Travelling is a big part of our lives these days, accounting for around 40% of Australia’s household greenhouse gas emissions (data from http://climatechange.gov.au. Air travel in particular contributes large amounts of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide plus the processing and transport costs of food, beverages and waste products.
To reduce your travel footprint consider taking your next holiday, a little closer to home. Here are some great escapes with minimal travel from Australia’s five capital cities. Not only good for the environment, travelling closer to home by car, bus or train can be eye-opening, affordable, low stress and make a positive contribution to your local state economy.
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Reduce Your Travel Footprint at These Great Escapes
Perth – Rottnest Island
Just half hour ferry ride away from Fremantle, this is a sunny wonderful place to soak up the relaxing holiday atmosphere and get your fix of water fun like swimming, snorkelling, fishing, boating, diving, and surfing. There are no cars on the island so bikes are the main method of transportation and the air is fresh and clean. There is also a bus that circles the island at least hourly in the daytime, or you could really slow down and take it all in on foot like the friendly little native quokkas that are bound to put a smile on your face.
Adelaide – Fleurieu Peninsula
Made up of rolling green hills, dairy pastures, orchards, farms, vineyards, beaches, rugged coastlines and small friendly communities, the Fleurieu Peninsula offers much to the eco-friendly traveller. Since eating locally sourced and in season foods significantly reduces your carbon footprint, gourmets will delight in the cellar door tastings, cafes and restaurants offering tasty flavours of regional produce and fresh caught seafood. Enjoy the great outdoors close up by swimming surfing, hiking, fishing and cycling. There are also a number of galleries, studios and boutique shops that showcase the culture and history of the region.
Melbourne – Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges
Only a couple of hours out of Melbourne by train and often described ‘the Spa Capital of Australia’, Daylesford represents the ultimate in pampering and relaxation. Here you can give your health and your spirits a boost the old fashioned way with a long soak in the natural mineral springs. While the first bathhouse was established in 1895, there are now many more places (and therapy options) to restore health and wellbeing to the most sensitive soul. You’ll soon be hungry from exploring all the nature, history and art trails of the area on foot or by bike. Support the local organic farmers by buying up fresh and delicious treats at the farmers markets. If you visit in Autumn and fancy taking some skills home from your holiday, as well as the memories, try out the hands-on workshops run by farmers, producers and chefs at the Daylesford Macedon Produce Harvest Week Festival. You can also shop green at the ultimate recyclers – antiques stores!
Sydney – Hunter Valley
With winter just around the corner, what better way to cosy up than a weekend away in the Hunter Valley? Take or hire a bicycle and tour the wineries, gourmet food stores and local art galleries at your own pace, or the breweries if that is more to your taste. Pack a yummy picnic and visit Hunter Valley Gardens, 60 acres of living colour. Perhaps the nicest way to sample some of Australia’s finest wines is by cosying up by the fire. Hotels such as Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley Resorts even run wine tasting evenings with invited wineries so you wouldn’t even have to leave your accommodation!
Brisbane – Sunshine Coast – Noosa
Surrounded by beach, river, hinterland and national parks Noosa offers the perfect ‘getaway’ for those who love nature and the outdoors. Once there, it’s easy to get around without a car. Bicycles are a great way to explore and there are plenty of hire places. Think about taking a 4WD eco-tour to experience the sandy dunes and rainforests close up or take things slow, and catch a ferry along the pristine river to see the sights. It won’t take long to appreciate the cosmopolitan lifestyle and relaxed local vibe.
While it can be tempting to head off to locations exotic, there are many pleasures in visiting areas closer to your home. You will uncover hidden treasures, gain local insight and feel positive about doing something good for the environment. If you are driving to your ‘close to home’ holiday, you can reduce your car emissions by servicing the car regularly, driving in high gears, reducing your speed and travelling light. Remember too that most car rental companies now offer a hybrid or ‘green car’ option among their fleet. You can reduce your travel footprint at the hotel or chosen accommodation by reusing your towel and turning off the electric utilities when you leave the room. So for a more relaxing and feel good holiday next time round… travel locally and reduce your carbon footprint.
6 Easy Things You Can Do to Reduce Your Impact
Subject near and dear to our hearts here at Go Green Travel Green. Our philosophy is to focus on easy step you can take to live a greener, healthier lifestyle. So here are 6 steps you can take today (or any day) to reduce your environmental impact, just about anywhere in the world.
It’s harder to get motivated to pass on driving and, instead, walk to your destination in the winter. But fear not — you can face the cold in moderation. Instead of walking everywhere, decide you’re going to walk to one destination every week instead of taking the car.
2. Opt for Public Transportation
For those days when it’s just too cold or rainy to walk, take the bus or train. If you don’t have access to public transportation, carpool.
3. Cut Back on Electricity
Unplug appliances when you’re not using them and turn off the lights when you leave a room. It will save money and resources.
4. Buy Local, Seasonal Food
Support your local farmers by getting food from nearby farms, and look for organic produce and dairy. Food tastes better when it’s fresh and doesn’t have to travel 2,000 mile to land on your dinner plate.
5. Support Sustainable Businesses
Pass up Starbucks and head to that coffee shop in your neighborhood that composts leftovers. Don’t know of such a coffee shop? Check local directories, or ask the restaurants in your neighborhood if they’ve thought about composting. If they realize there’s consumer demand, they might start being more sustainable.
6. Spread the Word
One of the best ways to fight climate change is to encourage more people to take little steps to reduce their impact. Tell your friends, coworkers, neighbors, and family what you’re doing to make a difference. Your story just might encourage them to do the same.
seasoned traveller who enjoys exploring all options for travel and leisure.