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oceania & asia

food wine travel

Uepi Island Solomon Islands • Martinborough & Hollyford Track New Zealand Penang Malaysia • Old Delhi India • Hong Kong, Wenzhou & Xi’an China Ubud Bali • Sunshine Coast, Kangaroo Island, Redcliffe & Clare Valley Australia

explore! savor! live!

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16 14



oceania & asia


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depts 4 contributors

contents 16 Beyond the Terra Cotta Warriors To the Xi’an Muslim Quarter

24 Exploring the Spice Market In Old Delhi

32 Everyday China Culinary Adventures in The Middle Kingdom

40 Blessings of Bali Rice Growing and the Golden Hour

48 Australia’s Sunny Coast Australia’s Popular Playground

First class reporting from around the world

5 from the editor Welcome to Spring 2017

6 wines & spirits Exploring Australia’s Clare Valley

10 my home town Redcliffe, Australia

12 bon appétit Learn How to Make Jingha Masala

14 gear Icebreaker Merino

94 last shot Uluru, Northern Territory, Australia

56 Ata Rangi One Of New Zealand’s Best Wineries

62 Yau Ma Tei Hong Kong Contrasts and Transformations

70 Entranced By the Solomon Islands

78 Ancestral Adventure In New Zealand

86 Kangaroo Island It’s Not All About the Wildlife

on the cover A rice terrace near Ubud, Bali glimmers in the first light of day. ©Tom Bartel,




Barbara Ramsay Orr

contributors More information and links for individual authors at the end of each article.


Alison Abbott

Kurt Jacobson

Alison Abbott is a travel writer and photographer based in Boston, Massachusetts., with a focus on sustainable shades of green luxury.

Kurt Jacobson is a full-time travel and food writer living in Baltimore, Maryland.

Gary Arndt

Veronica Matheson

Gary Arndt is an awarding winning blogger and travel photographer who has been traveling around the world since 2007.

Australian-based food/wine/travel writer with major focus on international ocean/river cruising.

Mary Chong

Maurie O’Connor

A travel writer, world cruiser, social media influencer, and founder of Calculated Traveller Magazine.

Maurie O’Connor is an Australian travel writer who loves jazz, oysters, books, films and craft beer in no particular order.

Marisa D’Vari

Barbara Ramsay Orr

“Let’s make wine fun and approachable!” says Marisa D’Vari, globe-trotting international wine and travel writer.

Barbara Ramsay Orr is a recipient of the Lowell Thomas Award for Journalism and sits on the board of the Society of American Travel Writers.

Jacqui Gibson

Diana Russler

A New Zealand freelancer writing about travel, heritage & life in a plucky Pacific nation at the bottom of the world.

New York-based Diana Russler is an adventurer, freelance writer and photographer.

Beth Graham

Christine Salins

Food, wine and travel writer always up for an adventure. Former Italian expat. Wine lover. Storyteller.

Christine Salins is one of Australia’s most highly regarded food, wine and travel writers.

Kristin Henning

Sandra Scott

Kristin Henning is a writer and constant traveler, focusing on historic sites, arts and culture, food and wine, as well as the wonders of nature.

Sandra and her husband, John, have been exploring the world for decades, always on the lookout for something new and unique to experience.



from the editor


f you’re a wanderluster, then this issue is for you! Our writers share their personal adventures in Australia, New Zealand and Asia. True to our name, this issue is filled with enticing food, wine and travel stories. We’ll travel to the Clare Valley in Australia and visit with husband and wife winemakers who own their own separate wineries. Then we’ll hop over to New Zealand to visit with a winemaker producing one of the country’s highest rated pinot noirs. Hopefully, you’ve worked up an appetite because our writers will take you on a culinary journey of Oceania and Asia, starting on the Malaysian island of Penang, where we’ll learn to make an island favorite, Jingha Masala, a spicy shrimp dish. We’ll wander through the rice fields of Bali and uncover the secrets of this centuries-old practice. We unique tastes in the neighborhoods of Kowloon, Hong Kong and enjoy some street food and people-watching in one of China’s ancient capitals, Xi’an. Finally, nothing will wake up the senses like a tour of the spice markets in Delhi. To work off some of that food and wine, we’ll take you on a few adventurous excursions including a three-day walk in a remote corner of New Zealand’s South Island, Hollyford Track. We’ll dive deep on a barrier reef island, one of several hundred found in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands, and explore a plethora of wildlife on Kangaroo Island. There’s no shortage of activities on Australia’s Sunny Coast, including a visit to Redcliffe, home of the Bee Gees.

fwt food wine travel

FWT Magazine: food wine travel Publisher • IFWTWA Publications Executive Editor • Beth Graham Associate Editor • Mary Chong Assistant Editors • Irene S. Levine, Diana Russler, Christine Salins & Melanie Votaw Blog Director • Jacqui Gibson Advertising Manager • Tess Lampert Social Media Team • Kurt Jacobson, Lorena Lopez, David Nershi, Debra Schroeder & Rossana Wyatt Wine Consultant • Hilarie Larson Publications Adviser • Allen Cox Publications Chair • John Lamkin Creative Director • Dan Kuehn Dan Frank Digital Design

FWT Magazine: food wine travel is published by the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association. Our writers reside and travel all over the world and write in their native voice. Learn more at www.

contact IFWTWA: FWT Magazine: Advertising: Submission Guidelines

Cheers! Beth




wine & spirits Exploring Australia’s Clare Valley with Riesling Wine Producers


hen you think of a winery, what is the first thing that comes to mind – aside from wine, of course? If you’re like most people, it’s romance. There’s something very romantic about being a winemaker and spending your days working with the vines, watching the grapes swell, then making the wine and seeing people enjoying it. But what if you’re a winemaker, married to a winemaker?

Jeffrey Grosset and his wife Stephanie Toole have been called the power couple of the wine world by Decanter magazine. They both have their own wineries located in Clare Valley, Australia. Clare Valley is one of the premium quality wine growing regions in Australia, accounting for top quality wine from the Riesling and Shiraz grapes. Though Australia, like the United States, is a relatively new country, Clare Valley has a long and

Jeffrey Grosset set against the stunning scenery of the Clare Valley, prime winemaking country in Australia

Riesling grapes

very important history that dates back to 1842 when John Horrocks planted the first vines. When copper was discovered in 1845, Clare Valley became a boom town and by the 1880s was known as the Hub of the North. Though large wine corporations (Hardys, Penfolds and Beringer Blass) have moved in, the small town ambience has retained its original charm. You will want to visit during the annual wine and food weekend (May 19-22, 2017) where the public can taste the young wine from the current vintage, taste lauded local cuisine, and tour the wineries. Jeffrey Grosset is the passionate owner of Grosset Wines, producing nine highly-regarded premium wines and one spirit each vintage. Established in 1981, the winery is situated in the historic township of Auburn in the Clare Valley, 100 kilometres north of Adelaide. His four high-altitude vineyards are Australian Certified Organic (ACO).

photos © Jeffrey Grosset

In October 2016, Grosset Wines was named in the list of the world’s 2016 Top 100 Wineries by United States Wine and Spirits magazine. Grosset’s Riesling wines, in particular, define what has become known as the Clare Valley style, very lean, mineral-driven, bone-dry wines with structure, intensity, and backbone, with an unforgettable note of lime. Jeffrey’s wife, Stephanie Toole, is the owner of the boutique winery Mount Horrocks Wines, also ACO-certified, and has been nominated for Australian Winemaker of the Year. Stephanie’s Mount Horrocks’ Riesling is as sweet and luscious as Jeffrey’s Riesling is tart and dry, and absolutely addictive because of the tension between the zesty acidity and sweetness. It’s not often that you find married winemakers who make very diverse expressions of the same varietal – especially as both Jeffrey and Stephanie’s Riesling wines are considered icons of their style in the region.




Australian winemakers and power couple, Jeffrey Grosset and Stephanie Toole

FWT: How did you meet? Jeffrey Grosset: We met in 1991 in Perth. Stephanie was running a fine wine shop, selling a lot of Grosset Polish Hill, as she loved the wine and recommended it to her customers with great confidence. For that reason, I thought I had to meet her. We share a love of food and wine. And Riesling, of course. FWT: You are both famous for your Riesling. Is there tension because you both make wine from this varietal? JG: No. Fortunately in the case of Riesling in particular, and fine wine in general, the character of the wine originates from the vineyard. It is up to us to bring out the best of variety and place. As we each have our own vineyards, we face subtly different challenges. FWT: Tell us about the first time you saw consumers enjoying your wine at a party or event – what was it like to see someone enjoying what you put such intense work, expense, and passion into creating? JG: Mine was from the 1980’s just after one or two vintages. Someone stopped me to say that tasting Grosset Riesling had changed his life or something very similar. At the same time his spending on wine had become substantial! FWT: Do you drink your own wines at home with dinner, or do you like to try wines from around the world? JG: We treat each day as an opportunity to try other wines. There are so many wines and with so much happening in the wine world, it’s important to keep up to date. FWT: Stephanie, your sweet Riesling is delicious and made in an unusual way. Do you want to briefly discuss the way it’s made, and also suggest some food pairings? Personally, I love it as an apéritif before the meal.




