How does New Zealand taste?

I imagine New Zealand tastes slightly salty, yet wholesome and fulfilling. Like a bacon sandwich, made with crusty bread and the finest fillings. I was so curious about this theory, that I tried to find out.

Word came through that not one, not two, not three, not — this could get a little boring — four, not five, not six, not — you might want to skip this part — seven, not eight, not nine, not — I can’t believe you’re still reading this paragraph — ten, not eleven, but twelve STA Travel staffers have just returned from the South Island of New Zealand, the Land of the Long White Cloud.

STA Travel staffers ‘Taste’ New Zealand

So I challenged them, to summarise New Zealand in a series of senses. Today, I’m bringing you a round-up of five of the traveller’s flavoursome interpretations of the sense of ‘taste’.

Look out for some alternative posts on New Zealand’s underground sensations over the coming weeks, but first up, let’s tuck into their first tastes of New Zealand.

Paul Ayre from our George Street branch in Glasgow…

We stopped at one of the strangest places I’ve ever been, the Bushman Centre in Pukekura: population 2! This “museum” to all things “bush” was a menagerie of stuffed animals, along with some still waiting to be stuffed. As special guests, we were treated to a buffet of what is described on the website as “roadkill”. I tasted everything, and guess what? It was as bad as you can imagine!

From our Covent Garden branch, Andy Garlick…

Winnie’s Pizza in Queenstown serves a Moroccan Lamb Pizza: a big crispy base, topped with succulent lamb and minty yoghurt, which tastes awesome. Wash it down with a bottle of Monteiths Celtic Red Beer, and then go and smash some Jägerbombs in Queenstown… or do as I did, and fall asleep after another long day of adventure!

Ladies first? | Photos by Laura MacLeay and Laura Hughes

Laura MacLeay up in at STA Travel Dundee…

Food has never tasted so good in New Zealand! The amount of energy that I burned in just one day I needed every single morsel of grub out there. Best thing about NZ has to be the seafood! The biggest mussels, the juiciest prawns and the choicest cuts of salmon, but best of all were the fish that I’d never tasted before: Hapuku and Kingfish are definitely a reason to go back to NZ!

Francoise Daines from the Marketing team…

I’m not the hugest fan of fish, so I was slightly sceptical about going to one of Auckland’s best fish restaurants, Harbourside. I noticed the fish and chips as soon as I opened the menu but was swayed into trying BBQ’d Hapuku fish. I was — excuse the pun — hooked! This flavoursome white fish tasted heavenly, especially after 28 hours of plane food!

And Laura Hughes from STA Travel Reading…

I didn’t know what to expect from the Bushman’s Puke Pub platters of food with an assortment of possum pâté, rabbit, venison and whitebait. But when when I took the plunge and bit into the venison, the taste in my mouth was an unexpected, yet very pleasant sensation.

Digesting New Zealand

So, on reflection, New Zealand doesn’t appear to taste like a bacon sandwich at all. It appears to be flavoured by meaty white fish, amid a platter of dark meats and a hint of influences from faraway places.

And you know what? I think that sums up the country perfectly. It’s the alternative option that reaps rewards for those game enough to try something new.

It consistently delivers, and surprises even the most seasoned of travellers and, while it draws inspiration from the deep veins of cultures that connect the country, it also has the strength of character to adapt, seasoning your visit with a slight hint of multiculturalism, in the most unexpected corners.

Look out for more features from these five over the coming weeks! In the meantime, don’t just sit there drooling — tell us how you would define New Zealand, using ‘taste’ as your vehicle!