Queenstown activity operators are passionate about protecting the magnificent alpine setting in which we adventure. Sustainable tourism in NZ is a growing movement, and we’re proud to introduce you to the visionary locals championing sustainable travel in the Queenstown region, working hard to lower their environmental footprint, and give back to the community.
Ziptrek Ecotours offer exhilarating zipline eco-adventures, thrilling zipline tours through the forest (including the world’s steepest zipline) with an environmental focus.
Ziptrek are also Queenstown’s first carbon neutral tourism business and part of the Future-Fit global movement of businesses working towards an environmentally restorative, socially just, and economically inclusive future. More about their sustainability commitment here.
Flying through the trees with Ziptrek Ecotours
The Kiwi Park wildlife sanctuary in the heart of town is home to home to over 100 native bird and reptiles, all part of managed conservation programs through the Department of Conservation. They breeds four endangered endemic birds, the South Island Kākā, North Island Brown Kiwi, Pāteke, and Whio for release into the wild.
The team have planted 15,000 native trees and shrubs in the park to regenerate its ecosystem since its opening. If you’re planning a longer stay in Queenstown you can even sign up to volunteer at the park.
Kiwi Park Queenstown
Nomad Safaris’ adventures include backcountry tours to Macetown and Skippers Canyon, Lord of the Rings location tours, winery e-bike tours, hands on 4WD and quad biking, and guided walk experiences on the Routeburn. For a bit of eco-luxe, explore pristine World Heritage sites of the Southern Alps region on a private Tesla tour, in 100% zero emissions electric vehicles.
Nomad Safaris work to minimise the impact of their operations. With a Qualmark Enviro Gold endorsement, ongoing environmental projects include controlling wilding pines and predators in the local region and establishing the Routeburn Dart Environmental Trust to protect native birds and rebuild their numbers.
Nomad Safaris Tesla Tour
Cardrona Alpine Resort
One of Queenstown and Wanaka’s celebrated ski areas and a mountain biking hotspot in summer, Cardrona Alpine Resort has Qualmark Enviro Gold certification.
The Cardrona Foundation has three key projects, conserving the kārearea, New Zealand’s only native falcon, replanting the mountain with natives, and supporting local kids who need help to get up skiing or snowboarding. Other sustainability measures include their commitment to reducing waste, they don’t offer takeaway cups, only serve beer on tap, they've reduced the plastic waste from individual milk bottles by switching to 10L bags, and send food scraps to a local chicken farm. They’re encouraging shared commutes and promoting shuttles to reduce cars on the mountain.
Snowboarding up Cardrona Alpine Resort
Packrafting Queenstown specialise in small group guided packrafting trips and courses. Hike, paddle and explore Central Otago backcountry with day trips, overnighters, and multiday adventures to the Rees River or Mt Aspiring National Park.
The team source supplies locally, and a flat fee from every booking goes towards conservation projects, such as reintroducing threatened birds like the Whio. Other projects include controlling wilding pines and trapping predators. Read more about their environmental commitment here.
Buying local treats is a fantastic way to explore Queenstown’s vibrant food scene and reduce your food miles at the same time. Shopping at the Remarkables Market gives you the added glow of knowing you’re supporting their drive to become New Zealand’s first zero waste market. The market banned single use cups, composts all organic waste, and is shifting to only use fully compostable plates and cutlery. It’s on every Saturday October - April from 9.00am - 2:00pm.
Remarkables Market, Frankton
Royalburn Farm Shop
The Royalburn Farm Shop in Arrowtown is another great place to eat more sustainably in Queenstown. The shop is stocked with local, seasonal fresh produce from Royalburn Station, one of New Zealand’s oldest farms. Goods include organic veggies, fresh and cured meats, free-range eggs, and wool blankets. Royalburn aim to promote sustainable, circular, regenerative food production, delivering directly to customers in the local region.
Coronet Peak Ski Area
Coronet Peak Ski Area has a raft of sustainability measures, including planting native tussocks and hebe, pest control, clearing wilding pine and other invasive species, waste minimisation efforts such as no single use cups or sauce packets, glass recycling (which gets crushed down and reused in summer for earthworks), composting (used for their planting projects), and more efficient snow management. They encourage ride sharing and taking buses to the slopes.
Skiing at Coronet Peak Ski Area
The Remarkables Ski Area
The Remarkables Ski Area also takes conservation seriously. They’re part of an initiative to bring kea back to the Remarkables, and actively take part in pest control, revegetation and restoration work. waste reduction and recycling. They plan to clear 20 hectares of non-native vegetation and replant with native forest by 2028, as part of the Billion Tree Project.
Kea up The Remarkables Ski Area
RealNZ offer cruises and jetboat adventures. They work closely with the Department of Conservation and local communities, contributing to projects that support habitats, recovering species, and clean up initiatives. They also hold Qualmark Enviro Gold status.
RealNZ TSS Earnslaw Cruise
Skyline Queenstown operate the gondola and the luge and support the Whakatipu Wilding Conifer Control Group and the Whakatipu Wildlife Trust. They also take part in predator control on Bob’s Peak and have a Qualmark Gold Sustainable Tourism Business Award.
Skyline Gondola Queenstown
We’re grateful to all Queenstown visitors who take the time to consider the impact you make on the places you visit. If you’d like to know more about what the local community is doing to sustain our environment check out our Queenstown Cares stories, showcasing the good stuff good people are doing to safeguard the future of our landscapes.