This resort lives by the ‘S.L.O.W. L.I.F.E’ philosophy (Sustainable Local Organic Wellness, Learning Inspiring Fun Experiences). With a carbon offset programme, its own organic food production and facilities for on-island bottled water production, this beautiful resort pairs great eco credentials with ‘intelligent’ luxury. Secluded chic beach villas and a ‘Mr Friday’ butler service are available for guests, and wildlife fans will appreciate the stretches of undeveloped shoreline that have been left to encourage turtles to continue nesting on the beach.
This resort is ideal for those passionate about marine wildlife. A ‘Manta Ray Day’ is held every Wednesday, where guests are led by Coco Palm’s resident marine biologist into the shallows to observe the island’s beautiful creatures. As well as manta rays, the house reef provides excellent snorkelling opportunities with chances to spot whale sharks and dolphins too. Coco Palm is also located in the Baa Atoll, a designated UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve whose resorts work together to conserve the area.
There’s a long list of green initiatives being undertaken by Kuramathi, one of the biggest islands in the Maldives. There is an education eco-centre, filters and ozonators to save water in the modern Jacuzzis, water recycling system, energy saving air-con in the newer villas and a hydroponics garden where fresh salads and herbs are grown for the resorts kitchens.
A closer look at the Indian Ocean, like you’ve never seen before…
The many islands of the Indian Ocean are famous for their white sand beaches and beautiful turquoise waters. Although gorgeous to look at, these paradise beach images can give the impression that the Indian Ocean islands are all very similar to each other. In fact, when you take a closer look, the Maldives, Mauritius and other destinations are all very different from each other.
In November, luxury travel experts Kuoni launched their collection of microscopic sand photographs taken from their seven resorts in the Indian Ocean. The initiative behind the project is to show travellers that when you take a closer look at the smaller details, the islands of the Indian Ocean are all completely unique from one another.
The different sand grains reflect the geology of each island, giving clues as to what kind of activities you can enjoy there. For example, the sands from La Reunion (an island just west of Mauritius) have yellow lava crystals and black grains made from volcanic basalt. These point to the volcanic origins of the island and travellers here can indeed trek through the forests to see amazing craters and live volcanoes. On the other hand, the grains from the Maldives show six tiny snail shells and a rod spine from a sea urchin, pointing to the amazing snorkelling and diving opportunities to be found in the coral reefs of the Maldives.
This is an ornothologist’s dream but you don’t have to be a serious birder to enjoy this new trip to seek out New Zealand’s rare and endangered bird life…
As an island lying deep in the South Pacific, New Zealand boasts some extraordinary flora and fauna including birds not found anywhere else on the planet. Travel specialists New Zealand In Depth have now launched a brand new 28-night tour in search of the country’s rare and endangered birds.
Keen bird watchers will love it but so will anyone with an interest in wildlife as the trip takes you off the beaten track in search of the nation’s iconic kiwi and also kokako, kakapo, saddleback, mohua and tuatara. As well as the birdlife, the itinerary allows guests to experience New Zealand’s flora and fauna from the sub-tropical north, to the dramatic Fiordland region in the south; not to mention its world famous marine mammals.
The organisers describe it as simply “the best, and most comprehensive, birding experience available in New Zealand”.
Accommodation – supporting local conservation projects
Throughout the tour guests will stay in some incredible places (we love the look of the flash treehouses – see below) from luxury lodges to boutique B&Bs. All have their own projects to protect the local endemic birdlife, so each guest will indirectly be making a positive contribution towards local conservation efforts and predator control programs.
Prices and departures dates
Small groups depart in November 2016, March 2017 and November 2017.
A 28 night New Zealand Self-Drive Bird & Nature Tour with New Zealand In Depth costs from £6,500 per person, not including flights.
The price includes transfers, accommodation on a twin share basis in boutique hotels and luxury lodges, car hire with driving notes and maps, breakfast and some dinners (as per the itinerary – see below), the services of a Tour Director and activities and excursions (see website for more details).
