The NSW Central Coast is now a certified Australian ECO Destination

woman floating on turquoise water
woman floating on turquoise water
Inspired by World Environment Day 2022, the Central Coast is proud to announce we're now a certified Australian ECO Destination!
Our beautiful NSW Central Coast is one of the first ECO Destinations certified by Ecotourism Australia, fulfilling global green standards and committing to grow sustainable tourism.

In respect of the biggest international day for the planet's health - celebrating the 50th anniversary of World Environment Day - the Central Coast is now officially one of Australia's certified ECO Destinations. We have #OnlyOneEarth and just one NSW Central Coast, so this is an incredibly exciting step to preserve its beauty for future generations.

Certifying the Central Coast as only the second ECO Destination in New South Wales firmly pins our slice of paradise on the east coast of Australia, highlighting the amazing eco experiences on offer just one hour north of Sydney and south of Newcastle.

ECO Destinations don't look different to any other regional location, but they certainly feel different. They act different behind the scenes too. From the local cafe's commitment to using recyclable coffee cups, to rewilding farmland as a home for native species, to record-breaking breeding seasons for the endangered Little Tern, to the accessible beach matting rolled out by Surf Life Saving Clubs in summer - it's the small gestures that make up one big movement toward sustainability on the Central Coast, New South Wales' newest ECO Destination.

paradise like bay with sailing yacht afloat
woman hiking in coastal bushland
woman in orange orchard picking local produce
A leading ecotourism destination in NSW
The Central Coast now one of the first Australian ECO Destinations

As an official ECO Destination, the Central Coast now represents New South Wales in a global network of organisations committed to sustainable travel experiences. This includes Ecotourism Australia, WWF-Australia, Green Destinations, and three other Australian ECO Destinations also join the Central Coast in being some of the first destinations to pursue - and achieve - the rigorous certification process. 

Connecting with an international network of sustainable destination managers is a hugely valuable step for the Central Coast as a regional New South Wales destination. Not only does ECO Destination Certification confirm we have incredibly passionate sustainability advocates across the Central Coast, but it highlights the world-class environment we call home - truly our slice of paradise.

Now, we have an all-encompassing toolkit to protect and promote it sustainably.

aerial view of accessible boardwalk over waves
couple stand up paddle boarding on bay
aboriginal smoking ceremony performed
What is an ECO Destination?
And why does it matter for the Central Coast, and for you

Immersing yourself in our ECO Destination as a local or a guest means taking action to be a responsible traveller for a sustainable future, and to ultimately travel for good.

As a certified ECO Destination recognised on a global level, the Central Coast has a strong, well-managed commitment to sustainable practices and provides high-quality nature-based tourism experiences to tourists and locals. An ECO Destination is a destination wholeheartedly committed to following international guidance and best practice from the Green Destinations Standard, led by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). 

Additionally, the Central Coast has a thriving range of ecotourism experiences, with the largest ECO cohort of nature-based businesses pursuing their own ECO Certification to do business for good. This includes six ECO Certified businesses and nine actively pursuing their accreditation.

To achieve this globally respected green status, the Central Coast has partnered with Ecotourism Australia since 2020 in a two-year program funded by WWF-Australia. Recently, we've been named a Finalist in the Top 100 Destination Sustainability Stories List as the ONLY New South Wales finalist in this respected international competition! Our destination management is now focused on developing sustainably, treading lightly on the natural environment, and recognising its role in preserving the oldest living culture in the world.

traveller meeting friendly alpacas
botanical fruit winery in hinterland
horses running wild in a valley
A thriving eco community
Meet the Central Coast ECO cohort

Another important element of the Central Coast's ECO Destination journey is supporting local nature-based businesses to pursue their own accreditation for unique ecotourism experiences, such as breakfast with alpacas, immersive marine education, climbing in eucalypt canopies and staying in luxury bush retreats.

The Central Coast currently has 15 certified ecotourism experiences on offer – including six ECO Certified and another nine ECO Applicants. This is the largest regional cohort pursuing ECO Certification in Australia as part of the wider ECO Destination program:

ocean tour by boat embarks into blue ocean horizon
friends kayaking down a secluded river
Travel with heart from headland to hinterland
Embrace our ECO Destination

ECO Destination status for the Central Coast celebrates a monumental step toward growing a vibrant, sustainable region that heroes its natural and cultural assets. And locals and visitors alike know those are plentiful!

More than 50% of the Central Coast is national park, state forest, bushland, open space, nature reserves, beaches and waterways. This includes some of New South Wales’ most popular outdoor experiences like the Bouddi Coastal Walk, Ourimbah State Forest, Somersby Falls and the World Heritage Listed Convict Trail in Dharug National Park.

From its neighbourhoods to its seaside hamlets, hinterland farmgates to hilltop homes - the Central Coast is now firmly a place to embrace living, working and playing more in tune with nature, and more connected to culture. A place to take up the local love of the land, but leave only footprints.

We encourage you to tread lightly and go slow on the NSW Central Coast - embrace our Sustainability Pledge here.

woman hiking across suspension bridge in bushland

About our ECO Destination

Explore eco-experiences on the Central Coast at our dedicated Ecotourism hub.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have more questions about what it means to be a certified Australian ECO Destination? There's a chance we've answered it for you on our dedicated ECO Destination FAQ page.

 

Be part of the story

As a new ECO Destination we're on an evolving journey to grow our region's potential in ecotourism, so if you have a 'Sustainability Story' linked to your experience or business on the Central Coast we'd love to hear it – simply get in touch here with a few lines. 

 

Share your adventures in nature – when sharing your love for the Central Coast on socials tag #LoveCentralCoast and mention us on Instagram and Facebook to be featured.