Treading Lightly with Tourism Noosa

Image source: Contributed

Noosa’s non-profit environmental heroes unite to Tread Lightly and preserve the beauty and biodiversity of our landscapes for future generations, as Georgia Beard discovers.

On the shady shoreline of the Noosa River over a year ago, Tourism Noosa launched the Tread Lightly program to celebrate and safeguard our biodiverse region.

Since then, scores of locals, visitors, corporate groups and school groups have embarked on light-footed adventures across our bushlands, beaches and waterways.

They have combed our coastlines for plastic waste; planted native trees along our hinterland walking trails; counted and encountered migratory and native shorebirds on our estuaries and islands; and discovered oyster reef restoration below the surface of our rivers.

These hands-on activities are empowering our communities to lighten their environmental footprint. While tourists offset the impacts of their travels, locals grow more connected to the ecosystems in which they live.

“As we all know, Noosa has an ‘essence’ about it that is easy to see and feel but sometimes hard to explain,” said Juanita Terry-Bloomfield, Tourism Noosa’s Head of Tourism Sustainability & Program Design.

“The preservation of its natural beauty has been born out of years of tireless efforts of many people before us. 

“We aim to educate visitors on why Noosa is as special as we all know it is and what it takes to not only sustain but to also regenerate a destination.”

With six initiatives under the Tread Lightly program and more activities on the boil, groups in the environmental not-for-profit arena are driving this mission, from Noosa Biosphere Reserve Foundation to Noosa & District Landcare and Noosa Integrated Catchment Association.

“We have also been working with Terri Waller at SevGen, a social enterprise not-for-profit organisation in Noosa, and hope to help deliver an excellent indigenous experience enjoying the yarns and Forever Fruits of Terri’s Galeru native fruit orchard in the Noosa hinterland,” Juanita said.

Tread Lightly’s all-encompassing response fulfills the Noosa Council’s vision for a circular economy where zero waste is championed, resources are valued, and nature is protected.

Setting an ambitious target of zero net emissions by 2026, Council recently delivered the From Waste to Resource: Draft Waste Plan 2023 – 2028 with strategies to improve recycling and divert rubbish from the Eumundi Noosa Road landfill – the source of 63% of Council’s greenhouse gas emissions!

Their action plan considers significant community input from the Your Say: Waste Survey, which found 78% of people in Noosa believe it’s very important to protect our environment with waste reduction.

Over half of respondents also want to take responsibility for their personal waste, access more education and reduce problems for future generations.

After witnessing the damage we’ve done to our land and wildlife, we’re ready for change. We want to give back more than we take and find our place on Country rather than force it.

Now Tread Lightly is taking vast strides to cultivate this transformation, encouraging us to leave the environment healthier than it was before we arrived!

Here are some of the initiatives you can get involved in:


Be part of the solution to plastic pollution by collecting, sorting and recording microplastics and litter from the coastline, creeks, estuaries and rivers of Noosa, freeing this central ocean corridor for an abundance of marine
and coastal animals!


Experience biannual tree planting on hinterland trails to rejuvenate native bushland, help mitigate erosion and provide protective habitats for over 3000 wildlife species, including local koalas and 700 other species native to Noosa.


Cruising up the Noosa River with the Noosa Integrated Catchment Association, witness shorebirds as they migrate from the arctic circle of Siberia and Alaska to rest and forage on our coastline!

Grab your binoculars and admire the vulnerable bar-tailed godwit, who has travelled over 11,000kms in non-stop migration, or the Eurasian whimbrel – the fastest migrant on the planet!


Below the Noosa River, baskets of juvenile rock oyster spat are supporting the recovery of our endangered rock oyster ecosystem with empty oyster shells donated by several Noosa restaurants!

Come on board with The Nature Conservancy and Noosa Integrated Catchment Association to tour these manmade oyster reefs and fish hotels!


As a volunteer group, Noosa & District Landcare’s Roving Restorers rove around the landscape helping
to protect and improve the region’s biodiversity and ecosystem health with weed control and revegetation.

For half a day, work side-by-side with these rovers
on local private properties to restore patches of native bushland!


Join the Noosa Event Waste Warrior crew and help events reach their sustainable goals by guiding participants, support teams and spectators to choose the right bins for their rubbish and divert waste from landfill.


  • In 2023, Tread Lightly and Plastic Free Noosa have collected 463.4kg of rubbish.
  • During Plastic Free July 2023, 5 Beach Clean-Ups and 57 volunteers removed 103kg of rubbish.
  • Since 2019, Trees for Tourism has planted over 6400 trees and sequestered over 800 tonnes of carbon dioxide in each tree’s lifetime.

To find out more and get involved, visit:

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