Stephanie Toole: Mount Horrocks Cordon Cut Riesling is produced by a unique and risky process, which involves cutting the canes in the vineyard and allowing the fruit to concentrate and raisin naturally on the vine. As a young wine, it is wonderful with summer fruits, pavlova or peach melba, and with some age, try it with a delicious tarte tartin or crème brulee. However, don’t overlook the fact that it is also great with cheese and as you said a wonderful aperitif. Perhaps try it with a liver paté. FWT: The first vines were planted in 1842 so the region has a lot of history. Is there a lot to see and do in addition to visiting wineries for tastings? Can you suggest how to spend a perfect day (s), including your favorite restaurants? JG: Absolutely. Clare Valley is a beautiful, unpolluted place with wineries, places to stay and eateries such as Terroir in our town of Auburn and Seed in Clare. Both are outstanding and focus on local produce and wine.

if you go Clare Valley Tourism Grosset Winery Mount Horrocks Winery

Marisa D’Vari “Let’s make wine fun and approachable!” says Marisa D’Vari, globe-trotting international wine and travel writer. D’Vari is based in Manhattan, yet she is constantly on the road, usually remote wine regions in France, Italy, Spain, or Portugal.

my hometown Redcliffe, Australia Sand, Sun and Seagulls


n the end of a peninsula in Moreton Bay, at the northern end of Brisbane city, sits my hometown of Redcliffe, where the sun shines every day and the seagulls are very well behaved. Three long islands form a boundary just off the coast around Brisbane with Redcliffe facing Moreton Island in the middle. It was the site of the first European settlement in Queensland in 1824, before the small group of convicts, soldiers and their families moved south to a spot on the Brisbane River, now the city centre, to secure a better water supply. With its long sandy beach, sea breezes and more temperate climate, Redcliffe became a holiday destination for many Brisbane people trying to escape the humidity in summer. Boat loads of visitors would spill out onto the historic Redcliffe Jetty every week and head straight for the water. Today, people drive across a bridge onto the peninsula, leaving their cares

behind as they embrace a never-ending holiday season. What can be better than fresh fish and chips and a glass of wine as you watch the light fade across the bay? On the Parade facing the water, there is a café culture that still makes Redcliffe a popular destination, especially on Sunday mornings when the street is closed off and a market springs up selling everything from fresh produce and craft items to cooked food and that vegetable peeler you simply can’t live without. Musicians play along the street and the markets are certainly the place where dog owners parade their pampered pooches with pride. Sometimes they take their kids too. A series of arcades run from the Parade through to the street behind and are home to a weird and wonderful array of shops and cafes – Italian restaurants, beach bling, English tea rooms, the Ethiopian coffee shop, vinyl records and, of course, the great Australian “op shops.” Redcliffe has a retro feel, not just because of the shops selling second-hand goods but because many people still have that old-world sincerity and simplicity. It’s all easy going in Redcliffe and people are always up for a chat.


Barry Gibb arrives back in Redcliffe.

© Maurie O’connor

Redcliffe Jetty, Queensland, Australia

Redcliffe has some famous sons but its most famous are the Bee Gees. Yes, that’s right, they were born in England but grew up in Redcliffe and their very first public appearance was at the Redcliffe Speedway in 1958. There is now a small street in their honour running back from the Parade which has become a mecca for fans from around the world. The ‘Bee Gees Way’ has a large screen showing continuous video footage of the Bee Gees, murals, bronze statues of the trio as kids and adults, and an exhibition charting their rise to fame. In 2015, when Barry Gibb returned to Redcliffe to open the second stage of Bee Gees Way, 10,000 people crowded the streets to see him. I don’t need a car in Redcliffe. I can walk to everything – the beach, the cafés, the pub, the supermarket and of course the fish and chip shop. It’s pretty good just ‘stayin’ alive’ right here in Redcliffe.

Maurie O’Connor Maurie O’Connor loves jazz, oysters, books, films and craft beer in no particular order and is on a quest to visit as many jazz clubs and oyster festivals as he can while travelling the world in search of new adventures. Along with his partner and fellow IFWTWA member Christine Salins, he is a regular contributor to Maurie enjoys creating photographic essays that capture the essence of a culture and not just a destination. He thinks pictures should be candid, not created and beer should have a head. Maurie lives in Redcliffe, Queensland, Australia, overlooking beautiful Moreton Bay.




Adding the prawns

bon appétit Learn How to Make Jingha Masala For Free


he Malaysian island of Penang has some of the best Indian food. Why? More than 10 percent of the island is of Indian ancestry. One of the popular Indian dishes is Jingha (Hindi word for shrimp) Masala (from the Hindi word for spice). The island’s heterogeneous population is highly diverse in ethnicity, culture, language and religion, making it a fascinating destination. It was settled by the English, but today, the island is about 40% Malay, 40% Chinese and 10% Indian with a variety of other groups making up the rest. Penang is on various lists of great places people should visit during their lifetime, and it is second on

photos © Sandra Scott

Chef Laxman ready to show the group how to make Jingha Masala

CNN’s list of “The 17 Best Places to Visit in 2017.” It’s easy to see why. The island has a myriad of different things to do from exploring the UNESCO Heritage City of Georgetown to a walking tour through the new Entopia by Penang Butterfly Farm to parasailing over the Straits of Mallaca. Penang is a honeymoon destination for Saudi couples and a winter getaway for Europeans. There are Europeans in itsy-bitsy bikinis and Arab women in swimsuits that cover them completely except for face, hands and feet; some are very colorful. There are women in abayas, some with face veils, while other guests are clad in a variety of outfits including saris and hijabs. Usually, only women are dressed in this way, but you’ll see an occasional male in a dishdasha. With such a diverse clientele, chefs need to prepare food to suit all of their guests, although all of the food is halal as prescribed by Muslim law. Breakfasts are impressive: eggs, pancakes, grilled tomatoes, cheeses, soups, salads, fruits, bread pudding, curries, rice and even a fava bean dish called foul, which is very good. I recently stayed at the Holiday Inn Penang where every Wednesday, the chef demonstrates a local recipe. Free is good! And so is Jingha Masala.

Jingha Masala 1 tablespoon cooking oil 1 teaspoon chopped garlic 1 tablespoon chopped onion 15 curry leaves 2 teaspoons ginger 1 teaspoon garlic paste ½ cup tomato puree or finely chopped fresh tomatoes 1 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon red chili powder 2 teaspoons turmeric powder 25 pieces prawn or shrimp (cleaned and washed) ½ green pepper, chopped 2 tablespoons cream (light) 1 teaspoon kastoori mathi powder (fenugreek) Fresh coriander leaves chopped for garnish Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan. Add the garlic, onion and curry leaves. Sauté for a few seconds. Add the ginger and garlic paste. Sauté for one minute. Add the tomato puree, salt, red chili powder and turmeric. Cook for five minutes, stirring frequently. Add the prawns or shrimp, and cook gently for five minutes. Add the green pepper. Cook for one minute. Add the cream and kastoori mathi powder. Stir and remove from heat. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves, and serve with naan bread.

Sandra Scott

Ingredients for making Jingha Masala

Sandra and her husband, John, have been exploring the world for decades, always on the lookout for something new and unique to experience. They have sailed down the Nile for a week on a felucca, stayed with the Pesch Indians in La Mosquitia, visited schools in a variety of countries, and — to add balance to their life — stayed at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. They travel seven months a year – a least – nationally and internationally.




© 2016 Icebreaker, Photographer: Forest Woodward. All rights reserved.

Icebreaker Women’s Ellipse Vest

gear Icebreaker Merino

Comfortable, Cosy, Cool Merino Wool


ravelers on the move looking for clothes that don’t hold them back from a new adventure need look no further than clothing made from merino wool. It’s an ideal fabric for any travel activity since the elastic quality of the knit provides plenty of stretch, making it very comfortable to wear in any season.

Key Features of Natural Merino Wool Clothing • Breathable, antibacterial, odor- and stain-resistant • Anti-wrinkle, machine washable (easy care) and lightweight • Biodegradable, renewable and sustainable • Fire-safe




Auckland, New Zealand-based clothing company Icebreaker Merino uses wool from the merino sheep raised in the Southern Alps of the South Island. Known to have the finest and softest wool of any sheep, merinos are bred for their ability to survive harsh, cold winters and yet stay cool in the hot summer heat. Temperatures fluctuate between 35ºC (+95ºF) in summer to –20ºC (–4ºF) in winter! Icebreaker Merino designs and manufactures everything for the traveler from socks, underwear and base layers to accessories and outerwear. All clothing, whether made of knit or woven merino wool, are differentiated by their level of warmth based on the weight of the fabric. 120-135 grams/meter2 = Featherweight – best for warm to hot conditions 150-170 grams/meter2 = Ultra light – versatile for all seasons 200-220 grams/meter2 = Lightweight 230-280 grams/meter2 = Midweight 320-380 grams/meter2 = Heavyweight – for outerwear

Icebreaker Men’s Ellipse Long-sleeved, Half-zip Hood

Icebreaker Merino manufactures a full line of clothing for men, women and children. Easy to care for, easy to pack, durable and comfortable, these clothes are an excellent travel companion, whether you’re sailing the Caribbean on a cruise or hiking the Andes of Peru. Icebreaker Merino clothing is sold in retail stores worldwide or online.

Mary Chong Mary Chong is a travel writer, world cruiser, social media influencer, and founder of Calculated Traveller Magazine based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. When not working as a freelance graphic designer, Mary is either exploring the world by land and sea with her husband Ray or planning the next big adventure. Calculated Traveller is an online magazine offering friendly advice, informative reviews, and inspiration on all things travel. The magazine is focused on budget planning and preparation for all types of travellers across a wide range of travel experiences of every level.

Beyond the Terra Cotta Warriors to the Xi’an Muslim Quarter Story and photography by Alison Abbott

Xi’an is famous for noodles of all shapes and sizes

The Terra Cotta Warriors


wasn’t expecting the call to prayer from the Muslim Quarter to be one of the most memorable sounds from my recent trip to China with Viking River Cruises. The sound filled a neighborhood in the bustling city of Xi’an, one of China’s ancient capitals. This city is well known for its main attraction: the Terra Cotta Warriors, a bucket list destination often topping everyone’s itinerary when visiting China. Truth be told, it is indeed one of the most magical discoveries I have ever seen. I worked my way through hundreds of soldiers, chariots, and tourists at the Terra Cotta Warrior Museum. The previous




day, I climbed a challenging section of The Great Wall of China. After such magnificent highlights, I craved some street life and wanted to mix with the locals in Xi’an. When I asked a tour guide and hotel concierge about visiting the Muslim Quarter, I found mixed reviews. Safety seemed to be a concern. I brought my street smarts, stayed aware of my surroundings and was handsomely rewarded with an authentically local experience. This was where I discovered Xi’an beyond the Terra Cotta Warriors. Xi’an was the capital of 13 different imperial dynasties and tells a unique story. As part of the caravan route to Central Asia

and the Middle East, the city was a melting pot, bringing together people of many different cultures. The particular area known as the Muslim Quarter was settled by merchants and descendants of Persians, Arabs and central Asians who fled Mongol invasions during the Ming Dynasty. Called the Hui by the locals, their population in China numbers about 10.5 million people. Currently, in the Muslim Quarter, residents are estimated around 20,000. Although I knew I was visiting a Muslim area, the call to prayer caught me off guard. The rhythmic chanting echoed through the narrow side streets that afternoon. As I entered the Hanguang Gate I

had just finished a bowl of green tea ice cream from a chic shop that would have been at home in any city in the world. The sound from the muezzin filled the air as dusk settled in over the neighborhood. Xi’an surprised me with all it had

to offer beyond the infantrymen standing guard over Qin Shi Huang, China’s first emperor. Huiman, the main street, was lined with food vendors and restaurants. Vast piles of dried fruits and nuts, unique

