Bush and Beach

The answer to eco-tourism.

Adventure. It’s a word that evokes an exciting fizz in your stomach, of going to a new place, with new people, languages, food and culture - and leaving your everyday stress behind. 

It’s travel and hospitality, rolled into one. The art of being somewhere different. 

The adventure industry has evolved over the years, to keep up with new norms and expectations. It has also broken new ground, by introducing intrepid travellers to new ways of touring. 

That’s exactly what Bush and Beach, a local company based in Auckland, aim to do. They promote a sustainable focus on tourism, by leaving the smallest footprint possible. 

The team conducts a variety of tours, focussing on exploring nature, in and around Auckland. They take customers everywhere from rainforests, to the coast, and allow for some unwinding at some of New Zealand’s best wineries.

The eco aspect of the tours means that the team reuse items, donate funds, and educate tourists on conservation, while investing in quality products that will benefit the company in the long run: such as their fleet of Sprinters.


The best of both worlds.

Just the name Bush and Beach says it all. The company views New Zealand as a world class sustainable visitor destination - from bush, to beach, to mountains and snow. The variety of picturesque landscapes are second to none. 

Ben Thornton, Managing Director of the tour company, caught the tourism bug, after living in Japan and working for a company who promoted New Zealand - his home. He decided that he could run his own tours - but with an added touch. Tours with sustainability built in. 

“Sustainable tourism establishes a suitable balance between the environmental, economic and socio-cultural aspects of tourism development,” he says.” 

Bush and Beach was founded in 1984, well ahead of the environmental awareness that flooded the tourism industry. But the ethos behind their approach to tourism is still relevant now. 

“It attempts to minimise its impact on the environment and local culture so that it will be available for future generations, while contributing to the generation of income, employment, and the conservation of local ecosystems,” says Ben.

Putting it into practice. 

‘Sustainability’ and ‘quality’ are two terms that have a lot in common. Sustaining a certain way of life means investing in quality, and making decisions based on longevity.

Bush and Beach needed a van that would be able to take their tours all around New Zealand, while also navigating different types of terrains and challenges. 

They needed a van that could go the distance - literally. 

“We do several tours along quite winding roads and the Sprinter doesn’t roll around as much as other vehicles do,” says Ben. “This means our drivers can deliver a smooth, comfortable ride every time which customers do comment on.”

Room for every tour. 

Ben and the team were looking for a tourism partner that could match their approach to tourism and comfort - and they certainly found it. 

As a tour operator, Bush and Beach wanted to take care of their customers, so the team modified their Sprinter to include even more additions to make people feel at home during their adventures.

The Sprinter’s flexibility and customisable features mean you can truly make the van your own, to suit your unique needs. 

“We increased the spacing between rows of seats to make it as comfortable as possible for people,” says Ben. 

While the temptation may be to fit as many people as possible onto their tours, Bush and Beach recognise that customer enjoyment and comfort is the most important element of touring. They stay close to a small tour group mentality.

It’s not just the tour groups who find the Sprinter to be first-class in terms of comfort - the staff also love how light and easy the van is to drive. 

“Some of our days can be long and the Mercedes creates lower levels of driver fatigue compared with any of the vehicles we had previously,” says Ben. 

“The combination of the quietness of the van and our high quality PA makes it easy to have conversations with our guests as we travel,” he says.

The future is green. 

In their 35 plus years of operation, Bush and Beach have racked up a few awards for their work in eco-tourism, including a Gold Qualmark, acknowledging  they hold New Zealand’s highest sustainability standard. And the future holds even more improvement on their pledge to sustainable travel, according to Ben. 

“We will never be completely sustainable as every industry has impacts, but we are committed towards becoming more sustainable,” he says. 

Bush and Beach have combined people, travel and sustainability to produce a truly cutting-edge business. As the world starts to explore again, more and more people will be able to see a whole new side of New Zealand, thanks to the tight-knit group of guides, and their trusty fleet of Sprinters.


Content commissioned by Mercedes-Benz.