YHA New Zealand has reconfirmed its carboNZeroCertTM certification by celebrating a 21 percent reduction in carbon emissions since 2016.
This celebration comes off the back of its nomination for the Environmental category of the New Zealand Tourism Awards. Both achievements represent a challenge from YHA to the rest of the tourism industry. “Our approach has always been to build in sustainability from the ground up,” General Manager for Marketing and Sales Brian Westwood says.
“If we can do it in an extremely price-sensitive, low-margin operating environment, we really believe everyone should be able to do it.”
The not-for-profit was the world’s first accommodation network to become carboNZeroCertTM certified and, with 13 properties, remains the largest. To remain certified, YHA’s managed hostels and National Office must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent per year. The organisation has beaten this target for the third straight year, slashing greenhouse gas emissions by almost 8 percent from 2018 to 2019.
As well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, YHA New Zealand offsets its remaining carbon emissions via an accredited carbon offset programme supporting the regrowth of natural forest on the Banks Peninsula.
YHA continues to invest in solar and geothermal energy. Replacing lights with LEDs, new solar installations, double-glazing and insulation upgrades all help shrink hostels’ carbon footprint. The new YHA Lake Tekapo, a state-of-the-art 128-bed development which opened in April 2019, is fitted with photovoltaic panels and a solar hot water heating system.
Emma Chisholm is continuing a strong tradition as the third generation of her family to forge a career in the Southern Lakes tourism industry – and she inherited her parents’ knack for thinking outside the square.
Having bought tour company Alpine Adventures last year, Emma and fiancé Lee Saunders recently launched Alpine Wine Tours. It’s a natural progression for Emma, who admits that tourism and hospitality are in her blood. After arriving in Queenstown in 1966, her grandmother Lorna became Skyline Gondola’s café manager and in the 1970s her father Adrian was hotel manager of Rydges Lakeland Resort Queenstown. In the 1980s Emma’s parents set up a quirky local business called Henry’s Backcountry Flying Pub Crawl, using small planes to transport customers to country pubs in the middle of nowhere.
Tourism and hospitality are in her blood
That entrepreneurial flair rubbed off on Emma, who has introduced a few points of difference to separate their business from the competition. As a result Alpine Wine Tours offers group tours exclusively for adults (children are welcome on private or custom tours). It also offers brewery and distillery tours for those interested in how beer and spirits are made.
There’s no doubt the Central Otago wine tourism industry is flourishing, with research by Tourism New Zealand and winegrowers revealing that around 25 percent of international tourists seek out a wine experience. Emma and Lee are looking forward to seizing the opportunity to make their mark. “Wine tourism has huge growth potential, especially when teamed with Queenstown’s future growth,” Emma says. “It’s definitely exciting times ahead.”
Autumn is often rated as the most picturesque time of year in the Southern Lakes region, and Queenstown Trails Trust Chief Executive Mark Williams says it’s the perfect season to explore the area by bike or on foot.
With the trees now displaying the full spectrum of golden-bronze to rusty-red hues, mild temperatures and plenty of daylight hours, Mark believes the pre-winter conditions and stunning scenery are ideal for both cyclists and walkers. He’s on his bike most weekends in the 120-kilometre network of trails and tracks that make up the Queenstown Trail. And, after a year in the job, he is more passionate than ever.
“The Queenstown Trail is very multi-purpose,” Mark says. “It’s a fantastic ride experience for visitors from out of town, but also a great commuter trail for residents. With Queenstown under a bit of infrastructure pressure, it means people can use a different mode of transport to get to work. So it serves a wide range of users.”
From April to June, the views along Queenstown Trail are breathtaking. It traverses two impressive suspension bridges, crosses three rivers (the Kawarau, Shotover and Arrow) and circumnavigates Lake Wakatipu and Lake Hayes.
“At this time of year, you get a beautiful mist. It’s pretty spectacular seeing the mountains poking out from the mist. And you get the first snowfalls, so it looks like a dusting of icing sugar on top of the mountains. With the golden trees and snow, it’s a really nice mixture of colours.”
Mark recommends trying Arrow River Bridges Ride during autumn. For more information, visit www.queenstowntrail.org.nz.