Indulging in snacks in the Muslim Quarter Xi’an, China

mushrooms and unusual eggplants were abundant. Many of the vendors featured barbecued meats on skewers, a specialty of the market. Xi’an is famous for its handmade noodles and I found them alongside the freshest of

Packaged sweets and other snacks in the market

ingredients for toppings. Cold noodles in all shapes and sizes came with tangy sauce, bean sprouts, and chili oil. Sour, sweet, nutty and herbal flavors danced on the tip of my tongue. Soup dumplings were smoky in a vinegary broth infused with shrimp shells. Juice flowed from ripe pomegranates and bright, flamecolored persimmons were the main ingredient for translucent, sugary, soft pies. I appreciated the diversity of what was on offer even from




afar. This was a slice of dining adventure quickly disappearing in other parts of the country. Venturing off on the side streets, I found a wide variety of products. Each alleyway appeared to have a specialty. To the right, one featured crafts and artisan souvenirs. I stumbled upon a wonderful gallery of the peasant art I fell in love with years earlier in Canton. A left turn displayed birds and flowers, but I was not prepared for the larvae and

grasshoppers vendors sold as food for their feathered pets. Along the way, I had a celebrity experience. Although international visitors are common at all the major tourist attractions, without fail, at least once a day, I heard the familiar ‘ni-hao’. Someone wanted to take his or her photo with this blonde Westerner. A young Barbara Walters requested an “on the street” interview about my experience in the Muslim Quarter. Smiling

strangers wanted to practice their English, certainly the mixing with locals I was seeking. Suddenly the experience morphed and a crowd was taking photos of us taking photos. The surreal encounter created a domino effect and a temporary paparazzi moment, which quickly ebbed and flowed on repeat throughout the week. While I initially thought this area might be overrun with tourists, I found it more of a street food delight for locals. Vendors

operated throughout the day and closed briefly during the call to prayer. The market really came alive at night. I arrived at dusk and as the evening progressed, a sea of people made it difficult at times to move against the tide. Families strolled through and stopped intermittently for snacks of crisp chips made from apples. Crabs roasted on a stick and flavored with a Cajun-like spice were delicious. While much of the offerings were meat oriented, this

pescatarian found tofu, noodles, and seafood that more than sated my appetite. As I took it all in and allowed my senses to be assaulted in the very best of ways, my expectations were once again challenged. There on the street was a muscular, pumped up lad who played to the crowd. He slowly danced his way back and forth with the rhythmic pulling of huge strands off a sticky mass, aerating the candy with each fluffy stretch. I closed my eyes,




Pomegranates ready for juicing in the market. Xian, China

and just for a moment, standing in Xi’an’s Muslim Quarter, a Jersey Shore girl transported herself to a boardwalk, felt a warm sea breeze and enjoyed a mouthful of salt water taffy–Chinese style.

if you go Viking Cruises offers three river cruises in China ranging from 14-19 days. I was a guest on the Imperial Jewels of China.

Alison Abbott Alison Abbott is a travel writer and photographer based in Boston, MA., with a focus on sustainable shades of green luxury. She is a passionate design enthusiast, foodie, content creator, and small business strategist, who sings the praises of keeping it local whether at home or abroad. Alison works as a brand ambassador and Local Expert with Afar Media. Her writing has appeared in a regular column on The Examiner. Recent partnerships include Westin™, Stonyfield, Trip Advisor B2B and Chase Bank. Coverage of The Flower Markets of Mumbai was featured in Leaf Magazine. She has worked with tourism boards and reviewed hotels and restaurants around the world.




Exploring the Spice Market in Old Delhi Story by Diana Russler Photography by Bill Gent

Stringing garlands of flowers, Delhi


he pungent smell of red chili peppers is so strong, your eyes water as you cover your nose and mouth to avoid breathing in the stinging dust. Legions of porters, each carrying a 200-lb. burlap bag filled with the precious spice, stagger across the alley to a long wooden cart drawn by bullocks. Groaning, they deposit their load before heading back to collect another. Others sweep up the debris around the massive iron weighing scales that are a standard feature of Old Delhi’s spice market. Once, this area was the center of Shah Jahan’s capital, Shahjahanabad. In the days of the Mughal Emperor (who is best known as the architect of the Taj Mahal in Agra), the Chandni Chowk (it means Moonlight Square) was an elegant street lined with mansions and shops with a large reflective pool in the center. Today, this is India’s busiest and oldest market. We sit crammed in a rickshaw as our sweaty, handlebarmustachioed driver careens through the streets, dodging cars, pedestrians and cows, pedaling furiously into the labyrinth of tiny alleyways and ancient streets that radiate off the main thoroughfare. It is just days before the start of the monsoon season, and the heat is intense with afternoon temperatures hovering at over 100º Fahrenheit. Overhead, a band of monkeys jumps around through the maze of antiquated overhead wires looking for handouts. Given their bloated bellies, it’s obvious there is no shortage of food for them here, including from the kebab stand where the smell of




A monkey on the streets of Old Delhi

roasting meat and charcoal adds to the intoxicating cloud of odors. The market is divided into sections. We pass shops stacked to the rafters with mattresses and blankets; in others, a kaleidoscope of colorful saris is draped over Styrofoam models. The flower merchants have their own area. An old woman sits on the ground threading jasmine blossoms and marigolds into garlands for people to take to the nearby temple. Lotus flowers, the Buddhist symbol of rebirth, float in small glass vases. Fruits and vegetables are displayed on rugs at the edge of the sidewalk. Mounds of melons and mangoes piled on wooden carts wait for buyers. Some have been cut in half to display their ripeness. They are covered with nets to keep off the flies.

Piles of dried fruit and nuts, Old Delhi

Traders sit cross-legged on the ground drinking tea as they count their money. From the nearby Fatehpuri Masjid (mosque) comes a call to prayer. Horns blare and people shout. It is a cacophony of sounds, smells and chaos. When the alleyway becomes too narrow even for a rickshaw, we disembark and continue on foot. Our destination is the area known as the Khari Baoli or the Spice Market. Located next to Delhi’s Red Fort, spices have been sold here since the 17th century by traders whose families have owned their shops for 9 or 10 generations. The scenes are almost medieval. We are headed to the Garodia Market, an old covered arcade surrounding an open-air atrium. This is the heart of India’s spice trade. Above the arcade are three

The Garodia Market, Old Delhi

floors of brightly colored and ornately decorated apartments where the porters, who come from all over India (as well as squatters), live communally. The wholesale spice storerooms are on the ground floor. Traders haggle over the prices as their purchases are bagged and loaded on carts. Climbing up through dark, dirty stairwells, we reach the roof with its bird’s-eye view of Old Delhi. It is not for the faint of heart. The rooftop is filled with debris, including bits of rusty iron and nails sticking out from old pieces of wood. If you aren’t careful, a misstep could land you in the hospital for a tetanus shot. As our guide takes us where few foreigners go, we attract a lot of attention and stares. Red chili peppers are not the only spices for sale. In the area around Garodia Market, the aroma of rainbow-colored spices that are so abundant in Indian cuisine – cinnamon, turmeric, cardamom, pepper, ginger, cumin, garlic, saffron – swirl around us. Shops with bright green shutters and pull-down metal sliding doors line the sidewalks. As we walk past, merchants call out, trying to entice us to enter: “Madam, madam, see my dried mulberries from Afghanistan. Best price, madam, best price in Delhi for you.” Of course, since this is India, haggling is not only acceptable, it’s expected. So the “best price” is open to negotiation. In centuries gone by, spices were the currency of choice as the likes of Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama and others tried

to find their way to India to bring back these treasures. Our guide explains that in the Middle Ages, a pound of ginger was worth a sheep, while a sack of pepper was considered to be more valuable than gold. Today, the prices are a bit more reasonable. In the end, for us, the temptation is too great. We walk away with boxes of saffron from Kashmir, tea from Darjeeling, an assortment of nuts and those dried mulberries from Afghanistan.

if you go Although you can certainly explore the market independently (take the metro to Chandni Chowk and then wander serendipitously), having a guide makes for a more pleasant experience. Most travel agencies in Delhi have private guides available. You can also explore the area on one of Delhi Food Walks excursions.

Diana Russler New York-based Diana Russler is an adventurer, freelance writer and photographer who, together with her husband, Bill Gent, delights in sharing their discoveries, especially those from more unknown areas of the world. Their work, which has appeared in Nature Photographer, International Living, and various other magazines can be seen at and on




Everyday China

Culinary Adventures in The Middle Kingdom Story and photography by Barbara Ramsey Orr

The preparation and serving of Chinese tea require the right bowls and implements, as well as a respect for ritual.


t a round table, on a covered terrace above Linkeng, one of China’s ancient mountain villages, I faced a food challenge. In front of me was a massive bowl of chicken soup, with several kinds of vegetables and a whole chicken floating in steaming broth. It smelled delicious, but when I say a whole chicken, I mean whole. Sticking up from the broth was a black gnarly foot, complete with claws. It was just one of many culinary challenges I encountered in a three-week visit to China.

Formal and Ceremonial Dining As part of a business delegation for the first few days of my visit, I had been treated with great indulgence. It was thrilling to be served the elegant dishes of formal Chinese cuisine. Each course arrived with celebratory dignity, each morsel carved, arranged, decorated, wrapped in gold, or sitting elegantly in the centre of an orchid. I loved every bite, especially the caramelized custard served in a bowl surrounded with dry ice, so that mist escaped around the edges as it sat on the plate. But, lovely though these tidbits were, I did not feel I was experiencing authentic food until I travelled independently to the smaller cities and villages, away from the more westernized centres. That was where my food adventures began.

Chinese dining is often formal and ceremonial

Formal Chinese cuisine is impressive - like this elegantly presented dessert.

Country Dining

Noodle Street

Food Court Dining

As the chicken soup made its third pass by me on the revolving platform in the middle of the table, I decided to engage. Copying the other diners, I scooped the broth into my bowl and plucked up bits of chicken with my chopsticks. It was heavenly good – infused with a deep flavour of chicken, ginger, and scallions, including squares of the special Nanxi tofu and Chinese greens. I enjoyed every drop, even though the chickens scrabbling about next door may have been the siblings of the one in the bowl.

