5 tips for eco-friendly travel in Nelson Tasman

5 tips for eco-friendly travel in Nelson Tasman

Posted on Thursday 17 October 2019

We’ve all faced the internal battle.

You know the one.

The one where your love for travel is packaged up with feelings of guilt and shame, because the cost of travel is becoming more frequently associated with the cost to the environment, than it is with the cost to your bank balance. But this internal battle is a good thing, initiating a change in habits and resulting in a pressing desire for eco-friendly and responsible travel.

More and more travellers are looking for sustainable choices that enable them to combine their love for travel with their desire to negate their impact on the environment. The great news is that this doesn’t have to be complicated, it doesn’t have to be expensive, and it doesn’t actually require a huge degree of effort to make a real difference!

Here are 5 easy tips for being a responsible traveller:

Clear your carbon conscience

Many transport providers (particularly airlines) offer carbon off-setting initiatives to travellers. Essentially, carbon-offsetting allows you to contribute to a project that will reduce your carbon emissions elsewhere, such as by planting trees to further remove carbon from the atmosphere. It’s very simple to calculate your carbon footprint, and relatively inexpensive to offset it if you wish to do so.

Nelson Tasman is also home to many businesses who are leading the way in becoming Carbon Zero certified, initiating strategies to reduce their emissions and purchasing carbon credits to offset anything that remains. Visitors can now enjoy a scenic flight, skydive, cruise, kayak or boat tour into the pristine Abel Tasman National Park and feel at ease knowing that they are travelling with a reduced carbon footprint.

Awaroa Bay 7 no credit required2Photo courtesy of Nelson Tasman Air

Choose sustainable businesses

Do your research, and don't be afraid to ask questions! With so much on offer in the way of activities, accommodation and transport, it's never been easier for visitors to be selective with where their money is being spent. Many of our local businesses are involved with community and environmental projects as they are committed to leading the way in ensuring that Nelson Tasman is, and continues to be, a sustainable visitor destination. There are even some businesses in the region who exist primarily to give back to the environment, and the money visitors spend with them is channeled straight into projects to rejuvenate our native flora and fauna. 

Ask businesses what sustainability initiatives they are involved in, how they give back to the environment, if they use environmentally friendly energy sources, if they donate to any local charities or school groups, whether they offset their carbon emissions, and if they make a conscious effort to use locally available resources. Nothing is more powerful than the voice of a consumer, so acknowledge and thank the businesses that are doing their part, and feel free to make suggestions to businesses who you think could be doing more to minimise their impact.

1568756399878Photo courtesy of @barekiwi

Enjoy local

Ever heard of “food mileage”? It’s a thing. Everything that we buy has to come from somewhere, and it’s much more environmentally friendly to purchase fruit from a roadside stall than it is to go to the supermarket to pick up some snacks that have travelled halfway across the world. Essentially, the shorter the distance a product has travelled, the less carbon has had to be emitted to get it into your hot little hands.

Fortunately, Nelson Tasman is one of New Zealand’s greatest artisan destinations, with no shortage of eco-friendly options to tantalise your taste buds. The weekend markets offer a selection of locally-made and organic food, snacks, souvenirs, artware and clothing, whilst many restaurants pride themselves on serving up produce, seafood, wine and beer from “just down the road”. We assure you, you’ll enjoy the local flavours anyway, but the environmental tick is the cherry on top!

Awaroa Lodge Restaurant 6 credit www.nelsontasman.nzPhoto courtesy of www.nelsontasman.nz

Leave no trace

The mantra “take only memories and leave only footprints” resonates strongly with eco-friendly travellers, but many choose to take this one step further, making active attempts to leave a place even better than they found it. Plastic waste is one of the key environmental concerns of today and poses a significant threat to our stunning natural landscapes and wildlife.

Whether you're hiking in one of our beautiful national parks, or cycling along the waterfront, make sure you don't leave any waste behind (and pick up any other rubbish if you spot it laying around). Reusable bags, drink bottles, keep-cups, recyclable packaging and avoiding travel-sized hotel shampoos are also ways in which you can reduce your impact on the environment during your travels.

Abel Tasman Coast Track credit Abel Tasman AquaTaxi2Photo courtesy of abeltasman.com

Consider your travel habits

As tempting as it can be to rent a car, there are plenty of slightly more eco-friendly options available. The regional public transport network is well-established and hopping on a tour bus out to the Abel Tasman will have much less of an impact on the environment than 10 cars travelling to the same location. If public transport or ride sharing isn’t an option, consider hiring an electric vehicle which uses considerably less fuel and emits less carbon, or riding an electric bike. Other low-impact activities include kayaking, waka paddling, and sailing. Better yet, you know those two limbs on the end of your body? They’re environmentally friendly – use them!

Coastal Boardwalk 2 credit KiwiJourneysPhoto courtesy of Kiwijourneys

You can share your commitment to being a responsible traveller by making a Tiaki Promise here. We hope this article has helped you to ease that travel guilt and feel confident in knowing that there are plenty of ways to “do your bit” when travelling in Nelson Tasman, or anywhere for that matter!