The 4 Best Eco Weekends to Have Right Now

Saffire Freycinet, Tasmania

Stay in a slick carbon neutral hotel in Melbourne city. Eat in hyper-local luxury. Lap up the good life at wineries and coastal retreats that have a positive impact. Here are the sustainable spots making getting away the responsible thing to do.

NSW: The wine and whales weekend

Brokenwood Wines, NSW

Sip sustainably: An easy drive inland from Newcastle or three-ish hours from Sydney, the Hunter Valley is at its most atmospheric when autumnal leaves are falling and a glass of red feels right in your hands.

But though Australia’s oldest wine region is known for medium-bodied, savoury shiraz, you don’t want to miss the whites – vines here produce some of the most unique semillons in Australia.

Head to Brokenwood in Pokolbin to sip rich, juicy semillon and award-winning shiraz on tours around a scenic and sustainable winery. As a member of Sustainable Winegrowers Australia (SWA), this winery relies on solar power and 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging.

Margan Wines in Broke is the spot for sustainably-made verdelho, semillon, chardonnay, barbera and shiraz matched to a hyper-local lunch. The onsite Margan Restaurant crafts its menus from olives, honey, vegetables, free range chickens and lambs sustainably grown and raised right on the estate.

Brokenwood Wines, NSW

What else to do: Merewether Beach in Newcastle is a national surf reserve, owing to a consistent break. Between May and November, the coast is also humpback whale-watching territory – adventure group CoastXP supports local environmental groups every time you book a tour.

Margan Restaurant, Broke, Hunter Valley, NSW

Where to stay: Who says slick can’t be clean? With 100 per cent waste-free bathrooms (everything is biodegradable or recyclable) and a restaurant where 80 per cent of the produce is sourced from makers within a three-hour drive, Newcastle’s newest luxury five-star hotel, Crystalbrook Kingsley puts you in prime position to split time between wineries and the waves.

Whale watching, Newscastle, NSW

Victoria: A Melbourne to Goulburn River Road Trip

Crystalbrook Kingsley, NSW

Big city vibes, small footprint: From the outside, grand stonework might make Alto Hotel on Bourke look like a classic stately CBD hotel. Inside? It’s a modern eco powerhouse. One of the first in Australia to be rated carbon neutral, this Melbourne hotel has halved the carbon emissions of each room and offsets the rest.

Tahbilk Winery & Vineyard, Vic

And it puts you just a stroll from the locavore’s paradise of the Queen Victoria Market and the Docklands entertainment scene. To get around Melbourne sights at speed, Melbourne By Bike will tailor a two-wheeled trip to your interests: markets, laneway art or the river (or a bit of all three).

Eco eats: “The mission is to holistically take care of all things… people, our community and our environment. And have as much joy as possible while doing it,” says chef and founder of Attica Ben Shewry. His Ripponlea fine diner keeps breaking and remaking the mould with fun, artful dishes, such as ‘roo and frites, made with fresh, sustainable ingredients. At the floating Yarra Botanica, flavours come from hyper-local suppliers and what you use is recycled.

Alto restaurant, Melbourne, Vic

Escape up-river: A 90-minute drive north from the city toward the Goulburn River takes you into Victoria’s fertile and picturesque Nagambie Lakes farmland. One of Australia’s first certified carbon-zero wineries, Tahbilk is a charming stop. Walk along the estate’s regenerated eco-trail and at its Wetlands View Restaurant dive into dishes made with ingredients from nearby family-owned producers. An innovator since it was established in 1860, Tahbilk remains one of the only places you’ll taste marsanne produced from old vines.

Tasmania: Luxe coastal escape

Attica Restaurant, Melbourne, Vic

Sleep inside a sanctuary: The moment you check into Saffire Freycinet, your host will lead you to the floor-to-ceiling windows to soak in unbroken views of the Hazards and Coles Bay. This 20-suite wilderness escape, set 190 kilometres north of Hobart in one of the most gorgeous pockets of the Freycinet Peninsula, goes big on human comfort but basks in the beauty of the outdoors. Repaying nature with respectful architecture, the main pavilion and surrounding suites are insulated and double glazed to maximise heat retention, use energy-efficient hot water and lighting and there’s a program for bush re-vegetation.

Tahbilk Winery & Vineyard, Vic

Taste natural wonders: Excursions on and around the Saffire property put nature first. Suit up for the lodge’s unique Beekeeping Experience. “Bees are the cornerstone of our ecosystem, without which our world would be a very different place. Our Saffire bees play an important role by pollinating the native flora of the east coast,” says assistant general manager Mathew Cilia.

Saffire Freycinet, Tasmania

Once you’ve seen the bees at work you can taste their output – executive chef Paddy Prenter works the lodge’s honey into everything from desserts to a dressing for scallops with miso and chardonnay vinegar. Other eco-activities include the Wineglass lookout walk, kayaking around Pelican Bay and stand up paddleboarding in the tranquil waters off Muirs Beach.

On the way there or back: It’s worth booking a dinner at Homestead Restaurant at Piermont Retreat in nearby Swansea to taste oysters and abalone from Coles Bay and grass-fed eye fillet from Cape Grim. For a day trip, jump on a ferry from Triabunna to car-free Maria Island and hire a bike to reach natural phenomenons such as the colourful Painted Cliffs and see pademelons, wombats and Tasmanian devils in the wild.

Saffire Freycinet, Tasmania

WA: The ultimate outback adventure

Glamp in the sand: With safari tents and villas set on the edge of the Indian Ocean 90-minutes south of Broome, Eco Beach Wilderness Retreat gets green credentials for its recycled boardwalks, hybrid solar power and self-sustaining style of luxury. How does your immersion in nature start? With yoga on the beach. How does it continue? With sparkling wine and natural exfoliation as you bathe by the beach in moisturising mangrove mud on the signature Mud and Bubbles spa experience.

The Rambler Co for Saffire Freycinet

Explore the icons: The two main natural attractions around here are the vast and ancient Kimberley and the clear, crashing ocean. Broome Tours runs whale watching and sunset cruises on their ecologically-aware catamaran. Or meet the region’s snubfin dolphins on an eco cruise with Broome Whale Watching.

Painted cliffs

Disappearing deep into the outback, exploring Kununurra and the Bungle Bungles, the 12-day Ultimate Kimberley Tour Experience with Adventure Wild has a ‘take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints’ philosophy.

Broome, WA

Low food miles: At the Wild Flower Broome diner, owner Jaimie Laing and her team use syrups made from local indigenous ingredients like gubbinge, boab and strawberry gum to spike creative cocktails. Barramundi is from Cone Bay and Cockatoo Island and pearl meat is sourced from WA’s Paspaley. "Having a local focus in the outback can make things a little more expensive and supply can be difficult to keep up," says Laing, “but it's what's important to us.”

SEE ALSO: These Eco Stays in Tropical North Queensland Are the Holiday You Need

Eco Beach Eco, WA
 Spot snubfins with Broome Whale Watching, WA

Choose to Fly Carbon Neutral, book an eco-accredited stay with Qantas Hotels, shop sustainable drops from Qantas Wine and you’re well on your way to achieving Green tier status. You only need to make five eligible choices in a Membership Year to unlock Green tier status and start being rewarded.* Find out more now at


Image credits: Brokenwood Wines; Chris Chen/DNSW (Margan Restaurant); CoastXP; David Hannah/Victorian Wine Industry Association (Tahblik Winery); Ain Raadik/Visit Victoria (Laneway); Attica; David Hannah/Victorian Wine Industry Association (Cellar); Saffire Freycinet; The Rambler Co; Tourism Western Australia; Broome Whale Watching.

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