Latest Posts

5 Environmental Benefits of Staying in a Log Cabin

There’s something romantic about a wisp of smoke spiraling from the chimney of a log cabin on the top of a mountain. Not only are the views amazing, but you’re also in the perfect place to pause, relax and get in touch with yourself and nature.

The benefits of staying in a cabin go beyond great views. It’s a great way to  lessen your environmental impact. From its construction to how it stores and uses energy, a log cabin is ecologically friendly in more ways than one.

Here we share five reasons why it’s good to get cosy in a cabin on vacation.

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The Lost Lands Festival is Here!

I think I’ve found ‘The One’. Yes, it’s true. Since I’ve been frequenting Australian shores I’ve been waiting and hoping, hoping and waiting for the right one to come along. And now it seems my wait is finally over. The Lost Lands festival is here!

Set to be held on Melbourne Cup Long Weekend (29th-30th October) in the blissful sprawling grounds of Werribee Mansion and Parklands, The Lost Lands is a two-day music and arts festival designed for families and friends. It is the brainchild of Falls Festival founder Simon Daly, who seems to have his finger firmly on the festival lovers’ pulse. It’s like he’s been in my head.

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baby gorilla rwanda

Kwita Izina: Where Conservation Meets Sustainable Tourism

Written by Belise Kariza – Chief Tourism Officer at Rwanda Development Board

Around much of the world, the hearth is the heart of the home. Especially in Africa, as a meeting place for warmth and wisdom, families and societies would sit in front of the fireplace and without realising it develop the very traditions and values that are passed down to future generations.

While the fireplace has been replaced by central heating, there is still a central hearth where Rwandans gather as a united community with one of our most important shared values: conservation of our natural treasures. Kwita Izina, Rwanda’s annual Gorilla Naming Ceremony, has become a platform which ignites and sustains the fire for conservation and the sustainable tourism dialogue. In other words, the ceremony is the fireplace of common sense when it comes to the direction of the tourism industry in Rwanda and the Great Lakes region.

Izuru's baby. Image: © Rwanda Development Board/Keiko Mori.

Izuru’s baby, Ndumunyarwanda meaning ‘I’m Rwandan’. Image: © Rwanda Development Board/Keiko Mori.

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A Short Guide to Sustainable Key West

Home of the Southermost Point of continental United States, Ernest Hemingway’s island home and the most unusual cemetery I’ve ever seen, Key West is that charmingly quirky place you crave when traveling. The streets are lined with performers, artists and shops with hilariously unusual keepsakes. Trek a few blocks and you’ll find yourself on the brim of a wildlife sanctuary that locals dedicate themselves to preserving. Food, the outdoors, excitement and sustainability sums up Key West, Florida.

Bikes, Bikes, Everywhere

Graceful or not, most visitors and locals can be seen pedaling around on bikes. Warning: you’ll witness many ‘face plants.’ Healthy forms of transportation are promoted on the island, rather than everyone puttering around in a gas guzzling vehicles. A lot of people choose to walk everywhere, which was what we did. Parking is a nightmare in the small city square, so alternative ways of getting around are a must. Key West promotes trolleys, shuttles and other carpooling style transportation, to prevent pollution and the consumption of fuel.

bike Ibis Bay

Ibis Bay vintage bike. Photo: Karyn Wofford.

You’ll notice that there are many sail boats in the marina. Sailing is an eco-friendly way to scoot about the waters. We had the opportunity to see a Danger Charters boat in action while sailing around the tiny islands and mangroves. Sail boats often have the option to use a motor if needed. The old days were better for the environment, but shipwrecks were far more common as well!

Sustainable Eats

Restaurants we ate at usually had a menu full of organic and local options. Almost all seafood is caught by local markets and fisherman. People of the island know where their food is coming from. At The Stoned Crab, we enjoyed dishes from their on-site market, Three Hands Fish. Our food was caught fresh that morning, filleted, then prepared when we ordered.

The Stoned Crab

The Stoned Crab Appetizer with Stone crab. Photo: Karyn Wofford.

Three Hands Fish Market

Three Hands Fish Market, Key West. Photo: Karyn Wofford.

Stone crab is a popular Florida seafood, with the majority being shipped from Key West. It’s the only 100 percent sustainable meat, because only one claw is popped off, and the little crab regrows it. The meat is extremely healthy too.

Key West promotes the consumption of invasive fish, like Lionfish, to maintain the delicate balance of the ocean’s eco-system. Spear caught fishing is often used over net fishing, because nets scrape across fragile reefs, killing sea life.

Lobster Shack key west

Lobster Shack, Key West. Photo: Karyn Wofford.

A few worthy food mentions are the The Lobster Shack with its simple, traditional Maine style lobster rolls and Cuban Coffee Queen, a tiny, small footprint shack that serves up traditional Cuban sandwiches and killer coffee. After our visit, I started brewing my own Cuban coffee and haven’t looked back since.

Cuban Coffee Queen

Cuban Coffee Queen. Photo: Karyn Wofford.

Up Close and Personal with Wildlife

Keys locals are persistently protective of the ocean, reefs and other surroundings, but they will show you a great time on tours while educating visitors on safe practices while interacting. The Ibis Bay LED Glass Bottom Kayak tour took place at night and was hosted by marine graduates who not only showed us amazing creatures, but taught us a lot. My brother and I shared a kayak and glided over the super shallow water with our LED lights, situated on the bottom of the boat, lighting the way. We were in a large cove/bay, so the water was calm and relaxing.

