Seeing the forest beyond the trees

Out There

Living with a little chaos could benefit us, and the planet Welcome to 2011; the United Nations’ International Year of Forests. It’s the year when the good folk at the...

Thai style green-lipped mussels

Wild Cuisine

There are many reasons why Aoteoroa is a great place to live… one often forgotten one is the endemic green-lipped mussel. These tasty little morsels are found around most coastlines,...

Smoked Chicken Paella

Wild Cuisine

The Spanish are a nation of great explorers. Guys like Magellan and Columbus pushed back the maps further than just about anyone in history. There are many reasons; advancement of...

Calling each thing by its right name

Out There

Naming places can be highly emotional or utterly pragmatic and often tempers can flare Lord Halifax once said: “A man that should call everything by its right name would hardly...

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Wild Cuisine

Whatever your position on globalisation there’s one thing you have to admit – it’s done wonders for the culinary world. Whereas once upon a time you’d be compelled to cook...

Coffee a'la sock

Wild Cuisine

Going tramping means going without; not necessarily in a bad way though. Sure you leave behind a warm bed, your favourite TV programme and your beloved Facebook account – but...

Baring my sole

Out There

Running on fumes – or how to get closer to nature without busting the bank I’ve recently discovered the latest fad in trail running – going barefoot. Over the years...

Nasi Goreng takeaway

Wild Cuisine

I’m no sociologist, but over the years I’ve noticed two distinct traits of the backcountry ‘tribe’: they have a fondness for frugality and a slightly off-beat sense of humour. This...

Thinking beyond the pit

Wild winter

Avalanche awareness is about learning to take calculated risks and knowing when to call it a day, writes Mark Banham “Mind if I take a photograph of you guys?” the...

Not legally binding

Wild winter

Poorly set bindings are the leading cause of ski-related injuries, discovers Mark Banham When did you last look at your bindings’ release tension settings? There’s growing concern among experts in...

Lessons from the far side

Out There

Kiwis might love the outdoors, but when it comes to fanaticism we aren’t a patch on the Australians I’d like to dispel the rumours that I have defected to the...

Mountaineers' muesli

Wild Cuisine

If you’re going to do something, then do it well. It’s an idea the Swiss have certainly taken to heart. The little land-locked country has produced some of the world’s...

Feverfew: Wild foods

Wild Survival

Description: Feverfew is found in many old gardens and wild areas and it is occasionally grown for ornament. The plant grows into a small bush around 45cm high. This is...

Potamophobia and the politics of fear

Out There

We live in an age of exaggerated threats and over-driven fear…but that’s not an excuse for having a little fun writes Mark Banham What do Wilderness columnists fear? Well, in...

Snojitos – Christmas cheer

Wild Cuisine

Everyone loves the Christmas and New Year period – a time to get together with friends, celebrate the year’s achievements and wipe the slate clean for the incoming calendar. But...

Cook’s Classroom

Out There

The outdoors makes the best classroom, just ask Captain James Cook Most people know Captain James Cook as the historically significant navigator, explorer and the man who, for better or...

Welcome to Fiordland!

Out There

A fun and convenient place that’s coming to New Zealand soon – as long as you’re well behaved Hello children! Something very exciting is happening right now near Milford Sound:...

Piri piri chicken and broccoli stir-fry

Wild Cuisine

All too often backcountry food consists of dehydrated reconstituted preservative-laden mush when, for the average weekend mission, there’s often no need. Take for instance this stir fry – a spicy...

A journey to the heart of endurance

Features

The Coast to Coast is a bucket list item for countless Kiwis, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily 243km of uninterrupted fun as Mark Banham reports I’ll admit it right...

Bacon and courgette polenta

Wild Cuisine

I’m not gluten intolerant, in fact on my more cynical days I could be described as gluten intolerance intolerant. But I do think we eat far too much wheat-based food...

Top of the mountain huts

Features, Wild winter

There’s something very special and uniquely Kiwi about climbing from lush beech forest into a Narnia-esque alpine world. In many continental mountain ranges this sort of ecosystem transition takes place...

So what’s your excuse?

Features, Wild winter

Eight reasons to get out there in winter and improve your sanity We’ve all seen it before. Winter arrives and your faithful tramping mates start going into hibernation. Guys who...

A virtual backcountry world

Out There

Wearable imaging promises to be the next big thing in photography, but is the outdoors ready for it? In my experience the best things in life are given, not taken....

Chia iskiate (frog spawn)

Wild Cuisine, Free Articles

After a couple of years’ barefoot running, I’ve finally read Christopher McDougal’s Born to Run, the book that supposedly kicked off the whole un-shod running fad. Regardless of your point...

Go off-piste ski touring

Features, Fitness

Think you’re a good tramper, sea kayaker, climber, mountain biker and skier? Shift your horizons with one of these game-changing adventures   Go off-piste ski touring You can: Confidently ski...

For crying out loud

Out There

The ‘power scream’, as it’s known by climbers, is a common occurrence in all outdoor adventure sports. But have you ever stopped to wonder what it is?   I’m sure...

