Feel grounded with these eco tours
For travellers who want to tread lightly and delve deeper, these eco tours help you feel at one with the land beneath your feet.
Sometimes, all it takes is a little guidance to feel grounded. Across NSW, eco tours showcase the fragile and wild contradictions of the state’s diverse landscape, from ancient forests to urban harbours and unique underwater worlds. These tours not only offer a sense of place, but show you that you belong to something bigger.
Come together with Country
Let the traditional custodians of the land help you feel a sense of belonging to Country. From Byron Bay, Arakwal-Bundjalung Elder Delta Kay offers a Bangalow Bush Tucker Tour, a Cape Byron Aboriginal Tour and a Broken Head Aboriginal Tour, introducing Arakwal creation stories, local food and modern history with Explore Byron Bay.
An hour’s drive north, head out on the Tweed River with Tweed Eco Cruises and learn how to catch mud crabs the traditional way with Yugambeh and Bundjalung Elders. The 4hr tour includes a visit to an oyster farm, a mud crab feast and a walk through the mangroves where you will learn how to hunt with a spear.
Learn how the first wave was made with a Gaagal Yuludarla (Ocean Dreaming) Tour of Little Beach and Scotts Head, just south of Nambucca Heads on the Coffs Coast. The tour is operated by Unkya LALC, which also offers a longer excursion into the Gaagal Wanggaan (South Beach) National Park, which passes through 11 different ecosystems and includes insight into bush medicine and traditional foods.
For a more immersive eco tour, try the Gulaga Creation Experience with Ngaran Ngaran Culture Awareness, which runs short or multi-day tours around the South Coast towns of Narooma, Bermagui and Tilba.
Tech-savvy eco tours
A little tech can go a long way to help you connect with the landscape. Experience a day out on La Bella Verde, a solar-powered electric yacht available for zero-emission, sustainable boat charters on Sydney Harbour. Available year-round, it can take up to 12 people and may be booked for private tours.
In the Hunter Valley, a 2hr drive north of Sydney, hire a private chauffeur and head out in an eco-friendly electric Tesla X with Hunter Tesla Tours, visiting private cellar doors, top restaurants and award-winning wineries.
On the South Coast, Sapphire Coast Guiding Co runs a 2hr e-bike tour of Mimosa Rocks National Park, giving you a little speed without a lot of sweat and effort, so you can take in the surrounding bush. The company also offers guided and self-guided walks including the Light to Light Walk, a three-day hike in , and the Wharf to Wharf Walk, from Merimbula to Tathra.
Into the darkness
leads guided bushwalking tours along some of the most popular routes in the Blue Mountains, just west of Sydney. However, when the sun goes down in this World Heritage-listed region, you can discover what goes bump in the night. The Glow Worm Night Walk will lead you into the forest to find electric-blue glowworms, while the Ultimate Night Tour takes you to the rainforest boardwalk to embrace the solitude of the valley after dark.
Not too far away, in Wolgan Valley, Wolgan Valley Eco Tours will take you on a daytime tour through Jurassic age forest, down an old railway corridor and into a glowworm tunnel to see thousands of these phosphorescent critters put on their light show.
In Byron Bay in the state’s north, Vision Walks’ eco tours push it to the next level – military-grade night-vision goggles immerse guests in the nocturnal world to watch wildlife without disturbing it.
The watery world
Embrace a new day with a sunrise kayak tour under the Sydney Harbour Bridge with Sydney by Kayak. The 2hr session includes coffee and conversation in purpose-built kayaks; or if you’re keen to give back, they also run harbour clean-up tours mid-week.
Head inland to explore one of NSW’s most historic and important waterways with Murray River Adventures, which has kayak tours of the waterways around Gunbower Creek and Cohuna and Apex lagoons.
If you want to experience an underwater world like nowhere else, head to Lord Howe Island and take the Big Blue Buzz Snorkelling expedition around the UNESCO World Heritage-listed marine park with Reef n Beyond. Depending on the weather, you’ll see famous snorkelling locations such as Sunken Rock, the Trench and Balls Pyramid.