Travel has become more than just a holiday for many people. Recent research conducted by booking.com shows that travellers are not only dreaming of their next adventure, but also the meaningful impact they want to have on the place they visit. Locally, visiting places around the country where the impact of the lack of international tourism has been most keenly felt means travellers can be assured their local tourist dollars are going to those who need it in these trying times.

While the landscape of travel has dramatically changed this year, we can all reinvest our international travel budget into the domestic tourism market. Below is a list of incredible travel experiences Kiwis can have in their own backyard for a meaningful experience while having a minimal impact on the environment.

Kaikōura

From their eco-friendly attitude, laid back vibe, gorgeous location where mountains collide with stunning seascape, Kaikōura has it all for Kiwis looking for incredible travel experiences. Hike the Kaikōura Ranges for glorious views of the coast or plan a boat trip out of Kaikōura. Whale Watch operates by the values of manakitanga (hospitality to visitors) and whakaute (reverence for the natural world) so visitors are ensured a memorable experience that shows the utmost respect for the surrounding environment.

Where to Stay

Kahutara PurePod is a luxurious glass eco-cabin set in a stunning location, a 20-minute drive away from Kaikōura, offering guests river, mountain and bushland views. This holiday home features sliding doors on all three glass sides, a glass floor and a glass ceiling, perfect for stargazing. Guests can relax on the deck and enjoy the isolated slice of the New Zealand landscape with views over the mountains, river and bushland surround.

Bay of Islands

Bay of Islands

In the North Island of New Zealand is the Bay of Islands, home to arguably the most important piece of New Zealand history, the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and celebrated for its beautiful beaches. It’s also home to the historical whaling port of Russell, whose waterfront promenade is lined with remnants from its days as the country’s first colonial capital.

Ecocruz offers overnight sailing cruises to discover the beautiful Bay of Islands in a way that adheres to their ecotourism values and minimising the impact on the environment. This three-day sailing adventure takes travellers off the beaten track to give a real taste of the marine environment and the beautiful landscapes of this unique coastal region.

Where to Stay

Hananui Lodge and Apartments
Hananui Lodge and Apartments

Travellers can explore the land while staying at Hananui Lodge and Apartments. Surrounded by gorgeous gardens and situated right on the waterfront of Russell, travellers will be able to understand why the Bay of Islands is such an iconic part of New Zealand.

Stewart Island/Rakiura

Stewart Island/Rakiura

Stewart Island is one of the best places in the world to experience Aurora Australis — the Southern Lights. Rakiura in Te Reo Maori means ‘the land of glowing skies’ so it should be surprising that New Zealand’s southernmost island received Dark Sky accreditation in 2019. While there, travellers can take in the Rakiura Track where they could be accompanied by the sounds of kiwi while wandering through untouched native forests.

Where to Stay

Anchorstone

Stay amongst native flora and fauna at Anchorstone, located on the beachfront at Half Moon Bay. Surrounded by native bush, the lodge borders Rakiura National Park making it the perfect place to recharge after a say’s exploring. From your verandah, take in views of giant miro and rimu trees, or even wild deer or a seal if you’re lucky!

Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman

Known for crystal clear waters, never-ending coastlines, adventurous nature walks and tropical features, Abel Tasman is the perfect natural playground for Kiwi travellers. With breathtaking natural beauty and abundant wildlife at every turn, visitors can rest assured that their visit to the Abel Tasman leaves minimal impact on the environment but provides meaningful experiences.

Where to Stay

Awaroa Lodge
Awaroa Lodge

Nothing says ‘nature friendly’ like a beautiful resort in the middle of a national park. The Awaroa Lodge are able to keep its environmental footprint low as they cater to passing hikers and visitors, some of which stay long-term. This accommodation in the South Island is surrounded by nature, coastal views and waterfalls, where guests have close-range access to the Abel Tasman track.

Set within Abel Tasman National Park and accessible only by water taxi or helicopter, Awaroa Lodge offers modern accommodation surrounded by native gardens and beach. Travellers are able to explore the coastal walking tracks or go kayaking and fishing nearby.

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo
Lake Tekapo

Travellers will be blown away by all that Lake Tekapo has to offer. From the magical light of the Mackenzie Country across golden grasslands, snow-capped peaks, travellers can trek through the landscape to take it all in. The best way to do this is to hike through the Southern Alps, climbing 2070m high peaks, and enjoy the star-studded night sky with no light pollution to interrupt the views. Not to forget the lake itself, which is renowned for its glowing turquoise water.

Where to Stay

Three Rivers Lodge
Three Rivers Lodge

Three Rivers Lodge is located off the southern banks of Lake Tekapo, in the shadow of New Zealand’s picturesque Southern Alps. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Guests are able to bask to their surroundings at this idyllic lodge, nestled right on the riverfront.

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