Ziptrek Ecotours takes eco-education to new heights 

Ziptrek Ecotours aims to educate and inspire New Zealand’s leaders of tomorrow towards long-term environmental and sustainable practices with a pioneering new eco-education outdoor learning programme in Queenstown.

Ziptrek Ecotours aims to educate and inspire New Zealand’s leaders of tomorrow towards long-term environmental and sustainable practices with a pioneering new eco-education outdoor learning programme in Queenstown.

The company is using its architecturally designed treehouses and ziplines high on Bob’s Peak as an ‘outdoor classroom’ to showcase sustainable tourism at work and how businesses can future-proof for environmental, social and financial success.

The interactive eco-education programme is primarily aimed at tertiary students, career advisors and educators and is a practical ‘take’ on the STEM curriculum of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.  Tours are custom-designed to align with each group’s academic requirements.

Science is covered off with discussions on Ziptrek’s biodiversity, introduced species and Predator Free 2050 support as well as its work in becoming a Carbon Zero business. Technology talks to the systems and design used to streamline Ziptrek’s business, such as remote area solar energy powering cameras and gates, while the structural design benefits and challenges of the treehouses and ziplines is a must for engineers. Maths is applied to the metrics measuring Ziptrek’s business and the physics and cable design in ziplines.

The two-hour experience starts from $49 per person and includes a tailored talk by one of the team, a site exploration, and a zip down the world’s steepest tree to tree zipline – dropping 30 storeys in 10 seconds at speeds of up to 70kmph.   There are also options to upgrade to either the four-line Moa Tour or premium six-line Kea tour.

The outdoor learning initiative aligns with Ziptrek’s deep commitment to education, sustainability and conservation.   It forms part of its ongoing work under New Zealand’s Tourism Sustainability Commitment and the Future-Fit framework, a global and open-sourced sustainability framework relating to UN development goals.

Other initiatives within its education programme include a Paper4Trees recycling project with pre-schools and schools, and Queenstown Resort College internships.

Ziptrek executive director Trent Yeo believes that while COVID-19 has created opportunity for a tourism reset and renewed focus on sustainability, more education is needed to achieve New Zealand’s vision to lead the world in sustainable tourism.

“We hope our new eco-education tour will help inform, inspire and empower New Zealand’s leaders of tomorrow to think more deeply about doing business in a way that creates long-term value for our people, our economy and our environment,” he says.

“Our tour turns theory into practice through ‘outside the classroom’ learning and helps participants experience first-hand some of the exciting and innovative career pathways within the tourism industry.

“We also demonstrate how our business decisions, centred around making the right call for the environment and our community, have translated into a world-class adventure experience and sustainable tourism business.”

Early uptake on the programme has proven successful with several tertiary institutions, including ARA Institute of Canterbury and the Auckland-based Crown Institute of Studies, which provides training in travel and tourism hospitality, health and wellbeing, business and computing, giving it rave reviews.

“I’ve heard from all the career advisors and teachers who experienced your programme that your company is inspirational and futuristic,” says Dr Josephine Do, Managing Director of Crown Institute of Studies.

Career/education advisors from Southland Careers and Transition Education (CATE) also visited recently to better understand employment possibilities for young people from their region, careers in the tourism sector and how places like Queenstown are adapting in response to a COVID world.

The programme’s been welcomed by regional tourism body Destination Queenstown which also presents to visiting groups.

“Ziptrek is one of many Queenstown operators which has thought outside the square to develop new and exciting programmes and product in the aftermath of Covid,” says DQ acting General Manager Ann Lockhart.

“We’re fully supportive of their education initiative, especially as this helps us demonstrate that there IS a future in tourism for our young people, with exciting and innovative career pathways in the industry. We have some of the best tourism operators in the country running businesses here.”

For more information about tour options visit www.ziptrek.co.nz/groups/

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Kiwi hospitality businesses ‘chomping at the bit’ to invest in food safety technology

A Queenstown company is going from strength to strength with its food safety app as New Zealand’s hospitality sector continues to invest in digital tools to achieve greater efficiency and sustainability.

A Queenstown company is going from strength to strength with its food safety app as New Zealand’s hospitality sector continues to invest in digital tools to achieve greater efficiency and sustainability.

The Kiwi-owned and operated ‘Chomp’ app – which launched in 2016 — is increasing its reach with thousands of restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels, aged care and retail operators signed up around New Zealand.

