Opening to the public in mid-March 2018, Camp Glenorchy’s setting at the head of Lake Wakatipu is magical, however what really sets this destination apart is its commitment to environmental, financial and community sustainability.

Just a breathtaking 40-minute drive along the lake from Queenstown, it’s a unique opportunity to holiday in harmony with nature, staying in comfortably-appointed cabins, bunkrooms or powered campervan/RV sites.

Camp Glenorchy has been built and will operate in line with the philosophy and principles of the Living Building ChallengeÔ (LBC), recognised as the world’s most stringent environmental building design certification.

The LBC uses the metaphor of a flower to reflect a healthy living entity. An LBC-compliant building is like a flower, rooted in place and needs to generate its own fuel, collect its own water, support its local ecosystem and community (via pollination), and become food for the local ecosystem at the end of its life. And ultimately the flower should look beautiful. These vital aspects or ‘petals’ of the flower are fully embraced at Camp Glenorchy.

Camp Glenorchy celebrates its natural and cultural environment through buildings designed to reflect rural building archetypes, using non-toxic construction materials, native plantings and creative features handmade by a wide range of New Zealand artists and craftspeople.

Queenstown Cares initiative in Glenorchy, Camp Glenorchy cabin accommodation in the sustainable camp

The cabins, bunkrooms and shared social and kitchen facilities provide guests with a comfortable, rustic aesthetic experience while using both simple and state-of-the-art technology to help reduce water and energy use. An interactive digital tablet in each room help guests learn about and control their own energy and water use during their stay and see how it compares with others on site.

Camp Glenorchy will use 50% less power and 50% less water than similar facilities, while generating its own energy onsite via 432 solar photovoltaic panels, representing the South Island’s largest solar garden.

Camp Glenorchy is part of The Headwaters, a new model in hospitality and retail which seeks to serve as an example of resource-efficient tourism. It combines a deep set of values with a gentle, walk-the-talk approach, viewing sustainability as a journey which it hopes visitors will embrace - perhaps taking some ideas back to their own homes and communities.

These ideas are communicated in response to the interest level of individual guests, and at the very least visitors can feel good about their stay since all profits from The Headwaters help to increase the vibrancy and resilience of the community through the locally-administered Glenorchy Community Trust.

Paul Brainerd, founder and visionary behind Camp Glenorchy, describes it as a “living laboratory” which measures the performance of a wide-range of carefully selected sustainable building systems.

“We will be sharing our building performance data over the next 3-5 years to determine what works and what isn’t working as expected. This data will allow us to continuously fine tune the buildings to achieve higher performance levels over time,” said Paul. 

Camp Glenorchy will also share details on how it performs against its Net Zero energy target; a goal to generate as much energy as it uses.