilitation, Lady Elliot Island was almost “harvested to death” for its Guano, the rich fertilizer produced from millions of bird droppings for hundreds of years.

Learn about this impressive story in our interview with Peter Gash, the resort’s managing director and lease holder of the island.


Accessible Whale Watch Hervey Bay QueenslandResponsible Whale Watching, Hervey Bay

As whale watching pioneers in the area, Whale Watch Hervey Bay’s commitment to responsible tourism has been crucial for the establishment of the Hervey Bay Marine Park. This is a good example of how a family-owned business can have a positive impact on a destination level.

Learn more about responsible whale watching in our interview with Brian and Jill.


Skyrail Rainforest Cablway - eco friendly activity Cairns, AustraliaSkyrail Rainforest Cableway, Cairns

A veritable sustainable tourism leader, Skyrail Rainforest Cableway has been committed to environmental best practice for many years, winning multiple awards for its sustainability commitment, both nationally and internationally.

Join us on an unforgettable ride across the Rainforest canopy, as Marni Barnett tells us all about this responsible tourism champion.


Long house Sanctuary Retreat Mission beach Sanctuary Retreat, Mission Beach

Staying at the Sanctuary Retreat Mission Beach was one of those experiences during our destination visit of Queensland, Australia, which we’ll never forget. Not just because of the accommodation itself, but because it made us realize how vulnerable remote ecotourism properties can be to environmental disasters, and how much conviction and goodwill it takes to be able to offer and maintain an experience as exquisite as the Sanctuary Retreat.

Read the encouraging story of the Sanctuary Retreat Mission Beach Eco-Lodge


Cairns Central YHA Eco friendly budget backpacker accommodationYouth Hostel Association (YHA) Australia

During our destination visit of Queensland in 2015, we had the chance to speak to several managers of youth hostels operated by the YHA network. YHA Australia was among the first hospitality organizations to actively invest in and encourage sustainability.

In our interview with Jon Kane, YHA Australia’s Northern Region Manager, learn about the organization’s origins and the many sustainability initiatives implemented by the pioneering budget accommodation provider.


Sustainability Leaders sponsor Greyhound Bus AustraliaOur thanks to Greyhound Bus and YHA Australia for supporting our Queensland destination visit as travel sponsors.