Sustainable tourism: New Zealand's nine best regenerative trips and tour operators

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Sustainable tourism: New Zealand's nine best regenerative trips and tour operators

It’s been a conflicting journey to this point.

the latest tech news, global tech news daily, tech news today, startups, usa tech, asia tech, china tech, eu tech, global tech, in-depth electronics reviews, 24h tech news, 24h tech news, top mobile apps, tech news daily, gaming hardware, big tech news, useful technology tips, expert interviews, reporting on the business of technology, venture capital funding, programing language

We’re no longer the naive travellers, in bum-bag and jandals, staring agog at the world.

We know we’re harming the places we love – with every flight, drive and step we take to get there. The global “War on Tourism” has seen overcrowded waterways in Venice and forbidden beaches in Thailand.

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It’s even washed up on New Zealand’s shores with the occasional rāhui placed on bits of New Zealand’s coastline and forests, after seeing negative effects from increased visitor numbers.

Being a conscientious, conservation-minded tourist can sometimes feel like treading on eggshells.

Sustainable tourism: New Zealand's nine best regenerative trips and tour operators

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Waiheke Dive and Snorkel run regular clean up dives in the Hauraki Gulf. Photo / Supplied, Adam Whatton

But across the country there’s a “regenerative revolution” which is beginning to change this.

In the Hauraki Gulf, Adam Whatton, co-owner and director of Waiheke Dive and Snorkel, is one of the new breed of New Zealand tour operators looking to repair people’s trust in travel and mend some of the problems affecting the places they visit.

“People know what we do for the marine environment, so maybe we get a bit more of a pass for the tourism activities,” he says.

In just over four years, the relatively new dive shop has managed to get deep in the fabric of the island. An impressive job considering the tight Waiheke community.

Recently removing a quarter ton of waste from under Matiatia Wharf, they see the benefit of having the dive shop on the island. As do their customers, who know that their PADI course is funding such projects. Or, that they can take part in clean up dives, crayfish surveys or kelp gardening projects.

Sustainable tourism: New Zealand's nine best regenerative trips and tour operators

Waiheke Dive and Snorkel run regular clean up dives in the Hauraki Gulf. Photo / Supplied, Adam Whatton

More than just “do no harm”, Whatton wants to see the area improve with every dive.
From the beginning in 2019 the dive shop has been part of the Waiheke Marine Project, a collaborative between boaties, tourism operators and the Mana Whenua, Ngāti Paoa, to help improve the ecology of Tīkapa Moana (Hauraki Gulf).

Waiheke Dive and Snorkel is just one of the regenerative Kiwi tour companies helping you give back by getting outside. Taking a holiday has never been so good.

Sustainable tourism: New Zealand's nine best regenerative trips and tour operators

Motu Kaikoura is an award-winning lodge for conservation volunteers in Great Barrier / Aotea. Photo / Supplied

Auckland

Motu Kaikōura

Off the shore of Aotea Great barrier Island, Motu Kaikōura / Selwyn Island is an open sanctuary for native species. Run by Clint and Jacinda Stannard, the simple bach-style lodge has won design awards for its unspoilt views of Fitzroy Harbour.

With outdoor conservation and maintenance projects for volunteers year round, it is open to visitors who want to give back to the island.

“It’s practical work, mostly outdoors, that gives you the opportunity to meet new people, to learn new skills and to contribute to conservation in New Zealand,” the Stannards say.

To volunteer for trapping and trail projects visit motukaikoura.org.nz

Mackenzie region

MenardsNZ Ecosanctuary Accommodation

Tread softly, sleep deeply at this lodge on the edge of the Dark Sky reserve.

Visitors to MenardsNZ lodge can have a clear conscience that their stay is helping support an inland, predator-free island in the Ben Ohau range.

The 10-acre ecosanctuary has been rewilded with funding from Environment Canterbury, protecting the area with pest control fencing.

While you won’t be expected to muck in and do any conservation work yourself, proceeds go towards maintaining the private reserve of native New Zealand flora and fauna.

