Travalyst: Retrace Harry and Meghan's NZ tour with sustainable stays
Travalyst, the recently launched eco-travel campaign led by Prince Harry, is part of a move from the travel industry to better cater to eco-conscious travellers.
A range of companies have partnered with the Duke of Sussex on the initiative, including Booking.com, Expedia Group, Google, Skyscanner, Trip.com Group, Tripadvisor and Visa.
Sustainable travel is definitely growing in popularity - recent research from Booking.com found it is important to 72 percent of New Zealanders, with 62 percent of surveyed Kiwi holidaymakers saying they would be more likely to choose sustainable accommodation, whether they were specifically looking for it or not.
In support of the Travalyst sustainable travel campaign, Booking.com has put together a guide to the spots in Aotearoa visited by Harry and Meghan in recent years, to help inspire a sustainable tour of the country while retracing the Duke and Duchess's steps.
Here, Prince Harry laid a wreath at the Pukeahu National War Memorial during his first stop of the 2018 tour. From incorporating low carbon transport to sustainable home building initiative, the local city council is committed to making 'Windy Welly 'a thriving eco-city for Wellingtonians and travellers alike.
Where to stay: Booking.com recommends QT Wellington, where "contemporary art meets luxury and leisure". In addition to the unique and eclectic ambiance in space described as a visual indulgence, there is also the Hippopotamus Cafe, which promises a chic space where one can raise a colourful cocktail to a night of liberté and vogue. From sourcing local ingredients for their restaurants to upcycling vintage decor, QT Wellington proudly wears the Booking.com Travel Sustainable badge.
Abel Tasman National Park
Follow the pristine coastline of extraordinarily clear turquoise bays, abundant bird and sea life, and mystical surroundings as you walk under the shady canopy of lush native forest at Abel Tasman National Park. This lush location was the second stop on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's itinerary of New Zealand experiences. The park's conservation initiatives continue to preserve the rich biodiversity of flora and fauna that call it home.
Where to stay: Nestled amongst native bush in Marahau, Ocean View Chalets is located a stone's throw away from the closest beach and National Park entrance. This Booking.com Travel Sustainable Property is a family-run business said to offer incredible hospitality focused on community and sustainability with the aim of preserving a slice of paradise for future generations. This scenic escapade is promised as ideal for guests who are looking to recharge from the hustle and bustle of everyday life by reconnecting with nature through long hikes and dips in sapphire blue waters.
Aotearoa's City of Sails is described as an urban oasis where bustling harbours and lush landscapes meet city sophistication. Travellers can experience world-class shopping and dining experiences amidst volcanic hills and dazzling harbours. Hosted by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the royal couple mingled with Aucklanders and local charities during their visit to the big city before attending a reception at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.
Where to stay: Booking.com reckons The Hotel Britomart is downtown's best dressed rendezvous, boasting luxurious guest rooms and suites could be a welcome retreat after a day of shopping. It's also New Zealand's first five green star hotel and was also the only New Zealand hotel to earn a highly coveted spot of being on Conde Nast Traveller's 2021 Hot List. Also features a new seafood restaurant on the ground floor, Kingi, which could be ideal for wrapping up the day in stylish surroundings.
Rotorua is New Zealand's geothermal gem world-renowned for its bubbling mud pools, shooting geysers and natural hot springs, as well as showcasing fascinating Māori culture. Besides being one of the country's most popular traveller playgrounds, Rotorua is also home to the National Kiwi Hatchery famous for their kiwi breeding programme and conservation efforts. So much so that Prince Harry and Meghan paid a visit during their 2018 tour.
Where to stay: Koura Lodge offers boutique bed and breakfast lakeside accommodation situated on the shores of Lake Rotorua in a private and peaceful location. Guests can expect a free buffet breakfast, an outdoor hot tub, a sauna and kayaks with a private jetty. Each room opens onto a deck area offering scenic lake views. Should be considered by travellers who are after peaceful surroundings while being a short drive from many of Rotorua's world famous attractions.
The Marlborough region has world-famous Sauvignon Blanc, delicious fresh seafood and diverse landscapes, from valleys of vines to sheltered waterways. While Prince Harry and Meghan have yet to pay a visit to one of the country's most famous wine countries, it's proven to be a favourite destination for the Royal Family as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge William and Kate visited New Zealand in 2014 as well as Her Majesty the Queen in 1953.
Where to stay: Marlborough's newest urban retreat, 14th Lane Urban Hotel is a fully refurbished heritage building promised to combine elegant simplicity with the luxury of modern embellishments. In the heart of Blenheim CBD, and central to the town's laid-back community of bars, cafes, retailers and town amenities.