Sunshine Coast Hinterland –  Mountville and a sip of wine

Mountville

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I love beaches and the ocean but sometimes, it is good to leave the coastline and explore what inland has to offer.  Leaving the surfboard at home today to explore what the Sunshine Coast hinterland has to offer.

From Mooloolaba, where we were staying, we decided to go to Mountville which is a little more than 30 minutes drive.  The scenic drive by itself is so worthwhile.  Up and around we went. 

Mountville

Mountville is this quaint little village on top of a mountain. Art galleries, little cafes and shops; it is difficult not to be drawn in by the relaxed vibe.  Time just slows down up here.  The cloud forest up there is remarkable.  There are quite a few bushwalks around but unfortunately, it was a bit too late for us. Next time!

After a stroll on the main street, a delightful coffee, stopping by a few shops and admiring the view of the mountain range, it was time for a late lunch. 

Thankfully, there is a winery nearby that offered spectacular views, excellent wines and a delicious snack.  Just what we needed.

Flame Tree Hill Winery

Stopping at Flame Tree Winery was most welcome. Cannot think of a better place to munch and wine. Cheese plateau with a Chardonnay overlooking the mountain range and the perfectly aligned rows of vines.  In this picturesque setting, we had to stop and think how lucky we are to visit these stunning locations.

Time flew, and it was already time to head back to Mooloolaba. What a wonderful day in the mountain. Of course, we could not go back without a few bottles of wine…..  Such an excellent wine.

There is definitively more to the Sunshine Coast than the beaches. Check out this link for more ideas on what are the best things to do in Mountville.

Until next time, travel safely and sustainably!

All the best,

Julie

The eco-traveller’s suitcase: Seven swaps to change the way you pack your cosmetic pouch.

The eco-traveller’s suitcase: Seven swaps to change the way you pack your cosmetic pouch.

*********** Don’t feel like reading? Check the video here ********

Hello sunshines,

Are you going on holiday soon? Whether you are going for a weekend away close to home or going away for a week or for a month, you will likely bring your toothbrush with you as well as a few other personal items.  How about doing some simple swaps to make the earth a little happier and a better place to live for everyone. Having a zero-waste approach by reducing plastic and other petroleum-derived products is a good start. If you need a bit of new: make the swap to more eco-friendly options.  Here are a few swaps tips to help you on your eco-traveller journey:

Tip 1: Replace polyester and plastic cosmetic pouch with one made of natural fibres such as hemp or cotton.

Hemp cosmetic pouch

It never ceases to amaze me how petroleum-derived products have invaded our lives.  In the name of convenience and low cost, we have let those products creep up in our lives and we do not even realise it anymore.  Did you know that polyester is made of the same stuff as single-use plastic bags or water bottles?  The transformation process varies slightly but there is no doubt about it, plastic and polyester are sisters and brothers. Both processes use non-renewables as raw materials as well as energy intensive production processes which contributes to climate change. Polyester, just like plastic is non-biodegradable.  Those are even more reasons to make the swap and change to a pouch made of natural fibre such as cotton or hemp.  Natural fibres are biodegradable and are from renewable sources.

Tip 2: Avoid plastic containers, use bar soaps and shampoos instead

Bar soap kit

The ills of plastic are well known and trying to avoid them can be a bit of a nightmare. However, thanks to bar soaps and shampoos, that is one easy swap. However, even if you are using those at home, the practicality of bringing your soap bar in your suitcase may not be that obvious. Bars are usually big and a suitable container may be hard to find but this option could be worth it.

Hotel soaps and shampoos may be tempting but did you know that all the leftovers are thrown away which increases the environmental footprint of hotels by creating more waste.  Harsh chemical products are often used in making them too, so they may not be so good for your skin. Plus,  it is often difficult to know what they are made of. If you have sensitive skin or scalp, perhaps not the best idea. Bringing your own is a better option.

If you can’t find a suitable container to bring your own or feel like a guilt-free pampering option, check out our travel kits here.

Tip 3: Get a bamboo toothbrush and toothbrush holder.

Bamboo is such an underrated material. It is biodegradable unlike its plastic counterpart and is made of renewable materials. Unlike trees, bamboo grows fast and can be harvested quickly. Bamboo does not require pesticides or fertilisers, so it is a more sustainable option. Practical, economical and oh-so chic. Get yours here.

