Sustainable travel goes far beyond the simple act of packing a reusable cup; it represents a conscientious approach to tourism that weighs the immediate and long-term impacts on the economy, society, and the environment. With this in mind, let’s explore the top four sustainable experiences awaiting you in New South Wales.
Enjoy locally sourced food and wine
Indulge in locally-sourced cuisine and beverages as part of an eco-conscious approach to food and wine. An ideal starting point involves enjoying meals at The Blue Door, a restaurant in Surry Hills dedicated to promoting the origins of their ingredients. Their ever-changing menu reflects the availability of produce from nearby farmers in New South Wales, and their wine selection is exclusively comprised of wines from this region. To elevate your commitment to sustainability, you can also sip on zero-waste cocktails at Sydney’s Re Bar, where innovative drinks and snacks are crafted using surplus fruits and vegetables sourced from markets and excess materials from other hospitality establishments.
For a deeper eco-adventure, venture further to Restdown Wines and Jungle Lane Beef in Deniliquin, where guided tours offer insights into their certified organic vineyard, winery, and beef farm managed with biodynamic principles across 1,100 acres of natural bush and farmland. Along the coastal region, you can also partake in an Oyster Tasting Kayak tour with Region X along the Clyde River in Batemans Bay. This experience allows you to sample some of the finest Sydney Rock oysters from the area while learning about their vital role in the river’s ecosystem.
Welcome First Nations culture and assist neighborhood communities
Respecting and preserving historical and contemporary cultural landmarks and practices is also an aspect of sustainable tourism. Tribal Warrior, Sydney’s only First Nations owned and run Aboriginal cultural cruise, offers once-in-a-lifetime experiences on the sea. Learn the Aboriginal names and meanings of prominent local locations while hearing tales of the Gadigal, Guringai, Wangal, Gammeraigal, and Wallumedegal people of Sydney Harbour. Visit Australia’s oldest museum, the Australian Museum, which has been awarded the Federal Government’s Climate Active designation and is a carbon neutral organization, to learn more about anthropology and natural history. It has begun an ongoing exhibition called Changing Climate, which shares climate change solutions and accounts of how it has affected Australia.
Tweed Eco Cruises offers eco-conscious river cruises along the Tweed River during the day or at dusk that include a grazing board of only locally sourced foods or a seafood buffet. Alternatively, Dwayne ‘Naja’ Bannon-Harrison of Ngaran Ngaran Culture Awareness, who organizes On Country excursions along the NSW Far South Coast, can take you on a tour of Yuin Country.
Take a stroll with New South Wales’ favourite beings
One of the most exciting travel experiences is seeing wildlife, therefore it’s important that these excursions put animal care and environment preservation first. To accomplish this (and to increase your chances of spotting wildlife), you should hire a local guide or subject-matter expert to show you around the area. EcoTreasures shares their love for conservation through led coastal walks and snorkeling tours off Manly, and Wolgan Valley Eco Tours offers informative hikes through the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. On the Far South Coast of New South Wales, guides from Navigate Expeditions can inform you about some of the biological and cultural characteristics of the areas you visit while also providing local food and electric vehicle transportation.
With Dolphin Swim Australia, you can swim and snorkel with dolphins off the coast of Port Stephens if you’re searching for a closer interaction with animals. You’ll get to spend a few hours enjoying a safe and supervised wild dolphin swim in the crystal-clear waters of the Great Lakes Marine Park after some training. In Byron Bay’s Marine National Park, farther north, Go Sea Kayak offers guided kayaking and snorkeling excursions and makes it easier to see dolphins, whales, and local green and loggerhead turtles. Additionally, the tour operator gives $1 for each client to Sea Shepherd and other marine-related charities.
Join one of Reynella Rides’ multi-day horseback safaris in Kosciuszko National Park for an authentic adventure on land. After a long day in the saddle, unwind with a three-course meal around a campfire after riding over the alpine plains and observing wildlife (if you’re lucky, brumbies).
Explore the outdoors with a minimal environmental impact
When engaging in outdoor activities, it’s crucial to adhere to two guiding principles: 1. Tread lightly, and 2. Leave no trace. Embark on a tree-bound adventure with TreeTops Adventure in Nowra, where they’ve thoughtfully integrated their ropes courses and zipline activities into the forest canopy to minimize ecological disruption. Additionally, they actively participate in bush regeneration efforts throughout their parks. For those seeking outdoor experiences in the Snowy Mountains while prioritizing environmental preservation, K7 Adventures offers guided tours for hiking, mountain biking, skiing, and climbing, all conducted with a deep respect for the natural world.
If you’re more inclined toward oceanic pursuits, admire the vibrant blue waters of Narooma as you ride an e-bike along the Narooma to Dalmeny cycle track, spanning 21 kilometers of coastline, a project funded and built by the local community, with Southbound Escapes. Alternatively, consider taking a surf lesson with Lets Go Surfing Sydney at Bondi and Maroubra, where the focus extends beyond surfing skills to include environmental awareness. This organization also runs programs to support disadvantaged community groups.