Streamlining compliance is a priority for the food service industry and despite disruptions created by the pandemic, uptake of the app continues to grow.

Chomp’s work in the sector has been recognised — late last year Chomp founder Paul Wilson was highly commended by the Ministry of Primary Industries for his work on food safety processes in the Significant Contribution to Food Safety Award category.

The easy-to-use app reduces administration time and simplifies compliance for chefs, kitchen staff and business owners, ensuring they are always audit-ready.

Paperwork is (literally) a thing of the past.

Chomp’s automated features include real-time status of food safety tasks, the ability to update the statutory business Food Control Plan at any time, training and maintenance reminders, and easy-to-access reporting to help with decision-making and improvements.

The app’s been developed with industry professionals to ensure it meets all legislative requirements of the New Zealand and Australian Food Safety Acts (FSANZ), both current and planned. Auditors have found it particularly helpful as it streamlines paper recording.

When signing up for Chomp, businesses go through a simple onboarding process which makes them fully digital within an hour.  A support team of Kiwi-based hospitality professionals provides one-on-one training and year-round support.

Queenstown-based Chomp founder Paul Wilson, with more than 30 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, says his motivation for developing Chomp was believing “there had to be a better way” to stay ahead of food safety requirements, training and paperwork.

“Being in the industry ourselves we knew full well the time and energy it takes businesses to stay compliant.  With the increasing requirements of the Food Act we spent a lot of time just ensuring our records were up to date and accurate.

“We developed Chomp as a ‘by industry, for industry’ app and we’re thrilled to hear the difference it’s making to our colleagues. It effectively eliminates years of paperwork in a flash and is a game-changer in efficiency and sustainability.

“Our clients have moved from time-intensive paper-based food control plans to simple, streamlined digital plans which makes passing a yearly audit a far less time-consuming and stressful exercise.

“We were delighted to be highly commended at the MPI awards for our significant contribution to food safety and are working hard on further innovations and partnerships. Opportunities and developments coming up this year are really exciting.”

Most importantly, chefs who have worked with Chomp become ‘Chompions’.

“When they move from one kitchen to another they take Chomp with them like they’d take a great set of knives,” laughs Paul. “They’re our greatest advocates.”

For more information about Chomp please visit www.chomp.nz.

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Christmas property rush – $70m of sales in two days for Gibbston Valley development

Over $70million in sales have been notched up in two days for homes and sections in Queenstown’s idyllic Gibbston Valley.

Over $70million in sales have been notched up in two days for homes and sections in Queenstown’s idyllic Gibbston Valley.

Record levels of enquiry came from around New Zealand, Australia and the US for properties in a $750million luxury development at Gibbston Valley Station, within hours of them hitting the market.

Fifteen properties were put under contract on day one, with a further 30-plus properties put on hold by buyers yesterday (Tuesday December 22).

Would-be buyers are already snapping up a further 20 properties in Release Three, put on the market at short notice to meet the unprecedented level of demand.

The luxury development has already attracted high-profile buyers including former prime minister Sir John Key, cricket star Brendon McCullum and former professional rugby player, referee and Fiji coach Glen Jackson.

The 1000-acre station development is located on Gibbston Valley Station, co-owned by Gibbston Valley Winery, Lodge and Spa CEO Greg Hunt and US-based Phil Griffiths. Its nestled in one of Central Otago’s finest wine-growing regions set between craggy mountain ranges and the fast-flowing Kawarau River.

The homes range in price from $1.35m plus GST for a two-bedroom architecturally-designed 125m2 property to $4.5m plus GST for a stunning two-storey four-bedroom home.

Harcourts Queenstown agent Hamish Walker, who is marketing the development, says buyers have been emailing, facetiming and calling into the early hours of the morning to secure a property.

“The Harcourts team and I have never experienced anything like this, and that’s no exaggeration.

“We’ve been working 22-hour-plus days to keep up with demand and ensure we respond to buyers who clearly are keen to gift themselves the ultimate Christmas present!”

All available properties are on the market this afternoon with a hold put on further releases due to the heavy demand.

Former Prime Minister John Key, one of the first to sign up for a property, says he’s “unsurprised” by the level of sales.

“This is a very, very unique product and I can see why kiwis are flocking to this,” he says.

