As we’re becoming increasingly aware of our impact on the environment, we’re now looking to live our lives more sustainably, with one major focus being on changing the way we travel.
And if you’re headed to New Zealand, you’ll be pleased to know that the country is filled with stays that, though are not only eco-conscious but also don’t skimp on style. Ahead are 10 of our favourites among them. So you can rest your head in comfort, knowing you’re doing the best you’re doing right (well, better) by the planet.
An eco-hotel and wellness retreat on 3-hectares of Queenstown hillside, Sherwood has the wellbeing of community and environment at the core of everything it does.
The hotel was refurbished with the lowest impact materials builders could find — carpet tiles are made from recycled fishing nets, furniture is made from recycled materials and curtains are crafted from upcycled woollen army blankets. An on-site restaurant serves farm-to-plate, seasonal cuisine. Guests and the wider community can take part in yoga classes, workshops or listen to live music onsite.
Sleep under the stars in off-grid accommodation on a vast sheep and beef farm among the Ben Ōhau mountain range near Twizel. The stay features a glass-roofed bedroom, as well as an earth-roofed kitchenette and bathroom. Soak in pure spring-fed water in the cabin’s outdoor heated bathtub while gazing at beautiful views of native scrub and mountains. In the morning, feast on a gourmet continental breakfast you can prepare in a small kitchenette. An optional evening dinner platter with local produce is available on request.
Located on a spur in a paddock with kanuka trees and nearby gullies, the all-glass PurePod looks straight at Mt Fyffe, snow-covered for much of the year, and the mighty Manakau mountain rising to over 2600 metres, the largest peak in the Seaward Kaikōura range.
Pre-arrange a dinner of local cheeses, pâté, relishes and crackers with seasonal fruit, as well as a chef’s selection of lamb, beer or venison, a salad, potatoes and dessert. Breakfast is organic muesli with yoghurt, a berry compote and croissants with butter and jam. Vegetarian and gluten-free options are available.
The winner of both Qualmark’s coveted Gold Sustainable Tourism Business Award and the 100% Pure New Zealand Experience 2021 Award for its zero-waste journey and commitment to sustainability, Nightsky Cottage immerses guests in zero-waste living without compromising on luxury.
There is no single-use plastic on the property’s pristine nature sanctuary, and most items for use are locally sourced – even the soaps and bath bombs are handmade. At night, stargaze from the lounge through skylights or listen out for the rustling of native kiwi and deer passing by outside the cottage.
Having made a commitment to environmental sustainability and with an aim to keep its environmental impact to an absolute minimum, Lakestone Lodge is off-grid and self-sufficient for power (solar PV), water (rain and bore) and sewage treatment.
Over 1,000 native trees, grasses and shrubs were planted on its surrounding grounds, which you can admire from your room or bathroom. The lodge was recently awarded the first certificate for being a Dark Sky Friendly Enterprise by the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve.
Tuck into some of New Zealand’s finest food and wine, jump on a guided fishing tour at nearby Nelson Lakes National Park or simply relax in wonderful surrounds at Owen River Lodge, a multi-award-winning fishing accommodation.
Enjoy a massage in the lodge’s therapy room, sink into its jacuzzi or explore the lodge’s gardens, which include veggie patches that grow much of the lodge’s produce under organic principles. Other activity options here include a half-day white-water rafting trip down the mighty Buller River or a mountain bike ride up the valley.
Climate-positive accommodation crafted from sustainably-harvested and locally-grown timber, surrounded by native bush and birds, is what to expect from Abel Tasman Ocean View Chalets.
The chalets have solar panels and are powered from Ecotricity, a carbon zero-certified provider that only supplies renewable power. Toiletries are all refillable and from a carbon zero-certified provider; all coffee cups and water bottles are reusable; and all served produce is organic and fair trade.
Incorporating environmental features and sustainable practices was crucial to Hidden Lake Hotel’s design. Here, energy efficiency has been approached with a long-term mindset with no single paper or plastic use. Check-ins are electronic and ‘Do not disturb’ messaging has been replaced by digital notifications.
The hotel also supports other local sustainable businesses including Waikato Farmers Market, Alexander Organics and Zealong Tea Estate. Regular environmental audits are conducted to ensure the hotel is meeting its environmental strategies and targets.
Set in forest wilderness, nestled between Lake Pūkaki and the majestic Ben Ōhau ranges, Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat offers three luxury villas with facilities including an events venue, stargazing observatory, wine cellar, tennis court and 5kms of walking tracks.
Losing acres of wilding pines in the recent devastating Pūkaki fires, the retreat has now devoted itself to an active native replanting scheme. Guests are given the opportunity to participate in the retreat’s renewal programme by planting a tree. The retreat’s sustainability practices include composting, avoiding non-recyclables, growing its own produce and removing wilding pines for biodiversity.
An innovative eco-lodge in the heart of Glenorchy, Camp Glenorchy is New Zealand’s only Positive Energy visitor accommodation, offering a range of room types, as well as holiday packages and tours. The property’s buildings were designed with non-toxic construction materials and creative touches from New Zealand artists and craftspeople, and adorned by native plantings.