AUSTRALIA : The paradise of ecotourism

Queensland, in the northeast of this Aboriginal land, is home to the jewel of preserved nature. Dive into the heart of a green diamond.

It should be included in the list of all the “to see before you die”. The Great Barrier Reef, which stretches from north to south of Australia for nearly 2,400 kilometres, is a breathtaking sight. A coil of islands, lagoons, sand banks licking the turquoise surface of the sea, it is the largest relief ever built by living beings. The only one visible from space. Here, thousands of marine polyps have found the ideal conditions to flourish: salt water but not too much, warm but temperate (27°C), clear enough and shallow enough to let the sun through. The variety of corals turns an underwater stroll into a multicoloured explosion. In the process, we will have crossed schools of fish, spotted a shark at the bend of a rock, followed by a sea turtle which, lascivious, allows you for a moment to caress its shell before diving to a depth where you will no longer bother it. We will have brushed against spaghetti-like corals, honeycombed saucers, bright yellow sea feathers, orange gorgonians, purple ones, some surmounted by small amphorae…

“Walk carefully, leave only your footprints and take nothing but pictures.”

Queensland has become Australia’s most visited region. Here, and despite the constant influx of new tourists (400,000 last year), eco-responsibility remains the key word. This is reflected in his motto: “Walk carefully, leave only your footprints and take nothing but pictures. “On all national parks, aboriginal reserves, rainforests, marshes where immense mangroves bathe, UNESCO has placed its label, thus recognizing the exceptional nature of the place. Daintree, the oldest of the primary forests (between 125 and 200 million years old), is unlike any other. Lushness competes with the variety of plants and trees we encounter. The oldest humid forest in the world, with phenomenal trees, tree ferns crossed by vines with formidable thorns, welcomes some ecolodges of perfect luxury but with the protection of the subtle environment. Daintree Eco Lodge only offers meals made with local food. On Green Island, considered one of the islands offering accommodation most in harmony with nature, the vegetation around the site has hardly been affected and no buildings extend beyond the treetops.

In Queensland, that green diamond from Australia, not Marineland Hollywood style. Everything is authentic. When you arrive at Townsville’s sea turtle hospital, you imagine an attraction that is supposed to offer tourists the opportunity to observe them for sure. This is not the case. Injured after getting caught in mesh or crossing the propellers of a boat, they are collected and cared for in large pools. No daily show at 4pm but volunteers who come to work as part of their study program. The same goes for the bat infirmary. First of all, we think of a joke, well, not at all: at Tolga Bat Hospital, the chiropterans, essential to the surrounding ecosystem, wounded and no longer able to fly, are cuddled like babies. They come to restore their health before being reintegrated into the caves, their natural habitat. Like us, forced at the end of the stay to return to our much less exotic French environment…

The advice for leaving

By plane, obviously. Singapore Airlines (SIA) serves Brisbane daily via Singapore. Voted “best economy class”, the A380’s eco is the most spacious on the market with 81 centimetres between each row of seats equipped with an adjustable headrest, footrest and halogen reading light. And of course an individual screen, 1,400 à la carte programmes and unlimited drinks and snacks throughout the flight. But, if you can, enjoy absolute luxury in terms of air travel with the business class in the A380. On Singapore Airlines, it is the largest seat on the market.

On site, there is no shortage of more environmentally friendly accommodation options. Find your lodge or guesthouse on FindHotel.


The development of tourism poses many environmental challenges. Indeed, this human activity is often at the origin of degradation of natural environments due to the infrastructures put in place, the overexploitation of natural resources, pollution, overcrowding of sites, etc. How can we prevent our need for a change of scenery from harming local flora and fauna?

An increasingly popular response to this challenge is “ecotourism”, but what is behind this vague notion? Is it enough to bivouac or hike in the middle of nature, or to admire the animals of the savannah from an observation post? How to differentiate ecotourism from other forms of responsible or sustainable tourism?

According to The International Ecotourism Society[1], ecotourism is a responsible journey into natural spaces that conserves the environment, supports the well-being of local people and involves education and cultural mediation. It is practiced in nature, in small groups, within small structures.

Ecotourism aims not only to minimize social and environmental impacts but also to actively contribute to the conservation of natural heritage, mainly biodiversity. It also aims to protect cultural heritage by recognizing the rights and beliefs of local and indigenous communities and encouraging their participation in tourism activities in ways that contribute to their well-being. Finally, the “educational” component, the encounter with populations and nature make the difference with other forms of sustainable tourism which are limited, and this is already very positive, to avoiding or reducing their impacts on the environment.

This year 2017 has been designated as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development by the United Nations. A way of recognizing the contribution of this type of tourism to sustainable development objectives, including biodiversity conservation.