If there is one positive thing about the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s the fact that it made many countries all over the world realize the importance of upgrading their tourism industries for the better. One of these is none other than New Zealand.
Destruction of the natural environment and extreme weather conditions as a result of climate change can easily ruin not just your vacation but also the planet as a whole. This is why it was encouraging to see more and more travel stakeholders, which include hotels, tour operators, and tourism boards, express their commitment to reducing carbon emissions by half by 2030, intending to reach “net zero” by 2050.
In particular, the Carbon Neutral Government Programme in New Zealand aims to lower government emissions by 2025 to net zero, while the ultimate vision of the Tourism Industry Aotearoa’s Sustainability Commitment is for every Kiwi tourism business to commit to sustainability in the same year.
If you’re currently planning to explore and discover the world but you don’t want to fill the atmosphere with more fossil fuels, New Zealand is now the hottest environment-friendly destination that deserves a visit.
Explore the Eco-Friendly City of Your Dreams
Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand, has always been acclaimed for its bustling coffee culture. Cuba Street is also perfect for a stroll, where you can browse the weekly Friday Night Markets.
But don’t let all these activities fool you, because it’s also a true paradise on earth for all birdwatchers out there. Zealandia, located north of the city, is a bird sanctuary covering more than 500 acres that serves as the home to a large number of unique native birds and reptiles that would have struggled to survive otherwise if they were near predators such as stoats.
If you’re a certified bird enthusiast, you might want to allot an entire day to go for a walk on the easy trails leading to the bird feeders and, at the same time, take in the beauty of the vistas that overlook the park and the tranquil streams flowing nearby. But the best thing here is that your visit also gives you a chance to support not just the sanctuary but also the rest of the restoration projects in the area.
If you’re not too lucky and rain happens to pour down during your stay in Wellington, Te Papa, the national museum of New Zealand, is a great indoor activity you shouldn’t miss. Entry to the museum is free, but if you decide to donate, you can be sure that your money will help support educational and cultural programs.
Get Up Close and Personal with Wildlife on Exotic Tours
The ecological tourism of New Zealand is also second to none. Eco-tourism showcases the incredible wildlife and natural beauty of the country while also making sure that part of the profits will go to help conserve the environment. It’s especially important since about 71% of the animals and plants on the island are endemic to the country, which means that you can never find or see them anywhere else on the planet no matter how hard you try.
The Dolphin Encounter in the South Island’s Kaikoura and Whale Watch are two perfect ocean-based examples of the country’s ecotourism. Whale Watch gives you an exciting opportunity to embark on a short ride out from the shore to see and watch the whales and get a refund for your money if you don’t even see one. Aside from whales, you also get the chance to witness seals, pods of dolphins, penguins, albatrosses, and other wildlife as they go about their lives in their natural habitat.
With the Dolphin Encounter, on the other hand, you will have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get into the water and swim side by side with the wild pods of dusky dolphins, which are among the many marine animals seen in the country.
Watching and swimming right beside these incredible marine mammals is an experience you will never forget. But most importantly, you also get to support the very environment where these creatures survive and thrive at the same time.
Whale Watch is fully committed to the use of renewable sources of energy as well as vessels and vehicles that are all energy-efficient. Proceeds also go to the effort of rebuilding the area’s native habitats.
Aside from the bird and marine wildlife, New Zealand also hosts several glowworm cave tours, sheep farm tours, and other scenic walks across the country. You can find their eco-tours on travel websites that give you a chance to support the environment no matter where your travel itinerary may be.
Indulge in Hut-Style Glamping
If you love to go backpacking and you have always dreamt of staying one to two nights in a national park, the hut system in New Zealand is the perfect substitute for traditional tent camping. You can indulge in luxurious backpacking huts such as Angelus Hut, which sits right beside the lake in the gorgeous region of Nelson Lakes, or the Heaphy Hut off the Heaphy track on the west coast.
Backcountry huts can easily accommodate eight to 32 people. The larger huts are also nicer, with most of them featuring lighting, heating, flush toilets, and cooking stations complete with sinks. However, remember that these often require advanced booking, especially during peak seasons or holidays. You can also look for lodges and homesteads that include private rooms, showers, and fully equipped kitchens.
If you prefer to enjoy light backpacking where you just need food, a sleeping bag, and a few cooking utensils, the country also has a lot of amazing spots where you can do just that. The Abel Tasman Coastal Track at the northern tip of South Island is a great example where you can take in the scenic countryside with no need to worry about burning fossil fuels.
New Zealand has long been known for being carbon-neutral and remarkably conscious of the environment and its welfare. As an advocate of eco-tourism, this is the best place to be if you want to travel and support the environment at the same time!