Sure, going on a holiday can feel a little indulgent, especially when everyone is tightening their belts right now. But the importance of switching off, slowing down, and taking a moment to reconnect with ourselves and our loved ones has never been more important.
Still, if you’re struggling with the idea of “taking” a holiday, then scroll through our list of Slow Stays that will help you “give” back. Whether it be through regeneration, wildlife conservation or community initiatives, these getaways will help you make a difference and douse you in feel-good vibes.
Kestrel Nest EcoHut
Mount Adrah, NSW
Book a Slow Stay at Kestrel Nest Ecohut on Highfield Farm and Woodland, and you’ll be supporting the protection of over 200 hectares of critically endangered Box Gum Grassy Woodland. Sitting on the boundary of farmland (also being restored with native grasses and wildlife corridors) and the sprawling conservation area, this retreat is the perfect perch to spot rare and endangered bird species, wedgetails, tiny kestrels, echidnas, swamp wallabies and Eastern Grey kangaroos. Or, if you’re feeling active and are eager to work off last night’s cheeseboard, then throw on your sneakers, jump off the deck and hit the woodland trails to experience the beauty in the flesh.
Lamington National Park, QLD
Tucked on the edge of the world heritage listed Lamington National Park, Nightfall is, in one word, magic. Come for the luxurious eco glamping tents, complete with wood-burning fires and freestanding baths, and you’ll stay for the lush, wilderness setting, in part, thanks to the decision to utilise only five of 257 acres for the accommodation grounds. In addition to reserving most of the property for wild flora and fauna, the team here also contribute to the Land for Wildlife program, planting over 100 native plants for habitat each year. With so much good happening, you can sleep, bathe and rest easy, knowing a stay at Nightfall is having a positive impact.
Cedar Cottage Meander
A guiding principle of regenerative tourism is to leave a place better than you found it, and the folks at the bespoke Cedar Cottage Meander have done just that. Sitting an hour’s drive from both Launceston and Devonport in Tasmania, the area around the self-catering cottage had been selectively logged in the past, stripping all the big mature hardwoods. Fast forward to now, and 22 of the 24 hectares surrounding the cottage is dedicated to regeneration of the forest. Sip a glass of wine in the outdoor hot tub and you can play eye-spy with the likes of Tasmanian Oak and Blackwood that are repopulating the property.
Kangaroo Island, SA
If you have a soft spot for Kangaroo Island and glossy black cockatoos, escape to the stunning Ecopia Retreat for an off-the-grid Slow Stay that gives back in bucketloads. While the rammed earth villas and striking vistas of the 60-hectare registered wildlife sanctuary would be enough to lure any sustainable-savvy traveller, it’s the work that goes on behind-the-scenes that will really seal the deal. Over 10 years, the owners of Ecopia have planted hundreds of native trees and shrubs to extend the habitat for Glossy Black Cockatoos and provide more homes for the growing number of resident koalas. And, after the black summer bush fires, this mission went into overdrive. Now, with every booking made, another native tree is planted, so you’ll be doing your bit before you even arrive.
“Care for the Earth, care for people and share our abundance” is the guiding permaculture ethos at Rosalita’s Rest, a farm just outside of Billinudgel in northern NSW. Leading the way are owners Angela and Vince, who assist with sustainability and food growing classes at the local primary school, take part in community fundraisers and endeavour to regenerate their farm and surrounding areas—last year they celebrated 2020 by planting 2020 trees! If you want to make a difference first-hand during your stay here, pick up a shovel and plant a tree, in what’s lovingly been named The People’s Forest.
Scandi at Maleny
Committed to “travel for good” as they are, the caring folk at Scandi at Maleny wanted to go even further than their donations to conservation organisation 1% for the Planet. So in July 2022, they joined forces with Aussie food charity OzHarvest to donate 50 meals for every booking. The money goes straight to Oz Harvest Sunshine Coast on behalf of each guest and, in the name of transparency, a receipt for the donation is emailed to you on booking confirmation. In the time between July 2022 and 25 January 2023, Scandi at Maleny (and their guests) helped provide 2100 meals to those in need – an epic effort! In the wise words of Kev Carmody and Paul Kelly, “From little things, big things grow.”