Lonely Planet Writer

Zipline, adventure and conservation company wins New Zealand’s top tourism award

Combining conservation and adventure, Rotorua Canopy Tours has taken home New Zealand’s top tourism accolade, the Air New Zealand Supreme Tourism Award in Auckland.

Zipline in New Zealand.
Zipline New Zealand. Image by Rotorua Canopy Tours

Their tours offer visitors a bird’s eye view of New Zealand’s forests from the tops of the trees. The unique eco-tourism adventure lasts for three hours. During that time, adventurers travel through Dansey Road Scenic Reserve via ziplines, swing-bridges and platforms on treetops that stand an impressive 22 metres above the ground, reports the New Zealand Herald. The director of Canopy Tours, James Fitzgerald, received the Pacific Asia Travel Association New Zealand Trust Young Tourism Leader Award two years ago. He described winning the Supreme Award this year as a genuine surprise, adding it was “pretty surreal that we’ve won.”

 

Rotorua Canopy Tours also make a contribution to the overall conservation of the forest and indigenous fauna, which were at risk from pests introduced to the area such as possums and rats. The company has been trapping these threats to the native plants. This, in turn, has led to a steady return of much bird life to the forests. Tourists to the region can now spot rare North Island robins, local wood pigeons called kereru, pacific gecko, and kakas, which are indigenous parrots.

Zipline in New Zealand.
Zipline New Zealand. Image by Rotorua Canopy Tours

The award judges felt this business was an example of how environment, culture and people can combine to create a successful and enjoyable atmosphere. The judges highlighted the huge progress the company had achieved as visitor numbers rose year on year, reported the Herald. In turn, Rotorua Canopy Tours has reinvested in a new headquarters at the entrance to the city. Part of their $10,000 valued prize is that they can travel to any Air New Zealand destination to aid the growth of their company. In addition to scooping the major award, the company also collected the Visitor Experience Award and the Environmental Award.