Later, we walked along the ancient laneways of Lishui Street, and I saw row upon row of hand stretched noodles drying on racks. This is the historic comfort food of China – inexpensive, easy to make and showing up in every second dish across China. In fact, remnants of noodles found in an archeological site recently were dated back 4000 years. On these narrow laneways, women stood with wooden rods, separating the noodles as they dried.

I discovered that dining in China is often accompanied by much noise and activity. It is seldom the somber dignity found in European dining rooms and is usually communal, convivial and boisterous. In the city of Wenzhou, on the coast of the East China Sea, I took part in what felt like a food circus, at Tian Yi Jiao, the oriental equivalent of a food court. Along the outer edges of the space were food stalls, one after the other, each displaying its specialty with great artistry. There were trays of fish, glistening plates of




octopus, bowls of shrimp, quivery platters of noodles of every shape, colourful vegetables and steaming pots of broth, curries, stews and sauces. Diners chose their menu, then sat at one of the many tables in the centre where, in addition to throngs of other customers, there were puppet shows, singers, dancers and costumed musicians. It was noisy, sweaty and full of energy, and the food was all fresh, locally sourced and dominated by regional specialties. I had two bowls of Wenzhou wontons, stuffed with savoury pork, seaweed, and shredded egg, accompanied by Yongjia wheat cakes. Addictive.

A Celebration of Celadon In a complete about face, I dined in the spare simplicity of Opal, in the heart of Wenzhou, the studio of artist and designer Zhou Xiao Jie, where each course was served in a glazed celadon bowl. The first course arrived in the largest bowl, in the bottom of which were four perfect spears of asparagus drizzled with lemon and butter. Each subsequent course arrived in a slightly smaller bowl which was placed inside the larger, until the last course, a dessert of mango and cream.

Dumplings and Squashes In a tour of Wenzhou’s forwardlooking agricultural and industrial park, I walked under arbors of squashes and zucchinis – a new trellising method for growing hydroponic vegetables in greenhouses. Here, we were also given a lesson in dumpling-making.




Noodles, hand pulled, cut and hung to dry are a staple of local cuisine.

We folded and pinched circles of dough around spoonfuls of minced pork and then steamed and grilled the results. Sitting around a table later, the communal spirit created by cooking and eating together led to a frank conversation with two Chinese university students, Chelsea and Susan, about

why and how they chose their Westernized names. The choice, I was told, is not made lightly.

Crossing the Bridge Noodles In Kunming, I found the perfect meeting of food and history. I had spent a drizzly afternoon in the Stone Forest outside of the city,

Celadon bowls, one inside the other, are the serving plates of a delicious dinner at Opal in Wenzhou, China

climbing through the towering limestone monoliths. Even in the chill, this UNESCO World Heritage site was awesome. Once back in the city, I was tired and considering an early night, but my guide, Mike, convinced me that dinner would be special and it was. Consuming ‘Crossing the Bridge Noodles’ is a rite of passage in Kunming. The dish is an area specialty. It comes with a story, as so many things in China seem to do. When a scholar withdrew across a bridge to a lonely island to live and study (so the story goes), his wife would come each day with food. But as he found the food was always cold, his appetite waned, and he began to waste away. His

clever wife came up with a solution – she cut the ingredients for a meal into small slices, carried a hot bowl of boiling broth, and then put the ingredients and the noodles into the broth once she was on the island. The heat of the broth cooked the ingredients. The scholar regained his appetite and flourished in his studies, going on to become an important Imperial scholar. My modern Kunming version began with a large bowl of steaming broth and platters of artfully arranged ingredients – a quail’s egg, shrimp, chicken, edible flowers, lemongrass, scallions, and noodles, to be added to the broth. It was a memorable meal, satisfying both to the eye and the appetite.

World Famous Pu’er Tea and Street Stall Food The next day, in the very old and beautiful city of Lijiang, once a major stop on the ancient trading route into Tibet, I learned about the exquisite and rare Pu’er teas, said by some to be the best in the world. I spent my evenings in busy food stalls in the heart of the old city, trying things I fancied, and just looking at those I didn’t quite understand. It was exhilarating. I did not try the grilled insects, though they looked tempting, almost like shiny jewels.




Crossing the Bridge Noodles involves a large number of carefully sliced ingredients.

YI Village Cuisine Local women in a small Yi village showed me how they made tsampa. It is a staple, portable food, carried by shepherds for hundreds of years into the high mountains. With a cup of hot yak butter tea, it kept them fed and warm. It is a mixture of yak butter tea, yak milk cheese, barley and a sprinkle of sugar, mashed by hand into a smooth ball. It made a long-lasting, portable and filling diet for the cold weather work. It tasted pleasant and bland, yet fatty and cheesy, but I couldn’t imagine it as a daily meal. In the room nearby, the women’s husbands were having their tea and tsampa by the fire, seemingly quite content with the menu.

Simple Dining At Tiger Leaping Gorge, I dined on fabulous Kung Pao chicken, sitting under an old but well-preserved photograph of Chairman Mao and discovered the tongue-numbing charms of fresh Sichuan peppercorns. In the storied city of Shanghai-la, I tried yak stew, chewy but remarkably similar to traditional beef stew. And in a quiet moment in the Buddhist lamasery of Songzanlin, above Shangri-La, I watched as the monks paused in their prayers while acolytes served them simple bowls of rice with vegetables, a lesson in austerity.




Street market, Lijiang, Yunnan Province, China

What I found in the areas outside the more westernized cities was a cuisine that was decidedly local, fresh, imaginative, and almost always very personal in its preparation and service. China, for me, became a banquet of endless variety and complexity, with surprises and challenges and pleasures along every path. I am now in Kung Pao Chicken withdrawal.

Barbara Ramsay Orr Barbara Ramsay Orr is a multiple recipient of the Lowell Thomas Award for Journalism, is a member of the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association, and sits on the board of the Society of American Travel Writers. She is an amateur artist, a former art teacher, and a bit of a museum addict, so many of the stories she writes have a cultural angle. And then there’s food. As the food writer for her local city magazine for over 20 years, she has a keen appreciation for a good meal. Art and Food? What more is there?




Blessings of Bali Rice Growing and the Golden Hour by Kristin Henning Photography by Tom Bartel and Kristin Henning

A rice terrace near Ubud, Bali, glimmers in the first light of day.

©Tom Bartel,

Ducks head off to work, controlling pests in Bali’s subak system rice terraces.

Children carry the daily offering to their school.

W ©Kristin Henning,

e didn’t go to Bali to pray and we weren’t in search of love. We hadn’t enrolled in yoga classes, nor were we planning on meditation or spa services to revive ourselves. We were just on our way to Australia, and thought we’d stop to visit a cousin in Ubud in Bali’s uplands. Like many other visitors, though, we relaxed into the place and extended our stay. During our month in Ubud, we discovered, unexpectedly and happily, that daily life in this area is infused

with quiet rituals and meaningful offerings. And we learned that Balinese Hindu temples are closely tied to water management for the surrounding rice terraces. It may sound like a religious place, then, but that’s beside the point. It’s a way of life. Bali possesses its own form of Hinduism, incorporating millennia of animistic beliefs and ancestry worship with bits of Buddhism sprinkled in. Plants, animals, water, even inanimate objects are revered. There are plenty of gods, many representing opposite

©Tom Bartel,

forces: destruction and creation, heaven and earth, physical and metaphysical. On equal footing, each god and element is an essential contributor to the process of life on earth.

Daily Rituals The city of Ubud, up in Bali’s central highlands, is mostly spared the revelry of spring break beach bums. It is known for its art and culture, and there are plenty of shops selling the local handicrafts. Traffic can be noisy,




©Kristin Henning,

Water blessed at the headwaters is passed along in ceremonies throughout the subak rice growing system.

but it’s nothing like the capital city Denpasar. Stores are busy and marketplaces crowded with colors and people. But all over town and in the surrounding rice fields, homes, stores, and restaurants, daily offerings are placed calmly in doorways or at the base of statues to gods. Freshly made every day, the offering might be a combination of food, flowers and incense laid carefully in a basket of woven palm fronds. Indoors and outdoors (don’t trip over the offering on your way into the shop) these displays affirm the relationship between people and place, work and family, this life and the next. All of which takes us back to the villages and rice terraces beyond Ubud.




The Golden Hour To learn more, we met Agung Rai, founder and director of ARMA Museum and Resort in Ubud, for his private “Golden Hour” tour. We set out at the first light of day when the green grasses were still tinged with shadows and dew. Rai drove us around rice fields and through little villages collectively known as ‘Beyond Ubud.’ As day broke, we watched old men sweeping the front steps to their homes. Uniformed children walked to school, taking turns carry their offerings. In the rice terraces, duck eggs were collected and rice paddies inspected. A dog gave us a look, knowing we were strangers to this path at this time of day. Everyone seemed to have a role starting the community’s day.

Mr. Rai encouraged us to listen and look, pointing out some of the rhythms of the local villages and offering us long silences as we paused to listen. “Green, upon green, upon green. We are very lucky, the light is so good,” he whispered as the sun came up. Much of Balinese art takes its inspiration from this very image of nature, in this light, chock-full of textures. Dew droplets shimmered on the tips of the grass blades. Steep hills on the far side of the valley were stacked with rice terraces, webbed with dykes, and punctuated by tall palms. The saturated colors seemed to draw the distant hill closer. A woman discretely bathed in a creek nearby. A line of ducks waddled off to catch their grub from the black muddy earth.

Dew on rice during the ‘Golden Hour’ dawn tour with Agung Rai, beyond Ubud, Bali.

Rice terraces

Beyond Ubud, we didn’t even hear machinery besides the occasional scooter passing by. The songs of nature – frogs and birds – filled the subdued morning air. “Beyond Ubud,” Rai noted, “this is what we love to share.”

