From active outdoor adventures for nature lovers to eco-epicurean escapades and Earth-conscious accommodation, the Sunshine Coast is brimming with planet-friendly experiences.
Who wouldn’t want to preserve and rejuvenate this precious environment? (Image: Tourism & Events Queensland)
And it’s not just Aussies who are noticing. The Sunshine Coast has recently become the only place in the world where three UNESCO-declared biospheres sit side by side, as the Sunshine Coast Biosphere Reserve, the Noosa Biosphere Reserve and the Great Sandy Biosphere Reserve form a green corridor from the Glass House Mountains along more than 100 kilometres of coastline to Tin Can Bay.
Also worth noting? The Noosa Everglades are one of only two everglade systems in the world.
With its rich abundance of precious environments, it’s no wonder more travellers are seeking ways to tread lightly when traversing this biodiverse destination. Here are five ways to experience the Sunshine Coast in sustainable style.
1. Kayak for the koalas
Paddle the Noosa Everglades (one of only two everglade ecosystems in the world) and help fund koala conservation. (Image: Tourism Events Queensland)
Paddle through the striking, world-renowned Noosa Everglades while raising money for koala habitats (who said you can’t multitask while on holiday?). Kanu Kapers not only gives kayakers a front-row seat to the incredible beauty of the everglades, but also provides the satisfaction of knowing you’re touring with a company that’s giving back to the land it tours on. Through its carbon offset scheme, Kanu Kapers’ owners, Viv and Kym – in collaboration with local charity Queensland Koala Crusaders – raise much-needed funds to maintain and create leafy homes for koalas. Better yet, these tour operators don’t use motorised boats, instead opting to guide visitors with handcrafted sea kayaks to ensure they’re not polluting these ancient waterways. This peaceful experience is a must-try for avid wildlife watchers and active travellers.
2. Retreat into the rainforest
Narrows Escape host multi-day walking retreats using the sustainable villas as a base.
It’s easier resting your head in accommodation that’s centred on planet-friendly practices, sleeping safe in the knowledge that sustainability is a priority. Narrows Escape in Montville is a luxurious hinterland retreat that focuses on ensuring its water and energy consumption is minimal, its waste is managed responsibly, and sustainability is the end goal. Nature-loving guests can take part in the retreat’s six-day, five-night guided Sunshine Coast’s Great Walk package, which allows hikers to become much better acquainted with the local environment. Just want to unwind? Combine style and eco-friendly principles and opt for a stay in one of six private villas, complete with your own crackling log fire and bubbling spa, perched on the edge of Kondalilla National Park.
3. Set sail sustainably
Sail the Sunshine Coast with local knowledge, bush tucker and seafood. (Image: Tourism & Events Queensland)
Mooloolaba-based Saltwater Eco Tours welcomes its guests aboard a 113-year-old, carefully restored heritage timber ship, Spray of the Coral Coast, to sail over the serene, turquoise waters of the Sunshine Coast. Having collaborated with the traditional owners of the land, this tour provider ensures visitors take in the ancient wisdom of the local Kabi Kabi First Nations peoples as the ship sets sail through a distinctly photogenic setting. Saltwater Eco Tours provides a choice of a dedicated cultural tour, a sunset tour with live music, a native bushfoods and seafood cruise, or a private charter. Each tour encourages its participants to connect with Indigenous culture, the Mooloolah River and the area’s maritime history.
4. Imbibe feel-good brews
There are loads of options like their ginger beer or hard lemonade at the sustainable Terella Brewing. (Image: Visit Sunshine Coast)
With a strong connection to the land, a name that means ‘little earth’, and a devotion to producing great, German-inspired beer, Terella Brewing in North Arm creates its popular beverages in a sustainably minded cycle system (which means its waste products are put to good use). And because the innovative, eco-conscious brewery shares a home with a vertical farm, both companies are making use of each other’s growing and brewing by-products to further lower their footprint and waste. Travellers – and their dogs – can visit the brewery’s tranquil, family-friendly hinterland tap room, meet farmyard animals, and enjoy snacks and beers on the sprawling lawns. If beer isn’t your drink of choice you still have lots of options, as the brewery also produces the popular Mad Dog range: try their ginger beer, hard lemonade, or hibiscus and lychee hard lemonade.
5. Wake among the mountains
Restored 1880’s train carriages with solar power, composting and the planting of trees have turned Glasshouse Mountains Ecolodge into a responsible destination on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.
There are few places more scenic to wake up than in the Glass House Mountains, and fortunately, a sustainably inclined accommodation option awaits those who wish to help protect this stunning stretch of the coast while they’re in the area. At Glass House Mountains Ecolodge you can rest assured knowing the lodge is taking measures to preserve the local environment as you cosy up in a restored 1880s train carriage or 125-year-old timber church. Since buying the property more than 30 years ago, owner Keith and his family have planted hundreds of trees on site, while solar power, composting, self-sufficient water usage, a grey water recycling system and low-energy lighting all contribute to the lodge’s gentler approach.
For more ideas and information on the Sunshine Coast’s best eco-friendly experiences, go to visitsunshinecoast.com.