Wilson Island_Southern Great Barrier Reef_eco resorts Queensland

8 eco-friendly places to sleep in Queensland

Plastic bottle bans, island solar-power grids, glamping tents and wilderness walks are a handful of ways Queensland eco resorts are upping their sustainability game.

Check out those leading the way with this list of eco-friendly accommodation options across the state.

1. Lady Elliot Island, Southern Great Barrier Reef

Lady Elliot Island glamping

Leading the charge with its eco-appeal is this coral cay in the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Located 80km east of the mainland, within a highly protected ‘green zone’, Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort is home to thousands of nesting boobies and terns, with giant loggerhead turtles and manta rays in the pristine waters offshore.

Credentials: Hybrid solar power stations replace diesel, there’s water desalination and a climate change trail for guests, plus the use of grey water for irrigation, a ban on disposable water bottles, the regeneration of vegetation and removal of pests.

We love… that the resort’s committed to being 100 percent sustainable by 2020. We’re also fond of spending nights in the safari-style tents designed to limit their environmental footprint.

2. Nightfall, Lamington National Park

Nightfall Wilderness Camp 2019 Photo by Lauren Bullen (@gypsea_lust)

If you want to generate zero carbon points on your next holiday, stay at this off-the-beaten-track luxury campsite. You’ll find it in Lamington National Park, 90 minutes south-west of Brisbane.

Credentials: Foraging for produce, dining on organic food from the region, on-site wastewater treatment, low-water toilets, low-flow fittings, solar power, the regeneration of damaged forest and a commitment to minimising soil erosion.

We love… Nightfall’s focus on re-using, recycling and reducing, plus the beautifully designed and hand-built safari tents.

3. Thala Beach Lodge, Port Douglas

Thala Beach Reserve Tropical North Queensland

Thala Beach Nature Reserve. Photo by @_aswewander

A member of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World, Thala Beach Nature Reserve is recognised as among the best sustainable properties in the world. Only 15 minutes’ drive south of Port Douglas, the retreat is best known for its stunning coconut plantation and private beach.

Credentials: The rehabilitation of a former sugar cane plantation, the use of sustainable materials during a low-impact build, stainless steel and/or bamboo water bottles in mini bars, a ban on single-use plastic bottles, and expert-guided nature walks.

We love… that Thala has been granted the highest level of Advanced Eco Certification for connecting guests to the landscape, minimising environmental impact and supporting local communities. We also like that it’s cleverly hidden among 58 hectares of native forest and the bungalows make you feel like you’re sleeping in a treehouse.

PS. It’s also the ultimate spot for a digital detox.

4. Hidden Valley Cabins, Paluma Range

Hidden Valley Cabins | 8 eco friendly places to stay in Queensland

Australia’s first carbon-neutral resort pays homage to its surroundings in the Paluma Range, north of Townsville.

Credentials: A solar plant that has eliminated the use of a diesel generator, cabins and furniture built largely from recycled or selectively logged local timber, the composting of food and paper products, and the planting of more than 2000 trees.

We love… the renewable energy workshops and interpretive centre to educate visitors.

5. Spicers Canopy, Southern Queensland Country

Spicers Canopy glamping

Photo by @insta_lamb

Mountains, ridges, forests and volcanic plateaus are the drawcard to South East Queensland’s famous Scenic Rim Trail, and Spicers Canopy is the perfect place to rest your head after a day exploring.

Credentials: Not only are walkers surrounded by World Heritage-listed national parks but they sleep in stunning, permanent eco-tents at Spicers Canopy, about 1.5 hours from Brisbane. The glamping site is on a 2023-hectare private nature refuge.

We love… that the tents are part of a luxury guided walking trail that’s more about slowing down and appreciating nature than rushing through it.

6. Kingfisher Bay Resort, Fraser Island

Kingfisher Bay Resort | 8 eco friendly places to stay in Queensland

One of Queensland’s original eco getaways, Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser Island rolled out the green welcome mat in 1992. The rooms are modern but it’s here nature-based learnings come with old-fashioned adventures.

Credentials: A low impact build that includes timber multi-share Wilderness Lodges, the use of native bush tucker ingredients in the resort’s Taste of Australia program, and educational tours for school students.

We love… that the resort has nine Advanced Ecotourism Certifications from Ecotourism Australia for its tours and accommodation.

7. Bedarra Island, off Mission Beach

Hidden amongst 45 hectares of tropical rainforest, Bedarra Island is a Great Barrier Reef sanctuary. Only 10 kilometres offshore from Mission Beach, the family-owned resort pays more than lip service to sustainability.

Credentials: A focus on small guest numbers to limit the impact of tourism, an off-grid hybrid solar system replaced diesel generators, the use of low-power appliances, a move away from a diesel-powered desalination plant to freshwater springs and rainwater, and the employment of suppliers who use minimal packaging.

We love… future plans to upgrade the off-grid solar system to increase energy generation and upgrade composting systems to further reduce landfill.

8. O’Reillys Rainforest Retreat, Gold Coast Hinterland

O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat | 8 eco friendly places to stay in Queensland

For more than 93 years, O’Reilly’s has been a part of the Queensland tourism landscape, encouraging travellers to reconnect with nature in the Gold Coast Hinterland.

Credentials: An eco-rangers school holiday program, a tree-top walk through rainforest canopy, guided bird walks and safaris on eco-friendly Segways.

We love… the dedication to “green” experiences. Among our favourites are the wildlife encounters, during which guests can meet the animals of Lamington National Park, such as carpet snakes, magpies and possums.