The Hump Ridge Track is committed to long term wellbeing of the environment and community.

We have initiatives and programmes aimed at reducing our impact on New Zealand's beautiful environment while at the same time ensuring your time on the track is as comfortable as you require. We welcome our clients' decision to cooperate and participate in these energy conserving programmes and initiatives.

We understand that all businesses create environmental and social impact through their activities. Ours is no exception. We will try to actively reduce any adverse effects through buying wisely, using resources efficiently, disposing of waste responsibly, and providing an environmentally and socially responsible experience to our clients. We give active preference to products that meet social and environmental criteria (e.g. based on distance from origin, biodegradability, efficiency rating, recycled content, ability to be recycled etc). Wherever possible (and available), environmentally certified goods and services are selected. 

We actively support New Zealand-made products and services and use local companies to supply uniforms (Earth, Sea, Sky; Swazi) and use local contractors to complete repairs and upgrades at the lodges.  

In March 2012, Tuatapere Hump Track Ltd was awarded Qualmark certification and an Enviro Gold Award.

Energy Efficiency - In the Office

New ideas welcome

  • Clients and staff are encouraged to suggest new/alternative ways we could become more sustainable on the track. A suggestions box has been placed at each lodge, as well as track feedback forms.

Active supporter of NZ made products and services:

  • We use NZ companies (Earth, Sea, Sky; Swazi) to supply uniforms and use local contractors to undertake repairs and upgrades at the lodges.

Conserving energy: 

  • Energy is conserved at every possible opportunity. In the office a 'power off' policy is in place: lights are turned off after leaving rooms and in bright weather, computers powered off at the end of each day, mobile phones switched off when not in use.
  • Excessive energy consuming light bulbs (counter spotlights in Information Centre) are no longer used.

Vehicle reduction:

  • In an effort to reduce cars on the road, the Humpridge Track offers a shuttle bus to the start of the track (Rarakau) from Tuatapere & also to/from Te Anau & Queenstown. The Hump Ridge bus is a 2-wheel drive, automatic vehicle & has an overdrive system to conserve fuel. It is regularly serviced to keep the engine running smoothly and at peak performance.

Rubbish & Recycling - In the Office

Avoiding unnecessary waste/packaging:

  • Consumables are purchased in bulk to avoid unnecessary packaging & containers refilled
  • Lunches/snacks for guided group supplied in reusable Tupperware boxes that are cleaned & re-used. Packaging kept to a minimum.
  • Outsourced food for guided trips are delivered in multi-use Tupperware containers that are flown into the lodges, cleaned and reused.

Reduce paper usage:

  • Wherever possible, all communication (newsletters, letters, bookings, invoices, receipts etc) are sent electronically.
  • Printing documents is kept to a minimum and all printed matter reused wherever possible either as scrap paper or for double-sided printing.
  • Office 'paperwork' is done electronically and printed hard copies only made when necessary.


  • All office waste sorted & recycled.
  • Recycling bins available outside office for trampers' use
  • All obsolete electronic equipment is collected, stored and taken to an annual e-recycling day in Invercargill

Reuse Policy:

  • Plastic bags, cardboard boxes, and Styrofoam boxes are all reused multiple times for transporting items around the track. No packaging is ever thrown out unless it is beyond repair.

Conservation Initiatives - In the Office

Customer Education:

  • All clients are made aware of our refuse & recycling policy at the initial track briefing
  • Our Environmental care code is printed on the Track Map that is given to all trampers

Group sizes kept small:

  • Guided groups are kept to a maximum of 10 people in order to minimize the impact on the boardwalks & track.
  • Max 42 trampers allowed at any one time & max 5000 per year.

Supporting WWFNZ: Adopt-A-Dolphin

  • Te Wae Wae Bay is home to a significant population of Hectors dolphins, the smallest and rarest dolphin species in the world. We strongly support the conservation work that WWFNZ carries out and not only promote their 'Adopt A Dolphin' campaign in the Information Centre and at our lodges, but have also adopted our own Hectors Dolphin.

Support DOC's conservation programme - Waitutu Forest

  • Tuatapere Hump Track staff volunteer their time to support DOC's conservation project in the Waitutu Forest.