Night Kayaking key west

Night Kayaking at Ibis Bay. Photo: courtesy of Ibis Bay.

We had a little freedom but were told to stay relatively close. Our guides talked about conservation of the ocean while letting us closely view certain sea life, like sea cucumbers and starfish. We even learned that sea cucumber squirts out their digestive tract to distract predators. I’d say that’s pretty darn distracting. They regrow the system when they catch their breath.

Iguana Ibis Bay

Iguana near Ibis Bay Resort. Photo: Pam Tyson Yasinski.

The Florida Keys also host The Turtle Hospital in Marathon, which rehabilitates turtles who have sustained injuries, like fishing line amputations (another reason why spear caught fishing is better). Educational experiences are available everyday, but need to be arranged in advance.

Just Go

Key west is a wonderfully sustainable getaway where you can enjoy Key Lime Pie on a stick while supporting a better planet. If that’s not a good enough reason to pack your bags, I don’t know what is.

Lead image: Key West, Florida. Photo Credit: kolemichael0

off-grid hotel

Tubakuba :: An Off-Grid Mountain Retreat

Looking for mountain retreat far from the madding crowd? Then maybe this 150 square-foot cabin in Bergen, Norway will appeal. Located on a steep mountainside on the outskirts of Bergen with a commanding view of the valley below, Tubakuba, or Tuba Cube, is Norway’s only off-grid hotel room.

tubakuba

Designed and crafted by students at the School of Architecture, the cabin has four entirely different outward facing walls. Made of 95 percent wood, the south wall is made from untreated larch, which will fade with time and blend in with the forest. Another wall is made of burned larch in a Japanese technique that inhibits decay. The wall facing the valley is made entirely of glass for striking, unobstructed views.

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The Best Eco Experiences with Ecotourism Australia

A few weeks ago, when I was asked what I thought the best ecotourism experiences in Australia were, I will admit to being totally flummoxed. There are so many amazing things to do, places to go and stay in the country that I found it almost impossible to pin down ‘the best’. And my idea of the best may not be the same as someone else’s.

There are a growing number of websites where you can search for eco holidays. A few I recommend – and sites I scour often for my own travels – are Book Different, Book Greener and Ecobnb. Greenloons is a great site too, especially for those Stateside, and Responsible Travel and Greentraveller are two favourite UK-based sites. But for Australians, Ecotourism Australia is a particularly good resource as their list of members is available to the public so you can find all accredited accommodations and activities on the same site.
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merri creek community garden

Community Gardens: Your Home-Away-From-Home

Longer-term travel often means being away from friends and family for extended periods of time. Sometimes this can come as a much welcome break, but inevitably some home-sickness pangs will pluck at heart-strings before too long. Many savvy travellers will no doubt opt to travel lightly and avoid packing too many sentimental home trinkets.

Whether you are uprooted for work, study, pleasure, or otherwise, there is no way, as yet, to package up your established network and the intangible values of a community that you will be leaving behind – a favourite local organic shops; the barista who knows your coffee order; the park on the corner.

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culinary train journeys

5 Classic Culinary Train Journeys

Whether it’s the gentle sideways undulation of the train on the tracks that makes rail travel so incredibly relaxing or the fact that, until you reach your final destination, there is nowhere else you have to be but right there in your seat, it’s easy to sit back and revel in the moment. Add great food and wine into the mix and you have an unholy Mary Poppins type of experience – practically perfect in every way.

There are so many wonderful culinary train journeys available throughout the world, it is much too hard to whittle out the best five. Instead I have opted for five train journeys I have either taken or are on the neverending list of things to do.

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Happy New Year 2016

Happy New Year Eco Travellers!

Happy New Year!

I hope you’ve had an amazing 2015 and have had the opportunity to add lots of wonderful travel memories to your bank of good times past.

It’s been a relatively quiet year for me in terms of travel. A new part-time office job means the joy of freelance isn’t as free as it once was. After eight years of working from home, I craved some human interaction and a change of work environment and started working with luxury tour company Epicurious travel at the beginning of the year. Although office based, the role is varied and offers a good balance of writing, editing, admin and travel design. There are also opportunities for travel and this year I visited Tasmania for the first time and joined one of the 6-day Larapinta trail tours, which was definitely a highlight of 2015 for me.

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7 Reasons to Visit Noosa

The seaside haven of Noosa, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, lies two hours north of Brisbane. It is has been a popular holiday destination since the 1800s, and continues to be a firm favourite with adventurers, retirees, backpackers and families, many of whom return time and time again.

Noosa is a small, relatively quiet township with National Parks and Reserves lining its boundaries and a river running through it, fed by the lakes of the Great Sandy National Park. The shoreline sweeps in a great arc from Noosa National Park on the headland right around to the tip of Fraser Island. The almost-perfect main beach draws surfers, sunbathers and people watchers to its beautifully clear waters and fine golden sand, and in behind the strip of hotels and restaurants along the beachfront you’ll find great shopping on Hastings Street.

On the surface, Noosa seems like any other seaside town, but there is so much more to this captivating region than sun, sea and sand. Conservation and sustainable tourism ideals are ingrained in the community and business life. Action groups ensure development is restricted, wildlife is cared for and management programmes are in place to help protect this wonderfully diverse environment. Added to that some seriously good places to eat and you can see why people keep coming back for more.

Here are a few more reasons why we think you should visit Noosa.
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