Due to the recent heavy rainfall, a number of roads and walking/cycling tracks in the Waikato are closed. If you are travelling to or through the Waikato region, please visit Waka Kotahi’s Journey Planner website for up-to-date roading information and check the local Council’s Facebook page for the latest updates and advice.

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22 July 20: Waikato tourism operator launches couples-focused gourmet hiking escapes

Waikato hiking tour operator, Nature and Nosh Tours, has launched a new offering for outdoor-loving Kiwi couples looking to get to know their own backyards in style.

‘The Guide Series’ is a curation of three  gourmet tramping escapes in the Waikato and Coromandel regions designed in collaboration with three of its tour guides.

Tapping into their collective 65 plus years’ experience walking New Zealand’s most beloved DoC and private tracks, the fully-inclusive escapes incorporate the guides’ favourite day hikes, secret spots and knowledge of local artisan food producers.

  • Coast to Coast with Coxy: 3-5 October 2020
    • Three days of kauri grove, the Pinnacles and coastal tramping adventures and indulgence on the Coromandel, featuring gin, fermenting and coffee.
  • Three Peaks with Peter: 16-18 October 2020
    • Climb three peaks in three days for those looking for a modest challenge, while still treating themselves to cheese, wine and icecream.
  • West Coast Adventure with Irene: 5-8 November 2020
    • Stay waterfront and explore this secluded corner of New Zealand with limestone backcountry, farm station walks, a lesson on basic bush skills and fireside port and marshmallows.

Specifically planned to fall over three separate long weekends, Nature and Nosh owner, Kylie Rae, says they have taken the government’s advice and created something really special for Kiwis looking for short breaks.

“We know that Kiwis enjoy getting outdoors and that they love to get behind local food producers. We saw that in the response to the numerous e-commerce food delivery services that popped up during lockdown. That sense of discovery for new flavours and makers is in our nature. What we’ve tried to do with The Guide Series is deliver all this in one hassle-free, luxury experience,” says Kylie.

“We’ve had a lot of fun putting these together with our guides and we’re excited to see the response from Kiwis who might otherwise have been spending their tourism dollars elsewhere.”

Available from October, the three escapes in the series are limited to small groups of six people and aimed towards couples.

“Before Covid-19 our customers were primarily international visitors, so like many tourism operators we’ve found ourselves in the challenging position of having to redesign our packages for the domestic markets,” says Kylie.

“We decided we can either sit here and wait for the trans-Tasman bubble, or we can use our intricate knowledge of local walking tracks, our relationships with food producers and accommodation providers to tailor something unique for New Zealanders - that’s what The Guide Series is all about.”

Getting to the escape requires a car, with attendees driving to a meeting spot before ‘heading off the beaten track’. The escapes are genuinely fully-inclusive (including wine!).

Accommodation options range from waterfront houses with basic amenities and five-star views, to mountainside guesthouses and luxurious bed and breakfast lodgings.

Foodie experiences include exclusive tastings; ‘meet the makers’ of local, award-winning cheese, wine and ice-cream; master fermenting classes; gin distillation and tasting or coffee bean roasting.