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If you love the mountains and you love the snow it’s time to consider how to make that winter ski trip carbon friendly.

The Queenstown Lakes district has set a BIG goal for the visitor economy to reach Carbon Zero by 2030! While that may sound daunting when all you want to do is have a holiday, it’s the sum of all our small efforts that will deliver climate victories right now. There’s a long way to go, but we can all play our part – here’s how.

1. Getting here

It’s estimated that a day of skiing on average equates to 48.9kg CO2eq. So, what can we do about it? One way to significantly reduce individual emissions is to fly less. So instead of several short ski trips throughout the season plan to have one longer getaway, this will help massively reduce your carbon footprint. If your airline offers a carbon offset option of course opt in and take a direct flight if possible.

Man sitting in campervan looking out at the lake and mountains

2. Transport to and around Wānaka

If you like your freedom hire an EV through Sixt or GORentals charging while on the road is simple – just download the Power Trip app (Apple, Android) or use Waka Kotahi NZTA’s EV Chargers map. Better yet, we’ve created a Wānaka-specific EV charging map here.

And when you’re heading up the mountain to help out with transport emissions ride-share with friends or make some new friends. Cardrona and Treble Cone both have designated hitch-hiking spots and there’s even a carpooling app – download it to organise rides with or offer seats to other skiers and snowboarders.  

The other alternative is to jump on a shuttle bus there’s daily services from Queenstown Airport to downtown Wānaka and then daily mountain shuttles. Enjoy the bonus après with no worries while helping out the environment.

A couple snowboard at Cardrona in New Zealand

3. Don’t S.U.C (Single Use Cup)

Did you know that hundreds of millions of disposable cups are used every day and less than 1% are recycled? Doesn’t mean you have to give up that morning coffee but make travelling around with a keep cup a priority. Here in Wānaka our cafes and caravans make it easy with cup lending schemes and many are completely SUCfree. While on mountain you won’t see any takeaway cups so plan to sit down and take your time and enjoy that morning coffee with the most epic of mountain views. Oh, and don’t forget to bring your own water bottle with you on your travels as we have plenty of places to re-fill them!

Cup of steaming hot mugs in Winter

4. Support sustainable brands

When you’re ready for something new from skis, outerwear and base-layers to gloves there are now plenty of brands out there using sustainable processes and innovative materials to help us enjoy being on the slopes, while minimising the impacts on the environment. Also, consider buying second-hand not only will you save money but you will be contributing to the increasing problem of fast fashion. There’s plenty of second-hand options in Wānaka and with a community that is passionate about the mountains and always has been you will most definitely score yourself something of quality that oozes retro style. A trustworthy option is our local waste-free institution known as Wastebusters – you’ll always be sure to find a winner!


5. Make a commitment to Love Wānaka

Our journey to Carbon Zero has just begun but there are plenty of local organisations who have been working tirelessly on solutions they just need a little love. Love Wānaka has been set up as a not for profit platform to support localised climate action and biodiversity initiatives. So if you genuinely want to help then make a commitment – it can be financially or with your time. You can learn more here on ways to give back to supporting the regeneration of our region.

Braided rivers in a valley surrounded by native bush and greenery.

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