Day 1: arrive in Auckland – You will be met and transferred to your accommodation in the city centre. As you land in the City of Sails, your very first glimpse of New Zealand will see you crossing the harbours of Auckland and the green-grassed slopes of dormant volcanoes above this thriving Pacific city. Spend the early afternoon at leisure before an introduction to the world of the Maori, New Zealand’s indigenous people, at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Overnight: Auckland
Day 2: Auckland & Tiritiri Matangi Island- Sheltered within the Hauraki Gulf this island sanctuary, reclaimed for nature through countless volunteer hours, is today a spectacle of northern forest and birdlife. You will cross on the ferry to Tiri, as it is affectionately called, for a day to explore the pathways and birdlife of this predator-free island. Overnight: Auckland
Day 3: Auckland & Muriwai Beach- Today you will explore the hidden secrets, the pathways, the wildlife, the headland crowded with Australasian gannets at Muriwai and the beaches of the Waitakere Ranges. Overnight: Auckland
Day 4: Auckland – Lake Taupo – Today you will travel to Turangi on the southern shore of Lake Taupo. Overnight: Turangi
Day 5: Lake Taupo – Today you have four options to choose from: a guided 12 mile hike on the Tongariro Crossing, the best one day walk in New Zealand across volcanic landscapes; a gentle raft down the Tongariro River, home to 10 of the remaining 1400 pairs of blue duck or whio; fishing on the banks of Tongariro River; a leisurely drive around the area to key spots in search of the blue duck and numerous other bird species. Overnight: Turangi
Day 6: Lake Taupo–Paraparaumu–Kapiti Island – An early departure and a 3½ hour journey takes you south to Paraparaumu. On arrival you will transfer by ferry to Kapiti Island for anovernight stay at the eco lodge. The lodge’s wildlife sanctuary programme includes full guiding at the two entry areas and kiwi spotting in the evening. Overnight: Kapiti Island
Day 7: Kapiti Island–Paraparaumu–Wellington – The dawn chorus will wake you for breakfast today, amidst wonderful birdsong and the call of the kaka and kokako. Later you will return to the mainland at Paraparaumu and travel on to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city. The afternoon is free to explore at your leisure whilst in the evening you will visit Zealandia, an inner city reserve of international importance, watch as dusk descends and the wildlife changes to morepork and kiwi. Overnight: Wellington
Day 8: Wellington–Marlborough Sounds – Today you will leave the North Island and venture to the majestic South Island. Depart early on the Interislander Ferry from Wellington to Picton. Join the Seafood Odyssey cruise at Picton Wharf for a wonderful boat trip through the Marlborough Sounds to Bay of Many Coves. On board you will get to enjoy a tasting of fresh Marlborough seafood – Regal salmon, Tio Point oysters and green-lipped mussels. Overnight: Marlborough Sounds
Day 9: Marlborough Sounds – Today you will explore the Marlborough Sounds by kayak, walk on the Queen Charlotte Track or you could just relax at Bay of Many Coves. Alternatively, see the conservation work that the lodge is doing with the blue penguin nesting boxes. Overnight: Marlborough Sounds
Day 10: Marlborough Sounds–Kaikoura – Returning to Picton by water taxi you will take the scenic route down the east coast to Kaikoura where the mountains meet the sea. Kaikoura, renowned as the whale watching capital of New Zealand, is the point at which a deep ocean trench provides a nutrient rich upswell which supports a huge concentration of marine wildlife. Overnight: Kaikoura
Day 11: Kaikoura – Today is a day of exploration in Kaikoura. Early this morning, you will join an Albatross Encounter adventure to explore the world of the albatross. Afterwards you will have time for breakfast in Kaikoura, before joining the Whale Watch guides to see sperm whales in the deep ocean. (Please note this tour is weather dependent so an alternative option would be to swim with dolphins or enjoy a dolphin-watching cruise with Dolphin Encounter or swim with the seals.) Later this afternoon we can enjoy a walk on the Kaikoura Peninsula and experience more wildlife sightings, explore the history of the town at Fyffe Cottage or visit the Maori Pa site and its classical defence system of trenches on the crest of the peninsula. Overnight: Kaikoura
