New Zealand’s proud pioneering and farming history created hardworking, self-sustaining country communities. These communities have their own distinct kiwi culture – the locals that live in them are people of the land and are characterised by their friendly, down-to-earth natures. Experiencing New Zealand’s country culture means appreciating hearty meals, telling a few yarns and soaking up the beautiful kiwi countryside.
Visitors often tell us it’s the small connections made with local kiwis that make their time in New Zealand extra special. Whether you’re being guided around a country garden by passionate owners, feasting on a hearty, home-made meal in a historic homestead or enjoying a bustling country fete, the local country hospitality in New Zealand is warm, embracing and unforgettable.
Here’s a few of the things we really love about exploring back country New Zealand.
Hearty, home-made kiwi cuisine
Veggie gardens and fruit orchards are standard in New Zealand’s country homes – and they don’t exist simply because the nearest supermarket is 200-kilometres away. For New Zealand’s country folk, self-sustainability is a matter of pride and creating a meal out of ingredients you’ve grown yourself is the norm. Often meat is home-killed and beautifully cooked prime cuts of lamb and beef are standard lunch or dinner fare. Portions are generous – after all, they need to fuel the hard, physical tasks that living in the country demands. Dining in a country homestead for lunch? Make sure you’re hungry, and expect a delicious meal of tender roast lamb or beef accompanied by fresh, home-grown veggies and produce.
Getting off the tourist trail and into real New Zealand
New Zealand’s natural sights are world-famous, and can be busy during the high season. Places like Milford Sound, Queenstown, the West Coast Glaciers and Rotorua are all must-see’s, but getting off the tourist trail and into the countryside is a uniquely rewarding experience that not all visitors are able to enjoy. Farms, orchards and vineyards are the backbone of New Zealand and visiting the small, friendly communities that surround them allows visitors an insight into what it means to be a hard-working kiwi. Many of the people you’ll meet in these places will be part of families whose lineage can be traced back to the early European pioneers; multiple generations working the same land as their forefathers.
Can-do kiwi attitudes
Living in the New Zealand countryside can be tough, and self-sustainability for nearly everything does not come easy. Fences need to be mended, stock needs to be tended and – especially during the South Island winter – snowstorms need to be prepared for and dealt with. Logs constantly need to be chopped for the fireplace, and substantial veggie gardens planted on time. It’s a hard lifestyle that not everybody is cut out for with only 15% of New Zealanders choosing to live like this. But it’s a lifestyle that forges character, and meeting the families that live like this can be a fascinating and unforgettably New Zealand experience.
Experiencing New Zealand’s country culture is unforgettable, so we’ve incorporated visits to homesteads, country communities and rural gardens into many of our small-group tours. To find out more about our tours get in touch directly