Book at menardsnz.com

Sustainable tourism: New Zealand's nine best regenerative trips and tour operators

The Milford Wanderer in Dusky Sound. Photo / Supplied, RealNZ

Southland

Dusky Sound Conservation Expeditions

With accommodation aboard the 32-bunk Milford Wanderer, this conservation expedition has a lot more comfortable digs than you’d expect for a work party.

The Conservation Cruise is a Department of Conservation project with RealNZ that provides more than just a koha towards the Dusky Sound Preservation programme.

Guests on the 5-day trip to Tamatea / Dusky Sound experience a combination of sightseeing and repair work in a place that is arguably the birthplace of New Zealand conservation.

They will be involved with repairing historic sites and tracks first established in 1894 by Richard Henry, the grandfather of Kiwi conservation and defender of the Kākāpō.

After a virtuous day restoring access to this remote corner of New Zealand, guests will be treated to catered meals, and warm showers.

From $3800pp realnz.com

Sustainable tourism: New Zealand's nine best regenerative trips and tour operators

Wairaurahiri Jet helps visitors leave Fiordland a little wilder than they found it. Photo / Supplied, Great South

Wairaurahiri Jet

The fastest way into the remote corners of Fiordland National Park, the Wairaurahiri Jet is popular with hunters, trampers and those that love this part of the world.

The Jet Boat operator also runs conservation tours to help visitors leave the wilderness a little wilder and better off, than they found it.

The Trip & Trap tour is a day trip from Lake Hauroko with lunch at the Waitutu Lodge. It offers guests the chance to learn a bit more about the region’s native birds and sponsor a predator trap. Wairaurahiri keeps a “Good Guys List” for trap patrons.

Publishing a tally of catches for each trap online, the list is a way to keep an eye on your contribution to this corner of Southland.

Sustainable tourism: New Zealand's nine best regenerative trips and tour operators

True to their name, Kaitiaki Adventures have helped re-establish a lush ecosystem, best seen from white water raft. Kaitiaki Adventures. Photo / Miles Holden

Rotorua

Kaitiaki Adventures

The Māori-owned and operated Kaitiaki Adventures have been leading trips to Tarawera and the surrounding whenua since 1999. As sole concession holders for taking manuhiri to the summit of the volcanic Mount Tarawera, they’ve helped shape the landscape they raft, ride and tramp through.

This has included helping found the Ōkere Falls & Mt Tarawera Pest Free Projects. They have helped eradicate wild pine from the area and helping to re-establish a lush ecosystem, best seen from white water raft.

Sustainable tourism: New Zealand's nine best regenerative trips and tour operators

Project Tongariro organises events and workshops in New Zealand's historic national park. Photo / Ring of Fire, Supplied

Taupō and Ruapehu

Project Tongariro is an organisation allowing visitors to give back to New Zealand’s oldest national park. From Taupō to Ruapehu, the initiative helps connect visitors with operators and groups running conservation workshops.

The Mahi Aroha summer programme is full of volunteering programmes and ‘works of passion’. There are more than 20 events for 2022 focused on connecting New Zealanders with opportunities to explore and give back to the central plateau. Running until the end of the month, experiences are open to children as young as six and large groups. Why not sign up for a blue duck conservation day, or volunteer for a pass on the Sky Waka and a volcano clean up on January 28?

Project Tongariro also runs events throughout the year including the Tussock Traverse fun run and the also fun – but very long – Ring of Fire ultra marathon, with Koha going towards trail repairs and conservation work throughout the park.

Sustainable tourism: New Zealand's nine best regenerative trips and tour operators

Pohatu Penguins run rewilding projects at New Zealand's biggest blue penguin colony, on the Banks Peninsula. Photo / Getty Images

Nelson Tasman

Brook Sanctuary

The Brook Waimārama Sanctuary is the largest fenced sanctuary in the South Island. Hidden on the edge of Nelson city, the inland island is home to 2800 native species that are either threatened or endangered in the wild.

Today, Brook Sanctuary funds its work by charging admission and with creative projects such as wildlife photography courses or asking visitors to sponsor a fencepost, to help keep predators out.

Check traffic light settings and Ministry of Health advice before travel at covid19.govt.nz

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