The Best Ecotourism Experiences in Queensland, Australia

Honeyeater lookout hiking trail, Conway national park, Airlie Beach, Queensland, Australia
Honeyeater lookout hiking trail, Conway national park, Airlie Beach, Queensland, Australia | © P&F Photography / Alamy
Tom Smith

The sunny northeast corner of Australia is blessed with a bevvy of natural attractions, including miles of untouched beaches, thousands of plant and animal species, acres of ancient rainforest, dozens of tropical islands and the unmissable Great Barrier Reef. Discover the top 10 eco experiences you can have in Queensland, Australia.

Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.

Great Barrier Reef

Natural Feature

How could you start an article about ecotourism experiences in Queensland anywhere other than the Great Barrier Reef? The UNESCO World Heritage-listed reef stretches for more than 2000km along the sun-kissed Queensland coast, and includes dozens of highlights, such as Heart Reef, Whitehaven Beach and miles of colourful coral formations. Make sure you visit this World Wonder with an eco-certified operator, such as Reef Magic Cruises in Cairns.

Fraser Island

Natural Feature

Lake McKenzie on Fraser Island

There’s another World Heritage-listed marvel at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef: Fraser Island, the largest sand island on the face of the Earth. What makes the island even more remarkable is that it’s home to ancient rainforests, several serene freshwater pools and a remarkably pure strain of dingo. Again, make sure you pick a tour operator with serious eco credentials, like the locally run Drop Bear Adventures.

Australia Zoo

The ‘Home of the Crocodile Hunter’ was founded by Steve Irwin’s parents in 1970, and his legacy has continued after his untimely death in 2006, thanks to his wife Terri and children Bindi and Bob. As well as feeding crocs, Australia Zoo has conservation front of mind, providing a home to more than 1000 native and international animals across 100 acres, an hour’s drive north of Brisbane.

Daintree Rainforest

Natural Feature
Step millions of years back in time through this ancient rainforest just north of Cairns. The World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest is home to plants that are literally 100 million years old, as well as plenty of other lush vegetation, waterways crawling with a healthy population of saltwater crocodiles, species of bird found hardly anywhere else on earth and picturesque swimming holes to cool off from the sweltering tropical climate (just watch out for crocs).

Bungalow Bay Koala Village

Introducing the only resort in Australia with its own wildlife park on-site. Situated a half-hour ferry ride from Townsville on the tropical paradise that is Magnetic Island, Bungalow Bay Koala Village offers visitors the chance to have breakfast with a side serving of koala cuddles, plus plenty of other Aussie wildlife to meet, and the opportunity to sleep under the trees in affordable, eco-certified accommodation.

Capricorn Caves

Natural Feature
Many travellers skip Central Queensland, but those who include Rockhampton on their itinerary are treated to these incredible limestone caves just outside town. Zig-zag through natural passageways on a tour to the Cathedral Chamber, which is often used for weddings and lends its acoustics to opera several times a year. Also, keep an eye out for tiny insectivorous bats.

Reef HQ Aquarium

You can discover the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef indoors at the world’s largest living coral reef aquarium in the middle of Townsville. Doubling as the government’s national education centre for the Great Barrier Reef, Reef HQ contains a 2.5 million litre exhibition that helps visitors gain an even greater understanding of Queensland’s stunning natural marvel.

Lizard Island Resort

Private plunge pool at Lizard Island Resort

Fancy a slice of luxury with your environmentally-friendly getaway? Then book a stay at Lizard Island Resort. This remote island paradise is just a one-hour flight from Cairns, and this resort offers the most glamorous eco-friendly getaway in the state of Queensland. Go snorkelling at the world-renowned Cod Hole dive site or just kick back in your own private plunge pool.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

There’s more to the Gold Coast than sea, sand and sunshine, and this zoo, surrounded by the region’s pristine hinterland, proves it. The 27 hectares of the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary are crawling with dozens of animal species, including all the Aussie favourites, like koalas, kangaroos, dingos, wombats, echidnas and emus, but the place is famous for its population of free-flying rainbow lorikeets.

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

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