Tips for Eco Friendly Travel

By Sharon Timms
Oct 29, 2019. Last updated Sep 14, 2022


As Kermit the Frog has been saying for years, “It’s not easy being green.” Green tourism is a relatively new concept in the travel industry, and here in Port Douglas we have both a history of protecting and a responsibility to continue protecting what our good Mother Nature gave us. So, when visiting, what can you do to help? Including the usual sustainable habits like turning the lights off, not wasting food and avoiding creating excess rubbish, there’s a tonne of things you can do to reduce your impact and boost your greenie points whilst on tour.

Here’s how to enjoy a tropical North Queensland holiday while racking up your eco-friendly travel tips for sustainable travel.

1. Pack Light

Let’s be honest. It’s warm in the tropics, even in winter. There’s no need for much more than bikinis and boardies (maybe some flip flops if you’re feeling fancy). And when flying, every kilo counts. The more a plane weighs, the more carbon emissions it produces. Pack only what you need and invest in those carbon offsets when buying your flights - the environment will thank you.

2. Don’t Bag It

We all know about ride share, but now we have bag share! Boomerang Bags provide a borrow-able backup option for shoppers if they forget their own reusable bags. Powered by a growing network of volunteers, Boomerang Bags uses fabric that would otherwise have been discarded, turning it into reusable bags. The Douglas Shire proudly supports and is involved in making these bags, available from a number of local outlets for use and return. Sew sustainable!

3. Enjoy a Near Beer

Drink a locally brewed beer and not only will you probably enjoy a high-quality drop, but your drink can be low-carbon by cutting down on 'beer mileage’. Hemingway's Brewery is an independent craft brewery located in both Port Douglas and Cairns. They are passionate brewers and beer fanatics that not only make a good ale or ten, but they do so by using local ingredient to showcase the region’s produce provenance. For added green points, when you buy their 7th Heaven brew, 50% of the product profits goes towards research with the Great Barrier Reef Legacy.

4. Plastic Free Paradise

Over 80% of plastic, single use water bottles and plastic straws end up in landfill or in our oceans and waterways. No one needs that kind of negativity in their lives. The Douglas Shire is dedicated to eliminating single-use plastics, so by using your own drink bottle, keep cup and reusable straw (or refusing one) we can together reduce plastic consumption, keeping plastic out of our oceanic playground. The Douglas Shire will also be implementing water stations through the region so you can fill up your personal re-usable water bottles. You can even get tropical-motif ones from a number of local shops to take home as a souvenir.

5. Locavore Living

The pleasure of eating combined with the excitement of travel is a heady adventure indeed. Full of astoundingly good farmers markets, restaurants, paddock-to-plate produce, cellar and farm doors, the Port Douglas Daintree region and surrounds is literally a stock pot full of delicious adventure. Eating locally is not only great for mother Earth's health (as it reduces carbon emissions created by food miles) but also for your own. Shop local. Walk to the shops. Less cars on the road. Circular economy. Community support. Ooh, and did we mention keeping up your steps when shopping counts as exercise?

6. Make New Friends

Come make new friends and do some good for the local environment while you’re at it! Reef clean up organisations Tangaroa Blue and Parley for the Oceans have regular beach clean up events along Four Mile Beach, Snapper Island, Low Isles and Myall Beach in Cape Tribulation. Check out their Facebook pages for more information.

7. Check Your Eco Check

Many tourism operators in Port Douglas Daintree are passionate about protecting the environment and have introduced green practices and to help protect and enhance our environment. Before choosing accommodation, tours, experiences or restaurants, check out different businesses who are Eco-Tourism Australia certified and choose ones who you feel do the right thing.

8. Do Not Disturb

When a housekeeper comes into your hotel room to clean it, they normally wipe down surfaces, refresh towels and give you more of those tiny little hotel soaps and shampoos. However, all those disposable items quickly add up to a massive amount of waste. By flipping the DND (do not disturb) on your hotel room means you’re saving on wasteful cleaning. Sheraton Grand Mirage Port Douglas even incentivise their guests to decline housekeeping for a day with a voucher for $15 off food and beverage at four of their dining venues.

9. Pay Your Respects (Kuku Yalangi)

The Kuku Yalanji people are the Indigenous inhabitants of the region They are true rainforest people, living in complete harmony with their environment. It is part of them and they are part of it, a notion that is brought to life during an Indigenous guided walking tour of Mossman Gorge. Visit the Mossman Gorge Centre book into an award-winning Dreamtime Walk, conducted by the Kuku Yalanji people. Be taken on a journey steeped in heritage as you uncover their ancient culture and traditions.

10. Slip Slap Slop Safely

We all know the importance of sun protection, especially here in the tropics. Stay sun safe with sunscreens, hats, sleeves and shade, but avoid polluting the oceans by using a natural sunscreen half an hour before swimming to prevent it from harming marine ecosystems. Alternatively, full stinger suits have a UV protection of 50+ so a great alternative for protection for both skin and reef.

11. Wheelie Good Fun

Arguably, the best way to travel around Port Douglas village is on wheels! Speedy and fun, and cost-effective to boot. Pushbikes, mountain bikes, electric bikes and Green Taxis (peddle power to the people with tuk tuk transport for hire) make tropical transport easy and also keeps those pesky emissions out of the atmosphere.

12. Leave Only Footsteps

Keep our beaches, coastlines and rainforests pristine! No one likes seeing rubbish on the beach, in the rainforest or alongside swimming holes and parks. You can do you good deed by taking a piece (or more) of rubbish with you whenever you head off, leaving only your footsteps behind.

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