I found that Kiwis have this innate talent for creating the perfectly executed poached style egg causing me to never look at them quite the same, Kiwis and eggs. The first few days of the tour I missed out and was unaware of these treasures. Pre poached egg mornings I started the day off with two dark chocolate apricot nut bars, which became a staple in my tour diet. I actually ate an entire box a DAY for 31 days! That’s 6 bars a box. Then I'd have an apple, mandarin orange, a pack of lunchmeat and a few gluten/dairy free cookies, washing it all down with a hydration water.
The morning of day 3, I woke exhausted, extremely emotional and horribly homesick for my family, especially my love. I was running late, which was quickly becoming the norm for the tour, and as I waited to take the morning ferry to Rawene it began to rain bringing me down even more. After boarding the boat I decided I needed to eat, I realized I was starving. Once across the water I went into a convenient store grabbing some food for the day: cooked packages of rice, canned tuna, lunchmeat and my favorite nut bars. Exiting the store I saw that the café across the street wasn’t open. I referred to my Tour Aotearoa cue sheet books for other suggestions on where to eat. The Boatshed Café was listed and as I looked up from the book, I noticed it to my left.
I made my way over. Carol Anne, who would introduce herself to me shortly and was the café’s server/barista, was outside setting up tables. I asked her if they were open and found no, they weren’t and won’t be for 30 more minutes. Damn it! I yelled in my head. I was beyond starving now and longed for a REAL meal that didn’t come in a can. I was feeling the pressure to hit the road, I had already wasted a few good riding hours and didn’t want to waste anymore time. All of a sudden, a head popped out.
“Ya want some pizza?”
“Is it gluten free?” I asked.
“No. But we have gluten free toast. Why don’t you just come in and sit down, give us a minute and we’ll make you breakfast.” The man, who was now my hero, called back.
My head may have tried to resist the offer but my stomach would not! I took a seat at a table that overlooked the bay and ordered two eggs, toast, sautéed mushrooms, hashbrowns, bacon and a maple black walnut hot tea, thanks to Carol Anne’s suggestion. As I waited I wandered the gift shop that had traditional Maori carved jewelry, paintings and drawings. After a short bit I headed back to the table just as a Maori women, whose name I missed since I was distracted by hunger, dropped the goods on the table. It was a masterpiece, especially the perfectly poached egg. Lost in my awe I forget to say thank you to the woman until she started to walk away.
“Thank you!” I yelled loudly at her, snapping me back to reality.
Looking back she said thank you and I noticed a moko kauae tattoo on her chin. It was beautiful. Just then it hit me, I was experiencing, first hand, another culture half way round the world. What a privilege. Then I stuffed my face!!!!
As my journey continued I found that 95% of the cafes I stopped in had gluten free toast, all (but one) had my new favorite, perfectly poached eggs and the most amazing Caramel Slices. I was in the middle of dairy country and the milk self was filled with EVERY possible flavor of milk: caramel, coffee, espresso, strawberry, orange and even LIME! I didn’t try any milk but I did fall in love with the caramel and date almond milk. I had to pass on the crazy flavors of ice cream as well as the pies.
Baby food is something that I have always carried with me on bike rides but I ventured out into the unknown, or forgotten, by trying baby food with meat. I usually stick to fruits and sometimes go with sweet peas but not since I was an infant I have had meat. This would prove to be a BIG mistake. One afternoon on the tour I was running out of food and had a couple more hours to ride until I reached a place to re-supply. The only thing I had left to eat was Lamb Shepherd's Pie. I was saving it for last because I was too scared to eat it. Desperate, I took out the baby food, opened the pouch and took a little sip and oh god, I bout threw it up. There was no flavor except for the gamey lamb taste. But I had not choice, somehow this had to go down, I needed the energy. So I plugged my nose and sucked it back in one glub! It took all my effort to keep it down. The texture of pureed bland unsalted flavorless yet a bit greasy lamb with mash potatoes....uggg...I think I just gagged!!! It was sooooooo gross, I don't recommend it but I was grateful for anything at that moment.
Calories: No matter how much I ate I just couldn’t consume enough calories.
Dairy/Gluten Free: Lots of dairy and gluten free options but when there wasn't, there wasn't!
Timing: Takeaways and stores closed earlier than I was use to (5pm-ish), especially in the north island. On occasion I'd luck out and have gas station food, which had limited options.
Grocery Shopping Favorites!
Here are a few of my fav and not so fav food from
Canned Chicken with Mayo or Whole Grain Mustard (GF)
Peckish Sweet Carrot Rice Crackers (GF/DF)
Beet and Cashew Hummus (GF/DF)
Fanta Jelly Fizz (GF/DF)
Chocolate with Coriander and Apricots (GF) and Jelly Tip Chocolate (GF)
Chocolate Covered Cookies (GF/DF)
Lemon Cake (GF/DF)
Caramel Slices (GF)
Caramel and Date Almond Milk (GF/DF)
What I grew tired of
Chips (French fries)
Cooked Packaged Rice
Anything in a package or can, except canned chicken!
Not so Fav Foods
Burgers: NZ burgers taste like Salisbury steak, which grossed me out and took a few tries to realize this. But a few places had pickled beets on them, which was really tasty.
NZ Bacon: The NZ style of bacon is more like ham or Canadian bacon, not my fav. Only a few places had what I would call “real” crispy fatty bacon.
Energy Drinks: I'd never had an energy drink until NZ and I hated them BUT they helped when tackling really long big hills.
Chicken Flavored Potato Chips (Chippies): I was SUPER disappointed by these chips. They ended up just tasting like chicken bouillion on chips, really disappointing.
I get real about the acceptance of failure and what happens when running past empty. Stay tuned.
I wanna hear from you
Is there something you'd like to know about the tour? About Van life? Adventuring? New Zealand? Solo Adventures? Camping? A story you'd like to share? Reach out and let me know, who knows, maybe I'll even write a post bout it! Thanks again for reading!