• Green travel, Waiheke style

Green travel. Sustainable travel. Eco-tourism.

Whatever you want to call it, the trend is growing. While most of us still love to travel, we can no longer ignore the impact our travelling has on the planet.

With relatively cheap airfares these days, several of the world’s most popular destinations are groaning under the weight of too many visitors. In the Netherlands, tourism promotion is being scaled back to protect the quality of life and in response to the Climate Crisis.

“The Dutch government’s ability to keep to its climate change pledges if the rate of growth in numbers continues is also in doubt. Should 42 million people visit in 2030, the target of reducing CO2 emissions by 49% in 2030 compared with 2017 would likely not be met, the tourist board has warned.”
The Guardian

Geography dictates that visitors to New Zealand must arrive by sea or air, but airplanes and cruise ships have enormous carbon emissions. So the challenge is to reduce the tourism impact once our visitors arrive, and to encourage Kiwis to travel within their own country rather than going overseas.

“It’s not just air miles that have a carbon footprint. A 2018 report by journal Nature Climate Change found that tourism accounts for about 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and that shopping and food are “significant” contributors. But while many are pledging to give up flying entirely, others are wanting to make their trips more sustainable — not just in terms of how they get there, but how they pick their destination in the first place and what they do on the ground.”

What you can do

As you’ll see from the tips below, a great place to minimise your travel impact is on an island – such as Waiheke!

1. Go and stay. Justin Francis, CEO of Responsible Travel, says that when he was growing up, people tended to take one longer holiday a year, of about two weeks, plus a domestic trip, and maybe one more.

“With the advent of low-cost aviation, many of us are taking multiple flights, and holidays are much shorter. If we went back to the style of travel we used to enjoy, we’d achieve the reduction in flights that we need.”

Perhaps you don’t want to cut back on the number of trips you take each year, so why not visit fewer places on each trip?

Less travelling means a lower carbon footprint, plus it lets you get a deeper understanding of people you meet and places you see. It’s also much less exhausting than trying to hit a lot of destinations in a short time.

Waiheke Island satellite imageIf it’s your first visit to Waiheke, we suggest staying at least three days. Visitors are often surprised by how big the island is (it covers 92 square kilometres, with a coastline of 133km) and how much there is to see. We have had people staying with us and do three of our guided walks in a row; all the walks are different so this gives a good variety of experiences.

If that sounds like too much exertion, you could schedule “lay days” in between your walks, to explore the other attractions of Waiheke, such as Stony Batter, the vineyards or a sailing excursion.

2. Travel out-of-season. You’ll put less stress on local resources such as transport and accommodation. A lack of crowds means less stress on you, too. Plus you’ll help sustain the local economy and enable tourism workers to be employed year-round. For New Zealand, that means choosing to travel outside the busy December-February summer season.

3. Build your holiday around low-impact activities. Walking, cycling and swimming get you closer to nature, and help you stay fit. (Or let you order dessert with less guilt!)

4. Choose public transport. Rather than automatically heading for the rental car agency, try travelling with the locals on a bus or train. You’ll reduce your stress and if you strike up a conversation you’ll probably gain some insider knowledge about the area – or maybe even make a friend.

For airport transfers, consider a bus or shuttle if available, rather than a taxi (unless you have enough people to fill it).

Qualmark Silver Certified5. Support sustainable businesses. Look for businesses that have earned the Qualmark Sustainable Tourism Award. It’s a rigorous system that lets you know which companies are taking care of their customers, staff, the community and the environment. (Yes, Terra & Tide has the award.)

6. Travel light. You’re on holiday, so leave some of the trappings of “normal” life behind. But carry a reusable water bottle. If in doubt about the tap water, ask a local.

7. Avoid takeways. Ever noticed how much styrofoam and plastic accompany most takeaway meals? Instead, relax and soak up the atmosphere at a cafe or restaurant where the plates and cutlery don’t get thrown out after you’ve eaten.

Caffeine addict? Bring, or pick up. a “keep-cup” so you can avoid disposable cups when you order coffee to go.

7. Take your regular green habits on holiday. You know, things like switching off lights and appliances when you’re not using them, taking advantage of solar heating or cooling breezes, conserving water (Waiheke Island is reliant on rainwater), recycling and composting.

