First-of-its-Kind Zero Carbon Travel Package

Giving visitors the chance to have a ‘holiday from guilt’, New Zealand’s first zero-carbon travel itinerary has been launched in Nelson.

Featuring accommodation, adventure travel experiences and a pub, with all 14 businesses being committed zero-carbon operators, the four-day itinerary was launched by Nelson Regional Development Agency (NRDA) and backed by Ekos, a social enterprise aiming for a sustainable future.

Sky Dive Abel Tasman

“These operators have offered to take responsibility for that pollution on your behalf,” explained Claire Keeling, Ekos community partnerships coordinator.

The benefit to the consumer, she said, was “having a holiday from the guilt ... you’re doing it by selecting a zero-carbon itinerary, you’re travelling responsibly because you’re selecting responsible operators.”

The business operators had been given the zero-carbon seal of approval, but one gap had been the transportation around the region. To cover this the NRDA would offset the travel of visitors within the region if they booked the itinerary (or a variation of it) through the Nelson i-SITE. The offsetting of travel is done through Ekos, in Golden Bay’s Uruwhenua Forest.

Businesses on the itinerary include The Gentle Cycling Company, The Free House, Abel Tasman Sailing Adventures, Pic's Peanut Butter World, Sky Dive Abel Tasman, Mārahau Beach Camp, Abel Tasman Lodge, Hooked on Mārahau, Mārahau Sea Kayaks, and Abel Tasman Aquataxi.

The Free House Pub

Eelco Boswijk, owner of The Free House Pub, explained that last year he covered 120 percent of carbon emissions, costing about $1200, choosing to offset an extra 20 percent to not just be carbon-neutral, but climate positive.

“It’s quite good to overdo it just in case there’s a bit missing; you cover yourself but also cover other people and encourage other people to do it,” he noted, adding that the itinerary was a great initiative.

“Using the tourism aspect to highlight that there are businesses here doing this stuff and that Nelson is a region that is looking at those aspects. It’s good for profiling the region.”