Travel

5 Stunning Eco Escapes Less Than An Hour From The Gold Coast

By Morgan Reardon
12th Jun 2019

O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat

A green getaway is more than just a fun alliteration—it’s the way we should all start thinking about how we travel.

We’re talking booking a stay somewhere that uses low-lighting, harvests rainwater and composts, among other things. 

To help you out and to celebrate Sustainability Month at Urban List, we’ve created a list of sustainable escapes around the Gold Coast, that’ll make you feel even better about saying yes to that weekend getaway. After all, you’re doing it for the environment.

Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat

Tweed Valley 

If you’re after a getaway that seamlessly connects luxury with the environment, this is it. Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat is surrounded on three sides by the Numinbah Nature Reserve leading to Springbrook and Lamington National Parks. You can stroll along stunning fern-lined gullies, under giant strangler figs and 400-year-old rainforest trees. Then you can lie in a hammock over a bubbling rainforest brook of pure, crystal-clear mountain water before retreating to your glass terrace bungalow. It’s seriously dreamy. And you can enjoy it while knowing the Retreat is committed to preserving its backyard which is home to 25 species of rare and threatened plants, 15 species of vulnerable birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians and 400 species of plants. They’ve carefully removed large expanses of lantana, leaving the existing native vegetation, and planted over 1,000 native rainforest trees endemic to the area. They also use insulated glass, heat pumps and lemon myrtle oil as a cleaning product, all to minimise their environmental footprint.

O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat

Canungra 

Surrounded by 20,000 hectares of subtropical rainforest, O’Reilly’s is the perfect escape to reconnect with nature. Owned and operated by the O’Reilly family, pioneers of ecotourism, O’Reilly’s boasts the world’s first Treetop Walk in the canopy of the rainforest and an Advanced Eco-accredited ‘Discovery Program’ of guided rainforest activities operating every day. Bliss out in one of 48 self-contained and architecturally designed Villas (made from recycled materials) perched onto the sloping hillside. There’s also plenty of activities here to get you out amongst nature, including Segway tours through creek crossings to Morans Falls or opt for uber relaxation at the Lost World Day Spa, equipped with a couple’s suite and 25-metre infinity lap pool. We recommend ordering a picnic hamper and setting off to one of 500 world-class waterfalls accessible via 160-kilometres of nature trails.

Blackbird

Byron Bay

This luxury accommodation is so stunning you won’t want to leave. At Blackbird you’ll be able to cosy up in private pavilions all framed beautifully in acres of green rainforest, with spectacular views eastwards to Cape Byron and the Pacific Ocean. These guys get 10/10 for their sleek interiors and exteriors. The design-driven accommodations are provided in distinct detached concrete Pavilions fitted out with the latest environmentally sustainable energy saving 20kW solar system with Tesla Batteries to provide air-conditioning, hot water and other services. As well as wanting you to relax during your stay (champagne on arrival, complimentary artisanal local produce in your pavilion and dip in 10 metre mineral magnesium pool for starts) the crew at Blackbird also want to encourage you to appreciate their stunning backyard providing easy access to waterfalls, as well as hiking trails, kayaking and mountain-biking all at your fingertips.

Nightfall Camp

Lamington National Park

Ok so this one is a little over an hour’s drive from the Gold Coast but it’s too good not to include. Nightfall Camp is credited for its zero-carbon ethos and we’re loving them for it. Located smack bang in the middle of Lamington National Park, owners Steve and Jaide have mashed up glamping with eco-goodness. With bush regeneration of native plants, organic cuisine sourced from local markets and a natural spa (a swirling, bubbling spa in the middle of their nearby creek), glamping was never so good for the environment. They also boast on-site waste-water treatment, are a chemical-free site, use a 5KW grid-connect solar-power system and are dedicated to monitoring Christmas Creek and protected species including the glossy-black cockatoos which frequent Lamington Valley. During your visit you may meet Lillypilly, a wallaby the Nightfall crew raised from a hairless joey. And if that wasn’t enough, know that you can forage for snacks in the wilderness and roast them over their custom-built wood-fired oven too.

Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat 

Tallebudgera Valley

If you want a retreat that is as healthy for the environment as it is for you, you’ll want to check in to Tallebudgera Valley’s Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat stat. The idea here is simple; it’s a wellness haven maintained by the boundaries that certain substances aren’t to be consumed during your stay. If you’re okay with that, you’ll be rewarded with a personalised getaway that nourishes your mind, body and soul. Gwinganna also has our eco-friendly stamp of approval. As well as being fully registered with Land for Wildlife, a program committed to protecting and enhancing wildlife habitat on the property, they use only organic produce in their kitchen, often sourcing from their own backyard. There are also 16 different walks for you explore the stunning natural environment across the retreat’s 200 hectares.

Looking for more epic local escapes. Head here

Image Credit: Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat, Nightfall Camp, O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat and Property Shot Photography

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