At Gradus, we are committed to being your go-to guide in eco-friendly travel. Therefore, we are showcasing one of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet – The Great Barrier Reef. Not only can eco-travellers support the cause by contributing to organizations such as Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, an organization, committed to recovering the reefs eco-system. The good news is, you can visit the reef in an eco-friendly fashion while also making a positive contribution! 

The Great Barrier Reef showcases one of the most spectacular ecosystems on the planet. This enormous reef stretches over 2,300 kilometres of the eastern coastline of Australia and made up of almost 3,000 individual reefs! Due to this, the reef is home to over 1,500 species of fish. Plus, 600 species of coral and 30 species of whales and dolphins also live here.


There’s no doubt that this natural wonder has become an attractive holiday destination. However, eco-friendly travelers are looking for more. Even though the reef is protected, recently the levels of tourism have increased, bringing destruction and pollution to the reef. Now, eco-travellers like yourself are taking a stand! Well, there is still good news…At Gradus, we have tracked down and approved 7 eco-friendly ways to visit the Great Barrier reef. With peace of mind, you can keep this iconic landmark on your bucket list. 


1. On the way to your stay, visit Reef HQ

Reef HQ, located in Townsville, a city on the north-eastern coast of Queensland is a national research and education centre. With the largest living coral reef aquarium in the world, this centre is well worth a stop-over. The team at Reef HQ will provide you with all the info you need for an eco-friendly stay on the Great Barrier Reef. Most noteworthy, the research at Reef HQ has found many threats that destroy the reef. To resolve this,  they have developed an app that visitors to the reef can use. This app allows users to detect reef threats and instantly communicate the information back to the team at Reef HQ on its location. As a result, your contributions could save thousands of species in the reef…what a way to add an extra adventure to your travels!


2. Dive into reef research at Heron Island

Heron Island is a coral reef located just off the coast of Gladstone. This island is home to an array of marine life, but most importantly, it boasts incredible eco-resorts and nature hotels. Eco-friendly lodging destinations are dedicated to giving back to the community and preserving the environment. As a result, by staying in an eco-resort or nature hotel at Heron Island, you will have access to dining and entertainment experiences as you would with any other hotel. Plus, you will have the opportunity to experience eco-friendly activities like wildlife encounters and yoga classes! Additionally, Heron Island is well known for their research facilities. Consequently, while staying at Heron Island, you can get involved in hands-on experience with marine research. Therefore, it is certainly a destination worth booking if you have an interest in ecological research. To find out more about Heron Island or to book your stay, click here.


3. Discover eco-friendly luxury at Lizard Island

Seems like, there is quite a large misconception that being eco-friendly means roughing it out. However, this is very untrue and the Lizard Island Resort is proving it. Eco-resorts around the world pair luxury and eco-friendly travel creating a perfect combination. Lizard Island Resort is the one and only hotel on the island and provides an extremely secluded holiday. This resort continually works with locals and experts to ensure they are doing the best for the reef. With gourmet meals, stand-up paddle boarding, clear view kayaks and more, you definitely won’t find boredom in this place! Also looking for adventure? If you’re into diving, Cod Hole is a famous diving destination located close to the island. To find out more about Lizard Island or to book your stay, click here.


4. Get up close with Manta Rays at Lady Elliot Island

Although its one of the closest reef islands from Brisbane, Lady Elliot Island is still quite secluded. You may have heard of this island for the eco-initiatives and studies on Manta Rays. However, a key stand out of this island is the array of guided reef walks and diving locations. The eco-resort on Lady Elliot has a range of lodging experiences, suited to any budget. Get down to earth with tented cabins or get luxurious with a beach suite. Furthermore, the hotel guarantees that you’ll be using solar powered energy and drinking filtered seawater. In addition, the hotel composts all food waste, giving back to the land every day. Eco-friendly really is an understatement for Lady Elliot Island! To find out more about Lady Elliot Island or to book your stay click here.


5. Experience barefoot luxury at Bedarra Island

Bedarra Island is an eco-friendly, secluded island with a tropical rainforest. Most noteworthy, the island is home to Australia’s #1 most sustainable resort it essentially leaves zero footprints on the planet. Therefore, this is definitely a place that ticks all the boxes for eco-friendly travelers. This paradise island has only ten suites which limit the number of visitors at one time. Additionally, if you’re a couple looking for an eco-friendly getaway, this island’s resort provides a unique experience. The staff can send you and your partner off to a remote island! Just the two of you can enjoy a candlelit dinner and embrace nature, taking your experience to a new level. To find out more about Bedarra Island or to book your stay click here.


6. Offset your flights’ carbon emissions

Currently, air travel is responsible for a huge 10% of global warming! As a result, if you’re flying to the Great Barrier Reef, it’s important to offset your carbon emissions. Essentially, the goal for you as a traveler is to offset as much carbon emissions as possible. Sounds too complicated? Thankfully, an innovative booking portal called Trip Zero can do this all for you…for free! You can use the Carbon Foot Calculator to analyze all carbon emissions on your trip and therefore, reduce them before you go. 


7. Remember the small things

It’s the small things you plan in your trip that will, consequently, make an eco-friendly holiday. Find out about the systems that are in place on the island you choose to stay at to make sure you’re recycling and disposing of rubbish correctly to avoid ocean plastic pollution. Finally, it’s important to remember the basics of eco-travelling. Simple things like; using less air-conditioning and bringing a reusable water bottle can make a difference. You can always find out more about this in our previous blog post How to go green while traveling”.

If you’re loving the idea of eco-friendly travel but have already been to the Great Barrier reef, check out our blog on the Top 5 eco-tourism destinations in the world. Finally, If you have your own experiences on eco-friendly travels and can share further ideas on how you can decrease your environmental footprint when travelling, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.


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