In just over two weeks, my two friends and I will be heading off to New Zealand to hike 270kms from Matamata to the Tongariro National Park.
This latest blog article will go through not only the food we will be taking and why, but also the process of how we will be managing our food while we are there.
During this 13 day thru-hike, we will be required to carry most of our food at any one time and that, in itself, can seem daunting.
However, to make it easier on ourselves we’ve opted to send our food over in two food boxes.
Originally, we were going to engage NZ Post for a service called “poste restante” which allows you to send a package/parcel to yourself or others to be picked up at a later date.
Quite a number of New Zealand post offices provide this service and it is particularly useful if you are a thru-hiker.
For the first week, they will hold onto your parcel for free, but after that, they charge a fee which increases every week.
Our point of pick up was going to be the Tokoroa Post Office which we would reach at the end of Day 2 (December 28th).
However, given the next food box pick up would be on January 4th in Taumarunui, we decided to investigate another option on around Day 4 in Whakamaru (December 30th) to try and minimise pack weight.
Thankfully, we found a lodge that was more than happy to have us send the first food box (day 4-9) to them and they would hold onto it until December 30th for us to pick up.
The second box, which is being sent over in a week, will be sent to the Taumarunui Caravan park where they will hold it for us until we arrive.
What Food Is Being Sent And Why?
The key criteria to all of our food being sent over are that it’s lightweight and full of calories.
Why do we want food like this? Well, being lightweight it will be much easier to carry and the calorie component will keep us continually fueled for every day.
Some of the foods we are sending over are:
- Snickers and protein bars (40-50g per piece; 800-1100kj)
- Peanut M&Ms (100-200g servings)
- Dehydrated meal and freeze-dried meals (Strive Foods and Campers Pantry respectively)
- Assorted tuna sachets (cans are no good; it’s all about that lightweight option, remember?!)
- Assorted Continental Pasta packs
- Assorted Uncle Ben’s rice packs
All of these are easy to cook, are packed full of flavour and are easy enough to carry. The dehydrated and freeze-dried meals are a great addition given there is no water in them.
Now, as they are being sent internationally, they will have to pass through customs and be checked.
The main thing you need to remember with any food parcel being sent into NZ is that all food needs to be commercially packaged and unopen.
For instance, you can’t send your own vacuum sealed, homemade dehydrated meals as they won’t have a proper label on them.
For more info, be sure to check out the food section of the Ministry for Primary Industries website.
What About The First Day 1-3?
The food we will be carrying for Days 1-3 will be organised when we arrive in Matamata on Boxing Day.
We will have the whole day to do some last minute shopping for food at the local supermarket.
However, it will really only be lunch and snacks that we will need to prepare, which, again, minimises our overall pack weight significantly.
Personally, I’ll be taking wraps (including salami and hummus) with me as a lunch option. I’ll be preparing all lunches for Days 1-9 when we’re in Matamata.
The upside of staying in a town on the first two nights (a motel on the first night) is that we have the option of buying our breakfast/dinner.
To take a look at our food and water “itinerary”, you can click here.