Day 12: Kaikoura–Christchurch – Today you will take the scenic journey to Christchurch, via the Waipara wine region, with opportunity for tastings. Visit Orana Park Wildlife Park as well as The Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust to hear about the special conservation work undertaken. This is a private Trust and visits are limited and exclusive. Overnight: Christchurch
Day 13: Christchurch – Today you will head to Akaroa to see Hector’s dolphins, the smallest and rarest dolphin in the world which only breeds in the waters around Banks Peninsula. After lunch there is a visit to the white-flippered penguin colony before returning to Christchurch. These rare penguins that nest only on the Banks Peninsula with around 3,750 breeding pairs. Overnight: Christchurch
Day 14: Christchurch–Hokitika – Today you will have a scenic journey across Canterbury Plains towards the Southern Alps stopping at Lake Pearson to spot the very rare Australian crested grebe. Short walks at Bealey Valley beech and moss forest for robins, rifleman, silvereye and fantails. Stop at Otira Viaduct Lookout to see kea, the world’s only alpine parrot. Continuing across to the west coast and Hokitika. Overnight: Hokitika
Day 15: Hokitika–Okarito – Known as “The Coast”, the narrow strip of land between the Tasman Sea and the Southern Alps hosts an area of wilderness untouched by time and man. Turning off the main highway your overnight stop is in Okarito, a small coastal village created during the gold rush of 1860s, but now home to around 30 holiday baches (holiday homes). Join an evening kiwi spotting tour to see the Okarito kiwi in its natural habitat. Overnight: a bach (kiwi holiday home) in Okarito
Day 16: Okarito – Today you will join a 2 hour nature cruise on the lagoon to explore the waterways and over 70 species of bird including rare white heron and royal spoonbills. After lunch you can relax or join a guided walk to the Trig View Point for stunning views of Mount Cook. Overnight: Okarito Bach (kiwi holiday home)
Day 17: Okarito–Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki – Today your journey continues down the west coast with walks at Lake Matheson and Fox Glacier. At Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki you will meet Dr Gerry McSweeney, scientist and conservationist, to learn about the treasures of the local land and wildlife. You will also learn of the local conservation works. Overnight: Lake Moeraki
Day 18: Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki – Today you will take a guided walk in search of Fiordland crested penguins, the world’s second rarest penguin which returns each year to a small number of beaches on the west coast to breed (October and November only). There are many activities available at the Lodge including kayaking, fishing, forest walks or just relaxing. Overnight: Lake Moeraki
Day 19: Lake Moeraki–Queenstown – Today you will travel from Lake Moeraki to Queenstown via the lakeside route past Lake Wanaka, Lake Hawea and Lake Wakatipu with short walks at Ships Creek, Fantail Falls and Blue Pools. Overnight: Queenstown
Day 20: Queenstown – Relaxing day to explore Queenstown. Optional activities include wine tour, 4×4 adventure to Skippers Canyon, Lord of the Rings tour, TSS Earnslaw Steam Boat trip to Walter Peak Farm station. Overnight: Queenstown
Day 21: Queenstown-Te Anau – Today you will travel to Te Anau, the Gateway to Fiordland, stopping at Mavora Lakes for a short walk. Overnight: Te Anau
Day 22: Te Anau – Today you will join Trips & Tramps for a half day guided walk on the Kepler Track. An optional activity is to join a glow worm tour on Lake Te Anau. Overnight: Te Anau
Day 23: Te Anau–Doubtful Sound – Today you will travel into the heart of Fiordland crossing Lake Manapouri and over Wilmot Pass into Doubtful Sound for an overnight cruise with your dedicated and highly experienced nature guide. Explore from the depths of the fiord to the Tasman Sea, watch for resident dolphins, kayak and learn of the unique seabed environment in these waters created by a freshwater layer sitting at the surface. Overnight: on board Fiordland Navigator
Day 24: Manapouri–Stewart Island – You will return to Manapouri by midday and then travel across the South Island to Stewart Island crossing the fertile Southland plains to Invercargill and the port of Bluff. Here we take the ferry to Stewart Island. Rakiura National Park, encompassing the majority of Stewart Island, is New Zealand’s newest park, the township of Oban, nestled around Halfmoon Bay and into Paterson Inlet, is the only village. Overnight: Stewart Island. Evening: kiwi watch programme for Stewart Island Brown Kiwi (alternate activity: talk by local Department of Conservation staff member).