Tip 4: Ditch the toothpaste plastic tube for tablet toothpaste

Bamboo toothbrush, bamboo toothbrush holder, tablet toothpaste and eco floss

That was a game-changer.  No more plastic tubes! Simple and easy, chew a tablet, brush and rinse. Repeat.  No mess and easy to carry everywhere. The same frothy effect minus the plastic guilt. Definitely, something to smile about!

Tip 5: Get an eco-friendly floss

Do you feel guilty when you do not floss? Even on holidays, make your dentist proud. This floss comes in a cardboard box. Yes, biodegradable and sustainable cardboard. Such a simple solution.

Tip 6: Choose a deodorant in a tin or in a cardboard stick

Eco-friendly deodorant

Well, I know not everyone likes a deodorant in a tin. Personally, I think that it works well. If applying deodorant with your fingers is unappealing, you can use a popsicle stick but just washing your hands after is perfectly fine.  If that still does not work for you, we now have the option of a cardboard stick. Recyclable and plastic-free both options will pamper your armpits and will keep you smelling good all day. Check them out here.

Tip 7: New clothes? Avoid fast fashion

Thinking about buying that cute dress for your next trip? Well, consider this before you buy. Buying cheap and trendy outfits may seem appealing but fast fashion is one of the most polluting industries where low ethical standards are the norm.  Buying a stylish dress that you can wear time and time again can bring you more satisfaction. Selecting sustainable materials like organic cotton, Tencel and recycled materials will give you the everlasting feeling that your purchase will help the planet. Check out our webpage for some inspiration because eco-friendly does not mean boring.

And tada…. Just by making a few easy eco-friendly swaps you just made this world a better place. Who knew that what you pack can change the world. One bamboo toothbrush at the time. Bonus tip: don’t forget your reef-safe sunscreen!   Check out our eco-friendly travel kits here and if you want more tips on how to travel more sustainably, check out our website for info and follow our adventures on social media. Until next time, travel safe and love the earth.  

Julie

How to travel better. The Eco-friendly cosmetic pouch makeover

Cosmetic pouch

*********Not feeling like reading today or just want to see it, check out the video here***********

There are many little things that one can do to give a helping hand to our planet when travelling but one important cornerstone would be what you bring with you in your suitcase.  A refillable bottle and reusable shopping bag are always good ideas but let’s go a bit beyond and take a deep dive into cosmetic pouches.  Never big enough for some and an afterthought for others. There are a few ways by which we can do a healthy and planet-friendly makeover for vanity bags. The good news is that toiletries can easily be swapped for better alternatives.

First of all, I would say that the pouch/bag would be a good place to start.  Avoiding or limiting plastic pouches and favouring more natural materials such as hemp and cotton may be a good start. So swap plastic for natural fibres and you are heading in the right direction.

Next, what about your toothbrush and toothbrush holder? Ditch the plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one and do the same for the holder.  Not sure where to find the holder, check the link here.

Whilst we are on the dental hygiene topic, let’s not stop with the toothbrush.  Swap the toothpaste in the plastic tube with toothpaste tablets. Wait, what, how does that works?  Easy to carry, tablets contain the perfect quantity of toothpaste for one wash. All you need to do is to pop one in your mouth, chew a little and brush. Easy, plastic-free, no mess, you can even bring them in the plane as they are solid.  The earth will be smiling. Get yours here or here.

But wait, what about flossing. Remember your last conversation with your dentist? Yes, flossing is part of good dental hygiene but it does not have to cost the earth.   A cardboard case will work just fine. Try this one here or here.  Make your dentist and the earth a little happier.

Next, let’s move on to other essentials.  What about your deodorant? Ditch the plastic and trial one of those two options. The first one is in a tin can (click here or here) and you will need to apply with your fingers. Compact and effective, this is a great way to smell like a rose.  If you are not ready for using your fingers to apply your deodorant then you can get the cardboard stick. Effective and eco-friendly, both options are available. Check them out.

