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Traveling green: Exploring New Zealand with sustainability in mind


“Really … again?” they laughed. My new group of friends (from England, Sweden, Switzerland and beyond) had caught on: I’m quite fond of taking photographs of trees.

Let me back up for a moment. A few months ago when I decided to travel across Australia and New Zealand, I made a commitment to myself that I’d travel as sustainably as possible. I realize travel, especially air travel, has a big impact on the environment, so I wanted to do everything else I could to respect the landscapes I’d be traversing.


Photo courtesy of Jennifer Foden Wilson

Yes, I am a tree hugger (I may or may not have one tattooed on my arm), but even if you’re not a die-hard like me, with just a little effort and a little thought, it can be easy to make sustainable choices while traveling — in New Zealand and beyond.

The obvious starting point for most travel decisions is accommodations, tour operators and tourism provider — choose ones that are environmentally friendly and locally run. I decided to explore New Zealand with Flying Kiwi, a local adventure tour company that is actively committed to protecting the environment. Tours can last from just a few days up to a month.


Photo courtesy of Jennifer Foden Wilson

Although their main form of transportation is a bus, their philosophy of exploring the country through camping, group cooking, cycling and hiking helps reduce environmental impact up to 60 per cent when compared to other bus tour companies and car rentals. Perfect for the outdoorsy type and the keen environmentalist.

Flying Kiwi not only provides plenty of low-carbon activities — trekking, biking, kayaking and camping — the company is also committed to developing relationships with environmentally friendly activity providers all over the country. From sailing in the Bay of Islands to kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park, I felt confident that my dollars were supporting local economic development and having minimal impact on the environment.


Photo courtesy of Jennifer Foden Wilson

The added bonus? In making the choice to camp (as opposed to staying in a hotel), travel with a group (as opposed to renting my own car) and hike and cycle, I didn’t just have a sustainable impact on the landscape of photo-worthy trees, I had a sustainable impact on my wallet.

Jennifer Foden Wilson is a Toronto-based freelance writer and magazine editor who has written for Canadian Living, Flare, Montreal Gazette, DreamScapes and more. Follow her on Twitter @jdfowil or check out her website at www.jdfodenwilson.wordpress.com.

Date Added: April 14, 2015 | Comments (0)

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