Subak Rice Growing

©Tom Bartel,

During our stay, we also met J. Stephen Lansing, professor of anthropology at the University of Arizona and an authority on evolutionary biology. He spoke about the ancient rice terrace irrigation systems of Bali, called subak, and we could see how this agricultural system aligns with Balinese Hinduism and the ethos of cooperation and continual recycling. The cyclical mantra of the subak system is simple: the water flows, the rice grows, and the pests move on. Once rice is harvested and the ground is being turned to prepare for the next planting, pests tend to thrive – until the next flooding of the terraces. Ducks assist the plowmen in controlling pests, and when the fields are again flooded with water, the pests evacuate. The growing season is about four months and this area sees two harvests per year. For centuries, rice growing in Bali has been managed through water temples, organized by watershed districts. The irrigation system begins at the fresh springs and crater lakes of Mts. Batur and Batukaru and courses through rivers, irrigation ditches, and tunnels, picking up the phosphates of the volcanic rock for natural

fertilization. Rain contributes along the way. Without cooperation, this intricate system could be – and has been – quickly upset. Withholding water at the upper reaches of the system, for example, would cause an increase of pests in the lower, drier terraces. The subak system was disrupted in the 1970s with the introduction of chemicals. Trying to increase production, the fertilizers had the opposite effect. The cooperative cycle of water use and rice planting seasons was interrupted, production fell, and excess phosphates rolled into the sea and damaged coral. So today, the coordination of the temples in managing waters is encouraged. The various water districts meet at the headwater temple to establish the delicate timing for planting, harvesting, pest control, and flooding. Then representatives from each terrace area meet with their river partners. In a series of blessings that spread along the water routes, holy water from the source, blessed in traditional ceremonies, is passed along and added to each terrace area. Surely, part of the delicate balance is this flow and repetition, like a fugue playing and replaying its theme. Bali’s rice terrace region faces many challenges, as development encroaches on rice producing land and the younger workforce migrates to larger cities. But the spiritual connections playing across the subak system and the harmony we witnessed during our Golden Hour with Agung Rai, indicate how important the

preservation of Bali’s culture will continue to be. Lansing and others successfully campaigned UNESCO to designate the subak system a World Heritage Site. The cultural landscape of Bali’s subak system was inscribed in 2012.

if you go Aging Rai’s Golden Hour tours are by appointment only, with groups of no more than six people. The price is $50 per person. Contact to inquire. For more information about Agung Rai and his museum and foundation, visit ARMA Museum and Resort.

Kristin Henning Kristin Henning is a writer and constant traveler, visiting over 55 countries since giving up her home in Minneapolis in 2010. She and her husband Tom share their photos and stories on the travel blog, Their travels focus on historic sites, arts and culture, food and wine, as well as the wonders of nature and the idiosyncrasies of roadside attractions. Prior to hitting the road, Henning was co-publisher of various periodicals in Minneapolis/ St. Paul (MN), including City Pages, Minnesota Parent, The Rake magazine, and a guide book, Secrets of the City: Guide to Minneapolis/St. Paul.




Australia’s Sunny Coast by Christine Salins Photography ŠSunshine Coast Destination Ltd

Sophisticated dining at Wasabi Restaurant, Noosa

Television presenter and chef at Noosa Beach House, Peter Kuruvita


he Sunshine Coast is one of Australia’s most popular playgrounds with sun, surf and a whole lot more, but most people, Aussies included, would be unaware that it previously had another name. Who would have thought that this glorious stretch of Pacific Ocean coastline north of Brisbane was once known as the Near North Coast? It doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. The local authorities thought so too when, 50 years ago this year, they marked out an area of about 60 kilometres from Pelican Waters to Tewantin, along with its picturesque hinterland, and gave it a much more evocative name, the Sunshine Coast. It was clever marketing but it also reflects the region’s greatest attribute – a healthy dose of sunshine and one of the most agreeable climates in Australia, if not the world.




In this friendly and relaxed sub-tropical region of Queensland, there are action-packed attractions for those who want them, sandy beaches and wide open spaces for those who don’t, sophisticated shopping and dining for those who like their creature comforts, and quaint rural villages for those who prefer rustic. Accommodations are equally diverse, from 5-star apartments and luxury guesthouses to camping, caravan parks, and bush retreats. It would be wrong to think of the Sunshine Coast as just another strip of beach resorts for there is so much more to the region than that, as beautiful as its beaches are. The most visited attraction without a doubt is Australia Zoo, home of the ‘Crocodile Hunter’, the late Steve Irwin. His family still runs the impressive wildlife conservation facility with its more

than 1,000 animals, entertaining wildlife shows and interactive experiences where, crikey, you can get up close and personal with kangaroos, wallabies and other native Australian animals. Another popular family attraction is the Yandina Ginger Factory with its motley assortment of shops, a train ride and a cool boat ride, Overboard. At the heart of this multi-faceted tourist experience is a flourishing co-op that processes locally grown ginger into a wide range of products. It has a cooking school and holds an annual Ginger Flower & Food Festival that puts

the spotlight on one of the world’s most versatile plants. A few minutes from the Ginger Factory is one of my favourite restaurants, The Spirit House, which I always think of as a little slice of Thailand in Queensland. I love the tranquil setting with lush tropical gardens around the pond, the alfresco dining against a backdrop of nature sounds and tinkling wind chimes, and the fragrance of deliciously spicy dishes coming out of the kitchen. Founder Helen Brierty and chef Annette Fear recently released a lavish new book, Spirit House The Cookbook. Spirit House has

A touch of Thailand at Spirit House Restaurant

a small shop selling very desirable kitchenware and decorative items, and it also has a cooking school with hands-on classes in Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese and other Asian cuisines. The restaurant is one of the region’s key food attractions and features on the Sunshine Coast food trail website, along with more than 400 other businesses, including restaurants, cooking schools, food producers, markets and events, wineries and breweries. The mobile-friendly website allows visitors to build their own personalised food trail and highlights just what a fabulous

bounty of local produce the region is blessed with. The region has been a rich agricultural destination for well over a century, based originally on sugar cane, pineapples and dairy, but now covering everything from feijoas and snails to ginger, macadamias and seafood. Chefs, like Cameron Matthews at the elegant Spicers Clovelly Estate in Montville, make good use of this local produce in exciting and creative menus. On the main dining strip in Noosa, you’ll find the casual but stylish Noosa Beach House run by Peter Kuruvita, a Sydney chef and television presenter, who fell in love with the Sunshine Coast and moved there a few years ago. In his latest TV series, Coastal Kitchen, he spelt out all that is good about this beautiful part of the world. Inspired by the food producers he met on the show, the menu at Noosa Beach House features spanner crabs, Mooloolaba prawns, macadamia nuts, tropical fruits, heirloom vegetables, native herbs and spices. Sophisticated Noosa is one of the top places in Australia for regional dining, with restaurants such as Wasabi consistently winning major awards. Not surprisingly, a lot of the region’s festivals revolve around food. The Noosa Food & Wine Festival, from May 18 to 21 this year, will feature 70 events, 45 visiting chefs, 50 wineries and 100 food producers. The long-table lunch on Hastings Street and dinners on Noosa Beach as the sun sets are always a highlight.




Peter Kuruvita, chef at Noosa Beach House restaurant, Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort

One festival going from strength to strength is the Real Food Festival, which started in 2011 and has quickly grown to become a great showcase for artisan food producers. The driving force behind the festival, Julie Shelton, went to Slow Food’s Terra Madre Day in Italy in 2008, a pivotal moment for her as she realised how little people knew about the Sunshine Coast’s produce. Thousands flock to the two-day paddock-to-plate event in September in Maleny, where the focus is on food produced with passion and integrity. Maleny is a real hub for foodies, with the excellent Maple Street Co-op supplying local, organic, wholesome and ethical

products; a cheese producer, Maleny Cheese, using local milk in a small-scale revival of the region’s once flourishing dairy industry; a superb gelati producer, Colin James; and even the fudge shop, Sweets on Maple, using local nuts, fruits and cream to produce their delicious sweets. Its cocktailinspired Frangelico and lime fudge is to die for. Maleny is one of the must stops as you meander through the Blackall Ranges, with other hinterland villages such as Montville and Mapleton also boasting charming streetscapes and interesting shops and galleries. The surrounding bush offers some great walks, and when it’s time to relax and unwind, I can highly recommend a session at Sound Spa. This innovative, therapeutic experience sees a musician playing the harp in response to your feelings, mood and energy. Further proof of the entrepreneurial spirit that is alive and well in the region, Frank Shipp took what was essentially a blank canvas and turned it into the impressive Maleny Botanic Gardens. In doing so, South African-raised Shipp was fulfilling a childhood dream. “I bought (the property) because it’s on a similar latitude to Durban. I’ve loved gardens since I was a child. I planted my first plant at the age of seven.” It was at about the same age that he also discovered a love of birds, and so he has further indulged his childhood fantasies by establishing one of the biggest aviaries in Australia with 310 birds (55 varieties).

Ginger grows prolifically in this fertile region

Shipp cleared acres of lantana to create ponds and waterfalls and establish the gardens, which are surrounded by pristine rainforest and have magnificent views of the Glasshouse Mountains. On a clear day, it’s possible to see as far away as Brisbane, 100 kilometres to the south. There are views at every turn along the Blackall Ranges escarpment, but the view from the deck at Flamehill Vineyard in Montville ranks high in the ‘wow’ stakes. Flame Trees with vibrant red bell-shaped flowers surround the historic Queenslander homestead that houses the cellar door and restaurant. Owners, the Thompson family, are also involved in beef cattle production and their own meat is served in the restaurant. They grow Verdelho, Shiraz, Cabernet and Chardonnay on site, with about 40 percent of the fruit for their wine coming

from the property and the rest sourced from other vineyards in southeast Queensland that have microclimates more suited to particular varieties. They’ve been dabbling remarkably successfully in Italian varieties such as Fiano and Barbera, and hold a grape stomp annually in February that is a lot of fun. The Sunshine Coast plays host to a huge array of entertainment, sporting and music events including the Caloundra Music Festival in October, which always attracts a strong line-up of artists. Markets are also a key attraction, with the Eumundi markets drawing crowds for more than 30 years with their live music, food and crafts. It had an ethos of “make it, bake it, grow it, sew it” long before it was de rigueur, and has grown to become Australia’s biggest art and craft market with 550 stalls and more than 1.6 million visitors annually.

On a smaller scale is the Noosa Farmers Market held every Sunday. This is one of my favourite Aussie markets as much for its lovely location amongst the trees as for its excellent produce including macadamia oil, seafood, lime salt and lime cordial, sauces, skin care products, nuts and seeds, olives and tapenades, freshly baked bread, cheese and herbs. Nature lovers can choose from a huge range of scenic walks including the Caloundra Coastal Path, Glass House Mountains and Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve. You can feed the dolphins at Tin Can Bay, spot a koala in Noosa National Park, or go whale watching. Paddle a canoe or go horse-riding on the beach. Cruise the waterways and catch a fish. Or you might just chill at the beach, dig your toes into the sand and enjoy the sunshine that gave the region its name.




