Most travellers know Queenstown by heart, being the thrill capital of New Zealand. However, not many know that the road doesn’t end in Queenstown. In fact, the very few who wisely decide to drive about 40 minutes up north, following the Lake Wakatipu over the incredibly scenic and windy roads, are rewarded by the warm and welcoming vibe of a luxurious eco-retreat called: Camp Glenorchy, New Zealand’s first Net Zero energy visitor destination. We met with Gaby to learn more about this beautiful lodge and their view on sustainability.
The first thing we noticed is the amazing architecture and the attention to detail in the design of Camp Glenorchy. The wooden building reminded us of the typical Swiss cabins you’d find high up the European Alps. As we entered the main building we were amazed by the beautiful and warm design. We learned from their website that “the decor uses recycled timber from the Christchurch earthquakes and furniture collected from all over New Zealand”.
We were greeted by the friendly and knowledgeable Gaby, who was working at the front desk that day. She told us the design of Camp Glenorchy is all in line with the philosophy of the Living Building Challenge, which is the world’s most rigorous environmental building design certification. Meaning that the building material, as well as the stunningly beautiful ‘common sense design’, is mainly local, sustainable and renewable. As they state: “People from around the world use our regenerative design framework to create spaces that, like a flower, give more than they take.”
Camp Glenorchy does a serious lot in terms of sustainability. Just to name a few: a solar panel garden to generate energy, planting only native plants to restore the ecosystem and save water, using insulation panels with recycled plastic and wool, wrapping buildings to keep them airtight, rainwater collecting rooftops and most of the building materials are either reused or recycled. Especially the innovative water-less compost toilets were an interesting touch, as the air ventilation system keeps the stink out and your butt cool. The combined technologies at Glenorchy uses, allow them to regenerate even more energy than they need. And they use 50% less water than their traditional non-ecologic counterparts. Now, that’s impressive!
The eco-retreat has just opened its doors in March 2018, after a long renovation of the property that took about 4 years to complete. And it has been a huge success, winning several awards and earning a spot in the list of World’s Greatest Places 2019 by Time Magazine. And we think it’s easy to understand why. The surroundings of Glenorchy are stunning which makes it a perfect spot for outdoor activities. In fact, even two of the Great Walks start off in Glenorchy. Furthermore, there’s horseback riding, kayaking, biking, zip-lining, canyoning, skydiving and much more. And during the wintertime, we think it’s the perfect place to sit down, relax and read some good books by the fireplace.
We will make sure to book a room here the next time we visit Glenorchy!
Explore the outer coast of Pohatu Marine Reserve and marvel at its spectacular towering cliffs, rock stacks, reefs, and deep sea caves. Observe the diverse wildlife and marine species such as penguins, seals, various sea birds and possibly the world’s smallest dolphin!