Glen Jackson even managed to put his name down on a property from the confines of his quarantine hotel.

“I’m stoked to get the news after hearing back from Hamish about 3am on Wednesday morning who said I’d successfully managed to put a property on hold under my name. I’m quite stoked to be honest; it’s made my quarantine period much better!”

Harcourts Queenstown managing director Warwick Osborne says the levels of demand have taken seasoned real estate professionals by surprise.

“It just goes to show that there is a pent-up demand out there for properties of quality in an outstanding natural location, especially in a country which is perceived as a safe haven in these difficult times.”

The station will include access to a nine-hole golf course, a country club and spa, wellness centre, restaurant, gym and a village with artisan shops, café and garden centre.

The first stage of the development is a collection of more than 110 homes called The Vines, directly across the road from the Gibbston Valley Winery.

Greg Hunt says the resort is the realisation of a long-term development plan with his vision for Gibbton Valley.

“We’ve been working towards this for ten years and looking forward to the start of construction.”

He says he is “pleased” by the early level of interest and sales for the station’s resort community with sustainability and healthy living at the heart of everything on offer.

“We are thrilled that so many others have already committed to the vision of what we plan to offer here.”

The Vintners Village on the development is planned to become a central hub not only for visitors but Gibbston residents.

Buyer enquiries should be directed to Hamish Walker on [email protected]

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Gibbston Valley development attracts ‘unprecedented’ levels of interest

Homes and sections in a multi-million-dollar “piece of paradise” in Queenstown’s idyllic Gibbston Valley have attracted “unprecedented” levels of enquiry since launching this week.

Homes and sections in a multi-million-dollar “piece of paradise” in Queenstown’s idyllic Gibbston Valley have attracted “unprecedented” levels of enquiry since launching this week.

Would-be buyers from all around New Zealand and expats looking to secure a future home in a 1000-acre station nestled in one of Central Otago’s finest wine-growing regions have had the phones running hot in the past 36 hours since hitting the market.

The $750 million luxury development has already attracted interest from high-profile buyers including former prime minister Sir John Key, cricket star Brendon McCullum and other well-known sportspeople.

The project is located on Gibbston Valley Station, co-owned by Gibbston Valley Winery, Lodge and Spa CEO Greg Hunt and US-based Phil Griffiths.

Property buyers to date are overwhelmingly from Auckland, with others being kiwis based in the US and East Coast Australians.

Set between craggy mountain ranges and the fast-flowing Kawarau River, the homes range in price from $1.25m plus GST to $4.5m plus GST.

Harcourts Queenstown managing director Warwick Osborne says the company is delighted to work with the owners of a development of this scale and quality.

“It’s the first type of resort of this nature seen in New Zealand for many years,” he says.

Harcourts Queenstown agent Hamish Walker, who is marketing the development, says buyers are “flocking to quality”.

“We almost can’t keep up with the level of enquiry that’s coming through, with buyers attracted to the scale and location of what’s on offer, and pricing that’s meeting the market when overall demand is at an all-time high.

“The first release of fifteen properties were snapped up within the first day of going on the market worth $25m plus in contracts going out the door. Release Two isn’t going to last long at this rate with 20 more two, three and four-bedroom properties available. People need to get in touch now if they want to take advantage of this opportunity.

“Buyers are also attracted to the flexibility of the offering, with the ability to live in these homes with this amazing playground on their doorstep and rent them out when they wish via the resort.”

The station will include access to a nine-hole golf course, a country club and spa, wellness centre, restaurant, gym and a village with artisan shops, café and garden centre.

The first stage of the development will be a collection of 132 homes called The Vines, directly across the road from the Gibbston Valley Winery. A retreat lodge is also planned for another part of the station, containing 20 units.

Greg Hunt says the resort is the realisation of a long-term development plan, with zoning granted 12 months ago for the golf course and resort. Building is anticipated to start in 2022.

“We’re building so much more than a resort here,” he says. “We have always had a vision to create a community where friends and families can gather to create memories and share experiences.

“Sustainability and healthy living are also key to what we will offer, with homeowners and visitors able to learn about the process of winemaking from bud to bottle, and have easy access to the Gibbston walking and cycling trail as well as new trails we plan to develop.

“The Vintners Village will become a central hub not only for visitors but Gibbston residents.”

Buyer enquiries should be directed to Hamish Walker on [email protected]

 

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