Tree planting8. Eco-learning. Travel is a great opportunity to learn about the environment and get inspired about what you can do to help protect “the only planet we’ve got.” You might even choose to join the locals for some real hands-on experience.

Our guides are involved in tree planting on Waiheke and the Predator-Free Waiheke project, and will happily share their expertise with you.

12 December 2019

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    star rating  What an amazing experience exploring the beautiful Waiheke Island with Gabrielle, a passionate nature lover with in depth knowledge of the flora and fauna of the island. Gabrielle also... read more

    Anthony N
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    star rating  Perfect boat trip - We had the best tour. We started sailing and went to a beautiful island and hiked around and then had lunch and sailed back. It was just wonderful and we... read more

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    6 March 2024

    star rating  Sailing Waiheke with Blue Penguins - My husband and I had such a lovely time touring the islands around Waiheke for our honeymoon! Bruce and Gabrielle were such lovely hosts and we had an amazing time... read more

    11 March 2023

    star rating  Hiking to Wine! 🍷 - Wonderful adventure to explore the island. Spectacular scenery. Wineries were amazing. Thank you, Dell, for your knowledge, hospitality, and kindness! Highly recommend this experience.

    20 February 2024
  • star rating  Highly enjoyable introduction to cultural and natural highlights of the island. - Justine was super friendly and accomodating, and knowledgable about Maori culture and history as well as nature. She drove us to some interesting locations on the island, and after an... read more

    27 February 2024

    star rating  Seeing art works on Waiheke Island - It was an extraordinary tour. Gabrielle made me feel like she was showing me her own island and the artworks and artists on it. I have traveled to many... read more

    19 February 2024

    star rating  Nature and wine - We, a couple, had a nice walk with Cindy. She explained a lot of interesting facts about the plants, birds and the Māori culture. After the walk we got a... read more

    6 March 2024
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    15 March 2024

    star rating  A fun way to meet some nice people and enjoy the lovely island.
    So much beautiful and creative art to see!
    A great way to tour around some different areas... read more

    Jo S
    21 April 2024

    star rating  The perfect way to explore the Hauraki Gulf - We had a fabulous day out on board Pacific Star with skipper Bruce and walking guide Lucie. Can’t think of a better way to explore and learn about the history... read more

    6 March 2023
  • star rating  Really knowledgable local guide and beautiful walk. Local history, geography, flora, fauna and current regeneration projects. Well worth it.

    1 April 2023

    star rating  Excellent four and introduction to Waiheke Island. - Fantastic tour! Walking and hiking with coastal views, and on a trail through the forest. Then an absolutely delicious picnic lunch on the Mudbrick winery estate before a lovely... read more

    3 March 2023

    star rating  Loved our tour with Gabrielle - We really appreciated the knowlege of Gabrielle about the island, its history and the flora and fauna of the area. We learned so much about the positve steps NZ is... read more

    Karen B
    28 March 2023
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    11 March 2024

    star rating  Optimal tour for a meaningful overview of Waiheke Island and NZ in general - The Waiheke Island History and Heritage Tour was a fabulous way to start our vacation. Gabrielle and team are extremely knowledgable about all aspects of NZ and Waiheke Island... read more

    16 April 2024

    star rating  This was such a great tour and hike of the island!!! It was such a beautiful day and our guides were awesome!! They were super friendly and knowledgeable and made... read more

    3 March 2024
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    Rick S
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    star rating  Sailing - Fab journey, Bruce and Gabrielle great hosts
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    27 February 2023
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    15 March 2024

    star rating  Relaxed Day - Gabrielle"s wealth of knowledge of the flora and fauna of the island was amazing. Even though the weather meant plans had to change it was a most enjoyable day hiking... read more

    14 March 2023

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    25 February 2023
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    John M
    26 February 2023

    star rating  A great day out - I really enjoyed my day out. Lucie was a great guide, offering lots of information about the history of the island and the flora and fauna. The meet and greet... read more

    1 March 2023

    star rating  Perfect day away from the Hustle and Bustle - We really enjoyed the stunning views and bays of Waiheke isl. Tyler guided us during the walk and shared her great knowledge about the beautiful nature. Towards the end of... read more

    6 March 2023
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