South Island and Sustainability: Allbirds Creator Tim Brown’s Insider Guide to New Zealand

South Island and Sustainability: Allbirds Creator Tim Brown’s Insider Guide to New Zealand

The shoe designer and sustainability pioneer shares his favourite spots to eat, drink and play on South Island, New Zealand.

by the untouched nature and natural materials of

New Zealand
, Tim Brown took his sustainable footwear brand,
Allbirds, stateside in 2014.

With its headquarters across the Pacific in San
, and a brand vision worthy of its Palo Alto
jurisdiction, Allbirds is focused on creating long-lasting shoes by
renewable methods. Using innovative techniques, Brown harnessed the
qualities of merino wool and eucalyptus-tree fibres to develop
footwear that is light, comfortable and subtly stylish – ideal for
the adventurers among you.

We spoke to Brown about shoes, South Island and sustainability.
With a new store on Long Acre Covent
, Allbirds is already making footprints in the proverbial

How did South Island inspire your vision for Allbirds?

This is where we source the best merino wool in the world. It is
super fine, 17.5 micron ZQ certified merino, and you’ll tend to
find it in some of the finest suits in the world.

What should we do on a 10-day trip to New Zealand?

Start in the north by visiting the Bay of Islands and the
Coromandel Peninsula, work your way down the country through Taupo
to Wellington before taking the ferry to the South Island. Plan a
loop here through Nelson, down the west coast to the glaciers.

Where are the best places to stay?

I’ve never stayed there but Minaret Station near Wanaka is an alpine lodge very
close to some of our farms and is meant to be amazing.

What’s your favourite city on South Island?

is very special.

What are some of your favourite sustainable brands?

I think it is telling how few brands there are that have really
made sustainability a non-negotiable in the way they do business.
I’m really impressed by the approach of Reformation, however.

Who are your favourite Kiwi designers?

Karen Walker is such an icon and inspiration while I’m really,
really impressed by the work of Maggie Marilyn. Then there’s Taika
Waititi – less a designer and more a creative genius, I’m in awe of
his output.

Where are the best places to shop?

Cuba Street in Wellington, where I used to live, is a great
place to explore.

Where should we go for adventure?

The west coast of the South Island is so dramatic and remote;
it’s well worth the drive.

What about for nature?

If you can get down to the Milford Sound it can’t be beaten for
natural drama.

Where are your favourite places to go walking or running?

Around Oriental Bay in Wellington on a good-weather day. If
you’re in top shape, ascending Mount Victoria is both intense and

What shoes do you (and should we) wear for exploring the

Well it has to be Allbirds. I’ll go for our Tree Runners.

What is your favourite national park?

Abel Tasman National Park at the top of the
South Island
near Nelson.

Where should we head for an adrenaline rush?

The shotover jet boat in Queenstown is really fun and if you
save up, a small plane ride over to Milford Sound is

What should we take home with us?

A pair of Allbirds (although as we’re just about to launch in
the UK and already sell into the US, Australia and Canada you might
not need to).

What’s in your SUITCASE?

Tree and Wool Allbirds, a great book, my
notebook and lots of wool-based clothing because it is so versatile
in different types of weather.

You’re from Wellington, but where’s your favourite place for a
weekend break?

Heading on the ferry or plane to the Marlborough Sounds and
Furneaux Lodge is worth the short trip.

What is Wellington’s best-kept secret?

Welly has so many great hidden bars and cocktail rooms; The
is one of my favourites.

What are some of the best spots to refuel? (for breakfast,
lunch and dinner)

Café L’affare for breakfast, Scopa
on Cuba Street for lunch, with dinner at Logan Brown. If you get to Queenstown, Rata or Amisfield for dinner are both very
good options.

What’s one spot that only locals know about?

Maranui Café in Lyall Bay is out of the way but does
such good food.

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