Island on the Mainland

Revisiting Banks Peninsula

For 39 years not a peninsula but an island. It took that long for someone to go in for a closer look and Captain Cook’s maps were redrawn to show its connection to the mainland. Still I’m sympathetic to that description – for something so close it has always felt far away. Not on route to any place but a destination in itself.

The Dried Food Aisle

Packing light and on the cheap

There are some great options out there for eating well in the back of beyond: freeze-dried, all-in-one meals that weigh next to nothing. They taste pretty good too. But, like all flash outdoors gear they come at a price, almost $10 for a single serving. You’ll also need to go to a specialist retailer to find them.

Even the Sky Looks Larger

Ko Wainui te maunga

Mount Wainui is just a tiddler, 722 metres at its peak. But from my kitchen window in Paekakariki, beyond the backyard and the bald flat paddocks, past the hill pasture and monotonous pines, Mount Wainui appears hefty, rugged, rebellious.

Fungus in your Brain

Rethinking food forests

Lately I've been dreaming of having my own garden, a place where I can sit and sip a beer on a late summer afternoon. In this dream there is a small raised bed of vegetables in the corner, bees buzzing about, butterflies flitting from leaf to leaf, maybe a fruit tree or two completing the picture.

The Guy in the Orange Togs

Celebrating the swimming hole

New Zealand might be all coast yet my childhood camping trips were rarely by the sea. Instead we went inland to immense grassy campgrounds in South and Central Canterbury. There we endured the tedium of setting up tents, bending pegs into the hard soil and discovering a mean bloom of mildew in the nylon. We labelled our sausages and milk before hiding them at the back of the communal fridge.

Bed on Fire

Sleeping rough

It had started well. We were quick moving through, first the farmland before the track, sheep watching with suspicion as we kicked up sprays of dew, and then through the gloomy, sweet smelling beech forest that meant our tramp had officially begun.

The Wild Garden

A day trip to Kapiti Island

At about 200 metres up, the birds suddenly triple in number. Large trees sway in the wind, and too many birds to identify swoop and dive between them. It’s one hell of a racket and we stop to watch and listen. It feels a million miles from our usual haunt, the Tararua, where a walk in the bush is often conducted in silence, and sadly seeing a single tui is a notable event.

Soggy Boots and Frozen Pipes

A postcard from the Makaroro River, Ruahine Forest Park

Where The Dirt Goes

A postcard from the Hurunui River, Lake Sumner Forest Park

A Real Leg Burner

A postcard from Kime Hut, Tararua Ranges


Subscribe to Up Country RSS