The environment​

Our philosophy is ‘education through experience’, seeking maximum enjoyment with minimum impact. We’ve always believed in using our adventures as a force for good.

As tourism gradually returns to pre-pandemic levels, it’s more important than ever for us to champion and celebrate more community-friendly and environmentally conscious ways of seeing New Zealand.

The New Zealand bush is a tāonga – a treasure for all. It must be preserved for future generations. We are all spiritually connected to our land so when the land is healthy, we are healthy. 

The areas we walk in are exceptional, but fragile natural ecosystems. We love to share our knowledge about the ecological processes at work and how we can best operate within them, while enhancing our visitors appreciation of the unique natural and cultural identities of our whenua (land).

As kaitiaki (guardians) of our forests, we act as ambassadors for conservation when we share these environments with our guests.

Sustainable Tourism vs. Regenerative Tourism

Sustainable tourism seeks to harm nothing and no-one, but regenerative tourism aims to achieve greater impact by leaving a place better than when we arrived. Walking Legends is committed to regenerative tourism and we weave these threads through our communities to make sure our natural environment remains pristine for generations to come.

sustainable tourism


Our Journey Towards Carbon-Neutral Certification

We have made a commitment to become carbon-neutral by 2025 and climate positive by 2030. In 2022, we are right at the start of our carbon-emissions lowering journey. Follow us on social media where we’ll share our highs, lows, wins and losses and all the valuable things we’ve learned in the process!

How We Put Care Into Practice

We take practical, everyday steps to protect our environment, such as:

Sustainability By Design

  • Keeping groups to a small size on our guided walks helps us to achieve these objectives and still enjoy a true New Zealand wilderness experience.
  • Improving our itineraries to reduce driving times and making our movements more efficient.
  • Reducing our reliance on single-use plastic, you can help us by bringing along a reuseable water bottle. Keep Cups for hot drinks are great as well! We’ll package your lunches in reuseable sandwich wraps, kept together in a robust cooler bag that is yours to use for the trip. 
  • We choose to work with accommodation providers that care about reducing their carbon footprint and we support them by advocating for more responsible tourism and educating all of our guides and guests on how to care for Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Making Our Purchases Matter

  • Our guides wear 100% New Zealand-made merino clothing by Earth, Sea, Sky & Glowing Sky.
  • We buy free-range eggs and fair trade coffee. We are building up our offering to include New Zealand made products that are sustainably packaged and low or free of unhealthy ingredients – like Crafty Weka bars for example. Their delicious range of muesli bars are packaged in a special cellophane that worms can eat so we don’t need to stress about that tiny piece of plastic that always escapes your pocket when you go in for tissue! 

Closed-loop Products & Life-cycle Responsibility

  • Managing our waste, separating recyclables, composting food waste, returning as much as we can back into the organic cycle and sending as little as possible to landfill.

Effecting Real Change Through Real Action

  • We spend time in our off-season volunteering with local conservation projects. You can support them too! We’ve cleared trap lines in kōkako habitat with the Rotoehu Ecological Trust, and replaced bait stations to help kiwi chicks survive in the Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust project area, as well as planted native seedlings along the Wharere Canal at Pukehina Beach with Sustainable Coastlines.
  • Donating to environmental projects run by passionate people to protect endangered endemic species, like the $500 donation we made to Eastern Whio Link to keep pests out of whiō nesting sites in northern Te Urewera and the backyard lizard project we helped Oruawharo Medlands Ecovision with on Great Barrier Island.
  • We have been caring for hectare #189 in the Lake Rotopounamu forest since 2015 with Project Tongariro.
  • Guests on our Coromandel Explorer tour have planted over 220 native Kauri tree seedlings.


All our trips are run according to our Environmental Policy, which incorporates the Department of Conservation’s Environmental and Water Care Codes.

We are Department of Conservation Concessionaire Holders – License number ECHB-24575-GUI.

We are Marine Mammal Permit holders and we have a trained Marine Mammal Medic on staff.

We hold a GOLD Award from Qualmark which recognises the best sustainable tourism businesses in New Zealand, validating our commitment to excellence in sustainable tourism.

We support the Tiaki Promise, care for New Zealand code of ethics.

We have committed to the New Zealand Tourism Industry Association’s Tourism Sustainability 12-step programme.

We are members of the Rotorua Sustainable Charter, a member organisation dedicated to promoting sustainable practices within the Rotorua district.

Environmental Practices

Environmental performance and practices are hugely important to us and we are always looking at ways to improve the way we do things.

Want to find out more about any of these initiatives, get in touch with us, or tell us about your project and how we can help.

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