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Places in New Zealand
by Sally McKinney



Focus on New Zealand Ecotourism synthesizes nature tourism and ecotourism in this Pacific nation.


New Zealand's North Island: The Tree House

It isn't a cabin perched in a tree. You also could call this a backpackers' retreat -- which it is -- but that doesn't do justice to the lavish plantings of native and exotic trees, the extensive research done by the eco-sensitive owners and the lovely wake-up calls by resident songbirds.

Located on the shore of historic Hokianga Harbour, the lodge's main building has decks that flow into an artfully planted forest. Charming cabins sit beside a pond or stand on a hilltop for a harbor view. Walk the hilly nature trail, and you'll encounter native manuka, piriri, and totara trees.

Although it takes effort to get there, via bus, ferry, or shuttle, the appeal is its isolation -- nothing else is close by. The Tree House is inexpensive and a favorite among eco-travelers in New Zealand. Owners Phil and Pauline Evans use only environmentally safe cleaning products. And the kitchen, toilet and shower facilities drain into a subsoil effluent system -- one that doesn't use pumps or electricity. It's an inspiration to learn that anything so eco-sensitive can be this lovely. To learn more, visit the web site

South Island: Awaroa Lodge and Cafe

This place is a favorite among knowing Kiwis. Set in the woods where the Abel Tasman Coast track meets the Awaroa River Estuary, the place has aaward-winning cafe -- indoors and out -- along with some of South Island's sunniest weather. Guests arrive by water taxi, kayak, yacht; or discover this oasis after a morning on the trail. Lodging choices include a main building, as well as smaller cottages; some have private (ensuite) facilities, others have shared. For some guests who are just passing through, it's a crossroads; others guests use Awaroa Lodge as a base for day hikes, or paddling kayaks around the bay to see the seals. The food is quite good, and you can enjoy a glass of wine, or a cappucino under a market umbrella. Visit for more information.

South Island: Arthur's Pass Wilderness Lodge

Located in New Zealand's Southern Alps, Arthur's Pass Wilderness Lodge -- and its sister property, Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge -- were developed by an ecologist. With its double-glazed windows and passive solar features, this mountain retreat blends into a stunning landscape, attracting friendly guests who mingle during daily nature excursions. Each of the 20 guestrooms has a private bath and a mountain view. From this location, guests can go canoeing, visit a cave or a sheep station, or hike challenging alpine trails. The owners work with New Zealand's DOC to protect special plants and animals, conserve soil, and so on. Lodge rates include a full breakfast and a four-course dinner -- which can be vegetarian. Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge has a location on the island1s west coast near a colony of penguins. Both lodges share a web site:


g New Zealand Natural History
- The Focus Has Always Been Natural History

g New Zealand Tourism Q&A
- What is nature tourism in New Zealand? What are the bioregions? Who are the conservationists? What's at stake? Which New Zealanders make nature tourism a priority?

g Places
- New Zealand's North Island: The Tree House
- South Island: Awaroa Lodge and Cafe
- South Island: Arthur's Pass Wilderness Lodge

g Helpful New Zealand Books and Web Sites
Recommended reading



Sally McKinney is travel writer who continues to explore the world with the same enthusiasm she felt at age eleven when pedaling her bicycle into unknown countryside. The author of Adventures in Nature: New Zealand can be reached via email



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