Ecotourism Accreditations

Eco Certified Green Travel Leadereco tourism

In 2015 Imagine Cruises was awarded our latest Eco Tourism Accreditation- “Green Travel Leader”, with this accreditation we are just one of 104 Green Travel Leaders within the Country demonstrating commitment to environmental responsibility through 10+ years of ECO Certification.

Advanced Ecotourism Certification – Imagine’s Passion for Ecotourism

ADVANCEDCERTIFICATIONnewEcotourism Australia – Eco Certified Tour Operator. Imagine Cruises was originally set up by a group of conservation-minded friends who wanted to create a model for ecotourism that allowed people to experience the spectacular beauty of Port Stephens and its friendly wildlife. Imagine was the first certified Ecotourism Australia operator on Port Stephens. Ecotourism is all about interesting ways to learn from the environment with an operator who uses resources wisely, contributes to conservation of the environment and helps local communities.

At Imagine Cruises we have always sought to minimize our impact on the environment. Imagine was designed to move across the water with a minimum of power using the efficient and lightweight Crowther design for catamarans. We use our sails as much as possible to reduce noise and carbon based pollution. We also don’t release any waste into the waters of Port Stephens and we lobbied hard for waste pump-out facilities for all users of the Port.

Imagine Cruises actively supports research on the local dolphins and we have been closely involved in an international campaign with other whale watchers and conservation organisations to stop commercial whaling. We directly employ 8 local people and have been actively involved in local and national tourism industry and conservation issues.

The definition of ecotourism adopted by Ecotourism Australia is: “Ecotourism is ecologically sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing natural areas that fosters environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation”

EcotourismGlobal Sustainable Tourism Council

“The GSTC are an independent body that establishes and manages global standards for sustainability in travel and tourism with the aim of increasing sustainable tourism knowledge and practices.

The GSTC Approved tick logo means that our ECO certified products are certified under a certification program, namely Ecotourism Australia’s ECO certification, is using a Global Sustainable Tourism Council -recognised standard, is following processes and procedures that have been reviewed and approved by the GSTC, and that the certification procedures largely meet international standards for transparency, impartiality, and competence.”

The acceptance of ECO certification as a GSTC Approved standard builds on the ECO certified tour operators’ deserved reputation for delivering high quality, sustainable best practice, tourism experiences that have true conservation benefits. Travelers choosing products that are certified by Ecotourism Australia can be assured that those products are deemed sustainable according to the highest international standards.

Marine Parks Association

$1 from every Dolphin Watch or Marine Discovery Ticket sold since 2016 will be donated to the Marine Parks Association, furthering research on our resident Bottlenose dolphins.

Dolphin Research Education and Monitoring (D.R.E.A.M.)

At Imagine Cruises, we have long recognized that we have to care for our dolphin companions and ensure that our activities do not harm or disturb them in any way. We pioneered the D.R.E.A.M. Fund, (Dolphin Research Education and Management), which has sponsored research by the Macquarie University into our dolphins so that we can develop a Dolphin Management Plan for Port Stephens. The Foundation for National Parks run the fund in conjunction with the Port Stephens Dolphin Watch Association and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

We are also passionate about the creation of a Marine Park for Port Stephens with an effective management plan and are working towards this end. Port Stephens is seen as the most likely region for the establishment of the next Marine Park in the Manning Bioregion.

Whalewatchers Unite! – International Alliance of Commercial Whale Watchers

It has been our privilege at Imagine Cruises to be involved in an international campaign against the killing of whales. One of our skippers and directors, Frank Future, has been the delegate of Whale and Dolphin Watch Australia (WADWA) to the annual meetings of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Greenpeace and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) have assisted us in establishing an International Alliance of Commercial Whale Watchers so that we can put the views of whale watchers worldwide at the IWC. Whale watching is a large and rapidly growing industry around the world because people now want to see these magnificent whales alive and free.

You can help us help the whales by supporting Greenpeace or IFAW in your home country or at or If in your travels you come across any other whale watch operators, please mention the International Coalition and ask them to contact IFAW or us at Imagine.

Read more about the protection & preservation of dolphins & whales…