This will be the first of a few summaries on our Te Araroa thru hike. Of course it’s our favourite thing to discuss: FOOD!
Longest stretch between resupplies: 9 days (Richmond Ranges, took us 7.5)
Shortest stretch between resupplies: Breakfast! (Between Bulls and Fielding, two small towns very close together!)
Strangest meal: scrambled eggs (purchased from a roadside honesty box stand) with powdered minestrone soup mix and crushed Doritos as garnish
We cooked and ate this under the shelter of a tree on the side of the road during a big rain storm.
Favourite town meal: Puhoi cheese factory. Matt and I shared a cheese platter complete with olives and meats. The homemade ice cream was also some of the best ice cream we’ve had in NZ.
Now let’s dive into the routine of food on the trail. The main concern when resupplying would be counting our dinners (which we shared) and individually taking care of the rest of our meals/snacks. We always carried a minimum of 1 more day than we expected to take- more if the section was notorious for weather delays.
Here’s what we ate!
Muesli w/ powdered milk
We ate Bumper Bars for the first month and a half. We were obsessed! You find these bars in the cereal bar section of the supermarket but they’re heartier than your typical box of six granola bars. Somewhere between a granola bar and a protein bar? Fat and sugar. Yum. They’re sold individually ($2.50!) or in packs of 3.
Once we discovered we needed 2 Bumper Bars to get us going in the morning, we switched to oats. Cold oats. Brad did it all 125 days if you can believe it. I didn’t last with this breakfast too long, though Matt did it for about a month, complaining after a week. If we put enough chocolate milk powder in it, it wasn’t all that bad.
Then (and to the end) muesli/cereal with powdered milk. Definitely my favourite breakfast but a bit bulky to carry.
Breakfast worked out thinking about it. In our Bumper Bar eating days, we were on the North Island and eating most of our morning meals in our tent to avoid the sandflies before packing up. Unwrapping a bar couldn’t be easier. In the South Island, spending most of our time in huts, sitting down and casually eating a bowl of cereal in the morning was a relaxing way to start the day.
Tuna packs/cheese/peanut butter/jam/honey/Nutella/hummus
It only took us the first ten days of tuna to turn us off for the rest of the trip but it was a convenient source of protein at the time for sure.
I should’ve kept track of how many bricks of cheese I went through because it would’ve been a lot. I didn’t even always eat it with my crackers. I usually ate those dry and nibbled straight from the brick.
Peanut butter was a favourite with the occasional other spread to spice things up. We only carried hummus a couple of times for very short stretches. It didn’t last much more than 3 days at its longest.
Couscous/Lentils/Pasta/Vermicelli Noodles/Instant Ramen Noodles
(I pretend we had a variety here but at least 100 outta the 125 days, we ate couscous if you can believe it)
We also usually carried 2-4 fresh carrots depending on the length of the stretch.
Sauce- prepackaged “wok” and “Indian” sauces/instant cheese sauce/powdered soup mixes
Matt almost always carried a Whittakers Bar with him, I usually had Lindt bars or Oreo cookies
Nuts- almonds/honey roasted peanuts/cashews
I ate sunflower seeds like a bird.
I only discovered these towards the end but.. roasted chickpeas are SO delicious.
Candy- jet planes/lollipops/peanut m n m’s
Granola bars- mega nuts/oaty slices/snack logs
Raisins/Dates/Dried Peaches & Apricots
Water Water Water
Juice- mango orange, the “sugar free” was the most lightweight 😉
Coffee- “Jeds” was the “best” instant coffee we found in NZ
Tea but not a whole lot
Hot Chocolate- not often but when we had it, we brought marshmallows! This was only once.
Binge eating & Hiker hunger:
We’ve met hikers who claim they never feel it but for the majority of us, hiker hunger is all too real. It starts off with more snacks more often and earlier on in the day. Then after a big pot of dinner, you’re still hungry so you make a second dinner. Then, you have to brush your teeth quickly after dinner to avoid eating the rest of your food that you need to ration for the stretch. Then, you walk through a town. You order carrot cake, brownies, fish and chips, burgers, quiches, pies and anything else your eyes spot. Then, you go back to your lightweight food. You hike for however many days before you walk through a town again and press the repeat button.
It’s not the healthiest lifestyle clearly but when you see baked goods after however many days in the bush, it’s hard to resist. Don’t get me wrong, we’d also sneak in as much fruit and veggies as we could. It’s just that weight to calorie ratio doesn’t allow much room for veggies in our backpacks. We would do all the veggie eating in town though and you can only eat so much in the one day we usually had. Generally we would carry a days worth of fresh veg for the first day after a town. After that, it was back to couscous and dehydrated veg.
That’s it! There you have it! Man am I excited to have a kitchen to cook in and a pantry full of delicious stuff to choose from again!