Banubanu Wilderness Retreat, Bremer Island, NT
Banubanu is seriously off the grid, about an hour’s boat ride north of Nhulunbuy, in East Arnhem Land. This leave-it-all-behind, rustic retreat on an island washed by the crystalline waters of the Arafura Sea treads super lightly, using local materials, running on solar and wind power and using stored rainwater. Banubanu is about minimal impact, max time to relax. With maybe a spot of fishing. Two cabins, 5 tents, no TV, great hosts, generous food.
From $250 pp per night, including all meals
Bamarru Plains, west of Kakadu, NT
What you don’t get – telephones, internet, CD players, TV, a mini-bar. What you DO get – one of nine safari bungalows in the savannah bush on the edge of the Mary River floodplains, incredible wildlife, amazing views, boast-worthy fishing. Power is largely solar generated, solar hot water is supplied, bedlinen is organic cotton, drinking water is filtered bore water.
From $520 pp per night, all inclusive
Spicers Canopy, Maryvale, QLD
A top-of-the-range retreat with 10 posh tents in Queensland’s south-east. Polished floorboards, rugs, fine linens and bedside lamps mean you’re hardly roughing it, but the resort is eco-accredited, has share bathrooms, uses solar power (leave the hair straightener at home) and rainwater tanks. Laze on your deck, savour gourmet food, take a dip in the local swimming hole, ride mountain bikes or join a guided walk through the dramatic Scenic Rim.
Rates on application
Binna Burra Mountain Lodge, Lamington NP, QLD
Proving that the whole eco thing is not new, Binna Burra Lodge has been caring for the sub-tropical rainforest and catering to nature lovers since the 1930s. The original, heritage-listed buildings use hand-cut tallow wood slabs, but there are also safari tents and apartments. This was the first Australian property to attain international Green Globe Certification. There is a raft of nature-based activities.
From $69 pp per night, incl. breakfast and lunch
A small lodge built from Tasmanian timber in the ancient Tarkine rainforest, renowned for its prolific birdlife and wildlife. Solar-powered electricity, rainwater for drinking and washing, and dam water for the gardens minimise the lodge’s footprint. Dine on locally grown organic food and locally sourced supplies. Activities include guided rainforest walks, night-time viewing of Tasmanian Devils and wildlife encounters.
From $410 per room, B&B
Paperbark Camp, Jervis Bay, NSW
Out of Africa luxury meets eco-wise sustainability. Twelve stylish tents, with their own indoor/outdoor en suites, built off the ground amid towering eucalypts and flaky paperbarks. Solar-powered lighting, rainwater harvesting and no air-con. The location and low-key development mean wildlife is abundant. Gunyah restaurant, tucked into the treetops, serves locally grown and sourced seasonal food. Use peddle-power (bike!) to get to the white sands of Jervis Bay.
From $395 per double, B&B
Grampians Eco Hostel, Halls Gap, VIC
This friendly Youth Hostel blends eco savvy (solar electricity, solar hot water, recycled greywater and more), with simple modern design, a top location for exploring the Grampians (great hikes, climbing, wildlife) and very reasonable prices. It even has family rooms.
From $95 double room, less for YHA Members
Great Ocean Ecolodge, Cape Otway, VIC
A solar-powered lodge with impeccable eco-credentials, run by the Conservation Ecology Centre (all profits are reinvested in wildlife conservation). Ideally located for tackling the stunning Great Ocean Walk, or just beachcombing. You can even join researchers working with endangered species. Five guest rooms only.
From $370 per room, B&B and guided walks
Ecobeach, Broome, WA
There are villas but if you’re serious, you’ll opt for one of the swisho Eco Tents with its own deeply comfortable bed, private deck and en suite. Low-watt power, shared barbecue for cooking, lots of environmental initiatives, a sweep of untrammelled beach – and no phones, wi-fi or TV to shatter the peace.
Tents from $165 per night
Karijini Eco Retreat, Karijini NP, WA
A base in the ruggedly beautiful Karijini NP, with Deluxe Eco-tents, dorm-style Eco Tents and campsites. Solar-power, grey water treatment, natural ventilation (ie – no air con), floors from recycled timber. Part of the tariff goes toward the conservation of the Park.
Deluxe Eco Tent, from $189.50 per night; campsites $35 per night