If you want to really enjoy everything our amazing country has to offer, going out on a picnic and enjoying some of our unique food experiences amongst our gorgeous natural landscapes is something you ought to try. With that said, here are some handy tips and tricks you can use to make your New Zealand picnicking experience the best it can be!
Pick the perfect spot
You’ve probably already guessed that New Zealand has some of the most picturesque and pleasant picnic spots in the entire world. There’s no shortage of amazing locations to explore no matter if you’re visiting the North or South Island, and a visit can easily be incorporated into one of your hiking trips.
Some great spots on the North Island include Hamilton with its open grassy areas and the iconic Hamilton Gardens and Auckland with its abundance of well-maintained city parks. The South Island has spots like Wanaka and Lake Clearwater that are worth a visit for any budding picnicker.
Bring some delicious food with you
Of course, the most important aspect of preparing for any picnic is the spread you’re going to bring along. You’ll want to bring a fair selection of snacks and ‘dippy’ foods that are excellent for nibbling on as you chat and soak in the idyllic surroundings.
For the main course, consider something delicious and healthy like a gourmet wrap or tub of Chinese beef and veggie stir-fry that you prepared the night before. Beef is a great source for protein, iron and zinc and is even healthier when you add stir-fried vegetables.
Also, make sure you’ve got the appropriate cutlery (plastic knives aren’t going to cut it with tougher foods and might splinter leaving microscopic shards in the ground that will damage the ecosystem).
New Zealand’s natural landscapes are so gorgeous and healthy because we take care of them! With that said, always make sure you clean up after yourself and leave nothing behind that an animal could choke on or get caught in (like a cardboard drink carton or disposable straw).
Take your camera
Because of how amazing and lush our picnic spots are in New Zealand, you’d be remiss not to bring your camera along to get some scenic pics of your surroundings. Some candid shots of the family or your hiking companions enjoying a picturesque picnic will make great gifts or simply something neat to share on social media.
Keep in mind – if you upload photos of your picnic to Facebook, be prepared for everyone to ask where you went!
Watch the weather
Obviously, the weather plays a big role in how enjoyable your picnic is going to be. A thunderstorm or a really windy day is going to make it basically impossible to comfortably enjoy any outdoor activity, especially the ones that involve sitting in the middle of a grassy field.
Make sure you plan ahead and look at the weather forecast for the area you are going to (not just where you are when you wake up). Be prepared for the unexpected with spare raincoats and food covers if you have spare room to bring them along (if you’re hiking you likely already have this gear with you).
Be sun smart
Being mindful of the weather isn’t just about avoiding wind and rain, it’s also about being smart about your exposure to the sun. The sun shines just as brightly in New Zealand as it does anywhere else, so don’t make the mistake of travelling without adequate clothing and sunscreen.
Generally, you should try to keep as much of your body covered in some kind of shade for as much as you can and minimise the amount of direct sunlight that reaches your skin. Make sure you wear a broad-rimmed hat and use a generous amount of sunscreen (a small squirt isn’t enough for your whole body let alone a single arm – don’t be afraid to slop it on).
Keep an eye out for native critters
You can’t talk about enjoying the outdoors of New Zealand without mentioning Kiwis in one form or another. Apart from our iconic flightless Kiwi, there are around 200 different native species of bird in New Zealand that you can try to spot with your binoculars and a bit of patience. Do some research into what species are regional to where you’re picnicking so you know what you’re looking for.
Crank some tunes or make your own
With today’s modern conveniences like smartphones and portable speaker systems, it’s never been easier to supply the soundtrack to your perfect picnic excursion. Simply make a playlist of songs you think will go well in the background and be popular with everyone coming along with you. Be sure to be respectful and considerate though, not everyone appreciates loud music in nature!
Alternatively, for those with musical instruments a picnic is also a perfect excuse to have a jam session in beautiful surroundings. Making music out in nature is quite different to inside a bedroom or even a professional studio – make the most of it and play, sing and dance your heart out! (you’re outside after all).