Today’s guest post is a collaboration with New Zealand native Cloe Matheson who joins us to share some of the eco travel experiences she proudly recommends in her home country. She can normally be found over at Cloe Writes.
There’s no shortage of nature-based activity in Aotearoa (the Māori name for New Zealand). Having attracted visitors for years on account of its natural beauty, the country’s tourism industry actively cultivates its environmentally-friendly reputation by offering a variety of eco-travel activities. Here are 6 of the very best eco-travel experiences that you should put on your NZ bucket list.
One of the most rewarding things about travelling beyond your own homeland is discovering the earth’s natural wonders. Plus, there are physical and mental health benefits to surrounding yourself with greenery which can help sustain your body and mind while you’re far from home.
Relaxing Eco-Friendly Experiences
Check out Rotorua’s Mud Pools
No town shows off New Zealand’s unique geothermal power more than Rotorua, Aotearoa’s leading sulphuric site. Just outside of Rotorua proper is found Wai-O-Tapu Reserve. Wai-O-Tapu is a real hotspot for geothermal activity, hence why New Zealand’s Conservation department keeps a careful eye on the zone.
A short walk from the Reserve’s carpark, you’ll reach the aptly-named “geyser arena” where you can follow the 3-kilometre trail at your own pace. Make sure you bring along the keen scientists in your family and have your cameras in tow – Wai-O-Tapu’s mud-pools, springs and geysers demand notice.
Book in For a Jet Boat Ride in Southland
Few countries compete with NZ when it comes to jet boating. Lessen some of the environmentally damaging impact of this experience by opting for an eco-accredited operator like Wairaurahiri Jet in Southland. While obviously no jet boats are the ideal for the wildlife population, Wairaurahiri Jet is an option which offsets their activities by supplementing their tourist operation with a wide-scale conservation project. You’ll appreciate the effects of this project for yourself while you’re cruising along the south coast.
If you’ve been dying to ride one of the famous Queenstown- or Taupo-based jetboats but are unwilling to compromise your green ethos to enjoy this fun experience, pop on over to the Fiordland region in Southland to try out Wairaurahiri Jet. Whether you’re travelling solo or with kids, you’ll have a ball.
Check Out the Fruits of Nelson
Nothing beats a crisp glass of Marlborough wine with its gooseberry tang notes. Make your wine-tasting experience more environmentally friendly by choosing a tour provider which declares sustainability as its top priority. Wine, Art and Wilderness is a Qualmark-accredited tour provider that will take you around the best boutique wineries in Nelson and Marlborough.
If you’re not so keen on wine, you can also choose to book one of the wilderness tours or art tours offered by WA&W – excellent, eco-friendly activities to book if you’re in need of an adults’ escape! Wine, Art and Wilderness will even organise to pick you up from your accommodation if you’re near their HQ in Nelson.
Adventure Eco-Friendly Experiences
Paddle Your Way Around the Bay of Islands
With its island-studded waters and tropical climate, the Bay of Islands is a favourite holiday spot for locals and tourists alike. See as much of this stunning micro-region as you can by hiring a kayak and paddling your way around the Bay’s many inlet beaches and caves. Top destinations along the way include the Treaty of Waitangi grounds, Tapeka Point, and Urupukapuka Island (where you can camp out for the night).
Start at one of the Bay of Island’s cute little towns – Paihia, Russell, or Kerikeri – and see if you can leave the car at the hotel while you walk to rent out a kayak from one of the many outfits nearby.
Hike in one of NZ’s Many National Parks
New Zealand has more than its fair share of stunning national parks. From the rugged Aoraki Mount Cook National Park in Canterbury (where you can hike to the see the remarkable Tasman Glacier) to the Tongariro National Park in the central North Island (don’t miss this if you’re a volcano lover!), your hiking desires won’t be disappointed. And don’t forget the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve on the South Island.
Trails vary vastly in difficulty and length, from 40+ kilometre treks to day-long hikes which are suitable for the whole family. If you’re planning to stay overnight, book one of the DOC (Department of Conservation) huts which are dotted along the tracks.
All of New Zealand’s regional parks have extensive parking lots at the start of the track, but you may want to consider getting a shuttle from your accommodation if you’re planning to leave your car overnight.
Skyline in Queenstown
Another Enviro-Gold certified operator, Skyline Queenstown, is a must-do for any adrenaline junkies out there. Your kids, especially, will adore a day – or three – enjoying the adventures offered in this complex.
You’ll need to park your car in Queenstown before taking the gondola or hiking up to the Skyline Complex. Once you’re there, race down the hill on the thrilling luge, hire a mountain bike and take advantage of Queenstown’s unbeatable trails, dine at Stratosfare Restaurant while overlooking the whole town, or search the famously-clear Southern skies for stars.
From leisurely activities to high-impact adventures, New Zealand’s tourism industry is doing its part to make global tourism sustainable. With schemes like the Qualmark Enviro Award rewarding tourist businesses for their conservation efforts, New Zealand’s eco-travel scene is only set to become more impressive as the years progress. Bring it on!