With the ugly weight of climate change on our shoulders, there are plenty of ways you can ensure your everyday life is more “eco-friendly”.
Recycling, reusable coffee cups and walking instead of driving are tiny but significant changes you can make – but have you ever thought about having a “green” holidays?
Around Australia, there are countless eco-friendly hotels, tiny houses and retreats where you can enjoy a peaceful getaway without worrying about how your holiday is negatively impacting the environment.
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To test this idea, I packed up my suitcase and hopped into a Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Hybrid PHEV (Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle) for a sustainable weekend away in NSW’s Kangaroo Valley.
The Eclipse Cross is a hybrid electric car, meaning you can enjoy clean, eco-friendly driving without the worry of having to plug it in immediately when you run out of battery.
It still has a petrol engine, but I tried to avoid using the tank on my mini-getaway.
As I got ready for bed, I started to become acquainted with ‘tiny living’
The two-and-a-half hour drive was a dream and I smugly watched as other cars drove by, chugging carbon dioxide emissions into the air as I glided along electronically.
I arrived at my accommodation, a tiny house called ‘Azaltie’ in Kangaroo Valley, under a canopy of stars.
It was tucked away on a sprawling 11-acre property in the middle of the misty valley and the tiny house was so inconspicuous, you might just miss it in the dark.
The secluded house was equipped with a tiny kitchenette, a sofa, a waterless eco-friendly toilet (no need for flushing!) and a queen bed nestled on the top floor.
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It was small but spectacular, tucked in the middle of the valley’s gorgeous bushland.
I felt the urge to turn off my phone and leave it in the car for the duration of the trip. There was no Wi-Fi, and after all, and eco-tourism is all about reconnecting with nature.
As I got ready for bed, I started to become acquainted with “tiny living”.
I was staying with my partner, Matt, and the bathroom wasn’t big enough for two people to stand in.
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If you cooked something in the small kitchen (or spent some time in the bathroom after said dinner), you’d have to be prepared for the fact you could smell everything. Airing out a tiny house while you’re out exploring is crucial.
Despite this, I was amazed at just how much the owners had packed into the little home, which had a trailer-hitch so you could drive it literally anywhere.
It was also hilarious to watch as one of us tried to gracefully climb the ladder onto the bed, only to flop onto the mattress out of sheer relief you hadn’t fallen down and broken your neck.
The night was spent listening to the wonderful (yet sometimes creepy) sounds of the Australian bush – and, of course, a stunning sunrise to wake us up.
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The next morning, we hopped into the Eclipse Cross and made our way to Fitzroy Falls, a glorious waterfall in the Southern Highlands which is a short drive from the valley.
Because of the floods, the roads connecting the Falls to Kangaroo Valley were closed. This meant an hour-long detour to get to the stunning tourist destination.
Normally, I would have been smoking. But the drive was so smooth and picturesque, I actually relished the extra time in the car. As it turns out, being environmentally-friendly lifts your mood, too – who would have thought?
The Eclipse Cross had gotten us from Balmain in Sydney to Kangaroo Valley on one charge, so we needed to re-charge it to get the full eco experience. I wanted to use as much electricity and as little petrol as possible on my “green” holiday.
As someone who had never driven a 100 per cent electric vehicle, the Mitsubishi Eclipse was an ideal stepping stone for a “pure” EV. It also eliminated a lot of the guilt associated with a long road trip.
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I wanted to escape the city and try to live sustainably for a few days. As someone who wasn’t ready to completely forgo the safety of a tank of petroleum, it was a fantastic middle ground.
As it turns out, driving a normal car is pretty hard to get used to once you’ve glided along the NSW south coast in an electric vehicle for two days.
The sustainable trip taught me three things: 1) I need to learn how to use a compost 2) Wi-Fi isn’t a necessity for a happy life, and 3) It’s possible to live without petrol.
It also taught me some valuable lessons about how every little decision I make impacts the environment.
Sure, I’m not a multi-billion-dollar corporation responsible for most of the global greenhouse emissions, but I can make a tiny difference. And lots of tiny changes really add up.
This writer stayed as a guest at Azaltlie for Mitsubishi Australia.
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