• William Gray

7 of the Best Australian Ecocamps and Lodges

Updated: Mar 2


Sal Salis, Western Australia

Wild nights out: Discover seven amazing ecocamps and lodges In Australia that are perfect for wildlife lovers


Sal Salis

Cape Range National Park, Western Australia

A little bit of bush luxury, this exclusive, wilderness dune camp has nine spacious safari tents just metres from the Ningaloo shore, renowned for its annual gathering of whale sharks. Designed to create a minimal environmental footprint on the coastal scrub of Cape Range National Park, Sal Salis uses solar-generated power, composting toilets, native herb soaps and ecologically sound shampoo. Each tent has uninterrupted views across the Indian Ocean. Hawksbill, green and loggerhead turtles are seen daily in front of the camp, while snorkellers only have to drift a few metres offshore to find huge staghorn coral formations, sponge gardens and sea anemones squirming with clownfish. The camp’s sea kayaks provide easy access to the fringing Ningaloo Reef; boat trips in search of whale sharks, manta rays, humpback whales and dolphins are also available. A short walk from the camp, the middens and rock shelters of Mandu Mandu Gorge provide a fascinating glimpse into the region’s archaeology. Guided walks or cruises can also be taken along Yardie Creek, where the gorge walls are inhabited by black-footed rock wallabies. Wildlife frequently seen around camp, meanwhile, includes red kangaroo, wallaroo, Gould’s goanna and a variety of birds, from emus to reef herons.

Find out more: salsalis.com



Bamurru Plains

Near Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory

Located on the Mary River floodplains just to the west of Kakadu National Park, this luxurious bush camp has nine supremely comfortable safari-style suites built on raised platforms overlooking savannah teeming with magpie geese – one of 236 bird species found here. As well as 4WD safaris and river cruises (April to October), Bamburru offers airboat tours and scenic helicopter flights, plus visits to Aboriginal rock art sites.

Find out more: bamurruplains.com



Thala Beach Lodge

Port Douglas, Queensland

For total immersion in the Queensland tropics, this stunning lodge enjoys a triple whammy of World Heritage-listed rainforest, Great Barrier Reef and sandy beaches. Relaxing on the verandah of your bungalow, you can watch butterflies, sugargliders and birds, while nearby Port Douglas is the stepping-off point for trips to the Great Barrier Reef. Thala Beach Lodge has been awarded the highest ecotourism accreditation for its sustainability and contribution to conservation.

Find out more: thalabeach.com.au



Great Ocean Ecolodge

Apollo Bay, Victoria

With all profits reinvested into wildlife conservation, this exemplary ecolodge is entirely solar powered and ecologically responsible. Located just off the Great Ocean Road and Great Ocean Walk, the five-room guesthouse has lawns grazed by wild kangaroos. During your visit, naturalists will lead you on twilight bush walks in search of koalas and other indigenous wildlife. You will also gain an insight into the work of the Cape Otway Centre for Conservation Ecology.

Find out more: greatoceanecolodge.com



Kooljaman at Cape Leveque

Dampier Peninsula, Western Australia

Located 220km north of Broome, this Aboriginal-owned wilderness camp has 14 large, beachfront safari tents, two bush lodges, plus a choice of tin-roof cabins and beach shelters. Local guides teach traditional fishing and mudcrabbing methods and show you how to make spears and forage for bush tucker; there’s also snorkelling and glass-bottom boating. Humpback whales can be seen offshore from mid-July to October.

Find out more: kooljaman.com.au



Daintree Ecolodge

Queensland

With just 15 treehouses (some with private jacuzzis)carefully slipped into the ancient Daintree rainforest of northern Queensland, this award-winning ecolodge combines environmental sensitivity with ultimate pampering. Its spa is world-renowned, but there are plenty of activities available, from Aboriginal-guided rainforest walks, river cruises, sea kayaking and mountain biking to ziplining through the canopy with views over Cape Tribulation.

Find out more: daintree-ecolodge.com.au



Wildman Wilderness Lodge

Near Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory

Comprising 10 cabins and 15 chic safari tents built on raised decks to preserve the environment of the Mary River floodplains, Wildman provides a stylish base from which to explore Kakadu. Local Aboriginal guides conduct birdwatching and crocodile-spotting billabong tours, while 4WD safaris explore paper bark forests, and pandanus swamps in search of sea eagles, brolga and magpie geese.

Find out more: wildmanwildernesslodge.com.au

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Wildlife Wishlist was founded by zoologist, conservationist and award-winning travel writer and photographer William Gray. Sharing his passion for wildlife and recommendations for responsible travel, Will has spent around 30 years tracking down the world's best wildlife holiday experiences.

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