Flame Hill Vineyard is a must stop.

if you go View the flight schedules: Sunshine Coast Airport. You could also fly into Brisbane Airport and rent a car from there. It’s just over an hour’s drive from Brisbane Airport to Caloundra and about 1 hour 40 minutes from Brisbane Airport to Noosa. As with anywhere in Australia, distances are big and you’ll need a car to get the most out of the region.

Visitor information Visit Sunshine Coast Food Trails Noosa Food and Wine




Where to stay Spicers Clovelly Estate, Montville: Luxurious French Provincial style accommodation in a gorgeous garden with a much-awarded restaurant. Ninderry Manor, near Yandina: Ensuite rooms in a comfortable home set in two hectares of bush with expansive gardens, great views and swimming pool. You are likely to see kangaroos grazing on the lawn. Rumba Beach Resort, Caloundra: Excellently appointed apartmentstyle accommodation with ocean views. Perfect for families. Peppers Noosa Resort and Villas: Spacious apartments with direct access to Noosa National Park.

Christine Salins Christine Salins is one of Australia’s most highly regarded food, wine and travel writers. She spent more than 20 years as a newspaper journalist, including nine years as Food & Wine Editor for The Canberra Times. She has freelanced for print media since 2003, and together with Maurie O’Connor manages www., their awardwinning website.




Ata Rangi One Of New Zealand’s Best Wineries Story and photography by Kurt Jacobson

Country scene near Ata Rangi


was tipped off on the special qualities of Ata Rangi in a 2004 issue of Wine Country Cuisine magazine. Reading about Clive Paton and Ata Rangi winery stuck to my memory like a fruit fly on fly tape. It would take more than 11 years for me to investigate this pocket of New Zealand’s wine paradise in person. Ata Rangi translates from Maori as “new beginning, or dawn sky” and I was excited for my new beginning of wine exploration in Martinborough.

The long wait was worth it. My wife and I visited in December of 2015, trading early winter in Baltimore for early summer in New Zealand. As we crested the thickly forested Rimutaka Range and began an almost endless course of hairpin curves downward, wine was on our minds. After piloting our car safely to the bottom of this memorable roadway, we drove through Featherston onward to our objective. Ten minutes later, I pulled over and gazed upon miles of green pastures and a few

far-off vineyards. Cows grazed contentedly, oblivious to the grapes and wine the area is famous for. We came for the increasingly touted pinot noir and farm-totable food in this lesser known wine region. Avoiding the media-hogging wine regions of Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough, and Otago suited me just right. If I wanted that much hype, I’d go to Napa. I was searching for the best wine in a laid back atmosphere. As we pulled into Martinborough I could tell it

Baby grapes in Martinborough

was the home of Laid Back. The local information center is one of the first buildings people find when arriving from the west. We popped in and looked around the stacks of brochures to see if anything of interest was missed in our internet research. We picked up some tips on what to see, and the clean restrooms were a bonus before setting off on our adventure.

In the middle of it all Our first stop was Aylstone Boutique Cottages to check in and drop off our baggage. These cottages are on the edge of a vineyard and within walking distance to multiple wineries, including Ata Rangi. We admired the view of the vineyard next door from our private backyard as we made plans to sip wine and watch the sunset later.

Martinborough is part of the Wairarapa wine region and has around 18 wineries of note. It’s a compact wine region with many of the wineries accessible in a day by car or bicycle. At Aylstone we could easily get to more than ten wineries on foot without breaking a sweat. The interview I had scheduled with Ata Rangi’s owner and founder, Clive Paton, was sure to be a highlight of the trip. I was




Ata Rangi cottage

thrilled he was available. After all, I was a new food, wine, and travel writer with a mere five or so published articles at the time. New Zealanders (Kiwis) are an unpretentious bunch, a fact I had appreciated from my first of eight visits. They don’t pay much attention to your record of fame and fortune.

Meeting the owner Passing fields of vines to Ata Rangi as I walked the country road, I could indulge in wine tasting without the worry of driving. Upon arrival, I surveyed




the tasting room and noted how its simple elegance shined. On the back wall was a real vine, gnarly brown roots and all, attached to the wall under the words Ata Rangi Martinborough. This is a perfect adornment for the room. Clive Paton met me shortly after my arrival, and we entered a small room behind the vine on the wall for our interview. When I asked Clive how his winemaking journey began, he said, “I found myself a single dad and needed to do something more exciting than milking cows to make a living. I moved to Martinborough in 1980 following

the publication of a soil and climate report that identified the small region as having significant potential for viticulture, and pinot noir in particular. I sold my cows in exchange for a dry, barren, stony sheep paddock of just 12 acres and began digging in posts and planting vines. Six years later, and already having achieved gold medal success, I was joined by my partner Phyll. By 1995 we had won the first of three IWSC (International Wine and Spirit Competition) trophies for pinot noir.� Through years of hard work, Clive eventually became one of the

if you go For directions and cellar door hours, visit Ata Rangi’s website. Aylstone Retreat puts you in the middle of Martinborough’s wine country. For rates, availability and directions, visit its website. New Zealand has visitor information centers (called iSite) in nearly every town worth visiting. Martinborough and the Wairarapa region have many attractions and events. Find them at Wairarapa iSite.

Kurt Jacobson Kurt Jacobson is a full-time travel and food writer living in Baltimore, Maryland, As a retired chef Kurt loves seeking out the best in food, wine, and adventure.

The author with Clive Paton

photo courtesy of Ata Rangi

most respected vintners in New Zealand. Now, winemaker Helen Masters continues to build on Ata Rangi’s reputation. With some of the highest rated pinot noir in New Zealand, Helen is clearly doing a fantastic job. Clive’s passion goes beyond winemaking. He told me he was buying what would probably be his last mountain bike. He still loves to get out and ride New Zealand’s spectacular trails the country has in abundance. Clive is also keenly interested in restoring the environment. He has his own “bush block” where he is restoring the plot back to its natural splendor. Other projects include a board position on the Pukaha Mount Bruce Bird Sanctuary near Masterton. Clive is also a passionate supporter of Project Crimson, the move to restore the Pohutakawa and Rata trees to New Zealand’s ecosystems. Pohutakawa are magnificent trees. They were dubbed Christmas trees by Captain Cook due to their bright red blooms abundant around Christmas time. In 2012, Clive was received by the Governor-General as an Officer of the NZ Order of Merit for his contribution to viticulture and conservation in New Zealand. If you have at least a day to spare and make it over to Martinborough, it will be time well spent. The flashy wine regions to the north and south can wait while you plot your own “new beginning” at Ata Rangi.




Yau Ma Tei Hong Kong Contrasts and Transformations Story and photography by Mary Chong

Double-decker buses and designer watches on display along Nathan Road in Kowloon, Hong Kong.

Shopping with Po-Po on Shanghai Street in Kowloon, Hong Kong.


city of contrasts by day, the streets of Kowloon, Hong Kong are business as usual, filled with the hustle and bustle of cars and noise. But as night falls, cars are replaced by people and instead of exhaust, mouthwatering scents hang in the air. Just north, within walking distance of the touristy part of Tsim Sha Tsui’s waterfront, the luxurious Peninsula Hotel (the oldest hotel in Hong Kong) and exclusive designer boutiques on Nathan Road, lies the Yau Ma Tei neighbourhood. We specifically chose to stay in Yau Ma Tei on our first visit to Hong Kong so that we could experience some local flavor first-hand. I looked out the window of my hotel on Nathan Road, watching the laundry hanging outside the windows of the high-rise across the street. The clothes swayed in the wind, immune to the smog created by the double-decker buses down below. Being first-generation Canadian-born Chinese, I found myself unaccustomed to the hectic pace of my temporary home. Instead of struggling through the crowds and choking on the exhaust fumes of the traffic along Nathan Road, my husband and I walked along Shanghai Street. In the morning, en route for our morning bowl of congee (rice porridge), we mingled with the Po-Pos (Chinese grannies) as they shopped the local stores for kitchenware and groceries. For lunch, we munched on savory barbeque pork buns and sweet egg tarts fresh from the ovens that seemed to appear on every street corner.




Dining in the street at a fresh seafood restaurant in the Yau Ma Tei neighbourhood of Kowloon.

Hong Kong

Mary Chong By late afternoon, Shanghai Street would begin its transformation. Where earlier the Po-Pos shopped for produce, barbequed meats and housewares, street vendors started to appear. They robotically lined up their displays of jewelry, electronics, t-shirts, trinkets, socks and knock-off purses on temporary tables and racks. It’s a routine that they perform nightly, like a dance that never ends. By sunset, folding tables and stools from the dai pai dongs (food stalls) filled the street. Where mere hours earlier the streets were packed with cars, now hungry diners sat and ate al fresco, nestled in among the white lines on the road. The delicious aromas of clay




pot rice, crispy oyster omelettes and delicate steamed fish with ginger, green onions and soy sauce wafted through the air. As the sky turned black with the stars high overhead, the shoppers and diners returned to their homes, the street cleaners appeared and by sunrise, the day began anew.

if you go Hong Kong Tourism Board Shanghai Street Temple Street Night Market

Mary Chong is a travel writer, world cruiser, social media influencer, and founder of Calculated Traveller Magazine based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. When not working as a freelance graphic designer, Mary is either exploring the world by land and sea with her husband Ray or planning the next big adventure. Calculated Traveller is an online magazine offering friendly advice, informative reviews, and inspiration on all things travel. The magazine is focused on budget planning and preparation for all types of travellers across a wide range of travel experiences of every level.

