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Here in Wānaka, we are so excited to welcome the world back to the Southern Alps, starting with our friends from Australia as of mid-April.

And while we’re stoked that new and returning guests will once again be able to experience the incredible wairua (spirit) of this place, we acknowledge that we all have a responsibility to protect the taoka (treasure) of Wānaka and practice kaitiakitanga (guardianship) while you’re here.

Here are 5 ways to be a good traveller while in Wānaka.

Responsible travelling

We all have a responsibility to take up the challenge of being good ancestors. This will help create the foundations for a thriving future for this place, long after we are gone. 

Before travelling, be sure to check out the Tiaki Promise. Tiaki means to care and the Promise is a commitment to care for New Zealand while visiting.

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This means care for the land, sea, waterways and nature by treading lightly and leaving no trace. It means travelling safely and showing care for others around you. Lastly, it means having respect for culture and that you travel with an open heart and mind.

We’ve created a guide for those interested in travelling responsibly. If you’d like to know more, click here.

Go plastic-free

Plastic-Free Wānaka is a non-profit community initiative that develops programs to encourage going waste- and plastic-free. One of their most successful projects is SUCFree Wānaka, or Single-Use Cup Free Wānaka.

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The goal of the SUCFree project is to see Wānaka become Aotearoa’s first single-use cup free town. To date, 24 cafes and caravans in Wanaka have implemented cup-lending schemes (like Wanakup) or mug libraries. When you’re in Wānaka, you’ll notice that people bring their own mugs or use the cup-lending systems available or dining in. Learn more about going SUCFree here.

Another way to easily go plastic-free is by saying no to single-use plastic bottles refilling your reusable water bottle at a RefillNZ station. Find out more about RefillNZ here and find Wānaka stations here.

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Get the social media shot – sustainably

We know that one of the best parts of visiting Wānaka is getting to see some of the beautiful Instagram-able spots in real life. But it’s important to be aware of how sharing on social media can negatively impact the environments of these places.

If you’d like to help mitigate these impacts, learn more about getting the shot sustainably here.

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Be a conscious tramper

Our beautiful mountains are a draw for everyone that comes to Wānaka and we absolutely want to encourage our guests to experience these glorious peaks.

It’s important to remember that they are also wild and play by their own set of rules. We are simply visitors. Therefore, everytime we head into the hills, it is our responsibility to be prepared for whatever might get thrown at us. It is also our duty to ensure that we leave the mountains as we found them.

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We created guidelines and resources about responsible tramping that will help you ensure that you make the most of your time in the outdoors, safely and consciously. Check out other ways to be more mindful on the tracks here.

Contribute

We hope that all our visitors to Wānaka leave with a deep connection to this land and a desire to protect it so that future generations may also experience it. If you find yourself wanting to contribute to our collective mission there are a few ways to help, whether you’re here long-term or just passing through.

Check out Te Kākano Aotearoa Trust. The Trust is a Wānaka community-based, non-profit plant nursery that raises plants of local origin for native habitat restoration.

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When visiting, walking and watering this is one of the simplest ways to contribute to restoration. Head out for a walk along the lakeside (try the Millennium Track!) and be sure to keep your eyes open for Te Kākano’s signage and giant drums of water. They’re massive and are situated directly on the side of the track.

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You can also join in on nursery days and if you’re time poor, can donate to the Trust. Learn more here. 

Earlier, we talked about Plastic-Free Wānaka and all they’re doing to help rid Wānaka of single-use plastics. If that sort of initiative is your jam, PFW accepts donations.

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Together, we can all help look after our local communities and create positive impact, whether we are here for a lifetime or just a few days.

If you’re looking for inspiration about travelling responsibly in Wānaka and sustainable travel practices, check out the Sustainability and Community sections of our blog. We’ll see you soon!

#lovewānaka