I am sure I will remember this experience at Lady Elliot Island forever, as experience of what can be considered sustainable tourism in Australia. The day has started with a short flight with a very small aiplane (if it is possibile to call it this way) with only 13 seats on it.
The flight was very quiet, a short time after flying over the ocean we started to see Lady Elliot, this was the exact moment I started to fall in love with this little pearl of the ocean, even more than on the ground, before doing snorkeling on its coral reef, before having rested on the beach.
Immediately we discovered we were not alone, Lady Elliot Island is one of the most significant seabird breeding sites in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (UNESCO), and it is the southern-most extent of many species’ breeding distribution. Large numbers of seabirds can be found at this site between October and April each year and although around 57 species can be found on Lady Elliot Island through the year, only approximately 14 of these species use the site to breed. Some of these species include black and common noddies; black-naped, bridled, crested, roseate and sooty terns; pied and sooty oystercatchers; wedge-tailed shear-waters, silver gulls and the threatened red-tailed tropic bird. (thanks Lady Elliot Island website for the info click here to read more)
After a short meeting with the staff my friends and I decided to start snorkeling in the eastern side of the Island, as suggested from the staff, it was a bit windy and during the afternoon this side can be more difficult to snorkeling in because of the the tide too.
The lagoon is in general ideal for novice snorkellers (tide dependant) and full of tropical fish, colourful coral, sea cucumbers, starfish, sea urchins, clams and turtles.
After a very good but light lunch and a walk around the Island we joined one of the daily glass bottom boat/guided snorkel tours, this excursion was much easier than the first one bacause we had the chance to jump from the boat which is (in my opinion) much better than the entrance straight off the beaches. No sharks for us but only very nice and cute fishes, turtles and corals.
Video snorkeling (Ale, Sara, Walter)
We have been so lucky not only to swim with a turtle but also to see a huge manta under our glass bottom boat. I have to share Lady Elliot Island is collaborating with a project from university of Queensland, Brisbane about mantas: http://www.ladyelliot.com.au/content/project-manta-0 .The projects was founded in 2007 to investigate the population biology and ecology of manta rays in eastern Australia. Photo/
Video Turtle (Ale, Sara, Walter)
Why Is Lady Elliot Island a good choice if you like to do sustainable tourism in Australia?
Because they have an Eco Resort, an Environmental Policy, Environmental Protection and Eco Initiatives
Eco Resort The Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort is dedicated to the preservation of the natural environment of the Great Barrier Reef. Island Management has reduced energy consumption and carbon emissions by introducing a combination of solar and gas technology, water desalination and various strategic behavioural adaptations on the island. They has developed the first dedicated Climate Change Trail and Tour around the island to highlight the impacts that climate change could have on a coral cay eco system. If you like find out more about what the manager Peter Gash and the staff do to offer a more sustainable tourism click here (http://www.ladyelliot.com.au/content/eco-resort )
Environmental Policy the fully complete enviromental policy can be found on Lady Elliot Island website In: http://www.ladyelliot.com.au/content/environmental-policy
Environmental Protection Lady Elliot Island is a National Park and Marine National Park ie. A ‘Green Zone NO TAKE’ area and therefore has numerous minimal impact regulations that must be follone. Please visit Lady Elliot Island website to read the complete list. http://www.ladyelliot.com.au/content/environmental-protection
Eco Initiatives more info at www.ladyelliot.com.au/content/eco-initiatives
– We generate power utilising our state of the art Hybrid Solar Power Station which combines the technologies of solar panels, gel batteries, inverters and a generator to supply 3 phase power to the Island.
– The fuel, gas and other energy sources come from Gladstone by barge every three to four months.
– The fresh water is created by a Dunlop IBC reverse osmosis desalination system, converting seawater to fresh water at a rate of 25 litres per minute.
– Our wastewater/grey water is treated in an AdvanTex waste water treatment plant and is used for irrigation of the air strip
– All of the fresh fruit, vegetables, other food items and beverages come to Lady Elliot Island by aircraft and all food waste is composted in a pit system.
– Solid waste material and petroleum based oil wastes are removed by barge to approved facilities on the mainland