The NSW Central Coast is now a certified Australian ECO Destination
Since World Environment Day 2022, the Central Coast is proudly 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 2022, on the biggest international day for the planet's health - World Environment Day - the Central Coast announced it's officially one of Australia's first 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 one of just three incredible ECO Destinations in New South Wales firmly pins our slice of paradise on the east coast of Australia, highlighting the amazing nature 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.
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.
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 7 ECO Certified businesses and 10 more 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. We've also been named a Finalist in the Top 100 Destination Sustainability Stories List in both 2021 and 2022, representing New South Wales in this respected international competition!
Our destination 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.
17 reasons to go eco this season
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 17 eco-experiences on offer – including 7 ECO Certified experiences:
- Aquafun Avoca Lake, Avoca (ECO Certified - Advanced Ecotourism, Nature Tourism)
- Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre, Terrigal (ECO Certified - Advanced Ecotourism, Climate Action Business)
- Iris Lodge Alpacas, Jilliby (ECO Certified - Nature Tourism)
- TreeTops Adventure Park, Ourimbah State Forest (ECO Certified - Advanced Ecotourism, Ecotourism)
- Noonaweena, Kulnura (ECO Certified - Ecotourism)
- Terrigal Ocean Tours, Terrigal and Broken Bay (ECO Certified - Ecotourism)
- Rocky Trail Entertainment (ECO Certified - Ecotourism)
Plus another 10 'ECO Applicants' on their sustainability journey - this is the largest regional cohort pursuing ECO Certification in Australia as part of the wider ECO Destination program:
- Sydney Oyster Farm Tours, Mooney Mooney (ECO applicant)
- Australia Walkabout Wildlife Sanctuary, Calga (ECO applicant)
- Glenworth Valley Outdoor Adventures (ECO applicant)
- Jake Cassar Bushcraft Tours (ECO applicant)
- Canton Beach Paddleshack (ECO applicant)
- Bombora Ettalong Beach SUP (ECO applicant)
- Girri Girra Aboriginal Experiences (ECO Applicant)
- Australian Reptile Park, Somersby (ECO Applicant)
- Firescreek Botanical Winery, Holgate (ECO Applicant)
- Bells at Killcare and Pretty Beach House (ECO Applicant)
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.
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.