Day 25: Stewart Island–Ulva Island – Ulva Island in Paterson Inlet is iconic for its birdlife, its history and its forest.Walk the pathways across the island, surprise yourself as the path arrives to a beautiful remote white sand beach, and experience saddlebacks that flit across the air and friendly robins watch as you pass. This is a morning to treasure on this very specialreserve and in the afternoon you will join a pelagic birding trip to see Buller’s, Salvin’s, royal and wandering albatross, shearwaters and petrels. Overnight: Stewart Island
Day 26: Stewart Island – Explore Stewart Island with options around boat trips, guided tour of Stewart Island. Overnight: Stewart Island
Day 27: Stewart Island–Catlins Forest Park–Dunedin – An early morning departure today from Stewart Island. You will follow the Southern Scenic Route to the little known Catlins Forest Park. From the Cathedral Caves on the beach to populations of mohua (yellowhead) in the beech forest, your hosts Mary and Fergus will walk with you into the forest sharing their passion for this area. Overnight: Dunedin
Day 28: Dunedin – You will start the day by visiting Orokonui Eco Sanctuary just north of Dunedin for a guided walk. Opportunities to see kaka, takahe, tui,bellbirds, silvereye, fernbird, grey warbler, rifleman, Otago skink, jewelled gecko and tuatara. In the afternoon we head to the Otago Peninsula for the northern royal albatross, yellow–eyed penguins, New Zealand sea lions and cormorants who thrive on the southern ocean up swellings around the Otago Peninsula and we share their home for the day. Overnight: Dunedin
Day 29: depart Dunedin and international flight connection – Today you will travel to Dunedin airport and connect with your international departing flight.
For those of you with a spare million pounds burning a hole in your pocket, you could consider splashing out on a state-of-the-art eco villa for when you need a luxury bolthole in Turkey.
The Oceanic Bayview villas are now on sale for a cool £1million. Located in Alkent, a desirable neighbourhood on the outskirts of bustling Istanbul, these villas utilise some rather flash technology to help keep them eco-friendly.
The villas are super-efficient. Each property:
Recycles rainwater from the concave roofs
Uses three solar collectors and wind turbines to generate power (saving between 30-60% on annual electricity consumption)
Include special profile panoramic windows
Uses a heat pump
Has LED lighting throughout
The smart house system throughout each villa means everything can be controlled through your smartphone to help save power
Built across three floors, the villas range in size from four to seven bedrooms. Each boasts four bathrooms, a dining room, internal suspended balcony overlooking the grand living room, kitchen, winter garden, a main games/cinema room, Jacuzzi room, and quarters for domestic staff (naturally!). The gallery style of each villa creates an immense sense of light and space as the beautifully-designed mezzanine over the main lounge overlooks the lake through large panoramic windows.
We think you really have to love holidaying in Turkey to justify the cost as a holiday home, but we are told that owners can use it as they wish (and we’re sure that if you’re spending more than a million on a holiday villa you’ve got the time to spend more than just two weeks a year there!). We can picture ourselves sipping a mint tea from our jacuzzi right now…
Oceanic Bayview Villas are on sale with prices starting at just over £1m (US $1,595,000). Visit Universal21 at www.universal21.com or call 0203 287 8700.
All of the luxury lodges are engaged in protection of local wildlife or the regeneration of natural habitats – so guests are already supporting conservation initiatives, even if they choose not to ‘get their hands dirty’. (Although we think that a few hours spent ‘in the field’ will give you a totally fresh perspective to your trip – and will make that sundowner cocktail sipped from your private pool all the more deserved!).
Here’s more about those envy-inducing luxury lodges and why you can enjoy them ‘guilt free’:
This multi-award winning New Zealand luxury hotel & retreat is set within a 75 acre estate atop its own private ridgeline offering spectacular views of the Bay of Islands. By staying at Eagles Nest, you will support and be a part of the lodge’s vital work to conserve rare local wildlife living on the property including the North Island brown kiwi.
Bay of Many Coves
Located deep in the Marlborough Sounds, Bay of Many Coves is a five star luxury resort that offers perfect seclusion in a pristine natural environment. By staying at Bay of Many Coves, you will be supporting a project that provides homes and habitat for the local population of blue penguins, the world’s smallest penguin.
Unique New Zealand accommodation, nestled 30 feet above the ground in the canopy of a native Manuka grove, Hapuku Tree Houses have spectacular views of Kaikoura’s dramatic mountains and surf-washed Pacific coastline. By staying at Hapuku Lodge, you will be supporting a project that is assisting the restoration of local native forest whilst having the chance to learn about Maori culture in the region.
Treetops Lodge offers the ultimate in world-class luxury accommodation in the heart of New Zealand’s unique forest close to the thermal wonderland and cultural capital of Rotorua. By staying at Treetops Lodge, you will learn about the ancient Maori connection with New Zealand’s native forest and play your part in protecting it for future generations.
