Business With Purpose
Supporting the Lizard Island Research Centre and the well-being of the Great Barrier Reef.
Lizard Island is surrounded by the 3,000 individual reef systems that make up the 2,300 kilometre long Great Barrier Reef, one of the most complex, fragile, and threatened ecosystems on the planet. It is the ideal location from which to share knowledge and love of the reef and assist in supporting its conservation and regeneration.
“We recognise the privilege of our location and the opportunities it presents for helping to protect, nurture and conserve the natural values of the island itself and the greater surrounding reef for generations to come,” said Leon Pink, General Manager.
“Conservation and education about the intricacies of the reef’s ecosystem - and the various challenges facing it - underpin what we do.”
“I’m an experiential learner. Here at Lizard Island, my classroom is clear, 80°F water. I can pop my head out of the water to ask Dr. Berents questions in real time…Already I’m seeing the reef differently, better grasping how this impressive ecosystem works.” - Afar Magazine.
Providing Learning Opportunities
With education of staff and guests as a core focus, Lizard Island Resort provides guests with an abundance of opportunities to explore and be educated about the reef and the national park, with regular scheduled interpretive nature walks, and presentations on marine and terrestrial systems, delivered by the resort’s resident naturalists.
Naturalists lead guided walks, sharing the island’s natural and cultural heritage, respecting its Indigenous history and visiting European historical sites such as Cook’s Look, named after Captain James Cook.
Scuba and snorkelling excursions are a compelling reason for guests visit this region, to literally immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the reef. Lizard Island’s dive instructors and guides provide detailed interpretations of the reef systems, as well as providing ‘real-life’ illustrations of the challenges now facing the reef.
In 2022 Lizard Island partnered with Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef in the Great Reef Census 3, which saw a flotilla of boats, including all of Lizard Island Resort’s boats, trained resort staff, scientists and members of the public recording data on 11 remote reefs in the region, including high priority reefs for the Crown-of-Thorns Control Program.
“Participation in the Census paves the way for future hands-on citizen science initiatives at the resort, enabling guests to engage in regenerative, purposeful travel and real conservation action,” said Leon Pink.
Furthering the educational focus, the resort works closely with, and supports the Lizard Island Research Station, a facility of the Australian Museum and a widely recognised island-based research facility on the Great Barrier Reef.
The Station conducts approximately 100 research projects annually, including ground-breaking studies into conservation and threats such as coral bleaching and the Crown-of-Thorns starfish, both of which have had adverse impacts on the Great Barrier Reef over recent years.
Guests have the opportunity to tour the Research Station and personally speak to marine scientists from around the world who share their knowledge about the health of the marine environment, their studies and what potentially can be done to safeguard the future of this diverse ecosystem.
Reaching high for ecotourism standards
Lizard Island was declared a National Park in 1937; the surrounding waters were recognised as a National Marine Park in 1974, and the Great Barrier Reef was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1981. As a result, the resort adheres to some of the most stringent operating requirements in Australia, managing and reporting daily waste management, potable water testing, administering strict biosecurity measures, monitoring water consumption and managing annual visitor numbers.
In addition to the mandated regulatory conditions, management is committed to environmental best practice and the resort holds Advanced Ecotourism Certification and GreenPath Ambassador Ecotourism Certification. Launched in 1996, this was the world's first – and Ecotourism Australia’s flagship – Ecotourism Certification Program. Achieving certification involved a comprehensive, independent audit of the resort’s sustainability performance, including water and energy use, packaging, lighting, waste and food sourcing.
Parley for the Oceans is the global environmental organisation and network where creators, thinkers and leaders come together to raise awareness for the beauty and fragility of the oceans and collaborate on projects that can end their destruction. Alongside Parley, Lizard Island is taking action for the oceans and their efforts involve clean ups that cover most of the beaches and islands around Lizard Island. This partnership is an ongoing initiative with all of Lizard Island plastics being separated in the Parley hessian bins around the island.
“Continuing awareness and education are key to the future of the Great Barrier Reef,” said Leon Pink.
“We are working with our staff, guests, First Nations partners and regional suppliers to best manage our environmental footprint on our World Heritage-listed natural environment. Our vision is to engage everyone in the quest to learn about and con-serve the Great Barrier Reef and Lizard Island National Park.
“Listening to our naturalists and the scientists at the Research Station experiencing the reef first-hand, coming face to face with its challenges – both naturally occurring and man-made - our guests leave their island stay better informed about just how fragile the ecosystem is and how to better become advocates for the future of the reef.”
Other sustainability initiatives (Our mandatories):
The team at Lizard Island consistently and proactively seeks ways to improve its environmental commitment and works with the support of Queensland Parks and Wildlife, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Department of Environment and Heritage, local suppliers, clients, partners and members of the local community.
With the aim of supporting local businesses and reducing the resort’s carbon footprint, 90 per cent of all food supplies on Lizard Island come from local Queensland suppliers. The restaurant menu features fresh seafood (that is ethically caught) and produce from the local mainland hinterland.
Around 60 per cent of all waste from the resort operation is either recycled or deployed for alternative use. Recycling is separated into seven separate streams. Any additional waste is removed from the island to limit any cross contamination with the island’s flora and fauna.
Plastic straws and water bottles have been totally eliminated from the resort.
Biodigestors have been installed across the resort, eliminating the need to transport food waste to the mainland. Waste is broken down onsite and the water from this process is recycled into grey water for irrigation.
Cleaning products and other chemicals are environmentally sensitive. In-room amenities are supplied by longstanding supplier, iKOU which employs earth-friendly practices throughout its operation, from wild-harvesting to recycled packaging.
Extensive landscaping has been undertaken, exclusively using native flora species and sterile mulch.
The onsite water treatment team, made up of experienced plumbers and sewerage/water treatment plant operators, ensures that all water treatment processes are environmentally sustainable and provide premium quality drinking water, as well as water to keep the grounds, gardens and surroundings cared for.
The resort is working with Elders from the First Nations Dingaal community to develop employment and guest experience opportunities.
Guests contribute to environmental protection via the Environmental Management Charge fee where monies collected go directly towards the conservation and protection of the Great Barrier Reef. Many guests also take the opportunity to donate to the Lizard Island Research Station.
Lizard Island is a founding member of the Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef and a member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges Program.