Environmentally-conscious travellers exploring New Zealand’s North Island will be spoiled for choice when it comes to sustainable accommodation options to choose from. Auckland is the main arrival point for many of the country’s visitors, and is quite close to some fantastic eco-friendly stays. Here are 10 that are bound to impress.
Earthsong Lodge is a luxury escape in Great Barrier Island, just a short ferry ride from central Auckland. The island, which is the fourth largest in New Zealand, is an eco-tourist’s dream come true. Besides housing numerous native birds, much of the area is protected conservation land and its clear skies are optimal for long bouts of stargazing. Earthsong Lodge stays true to the island’s sustainable nature by offering its amenities for a limited number of guests at a time – the lodge can accommodate a maximum of six people. The property is surrounded by olive groves and lush forestry, and the lodge’s on-site restaurant takes full advantage of the island’s produce and freshly caught fish.
Warblers Retreat is a boutique bed and breakfast with a strong eco conscience. It is set in a secluded bush-lined setting on Auckland’s North Shore, within a 35-minute drive from downtown. Sustainability is an important part of the retreat’s operations: all food scraps are diligently recycled; rainwater is collected and re-purposed whenever possible; any cleaning product used on its premises is fully biodegradable; the garden is fitted with solar lighting, while low LED lighting is the priority indoors. Intimacy is another of its strong suits – only two couples can stay there at any given time. Guests get to select between a luxurious self-contained apartment suite or a garden vista cottage.
Located 45 minutes north of Auckland city, Riverside Matakana is where you’ll get to immerse yourself in some scenic coastal vistas, green country pastures as well as the beautiful vineyards Matakana is renowned for. This lovely retreat is set among 40 acres of manicured grounds and features 17 self-contained ‘baches’ (quintessential New Zealand beach houses), which are fully furnished and fitted with extensive outdoor decking. Environmentally conscious practices like the re-purposing of rainwater, the use of biodegradable cleaning products, and the planting of native trees are some of the initiatives Riverside Matakana has taken to reduce its carbon footprint.
For the eco-conscious traveller with a penchant for glamping, there’s always the Castaways Resort. The retreat is situated on the coastal clifftops of Kariotahi Beach, on the west coast of Auckland, and boasts an incredible range of facilities for those who are pining for an indulgent pamper session, or are searching for a romantic place to unwind. Besides featuring a lush glamping village with expansive ocean views, the resort also has a day spa, a selection of studio units and two-bedroom chalets, and its very own a la carte restaurant.
Piha Beachstay is a family-owned, budget-friendly accommodation that takes a great deal of care in ensuring its amenities are sustainable. Rain is the primary source of water for the accommodation, wastewater disposal is conducted via an on-site treatment plant, all glass and plastic bottles are recycled and biodegradable products are used for laundry and cleaning. Rooms are self-catering, equipped with free WiFi and include shared bunk rooms as well as private twin, double, and en suite bedrooms. As a bonus, the accommodation is right within walking distance of the rocky Piha beach and the stunning Kitekite Falls.
With its handy airport location, Sudima Auckland Airport is the ideal place to fend off your jet lag before you set off on your New Zealand adventure. The accommodation is part of a chain that puts a strong emphasis on sustainability. Part of its commitment to environmental friendliness includes adhering to established Green Globe and Qualmark benchmarks, as well as implementing eco-friendly policies to be followed across all of its hotels. Sudima Auckland Airport features three room types (Superior, Executive and Executive Suite), wheelchair-accessible rooms and facilities, as well as a restaurant known for its selection of New Zealand wines and a la carte breakfasts.
If you’re venturing north of Auckland to explore the picturesque Bay of Islands, a stay at the Bay Cabinz Motel in Paihia is definitely worth considering. The accommodation is located within a four-hour drive from Auckland Airport. It’s a short distance from all of the town’s best shops, cafes and restaurants, and is also quite conveniently close to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds – a must-visit for those wanting to learn about New Zealand culture and history. All the motel’s chalets were designed with environmental friendliness in mind: water is sourced directly from the local river, energy-efficient wall heating and light bulbs are fitted throughout, and there’s a designated recycling area on-site to ensure all waste is dealt with appropriately.
Tapeka Del Mar is an eco-friendly getaway in the Bay of Islands town of Russell, just a three-hour drive north of Auckland. A strong commitment to conservation and sustainability has earned it an Enviro Silver Award from Qualmark, New Zealand’s official tourism quality assurance body. On offer is a four-bedroom, two-bathroom holiday home that’s fully furnished and can sleep up to 13 people. Besides being right next to the beach, guests can enjoy an array of facilities like an expansive BBQ area and deck, three kayaks, and a rowboat as well as some basic fishing equipment and a fish filleting station.
Oak Lane Lodge is a boutique accommodation and wedding venue located within a 90-minute drive from Auckland airport, and just a stone’s throw away from the city of Hamilton. The accommodation, which is set in the midst of landscaped rural grounds, is part of Trip Advisors’ Green Leaders programme – a true testament to its dedication to sustainability. Guests get to revel in the area’s tranquil ambiance by settling into one of three luxurious rooms. Complimentary breakfasts, prepared on-site with home-grown produce, are part of the deal and the lodge offers special wedding packages too.
A luxury lodge nestled among 25 acres of native forestry in the foothills of Mount Pauanui, just a couple of hours’ drive from Auckland in the Coromandel Peninsula. For the traveller wanting to recoup and recharge, the Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort offers a collection of sophisticated chalets and suites with private balconies, treetop vistas and modern furnishings. Spa, swimming pool, and sauna facilities as well as an on-site restaurant ensure all guests are well and truly pampered throughout their stay.