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The great gourmet hike

By Jo Cordell-Cooper*

I HAVE recently had the pleasure of walking one of the most beautiful tracks worldwide, the Three Capes Track in the Tasman National Park.

This is a fabulous four day walk for beginners, families, and those who like a little extra comfort. 

It’s a delightful four day walk with the added bonus of a comfortable bed, kitchen and cookware, so you are travelling with a light pack – no tent, stove or pots and pans required.

Having hiked a fair bit in the 1990s when hiking meant you needed to be totally self-sufficient, and light weight gear was still a fairly new thing, I learnt to pack the bare essentials, particularly food.

I was pretty surprised to see comparative banquets complete with aperitif, bubbles, wine and a port finisher being served by my fellow hikers – our food was cooked and consumed within 30 minutes.

More fool us – we could have taken far more delicious meals.

We didn’t take any alcohol, and the food we took was hearty but simple.

It never occurred to us to carry a heavier pack and make our trip a little more gourmet.

Return to camping in the 90s, and my hiking buddy and I would bring a single treat each.

We tried to outdo each other and bought items such as camembert cheese, 100 millilitres of port, maybe a little chocolate and the grand treat for every hiker was powdered custard – things have changed.

Amongst the feasts were mini meringues with king island cream, cheese and antipasto, dips and crackers, carrot and celery sticks, and enough chocolate to sink a ship.

Meals were vacuum packed marinated steak and fish, and salads to delight with dressings, a dash of sour cream and capers.

What was I thinking with my continental rice and canned salmon?

A few basics I have learned over the years are as follows:


Aim for around one-kilogram of food per day per person maximum (half that if possible).


Fresh vegetables that seem to survive best are spinach (not lettuce), carrots (whole not grated), onion, tiny tomatoes, bite size cucumbers – there’s your salad.


Dense bread rolls, scrolls and even muffins are generally good value.


Cereal with hot water and condensed milk in a tube is a must.


Main meals with meat and vegetarian options are generally dehydrated – a well-regarded local brand is STRIVE.

However, much of this advice does not apply on the Three Capes Track it seems.

I wonder what food and beverages I’ll take next time.

*Jo Cordell-Cooper runs that award-winning personal training and health coaching business Jo CC Holistic PT.  For free preparation for hiking resources go to jocc.com.au/hiking or make contact at jo@jocc.com.au.