Blanket Bay is nestled amidst rugged snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps on the shores of Lake Wakatip. Its elegant yet rustic charm delivers peace and solitude for every guest. By staying at Blanket Bay, you will support a project that is helping to protect one of New Zealand’s unique and most endangered birds, the mohua.
With commanding views out across Lake Te Anau, Fiordland Lodge’s luxury haven has style, comfort and privacy making it the perfect base for your Fiordland experience. By staying at Fiordland Lodge, you will be helping the local community to protect native wildlife in one of the world’s outstanding wilderness areas.
Nestled in the jungle of Belize, lovers of luxury are being offered the opportunity to grab a piece of paradise at a brand new eco resort…
For those looking for a holiday investment opportunity (and if you’ve a few hundred thousand burning a hole in your pocket), new eco resort The Baymen Lodge and Spa is now offering its range of suites for sale. Buying a suite in this boutique eco retreat, currently in development, also gives you 30 days a year personal use of the hotel or Belize Ocean Club (part of the same group). The developers are predicting the suites will generate a high rental yield each year.
The Baymen promises high spec luxury that makes the most of Belize’s beautiful natural assets, and a retreat that aims to be as carbon neutral as possible. Located in 1,000 acres of private rainforest the deluxe suites and larger residences boast luxurious features such as infinity pools and plunge pools, private showers outdoors in the rainforest, four-poster beds, generous outdoor and indoor living space all designed in an old world colonial style, plus a stunning waterfall and natural wine cave in the grounds. Goodtrippers is predicting that holiday makers will be queuing up to stay here for some eco-friendly R&R!
The resort will be run on a combination of solar and hydropower, with water sourced from rainwater and the natural springs on site (springs which once served the ancient Mayans!). The vast majority of buildings are constructed using locally sourced, sustainably harvested wood. The roofs of the main buildings and individual hotel residences are made from local palm fronds, harvested locally three days before or after the full moon. All trees felled in the development are used in some form or another in either construction or in powering the site via the biomass generator.
Prices of the deluxe suites and larger residences range from US$230K – $460K. For more information visit www.thebaymen.com or contact Wolf Wörster Associates Inc on freephone 0808 169 6526.
Responsible water management – use of natural springs and rainwater; filtration and reuse of waste water
Solar and hydropower energy generation
Local and sustainable timber and other responsibly sourced natural materials used in construction
Reinvestment into the local land and community to help the local economy
Ever wondered what it’s like to work on a rhino conservation project? This new trip, supporting the charity Helping Rhinos, not only offers the excitement of a safari but also allows you to go behind the scenes with rangers in the Kruger National Park region.
Poaching of endangered rhino is a big problem in South Africa. The charity Helping Rhinos runs a community project to help combat the problem in the Timbavati Private Game Reserve on the edge of the famous Kruger National Park. The project is involved in the tagging and tracking of rhino, training rangers, and working with local communities to raise awareness of wildlife conservation. On this safari trip guests will get a fascinating insight into life as a conservation ranger, learning bush skills and following their work as they monitor rhino out in the field. With every booking of this trip, tour operator Native Escapes will make a donation to Helping Rhinos.
Alongside the awesome rhino, you’ll also get the chance to spot the ‘Big Five’ on various drives, day and night, and walking safaris. Timbavati has been dedicated to conservation since 1962 and is now characterised by strong populations of cheetah, lion and leopard, as well as large herds of elephant, buffalo and wild dog. The region is also home to the famous ‘white lions’ known only to occur in Timbavati.
Over the nine day trip you’ll be staying at two different safari camps. The Tandu Tula Field Camp in Timbavati is relatively luxurious but has the style and feel of a bygone-era camp of the old explorer days. The non-permanent camp has been designed for minimal environmental impact with its four custom-designed tents and communal mess tent hosting a total of eight guests. Each tent has military-style camp beds, open-air bathroom with hot water bucket shower and eco loo – all part of the ‘out in the field’ experience!
The next half of the trip transfers to the Hoyo Hoyo Tsonga Lodge in Kruger National Park, where real safari luxury awaits. Six stunning ‘beehive’ style air-conditioned suites house king-size beds, en-suite bathrooms and outdoor showers. The stylish interiors, fabrics and artworks have been sourced from the local Tsonga community. From the lodge deck, you can watch animals gather at the nearby watering hole or as night draws in exchange stories around the communal campfire.
