Experiences that will immerse you in someone else’s world
Want to immerse yourself in experiences that make you feel connected to someone else’s life or livelihood for a day or a few hours? Here are four hands-on opportunities which do exactly that.
There’s no better way to understand how someone else lives, or how a product is created from the ground-up, than by experiencing it first-hand. By getting your hands in the water or your feet in the stirrups, you feel a connection to a different way of life – what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes for a little while.
These four activities offer you the chance to forget about your day-to-day life, feel connected to long-held traditions and pick up skills few others possess.
Harvest & shuck oysters
Discover how hard-working families harvest oysters along the unspoiled waterways of the Sapphire Coast by embarking on a tour with Captain Sponge, aka Brett Weingarth, one of the area’s true experts. Brett will take you out on the calm waters of Pambula Lake for a crash course in oyster husbandry at a working farm.
Once you’ve learned the basics, you’ll have the chance to scoop juicy oysters from the exceptionally pure water. Then, with oysters in hand, Brett will teach you how to shuck like a pro. After feasting on your haul, you’ll cruise the Pambula River, where ancient Aboriginal middens dot the banks and sea eagles soar above, while Brett shares more of his local knowledge.
Hunt for black winter truffles
You don’t need to travel to rural France to take part in an authentic winter truffle hunt: at Tarago Truffles, a vast estate near Bungendore in the Southern Tablelands, one family has created a world-class truffiere (truffle farm) amid a woodland of 4,500 oak and hazel trees.
Join farmers Denzil, Anne and Matt Sturgiss and their trusty hunting dogs, Dusty and Joker, for a tramp through the misty woodland, truffle bag in hand. As you hunt for elusive fungi in the thick undergrowth, you’ll understand why Europe’s expert truffle hunters spend years honing their craft. But don’t worry: Dusty and Joker will make sure you don’t leave empty-handed. Later, your guides will treat you to a tasting and explain why the local climate produces truffles of exceptional quality.
Craft your own gin
Ever wondered how the world’s top gin-makers come up with fresh, unusual and – above all – delicious ingredient combinations? At Archie Rose Distilling Co. in Sydney’s trendy Rosebery, you can learn their secrets and walk away with a bottle of gin blended to your liking. Archie Rose is a working distillery, so you’ll get a chance to see how gin is made on a commercial scale.
Then, it’s time for a guided blending session. Choose from more than 200 botanicals, including classics such as juniper and native ingredients like pepperleaf, to create a gin that’s uniquely yours. Afterwards, kick back at the Archie Rose bar, next door to the distillery, where you can try other tipples and munch on cheese and charcuterie.
Feed lambs and milk cows
Animal lovers young and old will be in heaven at Mowbray Park, a large farm on the outskirts of Sydney’s West where much of the work is still done the old-fashioned way. Get a sense of what farm life used to be like by grabbing an udder and milking a cow, helping feed newborns in the nursery, or collecting fresh eggs from the chicken pens.
Marvel at the speed and skill with which veteran farmers shear the sheep, or hop aboard a tractor for an exhilarating spin around the property. There’s farmland and bushland to explore on foot, on horseback or by bicycle, and plenty of secluded spots to throw a picnic blanket. Mowbray Park is a great day-trip option; or you can book in to one of the farm’s atmospheric lodges, ready to help with tomorrow morning’s jobs.