Carbon Zero itinerary first of it’s kind

New Zealand’s first zero carbon travel itinerary has been launched in Nelson Tasman, giving visitors the chance to have a “holiday from guilt”.

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

Click here to see a Youtube clip about it.

Ekos community partnerships coordinator Claire Keeling said the zero carbon travel itinerary concept was the first of its kind in New Zealand, and “quite possibly the world”.

She said there was no additional cost for travellers to undertake the itinerary as the participants had already offset their carbon emissions.

The Free House (tavern) is on that list, and the only cost to [the consumer] is that they’re going to buy a beer.”

Keeling said everyone contributed to carbon emissions on some level.

“These operators have offered to take responsibility for that pollution on your behalf.”

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.

Keeling said that was the weak link in the itinerary.

“There’s still travel between the operators that hasn’t been measured in offset.

“You’re having a completely offset experience, in terms of your adventure tourism but minus public transport or transport you use, so that’s where NRDA stepped in.”

Day one of the itinerary after landing at Nelson Airport includes a bike along the Tasman’s Great Taste Trail with The Gentle Cycling Company or a Wine Art and Wilderness guided tour, topped off with a drink at The Free House, and a night at the YHA Nelson by Accents. Day three encourages travellers to take the plunge with Abel Tasman Canyons or spend a relaxing time aboard Abel Tasman Sailing Adventures.

Others taking part are Pic’s Peanut Butter World, Sky Dive Abel Tasman, Mārahau Beach Camp, Abel Tasman Lodge, Hooked on Mārahau, Mārahau Sea Kayaks, Abel Tasman Aquataxi.

The Free House Pub owner Eelco Boswijk said qualifying for zero carbon and climate positive certification was “quite an intense lump of analysis” with measures including incoming freight, how his staff got to work and gas usage at the premises.

He said last year he covered 120 per cent of carbon emissions, costing about $1200, choosing to offset an extra 20 per cent 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.”

The zero carbon itinerary was a “great initiative”, he said that was more about “using the tourism aspect to highlight 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.”

Abel Tasman Ocean View Chalets is listed on day two of the itinerary as a place “ideally situated on the doorstep of the national park”.

Manager Jared Bosecke said with solar panels installed, a lot of their usage was already offset.

He said the isolated accommodation set amongst five hectares of native bush used solar panels during the day when most of their energy usage was at its peak; and there wasn’t a lot of travel due to doing big shops less frequently.

“In the future, we’re hoping to get more solar panels, to have all of that day-time power usage sorted.”

  • Carly Gooch, Reporter – STUFF

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