Introduce a native tree revegetation programme:

  • Native flora planted at Okaka and Port Craig Lodges; native trees planted at start of track.

Community Initiatives - In the Office

Regular newsletter:

  • All those who have undertaken the Hump Ridge Track are included on our regular newsletter mailing list. These detail track news and any items of interest that relate to the track, including environmental management.

Environmental education

  • Our Environmental Care Code is printed on the Track Notes and Track Map as well as being referred to in the Track Briefing and Evening Briefings. By approaching the issues contained in the code (no littering; toilet etiquette; consider others; protect flora/fauna; leave the land undisturbed; keep to the track) from a variety of ways it is hoped that all visitors will become aware of the levels of behaviour that are expected of them.
  • The Hump Ridge Track's environmental initiatives have attracted international attention and have resulted in a number of environmental education college groups booking on the track.

Not-for-profit organisation

  • Originally conceived as an opportunity for generating interest in and increased tourism for the Tuatapere area, the track is now run and maintained by the Tuatapere Hump Track Charitable Trust, whose members are all volunteers from the community with a passion for the Hump Ridge Track and the future well-being of the Tuatapere community. It is the aim of the business that any profits accrued are invested back into the Tuatapere community to help fund local projects.

Supporting the local community

  • Wherever possible, our aim is to support local individuals and businesses. We are very proud of the fact that over 50% of our staff are from the immediate area, and over 90% of our staff are from New Zealand.
  • It is our policy to employ local contractors and tradespeople to undertake all upgrade and repair work necessary at both Okaka and Port Craig lodges.
  • Tuatapere has witnessed an increased number of visitors choosing to stay in the town (or its environs) both pre- and post- tramp. Cafes, pubs, accommodation providers, shops and local amenities have all benefited directly from visitors who have come to Tuatapere in order to walk the Hump Ridge Track.
  • The Hump Ridge Freedom Plus and Guided packages also include one night's pre-tramp accommodation (in Tuatapere) in the price. This is split evenly between two accommodation providers in town: in this way we hope to develop and actively support other local tourism-related businesses.
  • In creating the Guided menus for the Hump Ridge Track, every effort has been made to give priority to local food producers.
  • - We are proud supporters of Invercargill Brewery, NZ's southernmost microbrewery.

Support NZ school educational/activity programmes:

  • School groups across NZ are offered 50% off the cost of Freedom Walks on the Hump Ridge Track

Long term relationships with community groups:

  • The Hump Ridge Track is a committed supporter of local fundraising initiatives and has recently donated goods/prizes and volunteered staff time for the following:
    - Hauroko Valley Primary School
    - Waiau Area School
    - Tuatapere Road Rubbish collection day
  • We work closely with the Tuatapere Promotions Committee with the organisation of The Tuatapere Fun Day that is run in conjunction with our annual Stump the Hump event.

Donate goods:

  • Obsolete equipment/supplies are often donated to local groups/businesses. Recently we donated 10 mattresses to the Viaducts Trust to equip the Percy Burn Hut.

Energy Efficiency - On the Track

Helicopter Operations:

  • For all helicopter operations on the track we use the services of The Helicopter Line, which operates a base out of Orawia. This ensures the most efficient use of the helicopter. The Helicopter Line is a Qualmark assessed and certified company.
  • We have access to both a 4-seater Hughes 500 and 6-seater Squirrel: our choice of helicopter is based on size of load, ensuring that only the most appropriate vehicle is used for the operation.
  • The helicopter is used on a charter basis 3-4 days per week (in high season), ensuring that maximum use/minimum impact is achieved.

Waste Management - On the Track

Waste Management:

  • Littering on the track is prohibited - a 'pack it in, pack it out' policy is requested for all trampers' non-recyclable waste & we request that they dispose of it sensibly after coming off the track.

Woodchip recycling:

  • Waste woodchips is sourced from local sawmill to cover sections of the track. These chips would have been thrown out/burnt otherwise.

