From Akaroa Dolphins to Ziplining, here’s our A-Z guide of eco-friendly activities for Ōtautahi Christchurch.

Travelling lighter no longer means carrying less luggage. What's more, by choosing eco-friendly travel options, you not only leave a smaller footprint, but you often also do a bit of good.

Akaroa Dolphins

A quick visit to Trip Advisor will tell you that people love Akaroa Dolphins. These tours put you in touch with the world’s smallest dolphin, the Hector’s Dolphin, but also connect you with nature. Something most of us, who live our lives tucked up in offices and increasingly smaller houses, don’t often get the chance to do. They are also Aotearoa New Zealand’s first tourism attraction to be B Corp certified(opens in new window). This means they are part of a global community that meets the highest standards of social and environmental impact.

Crater Rim Walking Tours

With Crater Rim Walking Tours you’ll explore the Banks Peninsula using an ancient mode of transport: walking. These tours follow the principles of Leave No Trace(opens in new window), so the people that follow in your footsteps will find things exactly as you did.

Ōpuke Thermal Pools

Not many of us give much thought to where our water comes from. We turn on a tap and, hey presto, water comes out. At Ōpuke Thermal Pools & Spa this is not the case; they’ve given the topic a lot of thought. They use glacial melt water from the Southern Alps, which is collected from the Rangitata River and fed into an industry-leading water treatment system. From here, the water is heated by the Solar Field, a spectacular array solar panels that occupy the better part of a field. (Note, the clever play on words!)

Orana Park

When you visit Orana Park, you’re helping to support the zoo’s breeding programmes for endangered species, which includes the South Island whio (blue duck), pāteke (brown teal), kiwi and Maud Island frogs. The zoo is also one of the most successful cheetah breeders in Australasia – a notable achievement given that the species is notoriously difficult to breed in captivity.

Pōhatu Penguins

On a Pōhatu Penguins(opens in new window) tour you’ll be shown the country’s largest mainland colony of Little Blue Penguins by the people credited with their survival. The owners of this family-run business have spent three decades working to protect the Pōhatu Penguin colony. Work that has been funded through tours like this one. Starting at Akaroa, you’ll travel along the scenic backcountry roads of Banks Peninsula – a destination in itself – to the Pōhatu marine reserve, a tranquil bay on south-eastern most corner of the peninsula. Guides will show you the best viewing spots and tell you about their heroic efforts to save the penguins.

PurePods

In some of the most spectacular locations across Canterbury are little glass cabins called PurePods(opens in new window). While most hotels seal you off from the outside world by drawing attention to the tasteful décor and numerous paintings of landscapes, PurePods are designed to do the opposite. These sustainably built cabins have 360-degree views. Even the showers are all windows. Don't be alarmed about if you value your privacy: the pods are in some of Canterbury’s remotest locations, so privacy is pretty much what’s on offer.

Velocity Karts

For a novel way to kick the carbon habit, visit Velocity Karts. They prove that sometimes the low-tech options are the most fun. Try their wind-powered karts, or their Driftkarts, which slide, basically. Both go surprisingly fast. Suitable for reformed petrol heads and ages 6 to 86. And try their Human Foosball – you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of it first!

Willowbank Wildlife Reserve

All types of animals have a place at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, from exotic species such as Capybara and Siamang Gibbon to everyday farm animals like donkeys and Shetland ponies. The reserve is also working hard to conserve endangered native species, including kea, South Island kākā, and blue duck whio. Plus, it runs an onsite wildlife hospital, which treats and rehabilitates wild animals and native birds. The hospital is staffed by trained volunteers, including veterinarians and vet nurses – who, when they’re not saving animals, are involved in wildlife education, training, and research.

Zipline, Christchurch Adventure Park

As a general rule, ziplining doesn’t have much of a carbon footprint. But the team at Christchurch Adventure Park(opens in new window) wanted to do more than just minimise their impact, they wanted to give something back. They started by fundraising for the Te Tapuwae o Rakau Trust(opens in new window) to support the planting of 10 million native trees on the Port Hills. But they didn't stop there: they created a partnership with Meridian and the Christchurch Foundation and Sustainable Coastlines to plant a corridor of trees favoured by the Tūī, a native New Zealand bird. The corridor will act like breadcrumbs, enticing the Tūī to move from the coastal regions of Banks Peninsula back into the city. 

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