New Zealand scores serious sustainability points with its first net zero accommodation, Camp Glenorchy — just a 40 minute drive from bustling Queenstown and situated along the sparkling shores of Lake Wakatipu. Created by philanthropists and designed according to the Living Building Challenge (LBC), the iron fist of building performance standards, this lineup of camper-van sites, bunk-rooms and cabins may be the most sustainable camp in the world.

The building’s regenerative design framework gives more than it takes. As a net zero accommodation, Camp Glenorchy draws power from the grid but then gives whatever it uses right back to it — with energy surplused from its 600-panel solar garden.

Place, Health & Happiness, Energy, Water, Materials, Beauty and Equity are the seven pillars of the camp’s successful sustainability. Each pillar is defined to provide a synergistic purpose to the site so that visitors can relax, unwind and connect with nature and feel inspired to keep up the lifestyle at home (when they decide to go home, that is).

Guests can connect over a meal in the communal kitchen or dining areas, enjoy the lush native landscape from the sunroom and take in the alpine views on the deck. Each of the seven cabins and two bunkhouses are built using local reclaimed timber and recycled corrugated iron and the kitchens are outfitted with induction cooktops. The self-composting toilets are geared to saving ~300,000 litres of water per year and rainwater capture in the form of swales, tanks and soak pits add to the site’s aim of cutting water consumption right in half.


And, with this sustainability, comes a cohesive community. The camp does its best to keep business close to home by hiring local companies and contractors and buying locally when possible. Guests visiting Mrs. Woolly’s General Store for fresh organics and artisan goods can feel good about their purchases with store profits going directly to the Glenorchy Community Trust.


And, in case you were wondering, there are enough on and off-shore activities to make the trip to Glenorchy a regular one. Ever heard of funyaking? No worries. Canyoning and zip-lining are at your leisure and if extreme sports are more your style, skydiving is also on the list. If New Zealand isn’t on your current travel agenda, add it now because Camp Glenorchy is a happy place you can literally get to.