Australia Sustainable Travel Guide
Australia is the sixth largest country in the world with an approximate size of 7.6 million sq km. To go from east to west would be a 4,000 km journey, and 3,000 km journey to go from north to south. It’s domestic population surpasses 24 million people.
Simply due to the size of the country, traveling by car from one end of the country to the other may not possible. Surprisingly, the country is not well supported by rail other than between a few short distances, mostly along the eastern coast. This means, to go from the eastern cities like Sydney, to western cities like Perth, one must fly. Short haul flights like these can emit a large amount of CO2 into the atmosphere, but in cases like these, there is little one can do to avoid it. If however, you’re travelling between cities on the eastern coast, for example, from Melbourne to Sydney, and even up to Brisbane and Cairns, driving may be possible. One road trip that should not be missed on your Australian journey is down the Great Ocean Road, which takes you westward from Melbourne (although it actually starts at Torquay), to the town of Allansford. The distance spans approximately 240 km to 280 km depending on where you start. You’ll drive through some of the most stunning landscapes in the world, including the infamous twelve apostles.
One of the great attractions in Australia would be to snorkel or scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef, located in the northeast corner of the country. The closest major city would be Cairns. The effects of climate change has left this once prosperous coral reef, the largest in the world, barren and white from coral bleaching. Of course, it’s possible to find areas of the reef that are still teeming with life, but most snorkelers and divers that I’ve met who experience the Great Barrier Reef have commented on how barren it has become. If this is an activity you choose to do, make sure any tour operator you go with have coral-friendly operations and employs reef conservation initiatives.
Although Australia may seem like a fairly westernized country with major metropolises such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, the country still maintains a fairly sizeable indigenous population. Therefore, it’s important to respect their culture, traditions and beliefs. For example, in central Australia lies the world’s largest monolith, Uluru (also known as Ayer’s Rock). Indigenous Australians believe the rock to be scared and asks that you do not climb it. As a responsible traveler, it’s important that you respect local cultures and beliefs, especially those of indigenous peoples. Should you decide to visit Uluru, against all urges, please refrain from climbing this sacred landmark, even if you see others attempting to climb it.
Ecologically, geologically and culturally speaking, Australia is one of the most diverse countries in the world. The cities are laid-back, beaches are great for surfing, and the outback offers some of the world’s most stunning landscapes. If you’re looking for an adventure, Australia has got you covered!