And one last thing. Soaps and shampoos.  Get rid of the plastic tubes and avoid using the hotel provided ones.  These are rarely fully used and end up as waste. Plus, I have found that they often contain way too many chemicals for my own taste.  BYO soap and shampoo kit it is.  Whether you have oily, dry or sensitive skin, get your perfect travel kit (available in dry, sensitive or oily skin and hair options)

Haaaa, feeling better now.  How cool is that?  Add your reef-safe sunscreen and you are good to go (here ).  If this is sounding a little complicated, build your own perfect cosmetic/toiletries/vanity pouch in a few clicks, right here!

Until next time, travel safe and eco-friendly. 

Cheers,

Julie

Ecotourism has changed. What does it mean for you and me?

Ecotourism

************ Don’t feel like reading? Check out the Youtube Video here instead *********************

From ecotourism to sustainable tourism and towards destination stewardship. What is eco-travelling and what does it mean for Australia

We are really blessed here in Australia. We have so many wonders, sometimes we go straight past them and do not notice them.  Other times, they are so big, it is hard to understand them in their entireties. 

Great Barrier Reef

That big Kauri tree pine that you passed by without too much thought is classified as a near-threatened species. Do you know why?  Alternatively, some wonders like the Great Barrier Reef are so big that they can be seen from space, yet, comprehending its size by looking at the horizon is near impossible.

Jane Goodall famously said, “Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, we will help. Only if we help, we shall be saved.”

― Jane Goodall, Jane Goodall: 40 Years at Gombe

I think that is probably on this premise that eco-tourism was born from.  Ecotourism was first coined in the 1980s and referred to visiting exotic and rare environments without causing too much harm.  It has since been an evolving concept supported by a myriad of certifications. 

Crucial in the evolution of eco-tourism are the concepts of sustainability and the impact of climate change.  Nowadays, it is not so much about the exotic environment but rather about the impacts of tourism and the stewardship of a destination. 

Sustainability explained
Sustainability development concept

Let’s first talk about the sustainability concept. Officially first defined in 1983 in the final report of the Brundtland Commission.  It was defined as “ development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”  Sustainability was intended to reconcile the ecological,  social and economic dimensions of life.  From limiting causing harm to the environment to being considerate to local communities, being socially responsible the eco-tourism took a more holistic approach.  The term sustainable tourism started to pop up here and there to show this expanded consideration.

These days, not compromising the needs of the future encompass consideration about climate change.  Climate change is in fact central to the present and future challenges of tourism and eco-tourism. On the one hand, the co2 emitted by planes and transport contribute to the rising of the temperature and on the other hand, climate change, for example in the form of sea-level rise and increased number of heat waves affect the places we travel to.  It is really a two-way street and we get what we put in.  Now, one thing we can learn about eco-tourism and sustainability is that purely focusing on preserving the environment will not work.  Other dimensions of human life such as social and economic need to be considered.

eco-certification
Green certified quality vector emblem isolated on white background

Enters destination stewardship or how to take care of a destination as a whole.  It changes the focus from the operator or the hotelier to consider the destination as a whole. It allows focusing on climate change mitigation solutions for the whole of the tourism sector in a region.  For example, the Whitsundays region has embarked on a project to decarbonise the tourism industry in the region and gain eco-destination accreditation.  This will also include considering social and economic dimensions in achieving destination certification.

So let’s go back to us, avid travellers and experience seekers.  What can we do to encourage a better way of enjoying the world we live in that is positive for future generations and that considers social and economic aspects of tourism.   For example, we can consider where we travel,  how we get there and favour eco-accredited destinations and operators.  If you are interested in learning how to travel to Far North Queensland,  check out my guide to travelling more sustainably. The guide is free and includes two, seven days itineraries ideas.

Hope you enjoy!

Until next time, travel with the planet in mind.  Stay safe and leave only footprints.

Cheers,

Julie

Bushwalking with a View – Hamilton Island – Whitsundays

Hamilton Island Bushwalking

******* Don’t feel like reading? Check out the Youtube video here ***********

Hamilton Island is well known for its beaches, marina, restaurants and bars but did you know that there are a number of bushwalking trails that will get you to peaceful coves, deserted beaches and stunning viewpoints. This is the perfect experience to reconnect with nature and make you feel like you are a castaway on a deserted island.  All this, not far from the resort area. 

