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How Fraser Island's Kingfisher Bay Resort Gets Eco-Tourism Right

July 30, 2014 at 11:00 AM | by | ()

Yesterday, we looked at what it means to be eco-friendly in Costa Rica. Today, we're looking at how Down Under does eco-friendly.

Tucked off the coast of Queensland, Australia sits Fraser Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site that offers picturesque settings and incredible wildlife sightings. This contributor recently had the opportunity to experience first hand why many visitors rave about the island with a stay at the upscale, yet laid back eco-lodge, Kingfisher Bay Resort.

The entire stay got me thinking about what a hotel has to do in order to be considered an eco-resort.Thanks to a framed explanation in our room from the Ecotourism Association of Australia, we know that there are five points to consider.

1. Native Area Focus

Check! On my ferry ride over from the mainland, I didn't actually notice the buildings of the resort until we were almost to the private pier. Hidden away in the canopy of the dense forest, Kingfisher Bay's main building and hotel rooms seem to be a perfect extension of the palms and ferns. Additionally, with balconies nearly the size of the rooms, it's almost like your room is also a part of the forest.

2. Ecologically and Culturally Sustainable

The resort ticks off this box with a strong emphasis on minimizing environmental footprint and embracing the Aboriginal history of the island.To stay environmentally conscious, guests can score a $15 credit per day (up to 3 days) on excursions or spa treatments just by not having their room serviced.. Even the fine dining restaurant, Seabelle, highlights the best of "bush-tucker" cuisine using ingredients from native recipes. (I'll have more on the restaurant later.)

3. Provide Education and Interpretation

Upon check-in, I received a daily itinerary of bush walks with resort rangers, fishing lessons, night tours, bush-tucker talk and tastes (forest food guided tours) and bird walks. Many of these events are complimentary and included as part of your stay, with some of the more elaborate activities, like 4-wheel-drive coach tours and beach Segway tours, costing a bit extra.

4. Provides Local and Regional Benefits

Along with the island, the resort is a hot spot for locals and tourists alike to take in the relaxing vibe of Fraser. From the tourism into the region during the whale-watching season and beach-side camping in the Summer, the resort is considered a playground for many that want to escape the city.

5. Provides Guest Satisfaction

I loved being on the island and regretted checking out. Thanks to the awesome views during sunset on our balcony, I felt my stress levels drop significantly. Obviously this is pretty subjective, but I left pretty satisfied. My only complaint was that the room decor was on the dated side but since I spent most of my time outside exploring the wilderness or looking outward from my room towards the wetlands and beach area, it didn't matter as much.

[Disclosure: Rayme stayed at the Kingfisher Bay Resort as a guest of the hotel.]

[Photos: Rayme Gorniak/HotelChatter]

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