Nov 9th, 2011, 08:28 AM
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I am headed to New Zealand soon and I am wondering if anyone can recommend good adventure tour companies, preferably companies with good track records with regards to conservation and social responsibility?

I am planning on going to both the North and the South Island.

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Cheetah2011 is offline  
Nov 9th, 2011, 08:32 AM
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OH, also, does anyone have any recommendation for some local, seasonal eating. Farm to table type offerings in NZ? I am interested to learn whether there is a local, seasonal, fresh food movement there.

Any restaurant suggestions for creative, organic and season cooking?

Thanks again!
Cheetah2011 is offline  
Nov 9th, 2011, 01:53 PM
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Yes there is a lot of that. You might search eg try culinary tours.

The top magazine is
mlgb is offline  
Nov 9th, 2011, 09:29 PM
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In my opinion, because New Zealand is relatively isolated, as compared to the U.S., Canada, or countries in Europe, it, by necessity, has had to become fairly self-sufficient with respect to food. If you visit a grocery store/supermarket while you are there, you will notice the high prices for imported foods. In fact, the prices are high for local foods, as well, because, unlike say, California, for instance, they do not have an abundance of cheap labor from just south of the border (though there are some imported laborers from other Pacific Island nations). In addition, fuel costs are high, so shipping of produce and other food items is costly. So "eating local and seasonal" has been a way of life for New Zealanders long before it became a fashionable international buzzterm. New Zealand also exports food, such as lamb, dairy (in various forms), seafood, venison, apples, glorious honey, and more. Much of its economy is based on agriculture.

My husband currently works in Dunedin, but previously he worked in Gisborne, which is on the Eastern Cape of the North Island. Though Gisborne has a Farmers' Market, we noticed that a lot of the locals had their own gardens for growing produce (Gisborne has some of the best weather in NZ). The small community college also taught cheese and wine making.

MLGB has sent you the link for the Farmers' Markets. Given your interests, this is a must-see. On the South Island, the best known is that of Dunedin's. It is held every Saturday morning. All the food is locally sourced, from fish to meat to produce to locally crafted cheeses, jams and honey. It is a lively scene held beside the historical Railway Station. It seems all of Dunedin turns out for the Farmers' Market--rain or shine. Also on offer are cooked foods. You will not see so many purely organic food stalls (in the sense of only organic fertilizers and pesticide free), but most of the produce vendors sell pesticide-free vegetables and fruits and indicate that their produce has not been sprayed. As you know, organic food labeling requirements vary from country to country.

I live in Marin County, CA., and even my own local Farmers' Market has few "certified" organic produce stalls, but many pesticide free stalls.

On the North Island the best known Farmers' Market is probably that of Matakana Village, in this suburb north of Auckland.

You will find excellent Farmers' Markets even in small towns. When I was touring South Island wineries a few months ago, I had a chance to shop at the Cromwell Farmers' Market (Cromwell is a small town in the heart of Central Otago's wine country). The Farmers' Market was small but lovely. The entertainment was supplied by a band from Vanuatu. I bought locally harvested produce, locally made bread and locally harvested honey.

A LOT of restaurants depend on locally sourced ingredients, for the reasons I stated above--because imports are expensive (and generally not as fresh), and because locally grown, crafted, and sourced food IS so tasty and fresh. I think it is harder to find a NZ restaurant that does not depend on fresh locally sourced food (excluding the fast food joints).

If you find yourself near Oamaru, which is about 90 minutes north of Dunedin, pop into the award winning Riverstone Cafe. Its produce gardens are adjacent to the restaurant, though not all of its produce comes from here.

In Dunedin, I love Plato Cafe

When I am in New Zealand, I love trying foods that I cannot find in California, such as ice cream or drinks made of feijoa (a fruit), local honeys like the fabulous Pohutakawa honey, Bluff Oysters, and more. As a native San Franciscan, I should be flogged for saying this, but I actually prefer the sourdough bread I have bought at the Dunedin Farmers' Market over that I find in San Francisco.

My husband likes to order mutton bird (titi), a popular NZ poultry choice. Mutton bird is known as the Sooty Shearwater here in California. Personally, I couldn't bear to eat this lovely little creature, but a lot of New Zealanders are crazy about it.

And don't forget the Green Lipped Mussels. You can buy them all over the world, but they taste best in New Zealand.

I would agree with MLGB. Cuisine magazine is terrific. Meanwhile, check out these links:

I actually think New Zealand is a land of foodies. Food festivals are common, such as the Wild Food Festival:,51,0,0,html
Diamantina is offline  
Nov 9th, 2011, 09:34 PM
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The Bay of Islands also has a lively food scene.
Diamantina is offline  
Nov 11th, 2011, 09:36 AM
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Very nice info Diamantina. I also liked the Kerikeri and Waipara Valley markets, and even the one at the Britomart isn't bad.
The food scene in NZ has progressed greatly in the last 20 years, my first visit it was roast meat potato and two veg covered by brown gravy but it is really easy to find a more modern approach even in small towns.
mlgb is offline  
Nov 14th, 2011, 08:43 PM
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Wow! Thanks for the info guys! I am excited now! It's been years since I was there and I do remember the ice cream and as I recall, it is the land of WOOFERS (willing workers on organic farms).

Sounds great.

Anyone have any idea about finding work in the field of agriculture or in my case, conservation, tourism or working with NGOs on adaptation to climate change etc?

Any recommendations would be excellent.

thanks again!
Cheetah2011 is offline  
Nov 14th, 2011, 10:54 PM
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I had a great time at Kapiti Island. John is a great cook and an excellent host. He gave us as much contact as we wanted and left us to our own devices as we wished too.

Other sites you might try for info include:

mlgb on Nov 12, 11 at 4:36am "The food scene in NZ has progressed greatly in the last 20 years, my first visit it was roast meat potato and two veg covered by brown gravy."

You forgot to mention the parsley. Everything used to be garnished with parsley except if it was a sweet and I was half expecting to find that too. Like parsley, grow parsley, cook with parsley but not in and on every meal!
AlanJG is offline  
Nov 15th, 2011, 03:40 PM
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We just watched a show on PBS about this kind of thing in New Zealand. Check the presenter's website for more info:

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Dec 18th, 2011, 12:35 AM
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