Tropical North Queensland tourism companies have big goals to eliminate their carbon footprints, with zero-emission flights and hybrid-electric catamarans under development.


Imagine flying over the Great Barrier Reef’s sparkling waters or speeding across them without having a negative impact on the planet.

Zero-emission tourism is no longer a distant dream but becoming a reality for many tour operators across the reef and Daintree Rainforest. Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Mark Olsen says businesses are actively seeking renewable energy sources for transport.

‘With two World Heritage areas side by side, Tropical North Queensland has long been a leader in environmental initiatives and is the most eco-certified destination in Australia,’ he said. 

‘Transportation is the greatest challenge in reducing emissions so our operators are partnering with leaders in this field to develop more efficient ways of showcasing the Great Barrier Reef and the world’s oldest rainforest.’

Electric-hybrid Catamaran

The Queensland Government has recently handed out a $200,000 grant for the development of an electric hybrid catamaran to Cairns Premier Great Barrier Reef and Island Tours.

Owners Perry Jones and Taryn Agius have been operating snorkelling and diving tours on the reef for nearly three decades. The pair have been investigating cleaner energy solutions and see sustainability as one of their top priorities.

They said that this eco-catamaran ‘will be their first step towards becoming emission free’. 

‘It has solar panels and an electric-hybrid engine so guests can enjoy silence while they are on the Great Barrier Reef,’ Ms Agius said.

Zero-emissions Helicopters

Northern Australia’s largest helicopter operator, Nautilus Aviation, is also getting real about its environmental impacts.

As part of its goal to reach net zero emissions by 2030, it recently ordered ten zero-emission aircraft for scenic flights.

It’s expected tourists will be able to set flight over the Great Barrier Reef in one of these bad boys by 2026.


Electric Road Vehicles

If exploring by land is more your speed you’re in luck! Electric tour buses already operate between Cairns and Kuranda, and between the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary and Rainforestation Nature Park.

Alternatively, you can hire an electric vehicle and traverse the rainforest at your own pace. Electric vehicle charging stations are available at many major attractions throughout Tropical North Queensland. The future of sustainable travel is looking bright!




Images supplied by Tourism Tropical North Queensland