Hamilton Island map
Hamilton Island bushwalking trail map

In fact, about half of Hamilton Island is not developed and there is plenty of space to get away from everything.  If you plan a trip to Hamilton Island, do not forget to bring your bushwalking shoes! 

The first hike that you might consider is Passage Peak which is the highest point on the Island. The view is fantastic, but it will get your heart pumping.   This is most definitively the best sunrise spot.  You will need to check the weather the day before for a clear day and start the trail when it is still dark. If this is what you intend on doing, do not forget your water bottle and your camera! 

Hamilton Island view

If you are up for a longer stroll, do the loop at the back of the island.  This will take you to South East Head where you will find probably one of the most Instagram ready spots on the island.  The vegetation changes and becomes a bit more arid, this area gets blown by heavy winds and salted by sea fog.  No tick forest here but rather low vegetation which enables uninterrupted sea and island views.  As you may know, the Whitsundays is blessed with 74 islands, and you can see a few from there.  Pentecost Island was named by Captain Cook when he travelled in the area on the Endeavour. Also observable in the distance are the Linderman Islands group. 

Less of a steep hill but still a healthy heart-pumping activity, take a right at Saddle Junction and head for Coral Cove or Escape Beach.  Bring a pick nick and enjoy the secluded beaches all to yourself. Spend the afternoon splashing around, try the big swing and relax.

The loop will also bring you to the big chair, where you can be the king of the hill for a moment and admire the Whitsunday kingdom for an instant. Bring your imaginary crown and you will feel like the middle kingdom is all yours.  The steep hills may bring you out your dream but worth the snaps.

If you decide to partake in any of those wonderful bushwalks, don’t forget to wear appropriate footwear, fill up your refillable water bottle, and wear reef-safe sunscreen if you are going to go for a dip in one of the secluded beaches.  Don’t forget to leave only footsteps and take only photographs.

So, there it is, just one more good reason to plan a trip to Hamilton Island. I hope to see you soon in the Whitsundays.  Until next time, travel safe and give a little bit of love to our planet. 

For cool travel eco-friendly fashion and accessories don’t forget to check out our shop here. Hope you like it.

See you next time,

Dent Island – Whitsundays: A No Golf Day on a Golf Island

Dent Island - Whitsundays

****** Don’t feel like reading, want to see the video instead? head over to my Youtube Channel here to see the video *******

View of Hamilton Island from Dent Island

Did you know that one of the 74 islands in the Whitsunday is a Golf Club? But if you are not really a golfer, keep on reading. Visiting Dent Island does not need to be just for the golfers (If you are though, go for it, enjoy a game). The golf is in fact called the Hamilton Island Golf Club as it is accessible via ferry from Hamilton Island.

If, like me, you are not a golfer, I highly suggest lunch. The package includes the ferry, a delicious two-course meal and a buggy tour of the back nine to admire the view. You will need to book ahead as, rightly so, it is quite a popular activity.


Seriously, don’t miss out on this relaxing experience. The view is stunning and the food top-notch. Oh, and the drinks, of course…..

The departure is from Hamilton Island marina and the trip lasts about 10 minutes. On arrival to Dent Island, a shuttle took us to the clubhouse. We started with a self-driven guided buggy tour of the back nine. We followed the guide in our own little buggy and admired the truly breathtaking view. The 360 view of the ocean and nearby islands is a feast for the eyes. From the intense sea blue to the gliding boats, it makes a definite great photo spot. This is a great location to see Hamilton Island, Whitsunday Island and many more.

Hamilton Island Golf Club


After this grand tour, the sea breeze opened our appetite and we enjoyed a great meal. The food was really good and the site amazing.


Pro tip: If you are visiting between June and September, the island is a great place to spot the whales. Keep an eye on those beautiful giants!


Overall, this was a relaxing day surrounded by a superb view and a nice sea breeze. Check out the video on Youtube if you want to know more.


Don’t forget to book your day out!

Until next time travel safe and enjoy this beautiful country!

Cheers,

Julie

Unwind in Eungella and meet up with a platypus

Eungella

**** If you prefer watching a video than reading, check out this video on Youtube. *****

Eungella bushwalk

I have to admit, I love bushwalking during the wet season in North Queensland.  The rain just makes it more magical, the colours pop up a lot more and the smell of the wet ground calms my spirit. Connecting with nature is one of the most rewarding experience and what a joy to have the opportunity to visit Eungella to do exactly this. 

