Eco Tourism and Palm Bay Resort

Eco-tourism, what is it?

“Tourism directed towards exotic natural environments, intended to support conservation efforts and observe wildlife”

 

Here at Palm Bay we support eco-tourism and are proud to present our resort as one that lives in harmony with the beautiful natural environment that we are privileged to be part of.

 

History and environment of the Whitsundays

The Whitsunday Islands and their surrounding waters have international protection as part of the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef. Some islands including Long Island where Palm Bay is located are declared national parks.

The rocky islands of the Whitsundays were actually once part of the continent and are known as continental islands. Around 10,000 years ago the Coral Sea rose over the coastal plains leaving the peaks and ridges that are now known as the Whitsunday Islands.

Fringing reefs surround all the islands with around 400 species of coral being found in the marine park. The reef on either side of Palm Bay offers the visitor an opportunity to see first had the beauty of colourful coral and sea life. Other snorkelling spots in the region are accessible on tours that are available from Palm Bay and offer more variety and diversity.

A variety of plants grow on the islands with salt tolerant species being closer to the water and vine forests and lush vegetation further inland. Palm Bay has access to several kilometres of bush walks, some weaving inland and others offering spectacular views and access to secret coves and stunning beaches.

Common along the coast of the islands are the Mangroves. Vital for marine life Mangroves provide a nursery for fish and small crustaceans and filter and trap sediment that could otherwise harm delicate reef.

Seagrass beds support an abundance of sea life and are an important source of food for turtles and dugongs. Seagrass beds are also nurseries for a variety of fish and prawns.

Migratory birds use the islands as stopovers on their long journeys and other species such as the Bush Stone Curlew and Brush Turkeys are very much at home on the islands. At Palm Bay we have a favourite Curlew we name Norman. We never feed the wildlife and simply live in harmony with them.

Birds of prey such as sea eagles and osprey nest in the tall hoop pines and eucalyptus trees and provide a wonderful visual display as they soar and swoop on their prey.

The endangered rock wallaby lives very comfortably on Long Island and are often seen snacking in our gardens at Palm Bay delighting visitors with their pretty faces and dainty manner.

We live very harmoniously with the local wildlife.  We encourage our guests to observe but don’t attempt to touch or feed the wildlife.

In addition to the birds and wallabies we have skinks, goannas, snakes and spiders. Snakes are essential to maintain populations of frogs, rodents other reptiles and some even control cane toads, an introduced species that unfortunately made its way to the island.

Beautiful Jewel and Orb spiders are common on the island and are a delight to observe with their stunning markings. Green ants also make the islands their home and are abundant and always very busy.

The Ngaro Aboriginal people existed in the Whitsundays for at least the past 9000 years. A stone quarry on South Molle Island and rock paintings at Nara Inlet are the most obvious signs of their previous occupation. Today descendants of the Ngaro tribe assist government to make decisions about protecting the islands.

European settlement began in the Whitsundays in the 1860’s mainly in the form of camps that were set up to harvest hoop pines for building on the mainland.

Tourism began in the 1920’s with Lindeman being the first island to encourage overnight visitors.

At Palm Bay we encourage our guests to respect and enjoy the national park without disturbing the natural flora and fauna that is so abundant.

For more information about the region please contact

Department of Environment and Resource Management.

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection www.ehp.qld.gov.au

Ecotourism Australia www.ecotourism.org.au