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Because while exploring this place that we love is a whole lot of fun, it needs to be done in a way that is considerate of our surroundings, protecting and preserving our precious natural environment.
So, while it probably doesn’t need to be said that we’re pretty proud of the efforts that a number of tour operators are making in the spirit of manaakitanga (respect, kindness and hospitality), we’ll say it anyway.
Learn more about these amazing operators and support their endeavours by including them on your travel itinerary for Lake Taupō. They won’t disappoint.
Eco-friendly operators worth adding to your itinerary:
Sail Barbary has been on a journey to sustainability since 2010, and today, you can enjoy a trip to the Ngātoroirangi Mine Bay Māori Rock Carvings on New Zealand’s only electric yacht. Their zero-emission cruise, with no fumes and no noise, allows you to sit back, relax and listen to legends of the region.
Not only is their vessel pollution-free, their commitment to sustainable practices carry into reducing their overall carbon footprint - from reducing packaging waste to using environmentally-friendly cleaning products and recyclable/biodegradable goods on board.
Taupō Sailing Adventures have been cruising on Taupō-nui-a-tia for more than 20 years, and they believe that everyone is able to make a difference when it comes to making a difference for a better future.
Because sailing is one of the most environmentally-friendly ways to travel, Taupō Sailing Adventures use the wind as their main source of power. (But if there is a day when the breeze isn’t quite enough to fill the sails, they have a motor that will only use around 5 litres of diesel for a 2.5 hour trip.)
Their batteries are kept charged using solar panels, so there is no need for plugging into on-shore power. And supporting the TIAKI Promise is a key part of their operations - being prepared, driving carefully, keeping New Zealand clean, protecting nature and showing respect.
People come from all around the world to visit the incredible Tongariro River, and it’s not hard to see why - it’s a fly-fishing paradise. But we have to be careful when using a natural resource to ensure it doesn’t become at risk of overuse, which is where the Tongariro National Trout Centre plays an important role.
Located 5 minutes south of Tūrangi you’ll find this museum, aquarium and educational centre all rolled into one. It’s dedicated to raising awareness of freshwater ecology, conservation and the need to create a sustainable fishery resource.
Built amongst a peaceful bush setting, it’s home to the endangered Whio (native blue duck), of which the centre has released a record number back into the river systems. Here, you can wander through the freshwater aquarium and hatchery facility (with a kid’s fishing pond populated with trout from the hatchery), look through an underwater trout viewing chamber or take a stroll along the Tongariro River.
The team at Tongariro River Rafting are proud and passionate conservationists, keen to educate all who come their way about the importance of preserving our environment and its inhabitants.
In fact, keeping the endangered Whio (native blue duck) safe is owner Garth’s highest priority, so he founded the Blue Duck Project to protect them from predators and pollution. 10 years ago, there were only three pairs of Whio living on the Tongariro River, but thanks to the Blue Duck Project, nearly 30 pairs have moved in and raised their families there.
Whio are found nowhere else in the world, but when you go on a Tongariro River Rafting trip, you’re very likely to spot one!
The Huka Falls River Cruise operates its family-friendly boat trips on a purpose-built riverboat constructed with the environment in mind. Powered by clean-burning 4-stroke motors, the boat’s hull also has a shallow draft - ensuring the boat wake is as small as possible. And any carbon emissions are offset by the owner’s family forestry block.
But that’s not where it ends for the team at Huka Falls River Cruise. They began a pest trapping program in 2010 to help boost numbers of native birdlife in the area, and as a result of this, species such as Kererū, Ruru and Pōpokotoa have returned to the river. They also participate in annual river cleanups and are actively involved in Greening Taupō - a regeneration program run locally to see more native trees planted.
If you pay a visit to Lava Glass, 10 minutes from Taupō township on state highway 5, you’ll be stepping foot into the first carbon-neutral certified glassblowing studio in the world - and we certainly think that’s worth celebrating.
But behind that remarkable achievement is an even more incredible story of sustainability that spans all other aspects of the business - from planting more than 150,000 trees to driving electric cars, reducing waste at Lava Glass by more than 75% and also supporting the local community with their environmentally-friendly endeavours.
So it’s safe to say that being clean and green is at the absolute forefront of everything the team at Lava Glass set out to achieve. And their hand-blown glass art? Absolutely breath-taking.
Save the bees please! Why? Without them, the world would be pretty grim.
Bees pollinate 80% of plants, one bee colony can pollinate 300 million flowers a day and one in three bites of food are derived from bee-pollinated plants! But sadly, beautiful bees are in decline, which is why Huka Honey Hive spend their days showcasing what makes them so important - saving the planet, one bee at a time.
From educating visitors about the vital role bees play in our world, to maintaining sustainable business practices, here you will discover an incredible ‘hive’ of activity built around a wonderful self-guided experience. And as a bonus - admission is free!
Backyard Tours is an approved Department of Conservation transport operator who are actively and passionately involved in the conservation of Mt Ruapehu and Mt Tongariro. They offer a reliable and consistent shuttle service, ensuring safe and convenient access to activities around the mountains, no matter the season.
And whenever you use Backyard Tours shuttle service, a portion of your transport cost actually contributes to the maintenance of the Tongariro National Park - UNESCO’s first dual heritage National Park in the world! Which just goes to prove what a spectacular space and place this is.
As guardians of the maunga (mountains), owners Gloria and Brendan believe in protecting them for all future generations by providing a service that minimises the negative impact that tourism can cause to the natural environment.
Ōrākei Kōrako is an untouched volcanic world of gushing geysers, hot springs and bubbling mud pools - all of which you can see up close and personal while still treading lightly.
A boat with a sustainable hydro-motor takes you to the active geothermal field, where you can safely discover some of the largest silica terraces on Earth. Everything that has been constructed in the park has been built by hand, with no heavy equipment risking damage to the environment, and all possible measures are taken to care for, protect and nurture the pristine, natural landscape.
On shore, Ōrākei Kōrako is committed to reducing their carbon footprint and currently recycles all waste possible and uses environmentally-friendly cleaning products, as well as recycled paper for printing and in bathroom facilities.
Keen to understand how you can travel more sustainably in the Taupō Region? Here’s a great place to start!
Spend a little time in the Taupō region, and the mighty peaks and forests will surely beckon. Although these adventures — from half-day walks to overnight tramps — require more effort, everyone’s heart-pumping efforts will be well-rewarded.