From solar-powered ‘glamping’’ to recycled timber cabins, going eco on holiday is easy.

Tiptop Tents

Karijini Eco Retreat | Western Australia

Go bush without sacrificing luxury in one of 40 deluxe eco tents located in the Karijini National Park – 1400 kilometres from Perth. Ten of the eco tents come complete with en suite, and each boasts a low-flow showerhead, biodegradable soap and water from a state-of-the-art treatment plant.

The property is solar powered, and the generator is only used if there hasn’t been enough sunshine that day to power the panels. Soaking up the atmosphere and dining alfresco is the way to go. Guests can have a feast in the on-site restaurant or exercise their culinary skills in the bush kitchens.

The accommodation carries Ecotourism Australia’s Advanced Eco Certification and is 100 per cent owned by the local Gumala Aboriginal Corporation, which represents the interests of three Pilbara region groups.

Low-impact Lodges

Mt Paul on Freycinet | Tasmania

Nestled in 485 hectares of regrowth forest adjoining the Freycinet National Park, this mountain retreat – built by Virginia Cowie and business partner Phillippa Denne – offers complete tranquillity. In 2004, the site, 166 kilometres from Launceston, was the subject for an environmentally sustainable design project with the Tasmanian School of Architecture.

The lodges rest on ‘mega anchors’, consisting of oak timber frames made from renewable Tassie forests and celery top pine decking – a by-product of furniture-making. All glass doors and windows are double glazed to maximise the heat from the winter sun, and the buildings’ walls, ceilings and floors are insulated with materials made from recycled bottles. Water tanks supply filtered rainwater for drinking.

Hot Hotels

Novotel Lakeside and Hotel Ibis | Rotorua, New Zealand

Rotorua – 90 minutes’ drive from Auckland – is renowned for its natural geothermal activity and both hotels are harnessing the renewable energy source right on their doorsteps. Three on-site underground bore holes provide geothermal water at a piping-hot 120˚C, which then passes through heat exchangers to heat the tap water for the hotels’ 344 rooms as well as their air-conditioners. Some of the geothermal water is also siphoned off into the Novotel’s underground Royal Spa and Fitness Centre where guests can relax in 37˚C pools.

In order to maintain the underground water table and environmental balance, the used geothermal water is injected back into the bore.

Carbon-free Cabins

Hidden Valley Cabins | Queensland

Hidden Valley is Australia’s first carbon- neutral resort and has the Advanced Ecotourism stamp of approval from Ecotourism Australia. Located 103 kilometres northwest of Townsville, the family-run resort boasts cabins built from recycled timber and uses low-energy light bulbs. It also features a licensed restaurant and barbecues.

The owners invested $85,000 on fitting solar panels, matched dollar for dollar by the federally sponsored Renewable Remote Power Generation Program, and it’s paid off. The resort operates solely on solar power and the generator has not been switched on since last December. Not only does this save the resort 78 tonnes of CO² per year, but the owners also offset the emissions they can’t eradicate.

Virtuous Villas

Emerald Valley Villa | Byron Bay, New South Wales

Emerald Valley Villa’s motto is to ‘live in luxury, but in harmony with Mother Earth’ – and with a springwater pool, sleek architecture, expansive rooms and spa facilities, it’s certainly got the stars in the luxury stakes as well as five-star green credentials.

The entire villa is carbon neutral and uses 100 per cent green power. There is solar hot water and extensive planting of native vegetation, plus the villa is entirely water self-sufficient, with all water used in the home sourced from an ancient underground watercourse. Recycled water is also used to feed the on-site organic vegetable gardens.