Author: by Celeste Mitchell
One of the easiest steps you can take in your quest to be a sustainable traveller is to think deeper about where you sleep. By seeking out eco accommodation and off-grid stays you can rest a little easier knowing you’re leaving a lighter footprint.
Luckily, in a green destination like Noosa – where locals are so in tune with the natural environment, UNESCO designated the region a Biosphere Reserve in 2007 – there’s no shortage of eco retreats and green holiday homes to choose from. Start with this list to book a green sleep on your next Noosa getaway.
1. Habitat Noosa
Occupying a very special swathe of land on the shores of Lake Cootharaba, 30 minutes north of Hastings Street, Habitat Noosa sits at the jump-off point for exploring the spectacular Noosa Everglades. As one of only two everglade systems in the world, this magical waterway and its ‘River of Mirrors’ (named for the reflection of the melaleucas in its mirror-like surface) begs to be explored by kayak or canoe, both of which you can hire during your stay. There are powered and unpowered campsites set amongst the paperbarks and resident kangaroos, or you can opt for all the mod cons of glamping by booking one of the permanent safari tents onsite. This is the kind of place you check-into and forget all the worries of the real world, and instead reconnect to each other and the sounds of the Aussie bush, washed down with a coffee or natural craft beer – brewed on site – at CootharaBAR Bistro.
2. Mayan Luxe Villas
Literally rising from the earth on which it stands, Mayan Luxe Villas was handbuilt with rammed earth walls (created from soil dug for a dam on the 100-acre working farm) and finished with recycled railway sleepers and reclaimed timbers in the impressive entrance doors, lighting and even the kitchen bench. The result is a luxurious three-bedroom retreat just outside the charming hinterland town of Kin Kin where you can move between your comfortable bed and the open-plan chef's kitchen to the hammock, fire pit and circular concrete plunge pool outside your door. If you can’t bear the thought of leaving, pre-arrange catering by co-owner and Slow Food advocate, Jodie Williams, who runs the nearby Kin Kin General Store.
3. Beach Road Holiday Homes
Noosa North Shore
There’s something about taking the five-minute car ferry across to the Noosa North Shore that signals a departure from the hubbub of everyday life and the return to a more natural state. Here, a cluster of architecturally-designed 3- and 4-bedroom eco-properties provide the perfect base for families and friends to reconnect, while being minutes from the action. Surrounded by 68,000 hectares of National Park, the homes are powered by solar and fed by rainwater tanks, while the complex also includes three swimming pools, a tennis court and kids room. Pack your reusable water bottles – you’ll find thrice-filtered drinking water in the communal lounge.
Can a sprawling beachfront mansion be sustainable? That’s the question hempcrete mogul, Evgeny Skigin, set out to answer as he built his striking abode in Sunshine Beach, peering straight into neighbouring Noosa National Park. The six-bed, nine-bath home of expansive shell-like domes (Domic translates to ‘of having domes’ in Russian), utilises innovative eco-friendly building materials like hempcrete – a lightweight but strong material made from hemp that absorbs carbon dioxide (CO2) during its growing period and allows for carbon absorption for years after its installation. It’s also crowned with a green roof, negating the need for heating and cooling and helping it to blend into the natural environment, along with 113 solar panels and a room full of lithium batteries that allow the property to run off-grid for most of the time.
5. Oasis Noosa
Disconnect from the mainland and consider a more minimal existence when you book a night on this houseboat for two on the Noosa River. The forced slow down begins when you access the moored vessel via a sandy track and a short row in your provided dingy. Utilising recycled and recyclable materials in the build along with solar, water desalination, composting and energy management systems, Oasis Noosa is a shining (double-glazed) example of sustainable luxury on a tiny scale. Explore your surroundings with kayaks and stand-up paddleboards and dive below with masks and snorkels all provided. There’re also fishing rods on hand if you fancy catching your own lunch.
6. Noosa Tablelands Escape
There’s glamping and then there is the sprawling, eco-friendly abode that is Noosa Tablelands Escape. With only one adults-only safari tent on the 20-acre property set upon a raised platform with spectacular views over the Noosa Hinterland, your privacy is guaranteed as you slip between the king size bed and glass-fronted bathroom with freestanding bath, to the deck for a BBQ and outside to your own private fire pit. There’s plenty of luxurious touches, from the robes and slippers to the picnic and romance hampers you can add to your stay while running completely off grid. And best of all, there’s no WiFi to distract you from nature’s symphony. With direct access to the Noosa Trail Network and an abundance of wildlife, it’s unsurprisingly popular; prepare to book at least 6-8 months in advance.
7. Bilby the Bus
Keen to try #vanlife but not quite ready to commit full time? Championing the concept of upcycling and restoring the past, Bilby the Bus is a custom-built campervan inside an aquamarine 1990 Toyota Coaster. Run purely by the sun, you’ll find all the essentials you need for a low-key getaway including fridge, TV and stereo as well as an outdoor kitchen and camping table and chairs. Available to rent through Camplify, Bibly is available for set up and stay within a 50km radius of Noosa Heads, so you can opt for somewhere gorgeous like Noosa Northshore Beach Campground. Add a beach cruiser bicycle in your booking at no extra cost for extra sustainable travel cred.