Managing toilet waste:

  • Prior to undertaking the Hump Ridge Track, all trampers are made aware of the policy regarding toilet waste on the track.
  • Toilet facilities are provided at Rarakau to avoid soiling the start of the track
  • Two long-drop toilets have been installed on the track (Day 1 - Water Bridge; Day 2 - Luncheon Rock). This minimises human waste on the track, reducing pollution and avoiding an increase of scavenging pests. They are emptied once a year.
  • At all other points, trampers are asked to dig individual shallow holes (15-30cm deep) well away from tracks, shelters and lodges, and at least 100m from any waterways, to bury toilet wastes. We ask our clients to use toilet paper sparingly and bury it well.

Wild Rubbish:

  • Pick up 'wild rubbish' on track, at Rarakau, and on road between Tuatapere & Rarakau

Conservation Initiatives - On the Track

Impact on environment of track:

  • Boardwalk built on most ecologically sensitive parts of track to conserve forest floor and reduce erosion on delicate sub-alpine area
  • Trampers advised to stay on track at all times
  • Steps built around steep sections of the track to minimise erosion
  • Woodchipped sections created to minimise trampers widening the track.
  • Woodchips sourced from local sawmill (chips would otherwise have been thrown out)
  • Track regularly checked for maintenance by Hump Ridge Track & DOC


  • Two lunch shelters installed on the track (Water Bridge & Luncheon Rock). These concentrate walkers stopping in a single area & minimises damage to off-sections. Encourages walkers to clean up after themselves.

Pest control: Stoat Trapping

Pest control: Possum Trapping

  • In addition to Wairaurahiri Jet's stoat trapping project, possum traps have been laid around Port Craig lodge in an effort to reduce possum numbers in the area. These traps are also checked, cleared and re-set regularly.

Community Initiatives - On the Track

Community volunteer projects:

  • Community members are encouraged to take part in regular working bees on the track: this engenders good community spirit and offers a chance for locals to see 'their' track in operation.

Tourist volunteer projects:

  • The track also runs a volunteer project for visitors to NZ: in return for 10 days on the track and basic food, they are expected to work at the lodges for 4hrs a day. This gives visitors the opportunity to experience the track and also to learn about our environment projects and initiatives whilst meeting members of the community and learning about the Hump Ridge Track and its commitment to Tuatapere.

Respecting Cultural Heritage:

  • Trampers are asked to follow appropriate conduct when accessing areas of significance to tangata whenua. These include Sandhill Point and the privately owned Maori land along the South Coast track.
  • Along the South Coast Track and at Port Craig, trampers are also asked to leave all artifacts relating to the historical logging practices of the area where they lie.

Energy Efficiency - At the Lodges

Conserving energy:

  • At the lodges, lights are switched off when not in use, and the water pump at Port Craig switched off when not needed. Line drying of linen & towels. Cold water washes only are used at the lodges.
  • At the lodges, gas califonts are used to heat the water, with the temperature of the hot water kept to an acceptable minimum
  • 100% of lighting in the lodges is low energy light bulbs
  • In bedrooms, lights are set to a 30min timer. In the main lodge, lights are set to a 1hr timer.
  • All showers at the lodges are set on a 5 minute token operated timer system to reduce unnecessary gas usage.

Solar Power:

  • Solar power is the main power resource at both lodges
  • Okaka Lodge has a wind turbine to complement the solar power
  • At Okaka and Port Craig lodges, outdoor solar lights are used to light the boardwalk between the lodge, bunkrooms and ablution block.

Monitoring energy usage:

  • Energy consumption is monitored regularly to identify any abnormal consumption. Generator hrs are logged whenever used and daily battery records are kept.

Maximise efficiency of heating & ventilation in the lodges:

  • Thermal curtains and draft-proof doors have been installed
  • All hot water pipes are insulated where practicable
  • BATTS insulation has been installed in all ceilings, wall and floor cavities
  • During the 2010/11 season, the lodge ceiling at Okaka was closed in. This provided further insulation and maximises efficient energy consumption.

