The Coast's marine tour guides celebrate their new ECO Certified status
The Central Coast's sealife adventurers, Terrigal Ocean Tours, have successfully achieved ECO Certification status with Ecotourism Australia!
These local whale watching leaders are one of 15 nature-based businesses championing the Central Coast’s ECO Destination journey to grow sustainable tourism in our region.
We’re excited to announce that Terrigal Ocean Tours, a Central Coast nature-based business combining marine adventure with marine conservation, have just successfully achieved ECO Certification!
Terrigal Ocean Tours launched their eco-friendly experiences back in January 2019, taking a small number of guests interested in marine life and the ocean out on their high performance RIB eco-vessel. In winter they focus on educational whale watching tours from Terrigal and Broken Bay, while in summer their trips spot dolphins and explore seal and little penguin colonies in Broken Bay. By cruising along the dramatic sandstone coastline of Broken Bay, with its steep cliffs, sandy beaches and pristine National Parks, you get to soak up the exceptional scenery while learning about the local wildlife swimming around you.
An authentic, high-quality eco-experience
By demonstrating best practice in ecotourism, these dedicated Central Coast ocean tour specialists now join the world-leading ECO Certified community. As described by Ecotourism Australia, Terrigal Ocean Tours are, “one of our exemplary operators in terms of sustainability and provision of authentic, high-quality nature-based tourism experiences”.
All ECO Certified businesses are measured against the global Green Destination Standard. This means Terrigal Ocean Tours now have an ongoing commitment to sustainable tourism practices and cultural authenticity.
Terrigal Ocean Tours are also the third successful Central Coast business to achieve their ECO Certification as a participant on the ECO operator incentive program supported by $500 funding from WWF-Australia in 2021, as part of our region’s wider ECO Destination program. This grows the region’s total number of ECO Certified operators to 7, with another 8 current "ECO applicants" on their journey.
Respecting and protecting our ocean
“We aim to make minimal impact on our environment in everything that we do”
Terrigal Ocean Tours is led by skipper Andrew Jones, an offshore yachtsman with experience in boat charters, whale watching and the Royal Australian Navy. Andrew holds a Master’s Degree in Coastal Biology and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, with strong experience working in conservation. We asked Andrew what ECO Certification means to their operation, and why they have taken the time to pursue it since 2021:
“We wanted to give environmental integrity to our business.” Andrew says, “Sustainability and environmental conservation is very important in the work we do. Our key focus is to increase awareness of the coastal environment and generate support for conservation across the Central Coast, and beyond.
“We are proud to announce that our business is certified by Ecotourism Australia. Our aim is to make a positive contribution to local tourism, the Central Coast community, and the coastal environment by operating a sustainable family focused business. We achieve this by providing people with access and education about our beautiful marine environment, collaborating and working with conservation groups, and providing a social network for people interested in marine conservation."
Whale tours linked to cultural history
The Darkinjung people of the NSW Central Coast celebrated the Humpback Whale – ‘Torongnul’ – as one of their totems, with whales often featured in local Dreamtime stories. Terrigal Ocean Tours pays respect to this history on every tour they lead, sharing the rich local cultural and natural history with all guests aboard their eco vessel. On the Coast, we are so very proud to have these magnificent, empathic creatures play an important part in the story of our coastline for many thousands of years, which we can continue to appreciate respectfully with these ECO Certified whale watching tours.
Small sustainable actions
Recognised on a national scale
Terrigal Ocean Tours have dedicated 12 months to ensuring they comply with international Green Destination Standards to achieve their respected ECO Certification status at Ecotourism level.
Much more than your average whale watching tour company, the small team are committed daily to sustainability by:
💚 Prioritising local produce
💚 Going digital over printing
💚 Reducing water use
💚 Partnering with other local businesses
💚 Promoting local culture and respect for Country
💚 Promoting positive mental health for guests and staff
💚 Energy reduction
💚 Solar powered
But their story gets better! Terrigal Ocean Tours are actively helping marine conservation research when out on the water by:
💙 Reporting on whale sightings and marine species for The Happy Whale Project
💙 Establishing a Facebook Group, Whale Reports Central Coast, as a hub for people interested in marine conservation
💙 Conducting water quality sampling at Terrigal for NSW Office of Environment & Heritage
💙 Tracking ocean currents in the area using data logging buoys
💙 Working with local marine conservation groups Australian Seabird Rescue and the Central Coast Dolphin Project, providing a safe boat to release oceanic species offshore.
💙 Working with the University of Newcastle Marine Science department using Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicles (ROVs) to search for a rare species of soft coral, Dendronephthya australis, growing on the ex-HMAS Adelaide Wreck
💙 Representing on the local Council ‘Coast and Catchments’ Committee.
Book your ECO Certified ocean adventure
ECO Certified nature tours run in Broken Bay and beyond from May to November every year. Tours involving wildlife have a marine expert aboard to answer any questions and help identify the species.
🐋 Whale Watching Tour from Terrigal Haven
Experience one of Australia's greatest wildlife events, the Humpback Whale migration in safety and style in their purpose-built Ecotour RIB, with a short trip to respectfully witness their annual migration path along the east coast.
🐋 Seal and Dolphin Watching Tour from Hardys Bay (90 mins)
Glide across the waterways of scenic Broken Bay on a high-speed adventure boat. Visit a local seal colony and a Little Penguin colony at a respectful distance. Watch for playful dolphins and migrating whales. Learn about the area's rich history and marine life from the trained crew.
🐋 Bay and Beach Tour (3 hours)
All aboard a chartered adventure boat, this tour includes watching for dolphins and seals, swimming in the ocean, stand-up paddle boarding, and even the most scenic picnic stop you could imagine.
🐋 Broken Bay Twilight Tour (90 mins)
A sunset cruise (summertime only) with family, friends, or workmates. Enjoy the tranquillity and captivating scenery of surrounding Broken Bay, as you’re taken on a cruise past Lobster Beach and Box Head on the Bouddi Peninsula, and the protected Lion Island, home to a penguin colony! Watch for seals, dolphins too, who are never too shy to say hi as they swim by.
For more information on booking your tour this season, visit their dedicated Central Coast tours page.
Congratulations to our ecotourism champions!
Huge congratulations to Terrigal Ocean Tours for promoting sustainable tourism practices on the Central Coast of New South Wales! We expect to hear more about their contribution to conservation in future as their business continues to lead the way for marine experiences and wildlife encounters on the water!
Destination Central Coast is proud to support Terrigal Ocean Tours alongside 11 other nature-based operators on their ECO Certification journey, who each successfully received $500 funding from WWF-Australia to assist with their first year of the ECO application process. Discover more about ecotourism on the Central Coast by visiting our destination guide to Ecotourism here.
Share the love
Do you run a nature-based business or run cultural tours on the Central Coast and want to become more sustainable? We'd love to support your journey to ECO Certification. Simply contact us via email, message us directly on our socials, or jump on our radar by creating a free Central Coast business listing here.