Fitzroy Island is no stranger to eco-tourism. Its continuous efforts to help protect and save Australia’s wildlife have been a significant attraction for tourists – after all, wouldn’t you want to spend your vacation on an island that maintains its natural beauty?
Let’s learn more about how Fitzroy Island makes full use of its natural resources to be able to promote eco-tourism.
What is eco-tourism?
Eco-tourism is a type of sustainable tourism that focuses on visiting natural areas while minimising environmental impact and supporting conservation efforts. It aims to provide educational and immersive experiences for travellers, while also promoting the protection of natural habitats and local communities.
Eco-tourism activities may include wildlife viewing, birdwatching, hiking, kayaking, and other outdoor activities that allow travelers to experience nature in a responsible and sustainable way. This type of tourism is often organised in small groups, with experienced guides who can offer insights into local ecosystems and conservation efforts.
One of the key principles of eco-tourism is that it should support the local economy and communities, often by partnering with local businesses and organisations. This can help to provide income and employment opportunities for local people, while also promoting the protection of natural resources.
Overall, eco-tourism seeks to promote responsible travel and a deeper understanding and appreciation of the natural world, while also supporting the conservation of fragile ecosystems and the communities that depend on them.
Environmental Efforts at Fitzroy Island
Those who are lucky enough to have travelled to Fitzroy Island know that is a beautiful place to visit. Nestled in the Coral Sea in the same waters as the Great Barrier Reef, this stunning island offers a unique and relaxing experience with its pristine beaches, lush rainforests, coral reefs and clear waters.
Together with The Last Straw, Fitzroy Island has made it a mission to get rid of plastic straws on the island. Guests are encouraged to use paper straws instead. Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, which Fitzroy Island is a sponsor of, monitors sea turtles and helps those that are in dire need of rehabilitation. Some of the turtle residents of the centre are there due to environmental factors, like litter in the ocean – and Fitzroy Island’s effort to eliminate plastic is in full swing. Coffee cups and takeaway food containers are biodegradable; paper bags are used in the General Store; and bamboo utensils have replaced their plastic counterparts, making it a reusable and sustainable alternative for island guests.
Snorkelling and Eco-Tourism
Did you know that you can do your own bit of helping preserve the Great Barrier Reef whenever you go snorkeling?
Sign up with Reef Check and turn your annual vacation into one that supports and protects the environment! With Reef Check, you have the opportunity to snorkel around the world’s largest coral reef system while taking into account any damages or issues that may have been overlooked by marine biologists or conservationists.
Fitzroy Island has partnered with Tangaroa Blue Foundation in an effort to monitor marine debris. The island hosts beach clean-up activities where volunteers collect debris washed up on the island. Aside from making sure that the shoreline is clean and safe for everyone, the marine debris collected is analysed. This is to gain more information about where it comes from, thereby improving waste management efforts on the Island.
Fitzroy Island: Plastic Free Champion
Thanks to the determination and resolve of the people on Fitzroy Island, it has been named a “Plastic Free Champion” in recent years. In partnership with Boomerang Alliance’s Plastic Free Places, local businesses are assisted in switching from single-use plastic to more sustainable alternatives. Through this initiative, Fitzroy Island has seen a significant decrease in plastic footprint.
Start Them Young: Sustainability Talks
Let youngsters be involved in eco-tourism with the help of guided tours and talks around Fitzroy Island. With this exposure at a young age, children are open to the idea that helping save the planet AND having fun can definitely go hand in hand! Under the guidance of an experienced tour guide, kids are made aware of the various efforts that go into preserving Fitzroy Island and its marine inhabitants.
Reef Restoration Coral Nurseries
Fitzroy Island has played an important role in the Reef Restoration project where the non-profit foundation has built offshore coral nurseries to help regenerate and restore the Great Barrier Reef. Using small coral cuttings from the reef, the project involves creating coral trees, which are metal frames that float in the water that have the coral cuttings attached to them. The coral cuttings develop at a faster rate in this environment rather than in their natural reef environment. Cuttings from these developing corals are replanted back into the reefs to allow that reef to regenerate. And one of the most amazing parts is that the original cutting that is now in the coral nursery can continue to grow and provide more corals that can be replanted in the reef, making it a continuous development cycle.
A Current Affair
The Great Barrier Reef was under the spotlight at the end of 2022 because of its evident growth and preservation in recent times.
Glen Macdonald is the CEO of Fitzroy Island Resort and has proudly claimed that “The reef is going well.” In fact, because of the regrowth of corals, the Great Barrier Reef was featured in Current Affair.
Reef Restoration Foundation, a non-profit organisation that focuses on reef restoration and growth, has been planting tree-like structures underwater. They gather small reef from the ocean and tie them to these specially-made structures where the corals are supposed to recover. It usually takes up to 4 months before the tips of the corals show signs of regrowth, after which they are replanted in the Great Barrier Reef.
The sea turtles aren’t far behind when it comes to the island’s efforts to preserve its natural beauty. Through the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre on Fitzroy Island, injured turtles are nursed back to health in a facility that was built for this sole purpose only.
Visit Fitzroy Island Today!
Tourism accounts for much of the revenue of the region and a huge chunk of that goes into preservation and rehabilitation projects around Fitzroy Island. Whether you’re looking for an eco-friendly vacation or just want to explore nature at its best, Fitzroy Island has something for everyone. With activities such as snorkeling, kayaking and bushwalking available onsite as well as eco-lodges providing sustainable accommodation options – there’s no better place to enjoy eco-tourism than Fitzroy Island! Stay for a while or visit for the day!