6 Incredible Outback Ecotourism Experiences
Ecotourism in Australia isn’t only possible in our rainforests and amongst coral reefs! In the Outback, we are proud to see more and more ecotourism certified experiences popping up, helping visitors contribute positively as they explore the country's most picturesque landscapes. Read on to discover six Outback ecotourism experiences recognised for their efforts to protect some of Australia’s most precious cultures, environments and native wildlife.
Sustainable travel in the Outback
At The Outback Loop, we are constantly in awe of our backyard for its great potential for adventure and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Its sheer vastness, pristine environments and rugged beauty are unmatched, similar to nowhere else in the world. Our national parks, salt lakes, mountain ranges and other ancient landscapes are home to unique geology, flora and fauna that visitors love to see. But we also know that our regions and their vulnerable wildlife are precious and worthy of protection from human impact, including that from tourism.
In order to travel sustainably and reduce your impact, there are a number of ways you can prepare to follow the Aussie Travel Code during your upcoming trip. However, one of our best tips for being responsible as you enjoy the Outback involves choosing to support ecotourism certified businesses; those not only providing unforgettable adventures but also doing great things for the natural world.
Ecotourism experiences not to miss
So, when you next make the journey to us, match your values with your actions as you roll through some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world. It's not about missing out, it's just about loving this special region in all the right ways. So here are six incredible Outback ecotourism experiences to add to your roadtrip to-do list. Let’s go!
1. Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary
Located approximately 600km north of Adelaide, Arkaroola is a spectacular expanse of rugged land in the Flinders Ranges. Incredible rock formations point to the landscape’s formation approximately two billion years ago. But this isn’t just an attraction for geologists. Anyone with a love for good views and the thrill of adventure can appreciate the beauty of this stunning wilderness sanctuary.
Interestingly, Arkaroola was the first Flinders Ranges tourism establishment to achieve Advanced Ecotourism Accreditation and there’s no doubt that it’s one of South Australia’s premier ecotourism experiences.
Today, it is one of the best places to find rare marsupials, including a healthy colony of the shy and endangered Yellow-Footed Rock-Wallaby. Meanwhile, speckled with unique gum-lined creeks, granite peaks and refreshing water holes, you’ll undoubtedly fall in love with the sanctuary’s tranquil charm. Since it measures a whopping 610sq km in size, we recommend allowing yourself plenty of time to explore its best bits!
Don’t miss out on a 4WD Ridgetop Tour or a walk across the razor-back ridges. Take in the clear evening skies and witness the stars with the help of state-of-the-art Astronomical Observatories. Feeling a little out of touch with civilisation? No worries. A range of accommodation, a shop, restaurant, bar and swimming pool are also found on-site in Arkaroola Village.
2. Wilpena Pound
The majestic Wilpena Pound is known as the jewel in the crown of Ikara-Flinders Ranges. Iconic within South Australia and known to many across the world, Wilpena Pound is another Advanced Ecotourism Certified attraction you absolutely can’t miss. Located on Adnyamathanha Country, the site is 430km north of Adelaide and home to not only stunning natural landscapes but accommodation, glamping, camping, a restaurant, bar, pool and shop facilities. You’ll want for absolutely nothing here.
Recognised for its striking bowl-like formation and jagged peaks, Wilpena Pound and the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park have been culturally significant to the First Nations Adnyamathanha people for an untold number of generations. Ikara means ‘the meeting place’ in the traditional Yura Ngawarla language, and this sentiment is at the core of the operations at Wilpena Pound Resort.
We suggest taking an Aboriginal cultural tour with an Adnyamathanha guide, a scenic flight with Wrightsair or Arid Air, or mountain biking trip (or all of the above) for the most immersive experience. A network of incredible walking trails leads guests across unforgettable ancient landscapes here, so there are plenty of memorable options for all budgets and activity levels. Thick bushland, colourful mountain ranges and endless views of ethereal rock formations will capture the hearts of all outdoor adventurers. What are you waiting for?
3. Camel Treks Australia
Taking you right into the thick of the Flinders Ranges on four legs, Camel Treks Australia is an award-winning tour company with a passion for sharing the rugged beauty of the Outback. If you’re going to tour the Outback, why not do it in Outback style?
Heading into the breathtaking peaks and red sand dunes, the company’s four, five or nine-day tours are surprisingly comfortable and are fully catered. This might just be one of the most unique tours you’ll ever experience!
Camel Treks Australia is family owned and operated and a frontrunner not only in sustainable tourism but responsible animal tourism. The company has a vision for a kind of tourism where animals and the environment are put first. Their list of climate, ecotourism and sustainable tourism certifications speak for themselves.
4. Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum
In the heart of Outback Queensland, Australian Age of Dinosaurs is a museum home to the largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils in the world. The science-based, not-for-profit and award-winning museum is easily accessed, around 175km northwest of Longreach. Drop by and visit the three main components of the museum - the Fossil Preparation Laboratory, Collection Room and Dinosaur Canyon - as you learn about Australia’s ancient history.
Placed upon a large mesa called The Jump-Up, the museum is eco-certified and based upon strict environmental practices. Whilst you’re here, spot an array of wildlife including lizards, birds and mammals which roam the surrounding Winton Formation - a mountain range dated around 95-98 million years old.
5. Rawnsley Park Station
Don’t drive past the signs that direct you towards Rawnsley Park Station - it’s worth the drive and we’ll tell you why. Venturing into tourism in 1968 after a long history of sheep shearing, Rawnsley Park Station is an award-winning tourism facility overlooking the southern side of Wilpena Pound. The accommodation and tourism venue is highly committed to sustainable tourism; it’s eco-certified and has won many awards as a result.
Blessed with incredible views and a flourishing natural environment, the venue is your perfect base when exploring the beautiful Flinders Ranges. Stay the night in one of Rawnsley’s holiday units or - in true ecotourism style - pick one of the eco-villas.
While you’re here, we’d recommend taking a long walk, scenic flight or 4WD self-drive (as well as many other activities) to help you encounter the Ranges in one of their most striking locations.
6. Innamincka Hotel
Take a pit stop at the friendly Innamincka Hotel in South Australia’s Outback; a pub once frequented by hungry pastoral workers, drovers and shearers. In recent years, the crowd has been replaced - or added to - with Outback adventurers and nature-lovers looking to spend a few days exploring the history and beauty of Channel Country and the tranquil Innamincka Regional Reserve.
The hotel is continually developing its efforts in sustainable tourism, from everyday recycling and carbon calculation to acquiring EcoTourism Certification with Ecotourism Australia. Enjoy a culturally and environmentally responsible guided tour to discover the historic trail of Burke and Wills, or relax with a sunset drink on a Cooper Creek Cruise. Packed with memorabilia and local charm, the pub is the perfect home base to return to for a beautiful meal, warm atmosphere and comfortable accommodation.
The Outback Loop
Australia’s Outback is filled with ecotourism experiences and plenty of potential for eco-friendly adventure. At the Outback Loop, we live to share our region with you and want to help you plan the perfect trip.
For more ideas and information, check out The Outback Loop map and plan your next adventure to us. We can’t wait to meet you!