The Eungella area is located in the Mackay region in North Queensland up in the mountains.   Once you leave the highway and head inland, you will have to go up a winding road that will get you up in the clouds.  Coincidentally, Eungella means the Land of Clouds in the language of the Wiri people which ancestral land I had the opportunity to visit.

The area is known for its national parks and many bushwalks.  In fact, there is 22 km of tracks to get lost in. The area is considered to be the longest continual stretch of sub-tropical rainforest in Australia.  The biodiversity is amazing and you can see unique species there.  From nowhere else to be seen frogs and birds species, the area is biodiverse and a pleasure to visit. It is also one of the rare places where your chances of seeing the elusive platypus are quite high.

Broken River Mountain Resort

 We stayed at the Broken River Eco-resort and found that their cabins are simple but comfortable and clean.  We choose this location as we do enjoy eco-certified accommodations. On that note, if you are interested in learning how to travel more sustainably in North Queensland, feel free to check out my e-book on the topic here. 

One of the points of interest with this accommodation is that there are observatory platforms only a stone throw away from the cabins where you can see the platypus in its natural habitat. I always thought that this animal was a bit special but I was reminded how incredibly special it is. It is one of the two mammals in the world that lay eggs, it has the beak of a duck, the tail of a beaver and walks like a lizard. As if this was not enough, the males have a venomous spur on their back leg. How special is this! I was privileged enough to see more than one! Check out the video if you want to know more.

I was in awe!

Finch Hatton Gorge

After seeing those amazing animal, we were quite happy to stop at the iconic Eungella Chalet for a snack and to admire the view. What a view indeed.  Perched in the mountains, this is one of the cool places to stop for lunch. 

I would definitely recommend the area if you want to reconnect with nature. The bushwalks are well managed and there are walks for all levels. From beginners to advance and from 20 minutes to a few days.  There are really no excuses not to go for a visit.  If you end up going on a hot day, do not hesitate to go to Finch Hatton where you can go for a dip in the gorge. There are a few floodways to cross through, so check the conditions if it has been raining. 

Check out this website to learn more about the region.

Hope you have the chance to experience this exceptional region and don’t forget, respect nature and think eco wherever you go.  Until next time, take care!

Cheers,

Julie

Reflection on Tourism and Sustainability

Travel and sustainability

PS- Not feeling like reading, watch it! Check out my Youtube video here instead.

Peppermint Magazine
Peppermint Magazine Spring 2020

Still feeling the pinch when you see a plane?

Reminiscing the good old travel days and those travel plans gone astray?

When you daydream about travel, but your day looks more like one coffee cup after the other.

Now that we have some time to reflect on the world, how about reviewing our tourism habits.

I was reading the Spring 2020 edition of Peppermint Magazine and found this interesting article about the future of tourism. The article is called: “Oh! The places we’ll go “ by  Emily Lush. What I gather mostly from this article is that now is a good time to re-visit what we have been doing for a long time. From health concerns to over-tourism and carbon footprint, the travel industry brings a long list of unanswered questions but also an opportunity to change.

From what I can gather, getting the cheapest holiday package might just be a thing of the past. With all those travel agencies vanishing into the stratosphere and State borders still closed, our thirst for adventure might have to be satisfied with closer to home holidays.  Once borders slowly re-open, taking the plane interstate or dare I say to an international destination might not be as affordable as they used to. For a lot of us, that will probably mean travelling within the country, closer to home, for the foreseeable future.  

But there might be some good things out of this.  I am lucky enough to live in the beautiful Whitsundays in Queensland, and from talking to visitors, I was quite astonished that people living relatively close by were coming to the region for the first time. Queenslanders seem to discover their own State for the first time which is such a great thing!   One of my wishes would be that more Australians visit the Great barrier Reef and realise how significant this eco-system is and how it is intertwined with our climate and food sources.  Even with all those videos and photos available, there is still nothing like experiencing the real thing.

Maybe, if you feel like experimenting travelling in a more sustainable way, I have a free guide to help you plan a more eco-friendly trip in North Queensland, but where ever you go, whether it is your backyard or further afield, don’t forget to pack eco-friendly!  For the month of November 2020, check out Peppermint magazine where you can get a discount code to get you started with what you need for packing your suitcase! Take care and chat with you soon.

