Stewart Island Lodge & Stewart Island Experience is closely involved with community conservation activities on Stewart Island, and actively supports Department of Conservation (DOC) efforts.

Conservation initiatives are an integral part of our overall strategic plan and day-to-day operations. Funding for these activities is taken into account when establishing budgets. Industry recognition of these efforts includes the Qualmark Enviro-Silver status.  In 2007, the owners of Stewart Island Lodge, Real Journeys won the Department of Conservation NZ industry award of "Conservation in Action".

Below are the specific conservation activities relating to Stewart Island:

Best environmental practice

  • Stewart Island Lodge & Stewart Island Experience is constantly seeking new ways to minimise our environmental impact. In this regard, many of our new initiatives are initially proposed by staff. 
  • Any rubbish resulting from our island-based operations is recycled and returned to the mainland.


Harlequin Gecko

  • Harlequin Gecko: Real Journeys has contributed $40,000 over the past 5 years to assist DOC in studying the rare Stewart Island Harlequin Gecko.  The Harlequin Gecko only became known to science in 1981 and is one of the world’s most endangered lizards.
  • Real Journeys provides sponsorship for the Department of Conservation’s Southland Conservancy Conservation Awards and for Environment Southland’s Conservation Awards.

Logistical support

  • Free transport of materials and workers is provided for SIRCET (Stewart Island / Rakiura Community & Environment Trust), and staff participate in work days.
  • Heavily discounted ferry fares are made available to scientific and conservation groups (for example, Otago University Botany Department, Department of Conservation’s Conservation Corps).

Real Journeys

Conservation is also part of Real Journeys heritage and a cornerstone of our modern day business. We understand we are privileged to operate in this spectacular part of New Zealand and we take our responsibility to protect our natural heritage and preserve our environment seriously.

To honour our conservation commitments and philosophy, we work closely with both the Department of Conservation (DoC) and the local communities we operate in.  We contribute significant funds and in-kind support towards a variety of projects that support habitats, recovering species and clean up initiatives. 

In order to reduce our environmental footprint, we work to operate within best practice guidelines. This includes regular internal environmental audits and benchmarking reviews to identify areas for assessment and improvement.  Real Journeys holds Qualmark Enviro Silver status and has been awarded the NZ Tourism Industry Association’s Conservation in Action Award.

In recent years we have also contributed significant funds to assist DoC to study the rare Stewart Island Harlequin Gecko and the Pekapeka/native bat.
We’ve also assisted with bird transfer programmes for the endangered Pateke/Brown Teal and funded pest eradication programmes on Stewart Island.