The Helping Rhinos Exclusive Safari runs from 31st August to 8th September 2014 (inclusive).
(This post is sponsored by Hotel Phoenicia) Guest blogger Nikki Schinas reviews a luxurious eco-friendly stay at Malta’s oldest 5-star hotel.
Amidst the stress of work and winter routine, one could always do with a short relaxing break and escape to a warmer climate. I recently did so and treated myself to a luxurious stay at the 5 Star Hotel Phoenicia in Malta.
Hotel Phoenicia, the island’s oldest luxury five star hotel is situated at the entrance of a unique UNESCO World Heritage site, Malta’s capital city, Valletta. This 450 year old city is teaming with culture and has a colourful and exciting history to tell. With grand fortifications, baroque architecture, old theatres and magnificent churches, I was never at a loss for what to do.
The hotel proudly welcomes you on entrance to the city and invites you to a comfortable and eco-friendly stay.
The Hotel Phoenicia boasts 128 guest rooms and 8 suites.Each room was designed with a touch of class, contemporary elegance and a sense of history to compliment the magnificent art déco of the building. My room overlooked the breathtaking views of the Grand Harbour which was a wonderful treat to wake up to each morning.
The hotel has incorporated a sophisticated IT system to analyse room temperatures and electricity usage to decrease energy waste.
Not just a magnificent building, Hotel Phoenicia has a large kitchen garden which provides fresh produce for the hotel’s restaurants. Award-winning chefs use the fresh food from the garden to create a range of delicious Mediterranean dishes. Food and beverages are carefully chosen to make certain that the majority of the food served is 100% organic.
After waking up to the beautiful view of the Grand Harbour, I’d head down to the Phoenix restaurant for a scrumptious local breakfast. Phoenicia has some beautiful facilities to explore.
A stroll through the 7.5 acre garden, which boasts colour and variety, will lead you to the stunning bastion swimming pool overlooking Valletta’s impressive fortifications. This is the place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city on a sunny day. Treat yourself to a light lunch by the pool and if you’re feeling indulgent try the range of cocktails by the pool bar.
Although tempted to spend my days relaxing by the Bastion swimming pool, I ambled along the streets of the capital to get a taste of the Maltese culture. Experiencing the laid back hustle and bustle of life in Valletta gave me a perfect insight into the charming Mediterranean lifestyle and visiting the many museums and churches offered me a healthy dose of culture and history.
Recommended for… Those looking for a luxury, cultural and a relaxing eco-friendly escape
Be aware that… During the Summer months, temperatures have known to rise to 39 degrees, so it’s important to be prepared for the heat.
The hotel is one of the first 5 star hotels in Malta to be awarded the MTA’s international ECO- certificate
The hotel plants its own trees to improve air quality
Staff training in eco-housekeeping methods means the hotel saves 150 gallons of water per year
Sophisticated IT systems were installed to read energy use and location to decrease energy waste
LED lighting was installed everywhere and plugged to intelligent systems to deploy Room Energy Management System
This post is sponsored by Hotel Phoenicia. Goodtrippers retains editorial control over all content and only selects sponsored posts that fit the Goodtrippers ethos.
Guest blogger Erin Steiner looks forward to an eco-friendly winter getaway in Sri Lanka…
I don’t know about you, but every year, after the fun of Christmas is over and I’m going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark, all I want to do is get away. I want to go somewhere warm and sunny and beautiful and, instead of me taking care of everybody else, there is a staff of everybody else who takes care of me.
This resort offers 152 rooms that are spread out, along with the hotel’s facilities and spa, across 15 acres of beautiful beachfront property in southern Sri Lanka. The rooms feature native-grown and polished wood furniture and throws, as well as pillows and cushions that are all woven locally, reducing the hotel’s carbon footprint. No imported junk here! You also get your own private balcony with an ocean view.
The culinary team at the Ahungalla Hotel has won awards for everything from its teamwork to its energy efficiency standards and green approach to food prep. This hotel offers a buffet; a coffee shop; and private, individually catered, candlelit dining on the beach. The fare is local, which is a huge bonus for people who love their spices.
The hotel has a spa (a really great one). It also offers infinity and swimming pools, shopping, bicycle rental, and a full gym. It even has a conference venue and business centre for workaholics (ahem) who like to try to get a least a tiny bit of work done while they are relaxing.