Products on display at the Temple Street Night Market in Kowloon, Hong Kong The daily rush of traffic on Nathan Road in Kowloon, Hong Kong

Entranced by the Solomon Islands by Jacqui Gibson Photography ŠSolomon Islands Visitors Bureau

Solomon Islands at sunset

Island life


t’s 83º in the shade when Dili pats me on the shoulder with a huge warm hand and inquires, “You going diving this afternoon?” “No,” I say. “I can’t dive. Never wanted to learn. But count me in for snorkelling.” It’s just him and me hanging out on the shady deck of Uepi Island’s dive centre. We’re waiting for the other guests to arrive. This 1.5 mile-long by 985 foot-wide raised barrier reef island is one of several hundred found in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands. Uepi sits within the world’s biggest saltwater lagoon known as Marovo Lagoon, approximately




nine hours (by air) from my hometown of Wellington, New Zealand where it’s bucketing down and blowing a southerly gale. Continuing our conversation, we establish Dili is that rare citizen in this deeply traditional South Pacific country: an unmarried man in his 40s. And I’m that rare breed of tourist in this diving-obsessed resort: a non-diver. Naturally, we’re a curiosity to each other. “Why don’t you dive?” Dili asks, fixing me with his dark brown eyes. He looks perplexed. I explain I’m scared of diving. The sea can be a dangerous place with things under the surface that bite. He takes a moment to mull this

over before adding: “You should dive, I think. And you should learn here at Uepi. Why don’t you?” It turns out I seriously consider Dili’s suggestion many times in the couple of days I spend at Uepi resort. It’s hard not to. There are exuberant divers around every corner, crowing about what they’ve seen on their latest scuba – their smiles a mile wide. On this week’s list are mating octopus, groups of eagle ray, dolphins galore and talk about a pod of roaming Orca sighted a few months back. Seated around the resort’s breakfast table each morning, I listen to Uepi guests inquire into the day’s diving prospects as they

fuel-up on fresh papaya, fresh plunger coffee and reloadable plates of toast, bacon and scrambled eggs. Australian resort owners Grant and Jill Kelly, experienced divers themselves, are quick to answer their guests’ questions and contribute to the morning hype. Jill outlines what’s in the water right now and details the tidal and weather conditions. Grant notes exactly where in the Marovo lagoon their diving guests will plop overboard. Both are quick to say the water temperature is a delightfully warm 78 degrees.

The Solomon Islands, in the South Pacific: a world-class diving mecca

Uepi – A diving, snorkeling mecca Every day starts this way at Uepi resort. Typically, by breakfast’s end, the diving buzz is at fever pitch. The afternoon Dili and I catch up, guests from Southern California and South Africa are hoping to swim with hammerhead sharks at ‘The Elbow’ in flawless conditions. The thought of joining in (hypothetically, of course) fills me with both awe and dread, notions I sheepishly share with Dili as I look for suitably-sized snorkel and fins from Uepi’s lending library. “You just start with snorkelling off the jetty,” he says, pointing to the bluer-than-blue water out front. “Right there,” he says,

“you’ll see fish, coral, maybe even a couple of black tip reef sharks.” “Oh, nooooo,” I say, feeling a bit shivery and wanting to disbelieve the sharky bit. “Oh, yes, yes,” counters Dili, handing me a child’s mask and snorkel. The perfect fit for a small face like mine, he says. Time to get in. Pretty soon, I’m nosing my way along the coral reef in Dili’s wake. I’m careful not to let him get too far ahead, at the same time I want to take the slow lane and

Local kids of the Solomon Islands

linger, savour the moment, gliding atop this massive lagoon. Then I see a black tip reef shark appear out of the deep and start to shadow my movements. What to do? But it soon disappears and, before I can think too much about it, Dili stops to tread water and pass me an electric blue starfish he’s snatched off the rocks. Its chunky tentacles are stiff in my hand. And like everything in the water today, it’s completely and utterly entrancing.

Setting up Uepi Resort owners Jill and Grant first arrived in Uepi in 1982. At the time, Grant was a surveyor and Jill a teacher. They came to Uepi on one of their many dive adventures from their hometown of Adelaide. They’d read in a magazine the diving was good in the Solomons – so they grabbed their eightmonth-old baby (son Wesley), a bit of dive gear and went to check it out for themselves.

It was a life-changing vacation. “The diving really is that good. And the people, too, are amazing,” says Grant. “Most expats who’re up here in the Solomons love the place and the people. “And that’s how it was for us. After three months diving the lagoon and photographing the reef, we’d basically fallen in love with the place and wanted in on the business,” he says. Their wish came true shortly afterwards. And by 2000, Grant and Jill were headed back to the Local cuisine of the Solomon Islands is fresh, simple and centred around seafood.

Solomons – this time with their youngest son, Jason – to take over from managers who’d called it quits. At last, Uepi resort was theirs. The millennial year wasn’t an easy one for the developing country’s half million population – or for the Kelly family, either. A militia-led coup forced the prime minister to resign. About 100 Solomon Islanders were killed and Australian peacekeepers called in. New Zealanders joined the regional assistance mission three years later. “Our business stopped over night and was affected for quite some time,” says Grant. “But Jill and I are both from farming backgrounds so we adapted. And we knew The Tensions, as they were called back then, weren’t anti-white – so we felt okay about security.

“The people of Marovo are incredibly self sufficient and confident of tomorrow taking care of itself, which was reassuring at the time. And still is. We’ve learned a lot from this community over the years – and we’re very much people who believe in earning our right to be here.”

Uepi today “These days, business is good,” says Grant. People travel to Uepi from all over the world, but Australia, Europe and the United States mostly. “People come for the diving to start with, but are soon impressed by the overall feel of the resort itself,” he says. “We consider ourselves a no-star resort in a five-star environment. We’re low-key, I suppose. But what we offer – the food, the grounds, the staff and




Lagoons of the Solomon Islands, South Pacific

the environment – is extremely high quality.” The Kellys employ all 50 staff from one extended family. They run a regular carvers’ market within the resort for locals to sell their work. Jill has been instrumental in helping lagoon locals set up as fish mongers and chicken and egg farmers for the purpose of keeping the resort menu fresh and locallysourced, while giving sellers a chance to make some money.




Both she and Grant have upskilled locals, like Dili, to dive and become dive masters and invested in others to become mechanics, builders and chefs. Five years ago, the couple set up a charity to finance a range of social initiatives in the Marovo area. “It’s one of our biggest achievements – that and operating a sustainable business for more than 25 years in a remote location. “We’re not aspiring to get bigger as a business. Instead, our

aim is to keep attracting the kinds of people we do and to maintain the amenity, appeal and feeling of this place for years to come.”

Fast facts The Solomon Islands are a stunning archipelago of nearly 1,000 islands in the South Pacific located approximately 6,109 miles (9,831 kilometres) from Los Angeles.

Covering more than 430,000 nautical miles (800,000 square kilometres) of ocean, the iskands are home to about 500,000 people of mostly Melanesian descent – 75 percent of whom still make a living from subsistence farming and fishing. English is widely spoken, alongside dozens of local dialects, with Pidgin the common language. The country is possibly best known for its world-class diving and as one of the battle grounds of the Second World War.

if you go Getting there There are no direct flights from the United States. Solomon Airlines flies from Sydney and Brisbane, Australia, to Honiara. It also flies from Honiara in the Central Province to Gizo in the Western Province – the stop off point for Uepi Island and the Marovo Lagoon. Book at

Staying at Uepi resort Uepi Resort

What to take Sunblock, malaria tablets and insect repellant (there is malaria in the Solomons). Modest clothing to wear on top of swimsuits. Solomon Islands Visitors’ Bureau




Ancestral Adventure in New Zealand by Jacqui Gibson

Queenstown, New Zealand, entrance to the Hollyford Track

©Ngai Tahu Tourism

Hollyford’s Pyke River swing bridge, the longest on the track


he young man walking ahead of me stops suddenly, interrupting my hikinginduced torpor, almost causing a five hiker pile-up. There’s something about the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other that settles the mind. Mine, at least. And there’s something about the shhhhhhing sound of nearby Hollyford River that relaxes rankled shoulder muscles and gently sluices away one’s workday niggles. I’m not thinking of much when tourism guide Kahurangi Mahuika-Wilson stops mid-step, struck by an urge to go for a dip. “Come on you lot, I’m going in,” Kahurangi says, actually looking a bit unsure.




A light rain has been falling since we started out from Road End about seven hours ago. The day’s a tepid 60 degrees at best. We’re all wearing thermals and raincoats. Kahurangi perseveres with his idea. “I swim every time I’m out here – except maybe twice. It’s a warm day for the West Coast. It is. Truly. Any local would tell you that,” he says, convincing himself but not convincing me. The other hikers (bar one) agree with me. That’s everyone except my husband, Richard, of course. He’s in his forties. Kahurangi is half his age. But you know how it is – he can’t let a plucky whippersnapper show you up. That’s the rule. In they plunge. One boy, one man, both naked to the waist.

©Ngai Tahu Tourism

The pair dive off a lichen-covered log into water so clear we can still see the river stones on the bottom, despite the ructions on the water’s surface. When Kahurangi resurfaces, he’s sucking in air, arms flailing. Then, wrapping both arms around himself in an attempt at a warming cuddle, he pauses for a minute before diving back in. Richard, on the other hand, is on the march towards dry ground.

Day one on the Hollyford Track It’s day one on the Hollyford Track, a three-day walk in a remote corner of New Zealand’s South Island. We’re a party of 15, Kiwis and Aussies mostly – though one (François) is a

retired Sydney-sider originally from Belgium. François and her Australian partner travel the world on naturist adventures. They are lean, fit and their skins are golden from months in the sun. Her eyelids are tattooed with a tiny strip of powder blue eyeliner and she has a permanent line of red ink marking the outline of her lips, so she “never has to worry about make-up again.” Today, like the rest of us, they’re fully kitted out in thermal leggings, hiking boots and waterproof pants and jackets. Yes, it’s mid-summer. But we’re a long way from the balmy temperatures of the Pacific – the destination of the couple’s last all-nude vacation – or the big cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland, where most of us live. Instead, we’re in a southwest pocket of Fiordland, surrounded by a thousand-year-old beech forest, nosing our way along an ancient river valley scoured out by glaciers more than 20,000 years ago.

Mush reports on the changing landscape, as she leads the way out of native beech forest into an ancient podocarp forest. She orientates us, informs us, keeps us grounded in a place that can, at times, feel a little ghostly and otherworldly. I figure it’s because the landscape is so enormous. For the entire three-day trek, we’re walking the base of the Darran Mountain range, dwarfed by Fiordland’s highest peak, Mt Tutoko (9,000 feet). But there’s an ethereal ambience in the mists that hover over the ground at dawn and in the dreamy quiet of the place. There’s no one out here on the track – just

us and a handful of Hollyford staffers. Really, there’s no one. Not a sausage. According to Mush, this is a relatively new thing. “Back in the day, pioneers came out here from Europe to try their luck with gold, to farm and to seek shelter after months at sea on whaling ships. One guy set up the region’s first tourism business.”

Pioneer tales of the Hollyford These pioneer tales are the second narrative told on the Hollyford. Mush doles them out over breakfast, before and after lunch, each time we approach a sheltered

Hollyford’s three main narratives

©Jacqui Gibson

There are three main narratives told on the Hollyford Track. There’s the story of its unique flora and fauna – of rare orchids and century-old rata. Head guide, Lesley ‘Mush’ Horder, has these down pat. She stops regularly to point out an exemplar moss species known for holding double its weight in water or to encourage a wee nibble on a fuzzy fern frond, which does, in fact, taste like walnuts as she promises it will.

