The directors of this company went to university together and met up again when they were travelling. They started doing tours to Vietnam in 1996 and were so successful that they expanded to many other destinations. Their company now employs 170 well-travelled staff who can advise customers on how to put together the perfect itinerary. They share the same no-nonsense, honest approach and ensure anyone who travels makes the best use of their time and budget. The amount of research that goes into these trips means you get to see the slightly quirkier places and can travel at your own pace.
Green Globe 21: Several of the properties and excursions mentioned in this itinerary are members of Green Globe 21, the worldwide benchmarking and certification programme which facilitates sustainable travel and tourism for consumers, companies and communities. It is based on Agenda 21 and Principles for Sustainable Development endorsed by 182 governments at the United Nations Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992.
Accommodation: In general, New Zealand is a very environmentally friendly country, but certain properties have excelled in their eco-friendly approach. The Langham Hotel in Auckland achieved Green Globe 21 accreditation in 2007 and has more recently won a Green Globe Sustainability Award at the New Zealand Tourism Awards. Chalet Eiger in Taupo is also Green Globe accredited, as is Remarkable Lodge in Queenstown, both being very much committed to further improving their environmental practices.
New Zealand excels in its small, family-run bed and breakfast properties, where visitors experience true kiwi hospitality as well as often learning more about the area they are staying in and meeting the people who live there. This itinerary includes a variety of such properties, many of which are buildings of historic interest and are in stunning locations, a wonderful contrast to the impersonal, international hotel chains.
Excursions: By carefully choosing which operators we recommend in New Zealand, visitors can get up close to the scenery and wildlife in its natural environment without causing any disturbance. All of our suppliers are committed to the environment and some in particular have excellent environmental policies.
White Island tours achieved Green Globe certification in 2007 and are committed to ensuring their tours have a minimal impact on the environment. They offer visitors the opportunity to see New Zealandís only live marine volcano as well as observing other aspects of the natural environment and local wildlife.
Real Journeys won the Conservation in Action award at the New Zealand tourism in 2007 and has a very strong conservation ethos. They support a number of ongoing conservation projects in the areas in which they operate and are actively committed to best environmental practice. Staff and visitors are encouraged to get involved in conservation initiatives where possible and they have on-board naturalists and geologist on the cruises so that guest have the maximum opportunity to learn more about the local environment.
Local Culture: The Maori heritage is an inherent part of New Zealand life, and there are countless opportunities to experience Maori traditions, crafts, food and dance. Wairakei Terraces in Taupo is locally owned and uses local Maori guides, giving visitors the chance to immerse themselves in Maori cultural heritage and learn about the lives of the local people, their activities and their land. As a relatively small operation it offers a much more personal and authentic experience.
We also highly recommend a visit to the excellent Te Papa museum which has a comprehensive range of information in the form of displays, performances and interactive activities about the history of New Zealand culture and environment.
You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays. In addition, we don't run these holidays ourselves - our only interest is giving you the best independent advice.