I can only stay put, even in paradise, for a few days before I start looking for something to do. Here, among other things, I’ll be able to take hot air balloon trips, wander over to the Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery to see the efforts being made to save the local turtle population, or go whale watching.
Recommended for… Those looking for a luxury eco escape
Be aware that… The airport is a 3.5-hour drive away from the resort, so take advantage of the car service offered by the hotel.
The hotel is designed to be perfectly lit by natural light during the day so the lamps and lights aren’t turned on at all until night-time.
The hot water system is solar powered.
All of the waste produced by the hotel is handled or recycled on site; none of it is allowed to escape into the natural landscape that surrounds the grounds.
They only use locally grown food and locally produced furnishing. No imports here!
Erin Steiner is a freelance writer from the US who has written about travel, invoice software and geek culture for a variety of websites.
Guest blogger Sarah Boisvert profiles a luxury eco resort in Tasmania, Australia
When rain and fog took their toll on my psyche during my Cambridge days, I found my thoughts turning to someplace warm and beautiful. It’s trendy now for many wild, scenic areas to claim to be ecotourism sites, but for me, it’s important to be sure the resort really is environmentally-friendly and has put in place properly green measures to ensure sustainability. Here’s the scoop on one venue that meets my high standards for eco travel.
Tasmania, southeast of the Australian coast, is a series of islands that has a temperate maritime climate, so there are rarely vast extremes in temperature. The Saffire Freycinet resort located at Coles Bay is not just a nature resort in a spectacular setting. As early as 1929, the original site was used as a caravan park and backpackers hostel, resulting in considerable erosion of the landscape. The award-winning facility works to restore the area to its natural splendor and is in the process of replanting over 30,000 native species to encourage revitalization of the land. This commitment to restoring the eco-system to its natural state is part of the resort’s core principles.
Everywhere on Saffire Freycinet, architects used natural local products such as sustainably harvested wood and beautiful stone. Colours reflect the hues found in the surroundings, including the gemstones mined here. Building designs appear to bring nature indoors and take advantage of external elements. While the well-appointed Luxury Suites and Signature Suites with their view of Great Oyster Bay are a beautiful way to enjoy the resort, the Private Pavilions provide an added level of privacy. Personal meal preparation by your own private chef can be arranged in your ensuite kitchen, and the Pavilion’s courtyard boasts a personal plunge pool.
Activities – outdoor fun, meditation and spa indulgence
Resort Spa – The world-class spa is a testament to the creative use of natural local products. Unique treatments draw from the healing powers of local sapphires that range in color from blue to green to yellow. Yoga mats are provided in each suite, and meditation classes are also available.
Outdoor Fun – Complimentary in your Saffire Freycinet experience are guided tours that range from walks in the spectacular Freycinet National Park with commentary to visits to a local winery or oyster farm. The resort also has its own private archery range with trained instructors. Also, there are kayaks, mountain bikes, kites and other sources of entertainment for the entire family.
Signature experiences let you explore the surrounding area more extensively. There are trips aboard the resort’s especially designed boat, Saffire, with fishing or stops at beaches, as well as exciting tours on Quad Bikes on four-wheel-drive tracks.
Whether you want to relax in your Pavilion or get your heart pumping both from physical activity and the beauty of the landscape, there’s something for everyone’s taste.
Menus, which change daily at the Saffire Freycinet resort, begin with homegrown produce and local ingredients. Classically trained Executive Chef Hugh Whitehouse says, “In the kitchen, I use premium local ingredients sourced from an established network of Tasmanian and specifically East Coast growers. I believe that showcasing the best of the season allows us to offer a more balanced and textured dining experience.”
At the end of the day, the Saffire Freycinet resort is an eco-friendly destination that takes its mission seriously while offering a 5-star holiday experience.
Recommended for… Travellers looking for a luxurious accommodation; there are plenty of activities for an active family, although the privacy aspect lends itself well to honeymooners or romantic interludes.
Be aware that… It is a high-end resort so add-ons are dear
Commitment to restoring natural ecosystem of surrounding area
Use of sustainably harvest wood and local materials
Meals use homegrown or locally-sourced produce
Low impact activities on offer making the most of the natural environment
About the author:Sarah Boisvert has travelled the world over, as evidenced by her two million frequent flier miles. She has resided in both the British and American university cities of Cambridge and misses English delicacies such as Spotted Dick. And she is always sure to check the online reputation of a resort before she stays there.