Exploring Sustainable Luxury Travel: Trips and Tramps, Wharekauhau and Lizard Island

Posted by Ann Glamuzina on October 19, 2023

Looking for luxury travel that is kind to the Planet? Let Beyond the Blue take you on a tour of resorts at Wharekauhau(New Zealand) and Lizard Island(Australia), and learn about sustainable tourism operator Trips and Tramps.

Whether you are drawn to the rugged wilderness of Fiordland or the luxury and seclusion of Palliser Bay or the Great Barrier Reef, these sustainable travel businesses offer eco-conscious travellers the opportunity to experience the beauty of New Zealand and Australia while contributing to long-term preservation. In an era where sustainability is no longer a luxury but a necessity, Trips and Tramps, Wharekauhau and Lizard Island set the bar high for responsible and rewarding travel experiences.


Trips and Tramps, Fiordland National Park New Zealand

Nestled in the heart of Fiordland National Park on New Zealand's South Island, Trips and Tramps is a family-owned business that specialises in guided walks and nature tours. The company's focus is on small group sizes that minimise the ecological footprint of their tours and ensures a more intimate experience for travellers.  The company partners with eco-friendly accommodations and promotes energy conservation and waste reduction among their guests.

And Trips and Tramps owners Steve and Kate walk the talk!  They actively participate in conservation efforts, including pest control and native tree planting. In Milford Sound, they are involved in a stoat trapping project and frequently help predator eradication efforts by checking traps. Steve is a trustee on the Coal Island Trust and the Kepler Challenge Mountain Run Trust – both charitable organisations have objectives in the conservation space.

The company recognises that it operates in a special area of the world, Fiordland National Park and that its operations and resource use will impact the environment. They are committed to operating in an energy-efficient environment and consider the management of its greenhouse gas emissions to be the next step in creating a sustainable business model. 




Wharekauhau, Palliser Bay New Zealand

Wharekauhau is an exclusive luxury lodge located on Palliser Bay's dramatic coastline, just a short drive from New Zealand's capital city, Wellington. This unique destination marries luxury with sustainability, making it a must-visit for travellers seeking both indulgence and eco-consciousness. It’s the kind of place you visit and feel that you might never want to leave. And it is that feeling that has kept Richard Rooney at Wharekauhau for eighteen years – the last twelve years as General Manager, and Farm Manager Bradley Riggs has stayed for twelve years and is raising his young family there. Richard says the culture at Wharekauhau is family-oriented, and every visitor is welcomed as part of that family, with the staff having one simple goal: Always be better.

The Wharekauhau family see themselves as Kaitiaki (the M?ori concept of being 'guardians') of the Whenua (land), and they preserve and enhance the environment by predator trapping, recycling, and planting. But many luxury properties do this. What makes Wharekauhau different is its travel deeper concept, where taking a moment to slow down and scratch beneath the surface and understand at a much deeper level how this property fits within its ecosystem and its community. This concept is at the heart of this special place, and Richard Rooney tells of guests who have returned to the property to find the tree they planted as children, a legacy to be proud of.

Wharekauhau prides itself on minimising its impact on the environment. They have implemented a range of eco-friendly practices, such as energy efficiency and recycling programs, as well as sustainable farming practices: The lodge is situated on a 5,500-acre working sheep and cattle farm. Wharekauhau's commitment to sustainable farming ensures that their agricultural activities are not detrimental to the surrounding ecosystem.


Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Celebrated as the northernmost island in the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, Lizard Island offers guests forty luxury rooms, suites and villas in an exclusive tropical setting while maintaining a sustainable environmental footprint.

With this precious environment on its doorstep, Lizard Island is an important custodian of the reef and the surrounding waters, with projects to sustain the island's ecosystem, protect its cultural heritage(including guided walks observing key historical sites of the traditional owners of the land(Jiigurru), the Dingaal people, and support of the local community.

Small gestures can have a big impact, and Lizard Island continues to identify ways to ensure the wellbeing of its precious environment. An example is Lizard Island's Citizen Science program, in partnership with the iNaturalist app. This programme offers guests and staff a hands-on interaction with the reef and contribution to a global community of environmental champions. The online site and smartphone app ask visitors to the reef to submit their sub-marine photos to a team of naturalists to be identified and categorised, becoming part of a global database integral to ongoing research and is an ever-evolving reef health check.

The island also hosts the Australian Museum Lizard Island Research Station. Visiting the Lizard Island Research Station for an interpretive tour is a must-do for guests who can learn more about the Great Barrier Reef and hands-on ways to ensure its future.

This unique resort also ticks all the recycling and sustainability boxes. You won't find a plastic bottle or straw on the Island, but you will find recycling initiatives. Guests are encouraged to wear reef-safe sunscreen when outside – being sun-smart while protecting the reef's delicate marine ecosystem.