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  • Writer's pictureJulie Wolbers

Glacier Country and New Zealand Eco Tourism

Updated: Oct 27, 2023


Photo By Ribbonwood Retreat In Franz Josef Glacier Of People Exploring The West Coast Rainforest

Glacier Country is a pristine ecologically diverse environment, located on the secluded and untouched West Coast of New Zealand. This place is our Tūrangawaewae, the place where we feel empowered and connected and where we run our beloved bed & breakfast business – Ribbonwood Retreat. In our minds, it is incredibly important to protect and preserve this expansive and magical land. As contributors to the tourism sector in New Zealand, we are always on the lookout for ways in which we can positively impact this industry and enhance New Zealand eco-tourism. Not only this, but we also love to be inspired by and celebrate other businesses and individuals who are taking a proactive approach to sustainability and working to authentically minimise their impact on local ecosystems and wildlife. And so below, with an essence of pride and camaraderie, I want to share their stories and amazing efforts with you. My peers, my friends and fellow tourism business owners in Glacier Country share the same philosophy as Ribbonwood Retreat when it comes to protecting our Whenua, manu and wildlife.


Photo By Ribbonwood Retreat In Franz Josef Glacier Of A Kayaker Exploring Lake Mapourika On A Misty Morning West Coast Of New Zealand


How Businesses in Glacier Country Contribute to Eco Tourism New Zealand

One way in which these businesses are contributing is by supporting and participating in local conservation efforts and restoration initiatives as well as giving their customers the opportunity to be involved in these activities. This not only raises awareness and educates many visitors to our region about the importance of environmental stewardship but also generates additional resources to assist in the restoration and protection of our ecosystems.


Photo By Ribbonwood Retreat In Franz Josef Glacier Of Franz Josef Wilderness Tours Covered Cruise Boat On A Misty Morning Lake Mapourika


Franz Josef Wilderness Tours

Franz Josef Wilderness Tours is a family-owned and operated business that offers a range of outdoor adventure activities in the Franz Josef area, including quad-biking and kayaking.

  • The company is committed to sustainable tourism and takes measures to reduce its impact on the environment. They have identified and offset their largest contributors to their carbon footprint with Ekos New Zealand.

  • Franz Josef Wilderness Tours is also involved in conservation efforts in the area, including predator control programs and supporting native bird populations.

  • The company has received several awards for its sustainability efforts, including the QualMark Gold Sustainable Tourism Business Award and the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.


Photo By Ribbonwood Retreat Accommodation Franz Josef Glacier West Coast NZ Of Kayakers On Lake Mapourika

Glacier Valley Eco Tours

Glacier Valley Eco Tours offers guided nature walks, bird watching tours, and other eco-friendly activities in the Franz Josef area.

  • The company is committed to sustainable tourism and has implemented several measures to reduce its environmental impact and composting organic waste.

  • Project Early Bird is an initiative launched by Glacier Valley Eco Tours in collaboration with the Department of Conservation to monitor and protect the bird population in the area.

  • The trapping initiative of Project Early Bird involves trapping predators such as stoats and rats around Lake Matheson to protect the bird population which includes kiwi and their habitat.

  • Visitors can support Project Early Bird by contributing to the preservation of the local ecosystem.

Photo By Ribbonwood Retreat Franz Josef Glacier Of Hikers Stopped For Coffee Break Sitting On Boulders Near The Base Of Fox Glacier

Ōkārito Kayaks

Ōkārito Kayaks offer stunning kayak trips on the famousŌkārito lagoon – New Zealand's largest wetland.

  • Visitors can learn about the unique flora and fauna of the area and enjoy breathtaking views of the Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea.

  • Gorsebusters is an initiative launched by Ōkārito Kayaks to control the spread of gorse, a non-native invasive plant species that threatens the native ecosystem in the Ōkārito area.

  • The initiative involves a team of volunteers who work together to remove gorse plants from the area, using environmentally friendly methods such as cutting and spraying.

  • Gorsebusters also educates the local community and visitors about the impact of invasive species on the ecosystem.


Photo By Ribbonwood Retreat Franz Josef Glacier Of Okarito Boat Eco Tours

White Heron Sanctuary Tours

White Heron Sanctuary Tours is a locally owned and operated company that offers guided tours to the White Heron (Kotuku) Sanctuary in Whataroa.

  • The sanctuary is home to the only breeding colony of the White Heron (Kotuku) in New Zealand and is an important conservation site for the species.

  • The company is committed to eco-friendly tourism and takes measures to reduce its impact on the environment, promoting responsible travel practices.

  • Visitors can learn about the biology and behavior of the White Heron, as well as the history and cultural significance of the area.

Photo By Ribbonwood Retreat Franz Josef Glacier of A Great White Heron Wading Through the Okarito Lagoon On The West Coast Of New Zealand

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