Conservation & Environment
Protecting Wild New Zealand
The Wilderness Lodges have been at the forefront of nature conservation since their establishment in 1989 by committed conservationists Anne Saunders and Dr Gerry McSweeney. Prior to starting the Wilderness Lodges Gerry was the conservation director of Forest & Bird, New Zealand's largest environmental group. He continues his involvement in conservation as a Forest & Bird Conservation Ambassador, as member of the New Zealand Conservation Authority and as a member of the Nature Heritage Fund since it inception in 1990.
The first Wilderness Lodge at Lake Moeraki was set up to demonstrate that nature tourism could be an alternative to rainforest logging. By fostering eco-tourism & encouraging people to visit the West Coast it was possible to support communities that had traditionally relied upon destructive industries like logging. This concept was expanded with Wilderness Lodge Arthur's Pass to include sustainable farming. Both Wilderness Lodges have been recognised with 'Enviro-Gold' awards by hospitality ratings provider Qualmark.
Below is an outline of some environmental practices at 2 Wilderness Lodges. If you would like more information please contact us
Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki
Penguin Protection. Since 1989 the Wilderness Lodge has protected Tawaki (Fiordland Crested) penguins. In 1994 we succeeded in establishing a Wildlife Refuge to legally exclude dogs from the Moeraki Coast. We continue to ensure dogs are kept out, and also carry out predator control and penguin monitoring.
Pest Control. The biggest threat facing NZ's unique plants and animals is introduced pests like rats, stoats and possums. Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki maintains a pest control programme in the rainforest around the lodge to protect species like kereru, falcon, fuchsia and mistletoe.
- Advocating for Extensive Pest Control. We have been strong advocates for Department of Conservation landscape scale pest control programmes. Twenty years of possum, stoat and rat control in the valleys and mountains around the Wilderness Lodge has seen a resurgence in birds and wildlife and we have encouraged this successful conservation tool to be expanded to more of NZ's conservation lands. You can hear Dr McSweeney speak on Radio New Zealand here
about pest control.
- Protecting Wilderness. The Wilderness Lodges recognise the inherant value of wilderness and its role in society. Listen to Dr McSweeney's presentation Wild Places - A New Zealand Retrospective at the Environmental Defense Society Conference.
Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki shows it is possible to both protect nature and run a sustainable business
Renewable Electricity Generation. Lake Moeraki is off the grid. Electricity for the lodge is produced by our own small hydro-power station. We take water from the Moeraki river, drop it 2 metres (6 ft) though a turbine before returning water to the river 200m downstream. This electricity is 100% renewable and carbon neutral.
- Transport & Travel Minimisation. Our guided activities celebrate wilderness with low impact non-mechanised walking and kayaking, not jetboats and helicopters. This uses no fossil fuels and prevents noise and pollution. We source local produce wherever possible to reduce on transport.
Waste Reduction & Recycling. The lodge maintains an active waste minimisation and recycling programme.
Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki is intimately involved in penguin conservation.
Wilderness Lodge Arthur's Pass
- Sustainable land management. Half of the 6000 acre Wilderness Lodge property is protected as a nature reserve. The half still farmed is carefully managed to improve soil fertility using legume pasture species, protect waterways and prevent the spread of invasive weeds.
- Pest Control & Advocacy. The Wilderness Lodge maintains an extensive pest control programme through its reserves. This protects wildlife like red and yellow mistletoe, Kirk's Broom, rifleman, bellbirds and falcon. We support the Department of Conservation with their pest control efforts through Arthur's Pass National Park and beyond.
The Wilderness Lodge property is a haven for rare wildlife and an example of careful farming and land management.
Crested Grebe Conservation. The Wilderness lodge was closely involve in a community conservation campaign to create the Moana Rua Wildlife Refuge removing power boats from Lake Pearson. The lake is now a haven for the rare crested grebes and a favourite on our nature adventures.
- Wilding Pine Control. The Wilderness Lodge works to prevent the spread of conifer trees like Douglas Fir and Lodgepole Pine. These trees present a major conservation problem in the NZ high country. Lodge staff and guests have maintained special 'conifer-free' zones on the Wilderness Lodge property and neighbouring Craigieburn Forest Park.
- Low Impact Non-Mechanised Recreation. Like at Lake Moeraki the focus of our activities is on walking and kayaking not motorised activities. We don't allow tourist helicopter landings on the property out of respect for the helicopter free status of neighbouring Arthur's Pass National Park.
Waste Reduction, Recycling & Energy Efficiency. We work hard to minimise waste and recycle whatever possible. We run an ongoing energy efficiency programme and source hydro-electricity from NZ's only 100% renewable power supplier.
Participate in conservation projects run by the Wilderness Lodge Arthur's Pass