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Reducing environmental footprints, sustainable tourism and eco-tours is not just for grownups. With Australian families taking more holidays than ever before, and often to less-privileged locations, Carla Adams explores Australian and international experiences suited to families raising more conscious travellers.

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Release their inner organic farmer

1. At Byron Bay’s The Farm you’ll find organic flowers, fare and fun with a school holiday program designed to educate kids about sustainable living and farming, get their hands dirty and help them understand their place in the food chain.

Visit www.thefarmbyronbay.com.au/farmkids

2. Thailand’s Pun Pun Centre for Self Reliance in Chiang Rai welcomes families to join clay house building, vegetarian cooking and sustainable living workshops.

Visit www.punpunthailand.org

Preserve precious wildlife and indigenous communities

1. Protected (and super cute) Quokka lure families to Western Australia’s Rottnest Island. The entire island is managed according to sustainable principles and kids’ camps are regularly held in this incredible outdoor classroom.

Visit www.rottnestisland.com

2. Choose a genuine elephant conservation experience in Thailand, where Anantara Chiang Rai sets the benchmark for ethical management, rehabilitating and providing medical care while also taking care of elephant mahouts (handlers) and their families in a onsite village. The ‘Walking with Giants’ experience and bareback riding are gentle, respectful ways to interact with these magnificent creatures.

Visit www.anantara.com

3. Families can interact with mountain gorillas in their natural environment and have the privilege of meeting local Batwa Pygmies at Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp in Uganda’s UNESCOlisted World Heritage Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

Visit www.sanctuaryretreats.com

child_snorkelling_lady-elliot-island-family-634Do better for the environment

1. Detour to Kaikoura on your next family road trip in New Zealand, where penguins and whales play in pristine oceans and the ‘Trees for Travellers’ project allows tourists to contribute to the green status of the town.

Visit www.kaikoura.co.nz

2. Kids can channel their inner Nemo discovering manta rays and turtles on a pristine coral reef at Lady Elliot Island. They’ll come away avowed eco-warriors, promise.

Visit www.ladyelliot.com.au

Connect with your destination’s culture

1. Dotted around Villa Sungai’s absolutely gorgeous surrounds, in Bali’s Canggu region, are a number of shrines. Guests are welcome to make offerings if they choose. The villa will even arrange to have traditional outfits made for children or guests to wear and many are invited to join local village ceremonies or events.

2. Make the biannual pilgrimage to the Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival, five hours south of Cairns, where a gathering of tribes, elders and the new generation of storytellers can be shared between indigenous and non-indigenous nomads alike. Families are welcome, and your children will come away with a new respect for the country they are privileged to call ‘home’.

Words: Carla Adams

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haven is all about family, life and style in Brisbane's inner city suburbs, the Gold Coast, south to Byron Bay. We have been keeping parents in the know for over eight years, with fun, fresh and helpful stories that they can take tips from or treasure in their own library.