Trav­el­ling Lighter

You badly need to earn some Brownie points to pay the fam­ily back for all those rugby nights with the boys, but you can’t go mad be­cause the big sum­mer break is com­ing up fast. Time to take a look at a spring stay­ca­tion in New Zealand. And you might as we

Element - - Staycation - By Andy Ken­wor­thy

Go Over­land by train The Over­lan­der train ser­vice con­nects Auck­land and Welling­ton, and has just started seven-day op­er­a­tion. It’s a great way to take a leisurely trip through the heart of the North Is­land and ar­rive early evening ready for some night life. You’ll glide past the ski fields near Ohakune and fill the panoramic win­dows with gor­geous views of the vol­canic plateau, Mount Ruapehu, the world fa­mous Rau­rimu Spi­ral, and stun­ning river gorges. And be­cause you are not driv­ing you can make the most of the li­censed café and the chance to spread out with the kids, in­stead of just shout­ing “No, we are NOT nearly there yet” and try­ing to quell the ar­gu­ments in the rear view mir­ror. tranzscenic.co.nz Camp in a Kea Ev­ery fam­ily should do the cam­pa­van thing at least once; it’s al­most a law in New Zealand. Kea of­fers a pretty green take on this ven­er­a­ble tra­di­tion: they use re­new­able tim­ber in their vans, have so­lar panels, and they re­cy­cle their waste oil, pa­per and card­board. They are even test­ing biodiesel in one of their trans­fer vans to see if it might one day fuel the fleet. These ef­forts made it New Zealand’s first mo­torhome com­pany to re­ceive the En­vi­roGold Qual­mark rat­ing for en­vi­ron­men­tal re­spon­si­bil­ity. kea­cam­pers.com Ex­plore or­gan­i­cally Or­ganic Ex­plorer is a handy di­rec­tory for the con­scious tourist in New Zealand. And with a freshly up­dated guide­book due out any day, there’s plenty of ex­cit­ing new ac­tiv­i­ties to check out: every­thing from walk­ing tours to horse rides and all the ac­com­mo­da­tion and events you could want. The web­site also has a wealth of ideas. or­gan­ic­ex­plorer.co.nz Go West, Young Man If you do get a car out, there is no bet­ter place to point it than to­wards the West Coast of the South­ern Alps. It’s an eas­ily achiev­able yet epic jour­ney from rain­forests to glaciers, cross­ing mighty rivers and touch­ing on the Tas­man Sea. And there can’t be many more re­lax­ing places to stop than the five star Te Waonui For­est Re­treat just off the Franz Joseph High­way, on the edge of the Westland National Park (tewaonui. co.nz). It’s lux­u­ri­ous premises are eco-de­signed, which takes even more of the st­ing out of your time on the road. westcoastnz.com Be­come an Easy eco-rider Har­ley David­son mo­tor­cy­cles are not gen­er­ally known for the en­vi­ron­men­tal cre­den­tials, but Qual­mark ac­cred­ited Bu­larangi Har­ley Tours are putting a touch of green into the black and chrome im­age. They re­cy­cle their old bat­ter­ies, tyres and oil, and will chat about re­duc­ing your car­bon foot­print as eas­ily as they will talk you through the ben­e­fits of a de­cent leather jacket. They are cur­rently work­ing on Qual­mark En­viro ac­cred­i­ta­tion and aim to go Car­bon Zero in the next few years. You can rent one of those bad boys from Auck­land, Christchurch, Welling­ton or Queen­stown. mo­tor­bikesnz.co.nz Get on yer bike The Nat­u­ral High rental and tour com­pany from Christchurch has just opened an­other branch near Auck­land air­port in re­sponse to tough trad­ing con­di­tions in post-earthquake Christchurch. You can sup­port them and take some healthy time out by try­ing out one of their bike tours. Each trip comes with a com­plete set of course notes, maps and times for pub­lic trans­port links, and you can do any­thing from a two-day jaunt to Wai­heke to a 19-day north to south epic. Al­ter­na­tively, if you want big skies, no traf­fic and no steep hills, choose a ride along Otago’s his­toric Rail Trail (otago­cen­tral­rail­trail.co.nz). cy­cle­newzealand.com Re­ally get away from it all If you’ve al­ways fan­cied es­cap­ing to the Fjord­land wilder­ness, rness, but can only nav­i­gate with a smart­phone, Ad­ven­ture Walks lks might be the way to go. The com­pany’s se­lec­tion of fully guided one and two-day walks are open to any­one with a rea­son­able level of fit­ness and a thirst for some awe in­spir­ing ir­ing low im­pact ad­ven­ture. ad­ven­ture­walks.co.nz

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