Heading out on the right foot

May 9th, 2022

Tips on how to plan sustainable travel from some of our favourite operators.

Travelling and exploring new places needn’t be hard on the environment, in fact with your travel choices you have the chance to support sustainable efforts around Aotearoa New Zealand.

Do your rangahau (research).

Before you book, find out whether the accommodation, activity or tour provider is like-minded in their efforts to be sustainable. Most will detail any initiatives on their website, and many of our Travalyst partners have begun showing sustainability practices for accommodations, to help enable you to make a better choice.  

At Kaitiaki Adventure in Rotorua, Jessamine Bradley recommends that travellers actively seek mindful travel experiences and get to know where their contribution to those businesses ultimately ends up. Their rafting, sledging and hiking operations support a free rangatahi (youth) training programme that enables local people to learn and get involved in the sustainable tourism sector.

Get kūtoro (involved).

Why not make it a holiday activity to actually take part in environmental protection? If sometimes your working-life feels a little unrewarding, a few hours or days devoted to something with a very real sense of purpose can be great for the soul.

At Wanderlust Backpackers in Tauranga, host Sarah Meadows organises ‘clean team’ events where guests have the opportunity to take part in coastal and park restoration.

Think ā-rohe (local).

Reduce the carbon footprint of your consumption by enjoying local and seasonal fare. It won’t have been brought in on ships or trucks, and it’ll give you the genuine flavour of the area. Local businesses also frequently represent the livelihoods of people who are the strongest advocates for their area, so take the opportunity to support the families and individuals who have the long-term interest of the region at heart.

Waiheke Dive & Snorkel were founded on a core value of community. They work with mana whenua and mana moana, alongside the wider island community to create educational opportunities and enable conservation and regeneration initiatives. These include things like clean-up dives, kelp reforesting and kōura (or crayfish) surveys.

Pohewa (imagine) your trip.

Think about where you are going and what you will be doing and pack accordingly. Ideally you want to go light and lean. Camping set-ups can easily get excessive, but do you really need to weigh yourself down and burn through power with a whole lot of gadgets? Similarly, if you don’t pack the right basics when staying in accommodation, you might find yourself always ducking to the shops for essentials or meals.

At the Night Sky Cottage in Ohakune, Elbeth Bloem and Carel Sietses encourage travellers to be mindful of the impact on the environment that their consumables have. Over-packaged products and single use items like bottled water are easy things to do without when most places around the country have beautiful drinking water.

Stay pōaha (open).

Finally, be ready to embrace the local culture and community wherever you go. Sustainability is not something we can achieve as individuals, but by working together in ways that unite us.

At Sudima Hotels in Christchurch, Kanika Jhunjhnuwala loves it when his guests make a real connection with the local area. “When you explore somewhere new, it is important to be open. Open to new experiences, open to what is on offer and open to making ethical decisions on what experiences you choose that reduce your environmental footprint.”

Imagery: Alex Viau