Julie

How to travel more sustainably in North Queensland

How to travel more sustainably in North Queensland

Missing those exotic places. Can’t go to Bali this year because of travel restrictions? Well, come and visit the Sunshine State! If you need vitamin sea and a good dose of sunshine, North Queensland is blessed with both of those and even more. Australia, check out your backyard, there is just not enough superlative to describe what you will find.  So, holiday here this year!

Get your free guide!

But wait….. do I hear, I want to be a responsible human and travelling can be at odds with my carbon footprint reduction objectives. Humm, yes, that can be true. When we travel, it is not only our carbon footprint that increases, but we also change our habits such as buying more food on the go. It is not good for the earth. How to turn this around? Could sustainability and travelling go hand and in hand?

So let’s have a chat about our impacts and how we can handle this a bit better, one step at the time. Small steps. I am a strong believer that each small step counts and that we should do what we can. We each live different lives and what is easy for someone can be difficult for someone else.  But, if we all make a small effort, life can be better. We all need to adapt this to our own circumstances. And if the only thing you do is remembering to take a bamboo toothbrush and swap your regular sunscreen for a reef safe one, then, it is a win.  

If you are ready to go on a journey with me then, I have prepared a great resource for you. I have compiled a guide to help you have fun by exploring North Queensland and doing it a bit more sustainably. The guide includes two different itineraries for a week-long trip and discusses how we can make better choices for the environment.

I have been blessed with living and travelling through both of those regions and they are quite dear to my heart. You can’t care about what you don’t know or experience and that is what travelling is all about. So, we can learn to care for the places we discover and ensures that future generation enjoys them as well, just as much as we did. I hope that this book will inspire you to explore this beautiful region and to care for our planet. You can find the free guide here.

See you soon and until next time, travel safe and sustainably!

Finally re-opening the store!

Finally re-opening the store!

If you have been on this site recently,  you may have noticed that the shop page has been unavailable for a little while.  Well, just like most of you, my life has been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.  However, I am very thankful that my health and the health of my loved ones have not been affected. I also have managed to keep my day job, for now anyway, so I am one of the lucky ones, I know it may not have been the case for you, so I would like to acknowledge any suffering that this crisis may have caused to you.  I am also thankful to live in a country that has an excellent health system as it is not the case in other countries.  And of course, thank you to all the dedicated health professionals and support staff that are so essentials.

Some of the things you will find in our shop: reef safe sunscreen, eco-fashion

This post is a bit more personal, but I thought I would share with you what has been happening in the last few months. I started with this business idea a long time ago but did not have the time, money to do much with it.  Very, very slowly it evolved from a blog to a shop last November (2019). I did not have much time to dedicate to it as I was working full time and needed to educate myself about business (that is still ongoing). Nevertheless, I was very proud of my achievements.  But then,  all that came to an abrupt end in March. Like most Australians, I went into lockdown. Unfortunately, that meant that I was away from my shop items in order to be close to my loved ones.  I was working from home with my day job and wondering if this was ever going to end. Well, it still has not ended but I would say that things are on the up-trend. Queensland has re-opened its borders and interstate visitors are slowly coming back. Albeit, some delays for Victoria.  So, great to see that despite everything, Australians have not lost their taste for travel. International travel is off the table for now but with such a blessed country, there is so much to see! 

I also sincerely hope that one of the things that will change is that we will travel more sustainably and ethically.  Because our health is intrinsically related to the health of the planet we inhabit, it would be a natural progression.  If you are ready to make a bit of a difference,  I invite you to come and visit our website, we have some great blog articles to help you make better choices and contribute to our collective wellbeing.  Shortly, there will be some more information about how to travel more sustainably in North Queensland.  So stay tuned for more info on this. 

But today, I really wanted to tell you that I am really excited about announcing that I will be re-opening the ‘’shop’’ section of the website on the 1st of August 2020. You will find there, eco-friendly fashion and travel essentials. Helping the planet by packing eco-friendly has never been more fun! Have a browse here….. and thanks for your patience during these unprecedented times!  See you soon and until next time, travel safely and sustainably!

Cheers,

Julie