Treetops Lodge - How to do Sustainability Without Compromising Luxury

Truly sustainable, Treetops Lodge & Estate, from its inception 17 years ago, nailed the needs of tomorrow in its groundbreaking sustainable and responsible lodge build, and ongoing estate practices.

And so, 17 years after Treetops opening, a newer definition of high-end travel indulges the travelling whims of today, as much as the needs of our earth. Sustainability without compromising luxury. Treetops latest sustainability initiative, added to what is STILL New Zealand’s most sustainably built lodge, goes a notch further by embracing local community and ambitious social programming.

Yes, luxury can be sustainable without compromising the luxury.

The scale of the lodge is huge with 2500 hectares of virgin forest across five mountains, but the experience is intimate – just 14 guest rooms and villas. Construction used native trees felled and milled on site. Mass planting programs are aided by keen Treetops guests and more than 250,000 habitat enhancing plants and sustainable forest have been planted on the estate to dateLong before the now four wetland habitats were created, micro hydro was designed into the concepts to provide energy self-sufficient for the lodge. Wading and dabbling species of bird life and trout have seen a steady increase as have our trout stocks. Intensive predator programs control maximum gain for flora and fauna. The mineral water on tap, shower, bath and to drink – is the purist seen anywhere on the planet – and it is 100% natural and unprocessed, scientifically proved to be the purest on-site water in New Zealand.

Cuisine here follows the Estate to Plate philosophy, it is organic 100% pesticide free, as it should be – this is a true wilderness estate. A real resource designed for sustainability and a guest delight; Treetops is less physical than personal. Treetops fosters local talent, we support/sponsor micro-enterprise initiatives like our local artesian who carves from 5000-year-old swap Kauri and New Zealand art works for sale to guests throughout the lodge. Everything from the lodge’s 70 km adventure trails, Manuka Honey hives, on-site wild game 4WD safaris, organic produce gardens, Maori medicinal and wild food foraging produce for the Wild Food Cooking School is tended, guided, harvested or hand-picked where can be by our local Kiwis. And the 250,000 sustainable forest that has been planted on the site to date means carbon emission from every guest that visited Treetops from the farthest parts of the world has already been paid by carbon credits.

Here, sustainability is a social endeavour.

Treetops Lodge Responsible Tourism Policies:

ENERGY: Long before the wetland habitats were created, Micro hydro was designed into the concepts to provide energy self-sufficiency for the lodge.

DRINKING WATER: Water is supplied for guest consumption by a deep natural spring; this provides guests the opportunity to consume, bathe and shower in the highest quality mineral water seen on the planet.

WASTEWATER: Treetops runs comprehensive bio cycle aeration plants, with trickle irrigation for all grey water after treatment.

BUILD: The lodge’s elegant, ecology-inspired architectural style derived from the country’s pioneering past, with timber and stone finishes echoing the natural beauty and simplicity of the great outdoors. There was a careful selection of dead and down trees, milling on site, selecting rock to assist in the construction – the main lodge and villas resulted in a highly integrated building concept to support the archeological and geographical important features. Particular attention has also been given to the design – high levels of insulation, heat recovery and recycling systems, double-glazing with low heat transmission glass, orientating the building to maximize sun collection.

RECYCLING: Refuge from the lodge and estate is recycled and constant and regular monitoring is done monthly. The waste is processed onsite or recycled. Plastic, glass and paper is collected and supplied to recovery/recycling plants. Organic waste is run through composting plants and then through trickle irrigation to enhance plant life.

HABITAT: Mass planting programs – in excess of 100,000 planted on the site. Carbon emission from every guest visited Treetops from the farthest part of the world, with the number of trees planted, has already been paid by carbon credits. The creation of four wetland habitat areas for wading and dabbling species of bird life and trout. They are witnessing a steady increase in bird life. Wetland habitat is periodically attracting blue ducks which are on the endangered species list. Intensive predator programs to control maximum gain for flora and fauna. The predator program has been successful by steadily reducing the numbers that prey on our indigenous species

LOCAL COMMUNITY & HERITAGE: Tear fund – we support/sponsor micro-enterprise initiatives, by the provision of micro-enterprise or loans to the organization. E.g. local artisan Wayne Ross carvings from 5000-year-old swamp Kauri wood which in turn is sold through the lodge to guests.

Promote through specialist cultural activities at the lodge for example Indigenous Spa experiences, Maori Food Trails, Maori Cultural performances we employ local iwi (Maori tribe) for activities using their historical knowledge, and of course we employ from our local community