We want you to experience some of the best tours without feeling
guilty, so we’ve picked out the best eco-friendly adventures in NZ
If climate scientists, elected members
of the Greens party and anyone who
ever owned a hacky sack during
University are to be believed, we
humans are all bastards! Our insatiable
lust for energy, food and fuel is
cooking the planet, destroying the
ozone and extinguishing all manner of
animal species left, right and centre.
These are indisputable facts, but
some people refuse to believe them.
These nay-sayers are the sorts of
people who would rather listen to that
Keeping these guys
happy and healthy
googley-eyed, beak nosed, cretinous
twat Lord Monckton crap on about
“natural heating cycles” then admit
that they are a part of the problem,
not the solution.
These people are not many, but they
walk among us. Their folly might not
be obvious to them now, but one day it
will be. But hopefully not to our costs.
But just as surely as our every day
habits are negatively affecting the
environment, so too is the way in
which we holiday and travel. That’s
where the eco-adventure tour has
started to come in.
We’ve made a
selection eco-friendly adventures that
fully deliver on all the things you’d
expect of a holiday without damaging
the beautiful, and at times, fragile
ecosystems that they rely on for their
businesses. Ecosystems that you and I
so often take advantage of.
Whether you’re looking for thrills
and adventure or rest and relaxation
we have a little bit of everything, and
you can rest easy – they’re all green!
WAIMANGU VOLCANIC VALLEY
Wandering through a valley of hot springs and bubbling mud
baths is something reminiscent of ‘middle earth’, and that’s
what you will find at this spectacular geothermal destination. Only 20 minutes south of New Zealand’s thermal centre,
Rotorua, visitors can walk through one of the world’s
youngest eco-systems to marvel craters, hot lakes, unusual
thermal plants and wildlife.
Explore the magnificent valley with a self-guided walk or
join one of the guided eco tours.
Waimangu Volcanic Valley was created as a direct result
of the Tarawera volcanic eruption in 1886, and is the only
geo-thermal system in the world that can be pinpointed to an
exact time and event.
This remarkable ‘must-see’ attraction has won multiple
eco-tourism awards for conservation and sustainability. AR
Cost: $34.50. Where: 20 mins south of Rotorua
ELM WILDLIFE TOURS
oin the enthusiastic and expert guides on the wildlife
experience of a lifetime. This multi award winning tour
offers absolutely unrivalled sustainable nature and wildlife
experiences, visiting some of the most spectacular wildlife
spots in New Zealand.
The family owned and operated business, ranked #1
on Trip Advisor, pride themself on their conversation and
sustainable nature and wildlife experiences.
Visitors can choose from several tours of Otago Peninsula
and the southeast Coast, with the promise of close encounters
with nature in areas inaccessible to others.
Tours are timed to coincide with the daily peak of animal
activity; blue penguins, New Zealand fur seals, sea lions and
rare yellow-eyed penguins are just a few.
Elm Wildlife Tours are specifically planned to combine
tourism and conservation without creating negative
environmental impact. AR
Cost: $99. Where: Dunedin
GREEN GLOW ECO-ADVENTURES
A kilometre long cave stretch with seven entrances awaits
you on the west side of Waitomo caves. There is something
for people of all experience levels at Green Glow, including
caving, abseiling, rock climbing and photography.
Create your own unique tour consisting of your guide and
whoever you bring with you! The maximum size is six people,
and you can set your own pace.
One of the many highlights of exploring the Waitomo
caves is getting to stop and check out the glowworms when
you turn out your light! This is a “dry” adventure, meaning
you wear comfortable clothes and generally stay out of the
water, as opposed to Black Water Rafting when you wear a
wetsuit and sit in a tube up to your waist in cold water! RM
Cost: from $190. Where: Waitomo
ROTURUA CANOPY TOURS
You will give Tarzan a run for his money zipping through this
magical, untouched New Zealand forest. Roturua Canopy Tours
is the only native forest zip-line canopy tour in New Zealand.
The guided three-hour adventure will see you travelling a
1.2 kilometre network of zip-lines, swing-bridges and treetop platforms, 40 metres above the forest floor.
The thrill of flying through breathtaking, peaceful,
forested valleys, is unlike any other. The magnificent forest is
also home to giant ancient trees and unique bird species.
