Inspiration

Three Cooking Classes That Take New Zealand’s Famous Food Culture Back In Time

These educational cooking classes take guests into the New Zealand wilderness to learn how to pick fresh fruit, herbs and vegetables.

By Jenny Hewett

Sep 29, 2020

IF YOUR IDEA OF A KIWI ADVENTURE involves DIY RVing around the two islands, the fend-for-yourself offerings highlighted here will make that plan look like the luxe life. There’s foraging and trekking, but the many ways to cook without a stove are alone worth the long-haul flight. 

Geothermal Cooking

Access to this one-tent-only Te Rata glampsite on the edge of Lake Tarawera in the North Island’s geothermal town of Rotorua is reached via a four-hour trek (or a 20-minute water taxi). Set on conservation land, the site includes a bedroom, kitchen and bathroom tent and a canoe for exploring coves and natural hot pools. Guests can cook their meals “hangi-style” beneath the sand on Hot Water Beach. Even more exclusive and private is the Kanuka glampsite with its own beach, a further 90-minute trek from Te Rata.

totallytarawera.com/glamping; tent from US$197.

Bush Survival

“Survival and self-sufficiency are forgotten things that we take for granted. Earthquakes, power cuts, even COVID-19 have proven that you need to have a few skills up your sleeve,” says Peter Hitchman, former bodyguard to the rich and famous, and guide at Chris Jolly Outdoors in the Lake Taupo region. These half-day and full-day educational hiking tours take guests into the wilderness to study the native flora and fauna and learn lifelong skills, such as how to make a fish trap using a plastic bottle, making fire with friction, and identifying edible and medicinal plants.

chrisjolly.co.nz; price on request.

Farm to Fork

Living off your own farm produce is Survival 101, but how many of us even know what vegetables look like when they’re still in the ground? Good From Scratch Cookery School hosts farm and foraging experiences that immerse you in a bucolic environment in the Taiapa Valley and teach you how to pick fresh fruit, herbs and vegetables from the gardens, gather eggs and bake your own bread. Past special classes have even included butchery. There are half- and one-day courses to choose from, each culminating in a group meal where students get to feast on the fruits of their labor.

goodfromscratch.co.nz; from US$200.

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