(Not quite) instant pumpkin soup

Wild Cuisine

You’ll meet a tremendous spread of people in the backcountry, from staunch mountaineers, to tree-hugging hippies and even the occasional cotton-wearing Darwin-dodger. But despite this diversity one thing unites them...

Fishy business in the Marlborough Sounds

Conservation

Sometimes idyllic conditions lead to the trickiest situations. It’s a kayaking truism that’s now being applied to the entire Marlborough Sounds thanks to a multi-national backed aquaculture expansion. Mark Banham...

De-hy hummus

Wild Cuisine

The humble chickpea isn’t really a particularly glamorous food in many people’s eyes. In fact, in most households it’s the sort of thing that ends up pushed to the back...

I walk, therefore I am

Out There

Seventeenth century French philosopher Rene Descartes famously mused ‘Je pense, donc je suis’ (I think, therefore I am). In his mind, the very fact he was asking abstract questions was...

Corn and feta fritters

Wild Cuisine

Whenever I do a longer backcountry trip, I inevitably run out of something – usually lunch, leaving us to eat porridge for the last couple of meals. Traditionally, I’ve just...

Campfire paella

Wild Cuisine

It’s summer! Which means it’s time to dust off the kayak and the fishing rod, stock up on sauvignon blanc and head to the beach. For me that means two...

Sympathy for the devil

Out There

The New Zealand sandfly; it’s possibly our most ubiquitous species of native fauna and definitely our least loved one – but there are a few redeeming traits The Kiwi backcountry,...

Vietnamese beef soup

Wild Cuisine

As outdoorspeople we pride ourselves on being adventurous. While ‘normal’ people are watching the football or visiting the mall, we’re scaling mountains, descending rivers and gritting our teeth into the...

The taxonomy of concern

Out There

A guide to worrying, concern, angst, and fear in the wilderness Worrying typically gets a bad rap, it’s almost always seen as counterproductive (in fact the word stems from the...

Snowberry and lemon sorbet

Wild Cuisine

Rather than cuisine to take into the backcountry, this one’s about bringing a little cuisine out. If you’re above the tree line in late summer, keep your eyes peeled for...

Creamy mushroom pasta

Wild Cuisine

When I was a kid, I couldn’t for the life of me understand what would possess anyone to eat a mushroom. I think I was being pretty rational – why...

Restructuring for Dummies

Out There

Our beloved leaders are sharpening up the secateurs and getting ready to give DOC a prune. But do they really know what they’re doing? Surely they do. But just in...

Simple Thai stir fry

Wild Cuisine

We foodies have a penchant for making things complicated, but really the best recipes are often the simplest. Take for instance this Thai stir fry. It’s super quick and endlessly...

Pad Thai

Wild Cuisine

When winter hits, most people seem to favour one of two options to cope with it – acceptance: crank the heater, dust off the puffer jacket and fire up the...

Central Otago Hunter’s Ragu

Wild Cuisine

Winter tramping in Central Otago can be a bit bleak at times. The trails are either frozen solid or ankle-deep mud and half the valleys never see any sunlight. But...

Moa fever

Out There

More contagious than any bird-borne virus, moa fever is surprisingly easy to contract in the New Zealand backcountry. Earlier this year, a team of Department of Conservation workers was digging...

Breakfast cookies

Wild Cuisine

There are times in the backcountry, few and far between as they are, when a long, leisurely breakfast is in order. Typically it’s a matter of getting up, packing up...

Curious kea

Hotshot

A curious kea in Craigiburn Valley, Arthurs Pass. The backpack still bears the scars of the encounter. Camera settings Canon 5D at 1/250th, f/6.7 with a 70-200mm lens.

Take back the mac!

Wild Cuisine, Free Articles

Turn up at any hut and you’ll inevitably see the infamous mac ‘n’ cheese on someone’s stove. And why not, it’s one of the all-time-great comfort-food recipes. But if you’re...

Eton Mess

Wild Cuisine

Despite our best efforts, backcountry food typically has a bit of a rough trip to the dinner table. Your average tramping pack is in fact a highly efficient food processing...

MOB rule

Out There

Is MOB (mud, obstacles and beer) racing the next big thing in the outdoors, or is adding concrete walls and rope ladders a little too over-the-top? 2014 promises to be...

Being nice can be selfish

Out There

Mark Banham shares a few lessons in paddling culture and Dawkinsian altruism learned while paddling the length of the Clutha River. We scribes do actually get out from behind the...

Epic Hot Chocolate

Wild Cuisine

Chocolate has saved my skin more times than I care to count. Freezing rain, upturned kayaks, and lost bearings can all be made endurable with the liberal application of this...

Forgive us our trespasses

Out There

  With large-scale rural land ownership out of reach of most Kiwis and often drifting into the hands of offshore corporations, is it time for a change in how we...

Campfire damper

Wild Cuisine

These days ‘fire’ is a bit of a four letter word when it comes to the wilderness. Not only does it leave unsightly scars around campsites and destroy potential homes...

Potbelly rice pudding

Wild Cuisine

Just about every tramper’s done it at one time or another; you cut things a little too fine thinking that the weather will hold… and it doesn’t. Next thing you...