Kahurangi Mahuika-Wilson, a guide on the Hollyford Track, New Zealand




Martin’s Bay, Hollyford Track, Fiordland, New Zealand

resting spot. We even guzzle them down with fine New Zealand wine over dinner. The tourism guy, Davey Gunn, gets a pretty good airing. There was the time, in 1936, when he temporarily abandoned his tramping party to raise the alarm for the victims of a serious plane crash. Gunn’s heroic doublemarathon took 20 hours (mostly on foot) and saved their lives. The son of a Scottish shepherd, Gunn was a noted cattle wrangler and horseman. And, perhaps, most remarkably of all, spent 30 years in the Hollyford living off his wits before drowning in the river at age 68. New Zealand’s answer to Bear Grylls couldn’t swim.

Kahurangi’s stories

©Jacqui Gibson

But it’s the third Hollyford narrative I’ve grown fondest of. It’s the lesser told of the three. They’re Kahurangi’s stories, the stories of the land and its people from a young man whose Maori relatives, New Zealand’s indigenous people, arrived here an estimated 800 years ago. Kahurangi tells me this is his first season guiding on the Hollyford Track, but he’s been coming here on an annual walk with tribal elders since he was small. With each walk of the land, he’s picked up a little more of his tribe’s history and his place in it. It was his ancestors, he says, who used the Hollyford Track to transport pounamu (greenstone) from coastal hot spots like Big Bay to the South Island’s east coast where they traded it for use and distribution throughout the country.

And it was his people who claimed Martin’s Bay (Whakatipu Waitai) as their southernmost settlement, following successive tribal wars. In 1852, 17 Maori were recorded as living in the area, including Kahurangi’s most wellknown descendant, chief Tutoko, and the chief’s wife and daughters. A decade later, only the Tutoko family would remain to encounter the West Coast’s first European explorers – the likes of sealer Captain Alabaster and Scottish surveyor Dr James Hector.

Final day on the track

©Ngai Tahu Tourism

The sun is shining on our third and final day as we walk the length of Martin’s Bay, the site of Kahurangi’s ancestral homeland. Starting out, he recounts the story of Tutoko and, from the sand dunes, gestures in the general direction of the chief’s original hut and shellfish beds. After a bit more poking around further inland and a couple more tales of the Martin’s Bay pioneers from Mush, we head home, trailing one behind the other, like ants, along the shoreline. “It’s too hot for shoes,” says Kahurangi, kicking off his boots – Richard and I agree, following suit. Next minute, this young man is threatening a swim in the Tasman convinced we should do the same.

if you go The package

To book

Three-day guided walk from October to April (New Zealand’s summer). Costs cover guides, food and lodging, briefing, return transport to Te Anau or Queenstown, jet boat rides and a Milford Sound flight. Hilton Queenstown Resort and Spa can add accommodation to the package.

The walk Suitable for most ages and abilities. Day one is a 10.5-mile walk (the only day you’ll carry a full pack) through native beech forest. Stay at Pyke Lodge and visit a nearby glow worm colony and resident eels in the evening. Day two is a 7.5-mile walk (carrying a light day pack). Visit Lake Alabaster and take in views of the mountains. Jet boat across




Lake McKerrow to the historic site of Jamestown. Walk through ancient podocarp forest to the local seal colony. Stay at Martin’s Bay Lodge. Day three starts with a jet boat ride to the beach, followed by a five-mile walk along the sand dunes and lagoon (again, carrying a light day pack). Scenic flight to Milford Sound and travel back to Te Anau or Queenstown.

The gear Hiking boots, waterproof clothing, a water bottle, sand fly repellent and blister protection. Company can provide backpacks, raincoats and pack liners at no extra cost. Both lodges have drying rooms to dry gear overnight.

Hollyford Track

Learn more 8 Reasons to Walk the Hollyford Track, FWT Blog

Jacqui Gibson A New Zealand freelancer writing about travel, heritage & life in a Pacific nation at the bottom of the world. Features writer for Heritage New Zealand magazine. Travel stories published in New Zealand Life & Leisure, Bride & Groom and Let’s Travel magazines. Guest blogger for

Kangaroo Island It’s Not All About the Wildlife By Veronica Matheson

Sea lions get to know one another on the white sand at Seal Bay.


Koala and her baby at home in a gum tree.

Even wallabies – there are an estimated one million on the island which look like kangaroos but smaller – are keeping their distance on this warm, sultry day. Kangaroo Island – the third largest Australian island after Tasmania and Melville Island – is a designated wildlife sanctuary. This adds to its appeal for international visitors, as well as mainland Australians, who all want to get up close to the continent’s unique wildlife. Kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, sea lions, echidna, wombats and platypus (a native animal with a duck-like bill and webbed feet) all live on the island, as do rare birds, pelicans, and the kookaburra, whose birdsong is often mistaken for a loud cackling laugh.

The view from Remarkable Rocks to the Southern Ocean

As one of Australia’s tourism hot spots, Kangaroo Island is known for being clean and green. As well as wildlife viewing, it is visited for the stunning scenery, the organic food and wine that teases the palate, and for the cottage industries that are never run-ofthe-mill. Since our arrival on the island, we have seen cuddly koalas, though we quickly learn they are not bears but marsupials (pouched mammals), who do not want to be cuddled. They are usually loners who snooze high up gum trees for most of the day and chew on eucalyptus leaves that reputedly cause their inebriation. Right now we have taken a track through rolling sand dunes to check out sea lions that lumber along a wide, white, sandy beach

©SeaLink ©SeaLink


n unison we ask, “Are there really kangaroos on Kangaroo Island?” Our guide grins, then tells us that at last count, some quarter-of-a-million kangaroos share this Australian island with around 4,500 people. Kangaroo Island was aptly named by the British explorer Matthew Flinders, who landed on a beach there while charting Terra Australis (Latin for the South Land) in 1802, and found kangaroos crowding his pathway. It is not the same today. We have been on the island – a 45-minute ferry ride from Cape Jervis on mainland South Australia – all morning and have just seen our first kangaroo with a joey (baby kangaroo) peeping curiously out of her front pouch.

SeaLink’s daily ferry from mainland Australia to Kangaroo Island




For those on the island’s tourist trail there is koala-spotting at Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, kangaroos galore at Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, giant soaring birds of prey at Raptor Domain, fur seals cavorting near Admirals Arch, and those large lumbering sea lions at Seal Bay. Another highlight for the sure-footed is boulder hopping over the sculpted Remarkable Rocks, which are covered in oh-so-photogenic orange lichen that glows vividly at sunset. We are on SeaLink’s two-day Best of Kangaroo Island tour and our group includes Italian honeymooners who are already looking forward to the honey ice cream at Clifford’s Farm. There, they will also check out the hives of Ligurian bees that originally came from Italy but now call Kangaroo Island home. Indeed, the island’s strict quarantine law has resulted in these bees being the

©Veronica Matheson.

that is lapped by wild ocean surf, in an area aptly named Seal Bay. Kangaroo Island has one of the world’s high-end luxury eco-resorts, Southern Ocean Lodge. Yes, it has magnificent southern ocean views on the remote southwest corner of the island. Yet, islanders remain unfazed by the growing fame of their home base. Sure, many locals make a living from the tourist industry, but they don’t want the island to lose its laid-back lifestyle. Our coach captain and tour guide Kevin Howard – his family has lived on the island for generations as sheep farmers – admits, “Visitors often say we are caught in a time warp, and in some ways that’s true. Everyone knows everyone. Where else can you stop the car in town, leave the keys in the ignition, go off to do business, and get back to the car to find nothing has been touched?”


Island resident with an injured bird of prey

only pure-bred honeybees left in the world. Our chatty guide, Kevin, tells us many of the island’s farmers turned to tourism-related activities such as beekeeping, to make ends meet when the sheep market collapsed a few decades ago. Kevin gives us a taste of the islanders’ quirky side by driving along a road known locally as the

“drunken highway” for it weaves snake-like across a flat landscape with not a straight section in sight. We pass Dead Horse Lagoon named after a horse that became stuck in the mud during a drought, and further on a long, white, dry-stone wall that was built to protect a vegetable garden from marauding wildlife. Now that the property’s owner has retired, he continues extending the wall, and says he has never been fitter. If that’s not enough, Kevin points to the mown paddock of another islander who is so keen on cricket that he created his own cricket ground called the MCG, not after the hallowed sports oval in Melbourne (Australia), but after his own initials. There is no shortage of tourist accommodation on the island from B&Bs to grand homesteads and hotels, as well as a shearing shed that is a favourite hangout for backpackers. Our overnight stay at the historic Ozone Hotel is on the waterfront in the small town of Kingscote, and is a delightful surprise with its stylish art deco rooms. At dusk, we head out to watch the pelicans being fed by the water. We run out of time to visit so much more, including a farm where sheep are milked for cheesemaking, an award-winning gin distillery that uses native juniper berries, a eucalyptus distillery that bottles oil that has all manner of uses, a vineyard with stunning ocean views from its cellar door, and so many restaurants that serve the freshest local seafood, including marron (crayfish).

©South Australian Tourism

A feast of local produce including marron (fresh crayfish)

Feeding the pelicans

We also miss a dip in the sapphire waters of Vivonne Bay, which is ranked as Australia’s best beach by a Sydney University research team. No wonder we head back to the ferry, agreeing that we should have stayed longer.

if you go SeaLink Kangaroo Island Coach Tour The 2-day Best of Kangaroo Island Tour operates daily from South Australia’s capital Adelaide, with coach return transfers to Cape Jervis, SeaLink return ferry transfers, overnight accommodation on Kangaroo Island, breakfast and lunch daily, touring the island in an air-conditioned coach, all park entry fees and guided tours. Visit

Australian-based food/wine/ travel writer with major focus on international ocean/ river cruising. Published in newspapers, magazines and online, with weekly post on Regular reporter on Travel Writers Radio in Melbourne where she is occasional co-host. Former Melbourne Editor Australian Women’s Weekly, Former Travel Editor Escape, and Past vicepresident of the Australian Society of Travel Writers.




©South Australian Tourism

Veronica Matheson

last shot Gary Arndt

Gary Arndt

Uluru, Northern Territory, Australia Gary Arndt is an award-winning blogger and travel photographer who has been traveling around the world since 2007.

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