Interviewing Philippa Cameron: Life on the Station

 | Philippa Cameron
| Philippa Cameron

What is something that surprises people when they visit the Station? 

You know, they come up the driveway, you have a 'smoko' ready with a cup of coffee or tea and then you show them the map of the farm and it just blows them away. You say to them "As you bike down the lake today, everything in the skyline that you see is part of the station" and I think that really takes their breath away. And you put it into perspective like the number of animals or how many families live on the property. 

How many families live on the property? 

I would have to count the houses.. we have 6 dwellings. Some are single workers and others are families. 

For our young shepherds, all their groceries are provided and I cook the smokos and lunches. If they are working at the front of the station, sometimes they'll go home for their lunch and sometime they're quite happy to make their own as well. 

It's different every day. Every day this week, 4-5 lunches have gone out the door. 

Philippa Cameron |  <i>Philippa Cameron</i>

You're the author of two published books. How did this idea come about? 

I started an Instagram account because I was getting a bit bored of what I was making every day, but at the same time I'd send a snap to friends of what I was making and they were always so excited and wanted the recipes so I thought well maybe I can combine the two - Maybe I could share what I'm making and in return, people might give me ideas and it just grew from there. 

When I had about 4,000 followers, I got a call from a publishing agent and they asked me if I would write the book. I think they had a perception that we were so isolated that I might be able to write that we live far in the mountains and have a milking cow, etc but all our main dwellings are only 2km from the local shop. 

I didn't have the story they wanted but we decided to take a different perspective. A lot of New Zealand books about high country stations are often written from the perspective of males or a family member of which, I am neither. 

I always get messages which warms my heart -- a few days ago I received a message from ex-pats in China saying "I made something today that just reminds me of my grandma". Or I just got a message from ex-pats in Zimbabwe saying "I haven't been able to find this ingredient so I used this instead." And now I'm going to try the recipe with their recommendation!

A glimpse into Philippa Cameron's life |  <i>Philippa Cameron</i> A glimpse into Philippa Cameron's life |  <i>Philippa Cameron</i> A glimpse into Philippa Cameron's life |  <i>Philippa Cameron</i>

Would you say the books are you're most proudest achievement? 

No, my proudest achievement is that I've influenced Google and that is my favourite thing in life! 

I love a multi-cooker but because I'm not brand-affiliated, I had to be really careful about what I promote so I called it the magic pot. So now, if you type 'magic pot' into Google, all the brands of multi-cookers come up, and it's like, I did that! 

You mentioned you previously entered mountain biking races. Tell me more. 

Not at a national level, but we'd always enter events when we were living in Central Otago that would lead to bigger ones. 

My favourite one used to be a really great event called the Gold Rush - it doesn't exist anymore. It was 3 days in Central Otago where you would run, road cycle, kayak and mountain bike. You would see bits of the country that would only be open for that race. 

How did your family get into cycling? 

When the girls were little, we used to do small sections and had a tow-behind cart the girls would sit in. My husband and I would take turns biking in one direction with the cart and then swap bikes on the way back. 

The girls progressed onto small tow behind bikes with one wheel and pedal but now we've got to the stage where they're on full bikes with a tow rope.

Cyclists enjoy views over Lake Pukaki

What would you say your favourite cycle trail in New Zealand is? 

I've done a lot of trails in New Zealand but one that is great for us as a family is actually the Alps 2 Ocean. 

It's nice because the Alps 2 Ocean is on our doorstep and it's one the kids can ride as well. That's what's great about New Zealand bike trails - they are accessible to everyone because there's not one too far from their doorstep. I think that's why I'm so excited to be hosting Tastes of the Alps 2 Ocean this November!


>> We interviewed Philippa Cameron about her upcoming Tastes of the Alps 2 Ocean trip.
>> Book the Tastes of the Alps 2 Ocean with Philippa Cameron cycling tour.

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