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Sustainable Life: Eco holiday in winter

Mia Swainson

Life’s busy. Work’s demanding, the kids want more and friends… who are they again?

I need a holiday. Something to look forward to in a life that feels out of control.

I like to tread lightly on our planet earth. So, I’m looking for a holiday that will be good for me and the planet. I like the places I stay to have environmental credentials, beautiful surroundings, a sense of adventure, fun things to do and space to relax. As a bonus, it would be nice to holiday with friends. That way, we might just remember to connect with each other across our busy lives. Ahh… life feels better already, just planning a holiday feels good.

Here are six eco holiday ideas that have me dreaming about a winter break.

Love that local snow

Image: ecocrackenback.com.au

Image: ecocrackenback.com.au

Canberra is at the foothills of the Snowy Mountains. Each winter they live up to their name and are covered with snow. A unique winter wonderland, almost entirely national park. There are mountain huts for adventurous, back country types. There’s also a huge range of accommodation on the snow around the resorts, from camping at Thredbo Diggings, through to four-star eco-luxury at Eco Crackenback. One year we took the family to a lodge in Charlotte’s pass, where meals were provided, there was a hot tub on site and a gorgeous games room that overlooked gum trees and snow. It cost about the same as flying the family to Fiji for a week, but a totally different and truly local experience.

One year we took the family to a lodge in Charlotte’s pass, where meals were provided, there was a hot tub on site and a gorgeous games room that overlooked gum trees and snow. It cost about the same as flying the family to Fiji for a week, but a totally different and truly local experience.

South Coast eco heaven

Image: James Blakeney

Image: James Blakeney

There’s eco resorts popping up all over the New South Wales South Coast, just a few hours drive from Canberra. Paperbark creek is the original, luxury eco experience at Jervis Bay. There’s also Mimosa eco retreat in the bush, at Bawley Point. Further south, near Merimbula, you could try Woodbine Park eco cabins, right by the wild, south coast ocean. If luxury camping is your thing, then check out Tanja Lagoon Camp, nestled into Mimosa Rocks national park.

Keep your feet on the ground

Consider driving to your holiday destination, rather than flying.   Last year my family wanted a warm, mid-winter holiday. No need to fly, we simply packed the kids into the car and drove as far north as possible in a day. Our rental house overlooked the ocean and was surrounded by Myall Lakes national park. Beach fun for the whole family, adventures in the dunes, a heritage lighthouse and whales off the coast every day. At less than $800 for the week’s house rental, it was a perfect holiday for us.

Australian reef action

I’ve always wanted to swim with whale sharks, the largest fish in the world. At Ningaloo Reef, off the coast of Western Australia, they congregate between April and July. Book me in! There’s luxury, eco-friendly accommodation at Sal Salis’s camp or on board the eco-award winning Sail Ningalo. On the east coast, the Great Barrier Reef also offers a wide array eco-experiences. Heron Island is my pick. It’s a coral cay, surrounded by reef and is exclusively available for people staying on island – low key, relaxing. Turtles are the main conservation focus at Heron Island.

Staycation

Ok, so this doesn’t sound sexy or exciting. But, for many years it was my sister’s favourite type of holiday. To make it a real holiday… no emails, no texting and no visitors! Get stuck into a project at home or sleep in and read books all day long.

Take to a National Park

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Staying in a tent, in a National Park, is the ultimate eco experience. You’re outside all of the time, surrounded by an ecosystem that’s managed by the government for conservation. All of those things that create an environmental impact – like long showers, clean clothes and fancy food – are optional. Camping is the ultimate way to be in touch with nature. You can hear the birds singing before dawn, the kangaroos are in your living room and at night, those glorious stars shine across the sky. Camping can also be a great way to have a digital detox. Who wants to watch TV when there’s a fire and marshmallows?

Murramarang National Park, just two hours drive from Canberra, has camping options that are right at the beach. Canberra’s own Namadgi National Park also has some great camping options, if you’re looking to experience the wild mountains.

If camping isn’t your thing (or the idea of camping in winter isn’t your thing) but you’re keen on a pared-back experience, check out our Cabin Fever article about rustic local stays.

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Mia Swainson

Mia Swainson is passionate about creating a more sustainable world and believes that everyone can make a difference. Trained as an environmental engineer, Mia has worked in sustainable development with the Australian Government and community sector for more than 15 years. Mia’s work has taken her around the world to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and back to Canberra. She currently tends her kitchen garden, cares for three young boys and is growing her executive coaching consultancy (miaswainson.com.au/wp). More about the Author

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