Geographically Queenstown may be at the bottom of the country, but it has made its way to the top when it comes to popularity, with fans of the Southern Hemisphere’s premium visitor destination giving the city a big thumbs up on social media.
Queenstown’s official Facebook account has recently topped 300,000 followers, making it the most popular official New Zealand destination page on the social media platform.
The city’s social media presence continues to resonate with Facebook users, attracting strong engagement from followers dreaming of a visit, or looking forward to their next holiday, and continued growth in followers in the ever-competitive social media environment.
Queenstown’s platforms feature inspiring content including high-quality imagery, video and content from local and visiting creators, photographers and media and user-generated content from visitors to Queenstown.
And with Google research showing that 26 percent of leisure travellers who use the internet to plan travel are looking at social networking sites and apps, Queenstown’s popularity on these channels is vital for the resort town.
Destination Queenstown Marketing and Communication Director Sarah O’Donnell has welcomed this milestone. “We use our social media platforms to inspire travellers to visit with images of our stunning landscapes and compelling content to give our followers a taste of the adventure that awaits in Queenstown.
“We’d like to say thank you to our engaged community of followers and encourage those who are still arm-chair travellers to come for a visit soon.”
If a stunning peninsula town encircled by majestic mountains and life-filled craggy coastlines takes your fancy, a weekend getaway to Kaikoura is pure paradise – for all senses in all seasons.
A $1.3 billion-dollar rebuild after the 2016 quakes returned its infrastructure and accessibility. However, the community’s vibrancy never really faded. Visitors are its life blood.
Kaikoura boasts world-class close encounters of the sea-life kind. Lonely Planet sites our fur seal community as second to none. Basking or frolicking, they are the cutest most fascinating creatures to watch. And swimming with smart, inquisitive dolphins has been life changing for many.
Sperm whale and dolphin viewing, by boat or air, astonishes millions of tourists and is the bucket list on many a travel itinerary. Its only 2.5 hour’s drive from Christchurch – how lucky are we!
Kaikoura translates ‘to eat crayfish’. Seafood lovers will be in heaven. Restaurants and cafés serve abundant fresh local fare, while accommodation ranges from hospitable B&Bs, to luxury beachfront hotels.
Kaikoura Museum, resembling a crayfish basket, houses collections of whaling history – and even antique telephones. While Fyffe House, home of the first settlers, has foundations built from whale backbones. Stunning walks now show a slightly different landscape, measuring in parts a coastal uplift of over a metre. There’s a lavender farm, a Maori tour, scuba diving, snorkelling, eco tours – the list is as endless as the panorama.
Literally breathtaking, by deeply inhaling both the bracing mountain air and the energising scent of sea spray, a trip to Kaikoura can renew jaded souls, rekindle romance, or offer the ultimate adventure explosion.
The inner city’s trams are iconic Christchurch at its best. But the latest addition to Christchurch Attractions’ eye-catching fleet is Tram 1888 – a handsome blue R-class with a very colourful life.
Built in 1934 and leased from the Sydney Tramway Museum, Tram 1888 started life at the Fort Macquarie Depot – now the location of the Sydney Opera House. It was used on the city’s Watson’s Bay line until the Fort Macquarie Depot closed in 1955 and even received air raid precaution modifications to minimise window damage during World War II.
From 1955 to 1960, the tram was shuffled around Sydney depots until the body was written off and sold to a tobacco farmer in New South Wales, where it accommodated seasonal farm hands for 24 years until 1984, when the farmer donated the battered tram body to a local council interested in its preservation.
The restoration involved removing hundreds of nails that had been hammered into the inside of the body for coat hooks, lantern holders and clotheslines. The tram was furnished with original R-class seats before being put on display in Bondi Junction for five years. In 1993, it entered storage before the Sydney Tramway Museum took responsibility for it in 2000.
The museum shipped Tram 1888 to Bendigo, where it was restored to an operational level. In subsequent years, it was put on display in Melbourne, repainted and used on a tour around Melbourne’s tram system. In 2009, Tram 1888 was leased to Auckland’s Museum of Transport and Technology, before being leased to Christchurch Attractions late last year.