Don't Overlook the Parsnips

The pleasure of tending garden

It’s not really the country, just a city person’s idea of it. You can still buy a latte or a fancy lamp. But it’s far enough that I’ve come to do different things, to spend a lot of time driving between towns, to swim in rivers, to talk at length about the weather, and to garden.

Going Down in Flames

How not to make your own camp stove

The greatest Christmas present I've ever received was a box of timber off-cuts. I was six and seeing my love for hammering bits of wood together, my uncle found an easy way to get rid of his discarded lumber. Since then I've been obsessed with DIY, making things out of junk that most people wouldn't bother with, things that could easily be bought at Mitre 10.


The deadly poison of the tutu berries

New Zealanders can be smug about our lack of harmful animals. The bush has no snakes, no wolves or bears, and our only native poisonous spider is a threatened species. But one threat we don’t lack is poisonous plants. There’s a whole smorgasbord of berries, fungi and leaves that will make you crook or even kill you if you make the mistake of eating them.

Espresso Cowboy

Making campfire coffee

Tea is the New Zealand backcountry drink. If a tramper says they’re putting a brew on they invariably mean a cloudy cup of Bell. But for those early starts, those cold mornings when you wake to find the fire long gone out, there is nothing like a mug of strong and piping hot black coffee. Here’s a few methods for making sure one is always within your reach.


No Need for Embellishment

The story of cabin bread

Cabin bread, also known as hard tack, sea biscuit, pilot’s bread or ‘worm castles’, is the quintessential ration for those on long journeys through remote places. Usually large, square and thicker than your average cracker, it’s mainly known for being dry, very dry, dry enough to suck all the saliva from your mouth and leave you chomping away at sawdust.