Roturua Canopy Tours is built on a reserve owned by the
New Zealand Department of Conservation. Their inspirational
conservation project aims to return the forest to a complete prehuman
state for all New Zealanders and international visitors
to enjoy. Since they started their conservation project and rat
trapping in August 2012, a rare bird, the North Island Robin, has
returned and visitors to the tour have been able to hear it. AR
Cost: $129. Where: Rotorua
For the ultimate extreme adventure, which won’t have a
negative impact on the environment, you can’t go past ecorafting.
These white water rafting adventure specialists offer
unique experiences into the wilderness of New Zealand.
The passionate team have chosen the West Coast for its wild
beauty and number and quality of rivers that are available.
Visitors can try everything from peaceful, gentle scenic
floats, to the most full-on class-five white water rafting.
There are full and half day tours available, all of which
cover comprehensive water and rafting safety training.
Eco-rafting follow strict environmental guidelines and
work closely with the Department of Conversation to ensure
the rivers are kept in pristine condition. They are proud to
say, “we can drink the water from every river that we raft and
we want it to stay that way”. AR Cost: $90. Where: West Coast NZ
WILSON’S ABEL TASMAN- SEA KAYAKING
Want to explore the beauty of a protected marine reserve?
Wilson’s Abel Tasman Sea Kayaking tours can help. These guys
offer a range of packages, from three hours to five days.
You have the freedom to create custom itineraries, add
walking tours and overnight stays by the water. The Wilson
family are one of few to hold a Tonga Island Marine Mammal
Watching Permit, so get ready to see some local animals!
The team at Wilson’s are also so committed to preservation
of the environment that they were the first to be awarded
the Qualmark Enviro Gold. To receive this they had to
ensure the company demonstrated effectiveness in energy
efficiency, waste management and water conservation, also
the inclusion of social and environmental impacts on local
Cost: from $90. Where: Abel Tasman National Park
With 20 years experience, Nomad Safaris know exactly how
to look after you. There are endless small group, tailored
tour options to choose from. These include the exploration of
historic gold mining areas and even a visit to filming locations
from The Lord of the Rings movies!
Take an invigorating 4WD adventure to Skippers Canyon, or
perhaps a quad bike trail to Queenstown Hill, where you will
get to experience 360 degree views. There are also options that
include jet boat riding, and wilderness guided walks. For those
of you who want even more of a personalised memory, there
are private bookings available too.
The team are Green Globe certified and do their bit by
using natural cleaning materials and taking initiative to
ensure that only clean water and natural products are put
down the drains through waste water diversion. RM
Cost: varies depending on tour. Where: 20 mins south of Rotorua
FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER GUIDES
The Franz Josef Glacier Guides are caring, informative and very
committed to keeping the region you explore preserved. Their
constant recycling of old equipment, visitor’s rubbish, compost
and use of biodegradable cleaning products have gotten them
a Silver Enviro Award Rating through Qualmark NZ.
Ever seen Blue Ice? A major highlight of these glacier trips
is the chance to witness this rarity. Try an Ice Explorer tour,
which after a small heli-hop, takes you through a maze of ice
leading to the incredible Hot Glacier Pools.
There are also options for a glacier heli-hike, valley walk or
the adrenalin filled heli-ice climb! To top it off, they throw in
a goody bag and DVD on some tours, so you can cherish the
memories for years to come.
Full tuition and safety equipment is provided, so you can
relax as you take in this natural wonder. RM
Cost: $69 Where: Franz Josef, 5 hours from Queenstown
HIKING NEW ZEALAND ECO TOURS
Hiking New Zealand are a small team of active hikers and
bikers offering adventures up to 27 days long! The best part?
They operate throughout the whole of New Zealand.
From river canoes to skiing, prepare to see volcanoes, rivers,
rainforests, canyons and a huge variety of flora and fauna.
These eco-tours are approved by the Department of
Conservation, proving they have passed all necessary
environmental and safety standards that are set to keep
the area preserved. The concession fees also go towards the
management of natural and historic resources.
Hiking NZ also run a great program called ‘Trees For
Trampers’ where they will plant a tree on your behalf so
everyone can do their bit for the environment, regardless of
how busy you are! This encourages bird life and new plants
to grow so future generations can see what you do. RM
Cost: Prices vary. Where: All around NZ