Camp Glenorchy opens as New Zealand’s most sustainably-designed visitor accommodation

A new accommodation has opened in Glenorchy which meets the most rigorous of all international sustainability standards.  

Eco-conscious travellers arise, Camp Glenorchy, a new era in sustainably designed accommodation, has opened its doors in New Zealand.

Aside from providing beautifully appointed, comfortable accommodation, the founders behind Camp Glenorchy hope to inspire and share learning about new standards in sustainable tourism.

This world-first guest accommodation aims to set new standards in sustainable tourism and has been designed according to the Living Building Challenge™ - promoted as the most rigorous of all international sustainability standards.  

Set in the foothills of the Southern Alps in New Zealand’s South Island, Camp Glenorchy is a scenic 40-minute lakeshore drive from Queenstown along one of the country’s prettiest routes.  The region is famed for beautiful movie locations and as the setting off point for some of the country’s best known hiking trails, water-based adventures on Lake Wakatipu and braided rivers, and access to two national parks.

Camp Glenorchy’s resource-efficient guest accommodation comes in a range of budget options from the seven cabins, to two bunkhouses and seven powered RV/campervan sites with common areas for guests. It also boasts the South Island’s largest solar garden and three wetlands developed to collect and fully process all wastewater onsite, producing clean water for irrigation of native plant landscaping.

The third stage of an environmentally sustainable tourism development known as The Headwaters, Camp Glenorchy’s profits will go to the local Glenorchy Community Trust to support initiatives that enhance the liveability and vibrancy of the small town.

The Headwaters is the vision and creation of US-born Glenorchy locals Paul and Debbi Brainerd, philanthropists who have previously established environmentally-sensitive, community-based education projects in North America.

The Brainerd’s hope is that the thoughtful design, healthy materials and sustainable practices will inspire guests to embrace these ideas in their own homes, workplaces and communities.

The Living Building Challenge (LBC) requires seven “petals” of sustainability discipline including energy, water, materials and beauty. To achieve LBC’s imperatives, Camp Glenorchy has been a collaborative project for the architects, designers, engineers and tradespeople along with local artists, craftspeople, and energy management specialists.

“Camp Glenorchy aims to educate, inspire and delight guests by showcasing some of the most innovative and energy-efficient products in the world,” said Paul Brainerd.

“One example is our commitment to achieving *Net Zero energy use. Our large solar garden, smart lighting, energy-efficient building designs and highly-efficient heat systems reduce energy demand while creating a comfortable and enjoyable experience for our guests.”

Buildings are connected to the guest booking system, allowing rooms to be heated only when needed and the right amount of hot water to be stored for the number of people in each room. Composting toilets are expected to save about 300,000 litres of water per year, and LED lighting used is so efficient that the lighting load for each three-bedroom cabin is equivalent to a single 200-watt light bulb.

Passionate about the guest experience, Debbi Brainerd said she was inspired by local landscapes and artists to help her create a welcoming environment.

“We’ve tried to create an experience at Camp Glenorchy that integrates the latest technology, while also delivering a warm, friendly experience to our guests,” said Debbi.

“Recycled and reclaimed materials with amazing textures and history were given preference over new ones, including material from old woolsheds from throughout the South Island and demolished buildings that fell in the Christchurch earthquakes.”

Pricing ranges from NZD$75 for a shared bunkroom bed per night, to NZD$395 per night for an ensuite king or split-king singles cabin room.

About Net Zero energy:

Net Zero Energy status means a property should generate as much energy onsite as it uses over the course of a calendar year, from renewable sources.

About The Headwaters:

Named and inspired by the meeting of the Rees and Dart braided rivers at the head of Lake Wakatipu, The Headwaters seeks to serve as an example of sustainable tourism. Its goal is a triple-bottom line set of measurements reflecting environmental, financial and community contribution.

The Headwaters encompasses a rebuilt general store (Mrs Woolly’s General Store), and a full range of accommodation options including camping, glamping, campervan spots, multi-bed bunkrooms, and individual cabins at Camp Glenorchy and Mrs Woolly’s Campground.

All profits from Camp Glenorchy and operations of The Headwaters (Camp Glenorchy, Mrs Woolly’s General Store, Mrs Woolly’s Campground, Head of the Lake Activities Booking Centre and Mrs Woolly’s Pantry) benefit the Glenorchy Community Trust to support a resilient, regenerative community at the head of the lake.

We use cookies and analytics to provide you with a better experience on this site. By continuing to use this site, you agree with our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.