French ridge crêpes

Wild Cuisine

These days, thanks to helicopter transport, mountaineers can eat better in the hills than they do at home. In the high altitude huts around Mt Cook and Aspiring National Park...

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Wild Cuisine

An urban myth that I’ve been told a few times says that Sherpas guiding Mt Everest are known to carry eggs up to the high camps, producing them whole, raw...

Unlucky fisherman’s risotto

Wild Cuisine

There’s an unspoken rule of fishing in the backcountry: if you don’t catch anything, then you must be prepared to eat the bait. Over the years, my skills as an...

Lemon Dahl

Wild Cuisine

OK, let me just state for the record: I think we’re designed to eat meat. We have eyes that face forwards for catching things that run away and incisors to...

Long haul laksa

Wild Cuisine

One of the really fast ways to turn someone off the outdoors, especially if they’re new to the whole tramping thing, is to slowly poison them with monotonous food. No...

Wild bacon and pea risoni

Wild Cuisine

In years to come, when global warming kicks in, the peak oil crisis hits or the zombies attack and we’re all forced to seek refuge in the hills, environmentalists like...

Scroggin slice

Wild Cuisine

Sadly if you’re a serious tramper there’s not an enormous amount of really satisfying trips that can be done in a weekend. With a few exceptions, two-day walks just feel...

Backcountry Quesadillas

Wild Cuisine

Luxmore Hut is a pretty familiar place to most South Island trampers. Located just above the tree line with jaw-dropping views over Lake Te Anau and the Murchison Mountains, it’s...

Keep-it-Simple Salmon

Wild Cuisine

The Southern Lakes are a beautiful place to go kayaking. On a clear day, slicing through glassy, crystal clear water with snow-capped peaks towering all around is about as good...

Blue cod ceviche

Wild Cuisine

There’s a certain practicalist joy in travelling by sea kayak. Whereas a decent sized backpack will hold about 80-litres of gear (if you can lift it), the average sea kayak...

Thai Fish Cakes

Wild Cuisine

Tuna is one of those foods that trampers couldn’t live without; it’s reasonably cheap, not too heavy, lasts for ever, and is virtually indestructible – as a consequence it’s become...

TVP stirfry

Walkshorts

Choosing a companion for a lengthy stint in the hills can be a bit tricky. You’re going to be stuck with them day and night, in sickness and health… for...

Pray to the winds

Out There

Summer is the time when Kiwi adventurers begin obsessing over the weather; pouring over prognosis charts and satellite images with fingers crossed – because everyone knows the difference between adventure...

Learning to fly

Out There

Mark Banham wades into the world of fly fishing. No fish were harmed in the making of this story I’ve always looked at fly fishermen with the sort of scepticism...

A confession

Out There

Nationalism may be a dirty word, but national pride is expected. Every red-blooded Kiwi backs the All Blacks and the Black Caps, and to suggest otherwise is tantamount to treason…...

Courgette pesto fusilli

Wild Cuisine

Don’t you just love summer food! Through winter it seems to be all about slow roasting, reducing and simmering, but in summer all the best dishes seem to be a...

Happy trails

Out There

It feels great to shoulder your pack and stride into the unknown, but have you ever wondered why? Perhaps not, but some of the world’s best psychologists have – and...

Devilishly good couscous

Wild Cuisine

My old boss used to say, “The devil’s in the details”. He wasn’t much of a foodie but his advice totally rings true in the culinary world. The difference between...

Backcountry bliss balls

Wild Cuisine

Backcountry bliss balls Sometimes the only thing harder than figuring out what you’re going to eat in the backcountry is working out what to do with all the stuff you...

Grilled field mushrooms

Wild Cuisine, Free Articles

American chef Anthony Bourdain famously said: ‘I’ve long believed that good food, good eating, is all about risk. Whether we’re talking about unpasteurised stilton, raw oysters… food, for me, has...

Bacon and banana pancakes

Wild Cuisine

One of the great pleasures of a tramping trip is getting back to civilisation and treating yourself to the things you’ve been missing out on in the hills. For me...

The dietary minefield

Out There

Nutjobs and fruitcakes; intolerance and fanaticism. A connoisseur’s guide to eating in the outdoors Going tramping with someone is a little like being temporarily married to them – in sickness...

Spicy minestrone

Wild Cuisine

There’s nothing quite like a bowl of hot soup to warm you up, but so many soups just seem a bit light and delicate. That’s not a bad thing, but...

Use your head

Out There

There’s nothing like getting into the great outdoors to make you feel glad to be alive, vertical and conscious. But some of the things we do out there can mess...

Zesty Quinoa Salad

Wild Cuisine

It’s pretty easy to get into a rut with your backcountry food: rice, pasta, rice, pasta, repeat. But if you want to mix things up a bit, sometimes it’s just...

Gingerbread mountains

Wild Cuisine

It seems when Christmas arrives, some of us embrace it wholeheartedly, some run for the hills, but most of us fall somewhere in between – escaping the worst of the...

Bulgur wheat salad

Wild Cuisine

Apparently one of the keys to living longer and healthier is to eat more vegetarian meals. So, if like me you’re intending to become one of those wiry old folk...