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Waiheke’s EcoZip expands to South Island

19 Dec 2019  By Bridget O'Connell | | @tourismticker

Gavin Oliver

Waiheke Island operator EcoZip Adventures is set to expand to the South Island having successfully secured a site in Kaikoura, five years after it first starting scoping out the destination.

Co-founders Gavin Oliver and Chris Holister have been granted resource consent to develop a new adventure tourism operation on an 11,000-hectare piece of private land 9km south of the popular destination for which they have secured a 50-year lease.

The partners are privately funding the expansion, and are planning for the new product to open in October 2020.

The move comes five years after the business first looked to secure a concession for a Kaikoura site on Department of Conservation land at Mt Fyffe in 2014. That application was subsequently withdrawn, and the partners opted to go down the private-land route.

Oliver said they intend to build a series of ziplines, totalling more than 2km in length, on what is a working cattle and sheep station. The experience will also see visitors ford a braided river in specialist 4×4 vehicles before climbing to 250m for a guided walk through native forest.

It is expected to create up to 30 jobs with preference given to locals, according to Oliver.

The October 2020 opening aligns with other significant in the seaside location, including the opening of Sudima’s $20m hotel and Kiwirail’s planned upgrade of its Coastal Pacific upgrades which includes an overhaul of Kaikoura’s train station.

EcoZip, which started operating in 2012, said that its conservation ethos will be replicated at the new site, starting with a native tree planting programme designed to rehabilitate former farmland alongside the introduction of a pest eradication plan.

Oliver said that there are multiple synergies between his business and the town where the Regional Tourism Organisation, Destination Kaikoura, recorded spend of $119m in the year to October according to Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Monthly Regional Tourism Estimates.

He said: “Kaikoura has established a well-deserved reputation as New Zealand’s premier sustainable and environmental tourism hub. As a conservation focused product we believe EcoZip will be a natural fit.”

Collaboration is another major focus for the business, according to Oliver, who added: “The Kaikoura area boasts some outstanding operators who we’re looking forward to working with to jointly develop more reasons for visitors to add Kaikoura to their itineraries.”

Kaikoura’s deputy mayor and chair of Destination Kaikoura, Julie Howden, said: “The arrival of a land-based, conservation-focused, product will strengthen the Kaikoura tourism proposition, fitting with the town’s desire to develop reasons for visitors to stay longer, do more and engage further with the town’s businesses.”



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