Water Conservation - At the Lodges

Water conserving practises:

  • All clients briefed on water conservation at track briefings and at the lodges.
  • All toilets at the lodges operate on a dual flush system
  • All showers at the lodges are set on a 5 minute token operated timer system to reduce unnecessary water usage.
  • Only full washing loads, using cold water, are permitted in the washing machines.
  • Clients are encouraged to share dishwashing water & avoid leaving taps on when washing teeth/face/hands

Water system checks & Water management:

  • Weekly water system checks are undertaken by the lodge managers at both Okaka and Port Craig to ensure that all systems are running efficiently and to check for leaks.
  • Rainwater is collected at both lodges and is stored in tanks for use as drinking water and tap water at both Okaka and Port Craig.
  • On-site septic tank systems are regularly checked and maintained. All storm-water grates and water systems are labeled. New, more efficient, septic tank installed at Okaka in Nov 2011.
  • Grey water waste from Okaka and Port Craig lodges is moved to a three-tank septic tank system. This is then moved into dispersal fields (at least 100m from any waterway).

Waste Management - At the Lodges

  • Cleaning agents normally diluted to ensure they last longer
  • Cleaning cloths washed and reused until the end of their natural lifespan
  • Free recycling service at the lodges for all glass, plastic bottles & aluminium/tin cans
  • Food scraps bin at lodges - flown out & used to feed pigs/chickens
  • Littering on the track is prohibited - a 'pack it in, pack it out' policy is requested for all trampers' non-recyclable waste & we request that they dispose of it sensibly after coming off the track
  • All toilet waste at the lodges goes to a three-chamber septic tank system and then to a dispersal field.
  • Water downstream from the dispersal outlet is tested twice yearly: to date all tests have indicated no contamination or pollution.
  • At each lodge, in each shower, we have shower/shampoo dispensers. These issue small single concentrated amounts of (ecologically sensitive ) shampoo/shower gel combined. This is in place of single serve sachets of shower gel & shampoo, thus reducing waste & ensuring trampers only use environmentally sensitive washing products.

Conservation Initiatives - At the Lodges

Customer Education:

  • Each evening on the track, Lodge Managers give clients a briefing on next day's walk. Also included are points of environmental interest as well as environmental awareness/protection and sustainability measures.

Using recycled products:

  • Wherever possible, recycled products are used at the lodges e.g. toilet paper & tissues.

Impact on environment of lodges:

  • Lodges designed and built with regard to minimal visual impact to environment
  • Lodges constructed from renewably sourced pine
  • Lodges coloured neutral tones.

Reducing Chemicals/Hazardous substances used:

  • Both Okaka and Port Craig lodges use the minimal possible amount of hazardous substances (diesel, petrol, LPG, oil, floor oil, paint). All chemicals/hazardous substances are stored in appropriately stored, sealed and clearly labeled containers.
  • No sprays or chemicals are used around the lodges as weedkiller/animal poison etc. Weeds are pulled out by hand or cut down using a weedeater.
  • All refrigerators, freezers and cooling equipment are regularly checked and maintained to detect and eliminate leakage of ozone-depleting CFC and HCFC gases. We ensure that all such appliances are low energy consumers.
  • At both Okaka and Port Craig lodges, it is Hump Ridge Track policy to use biodegradable and environmentally certified cleaning agents. Toilet cleaners, multi-surface cleaners, washing liquid & dishwash liquid is all environmentally certified and non-toxic. Aim to move to ENJO cleaning system in 2012/13 season (cost permitting).

The Tuatapere Hump Track maintains a strong allegiance to the Sustainable Tourism South project.

Sustainable tourism is about protecting and enhancing the natural environment and resources for future generations, whilst at the same time ensuring long-term economic and socio-cultural benefits.

The Sustainable Tourism South Project was initiated in 2005 and in September 2006 the Tuatapere Hump Track was selected as a pilot business and participated in a range of activities designed to assess our existing sustainability performance. From that an action plan was drawn up outlining steps that would improve our sustainability performance in the short, medium and long term.

Many of these suggestions have been implemented and we continue to strive to realize many others.

Click here to visit Sustainable South's webpage.

The Tutapere Hump Ridge Track adheres to, and promotes, the seven principles of Leave No Trace:

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
3. Dispose of Waste Properly
4. Leave What You Find
5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
6. Respect Wildlife
7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Leave No Trace New Zealand seeks to educate and challenge the New Zealand public and visitors on how and why to minimise their environmental impacts while enjoying natural and cultural heritage areas. 

Looking to get more involved? Click here to learn more about Leave No Trace and how you can support them.