First Light Travel's Environmental Policy

First Light Travel's Environmental Policy

New Zealand has been described by National Geographic as a 'world in miniature'. New Zealand is a land of incredible natural wonders with a unique ecosystem featuring many species found only on these islands - and we want to keep it that way! Sustainable tourism is everything to us, this is our country and we love living here, our job is to help others experience that very thing we treasure the most. So we have put strategies in place to promote the positive impacts and to minimise the negative.

First Light Travel's Environmental Policy

Like other parts of the “New World”, New Zealand’s natural environment has seen fundamental changes with the arrival of modern European cultures with many introduced species which have often harmed the endemic species – and human activity which has degraded much of the original native forest and habitat. There are however many positives. New Zealand has long taken an environmentally enlightened stance in international affairs and its tourism industry is 10, possibly 15 years ahead of many countries who might otherwise consider themselves to be leading in responsible eco-tourism.

First Light Travel has a well-developed Leave-No-Trace ethic in New Zealand. We are involved in supporting a range of local conservation efforts. Most of all, however, we believe that joining one of our journeys will inspire you to be a passionate advocate for New Zealand’s unique wild places should they be under threat in the future. We are passionate about wilderness and wild places and it is a real privilege to share the landscapes, flora, and fauna with our clients. We greatly value these assets and are absolutely committed to operating in a manner which conserves and enhances our natural environment.

Our business activities and trip operations are purposefully designed to minimise environmental impact of carbon emissions. We will encourage our partners, suppliers, and sub-contractors to improve their contribution to sustainable development and management of tourism, and will work with them and share information to assist in this. We seek to support locally-owned New Zealand guiding operations who can demonstrate to us a similar passion for the natural environment. All of our partners are involved where practical in local conservation efforts and we believe that in journeying to New Zealand you are contributing to a valuable alternative natural economy in sustainable tourism.

Our Policies

All of our trips in New Zealand are committed to the implementation of the following environmental policies:

• Itinerary designs which have utmost regard to minimising the impact on the local environment and improving it wherever possible.

• Location choice – we have deliberately sought to design our journeys in the regions where you are most likely to be inspired to become an ambassador for New Zealand’s wild places in the future.

• Our Group Tours – We maintain genuinely small group sizes which minimise the environmental and social footprint of our trips.

• A destination-based approach which reflects the carrying capacity of tourist locations with an emphasis on undiscovered and off the beaten track locations.

• A focus on experiences which require human power e.g. trekking, mountain biking in preference to vehicle-based itineraries.

• A policy of “leave no trace” which is relevant to wild camping, flora and fauna, waste disposal, visual and noise intrusion, and other land users.

• Client briefings on environmental awareness, responsibilities, and practice with particular emphasis on highlighting local environmental issues/threats. An opportunity to offset carbon emissions arising from international air travel.

and more importantly...

First Light Travel acknowledges our contribution to climate change, and we are responsible for committing to a journey of change to reduce our environmental footprint. Our carbon measurement and offset program covers flights, accommodation, and vehicle travel.


We found it fitting to extend our support to one of New Zealand's most impactful volunteer environmental organizations, 'Arrowtown Choppers.' This dedicated group focuses on removing wilding pines above Arrowtown, hence the name 'Choppers,' and replaces them with native Beech, Ribbonwood, and Totara trees to enrich the area's biodiversity.

We are deeply committed to this cause through volunteering, financial contributions, and various forms of support. Each native tree can be planted for less than $5, and we are dedicated to reducing this cost further, ensuring an even greater impact for our conservation efforts.  

Join us on the journey of reducing our environmental footprint.

First Light Travel and our sister company New Zealand Trails acknowledge that we need to reduce our environmental footprint. Our carbon measurement and offset program to date has allowed us to plant over 3000 native beach trees.

Beech trees (Nothofagus species) can sequester a significant amount of carbon over their lifetimes. A mature tree can store about 22 kg of CO2 per year on average.

You can opt-in and help for as little as $NZ5pp (US$3) - or not, it's ok, we are going to do it anyway. This year we donated $NZ10.000 (that's 3,333 trees) and volunteered a lot of labor - and we intend to do better next and every other year.

Please feel free to contact us if you have a question.

Interested to find out more about First Light Travels Sustainability focus?

We are proud to be the major sponsor of the  Arrowtown Community Tree Nursery

Congratulations Danielle! First Light Travel Appoints Sustainability Manager Danielle

Its time to improve our environmental footprint Find Out How to Offset Your Carbon

Check out our article explaining the concept of the QEII Covenant Land Donation: Mahu Whenua Land Donation

Read about our Tree Planting Event in April 2024: First Light Travel Tree Planting April 2024

Learn more about our Tree Planting Event in October 2023: First Light Travel Tree Planting October 2023

Discover more about the 2024 Global Sustainability Conference: 2024 Global Sustainability Conference


Brent Narbey
Brent Narbey
: 31 May 2005 (Last updated: 17 Jul 2024)

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