For the adventurous by nature, those who prefer the path less travelled, explore some of our secret tracks in the Waikato and Waitomo regions

Overview, 6 days, 55km

Get a group of 4 to 8 people together and walk our secret back country trails away from the crowds. Visit picturesque farms and take in all their rugged seclusion on private walks. Explore the lands that time forgot on some tracks even the locals don't know about. Walk through the forests of the largest mainland ecological island in the world, where the air is filled with bird song in a forest alive with some of our rarest native birds.

Meander along a river that leads to a pure spring and sample some award-winning cheese produced from the rich pastures of the Waikato region. Admire the limestone bluffs that line the gorges of middle earth like lands and admire the rural resilience and beauty that is the heart of our North Island.

Recount stories and experiences from each day's hike over delicious and hearty kiwi meals, matched with a very well-earned New Zealand wines or ales. Unpack, unwind and take the time to soak up the atmosphere of each place as we base ourselves at a charming farmhouse and luxury hilltop glamping for three and two nights respectively.


  • Private group departures only: Get a group of 4 - 8 together for this trip

  • We can accommodate 6 or 8 as doubleshare only (no twinshare available), or 4 in own rooms

  • Tours depart on Sundays and return on a Friday.

This trip would suit a group of 2 - 4 couples who like to get together for some long walks, adventure, great food and company. We are unable to those wanting to twinshare rooms.

Walking highlights

  • Explore two private farm tracks taking in spectacular craggy limestone outcrops and rolling hills

  • Walk New Zealand’s largest mammal-free ecological sanctuary and see how the forests would have been like before human's arrived.

  • Visit Marokopa Falls, the largest falls in the north island

  • Walk to the famous Blue Springs with water so pure and clear that it supplies 70% of New Zealand’s bottled water.

Tasting highlights

  • Whiskey tasting and tour of New Zealand's only cooperage

  • Farm visit and lunch at Circleview farm

  • Sample award-winning specialty cheeses from our Waikato cheese maker

  • Plant to cup, single origin coffee tour at a roastery

The Nature & Nosh formula

Join us for a walking and foodie tour all in one! The perfect match.

Small groups with a maximum of 8.

No heavy packs! Carry a small daypack only for your lunch, water and camera.

Genuinely all-inclusive...from start to finish.

Exclusive boutique accommodation, for our groups only.

Local expert guides sharing stories along the way.

"Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show."

"Fill your life with experiences, not things.                 Have stories to tell, not stuff to show."



Day One: Sunday

8km (5 miles) / 3 - 4 hours hiking (moderate grade)
Your journey starts from Auckland where our guide will collect you and we head out to Hunua Falls for our first hike of the tour! A decent leg stretch for a start to our adventure takes us along ridge lines covered in native bush and boasts water views, a beautiful swimming hole and creek crossing. On our way south we call into Pokeno whiskey for a private tour and tasting of this new distillery and New Zealand's only cooperage. The last leg of our journey leads up to The Outcrops Lodge, perched on a hill on a secluded north island back country farm, Maui Farms is a hereford stud with charming farmhouse converted by Kim and Steven who also run the farm. We are based here three nights which gives us the chance to unpack and really immerse ourselves in rural New Zealand.

Day Two: Monday

10km (6 miles) / 6-7 hours hiking (moderate grade)
This morning we are exploring the raw and rugged beauty of Maui Farms. We have almost 1200acres to ourselves on this private walk, unless you count the many cows, sheep, wild goats and deer, which we will see along the way. The farm track crosses a variety of terrain and surface from metalled to grass and will take us on a loop of the property. Rolling farmland gives way to a stunning rocky outcrop leading to a small limestone canyon with two small farm cabins where we will stop for lunch. There are many majestic old native trees to admire on our journey and as almost all of the walk is out in the open, the views are endless. A few climbs to get us back up to the track that leads us to our farmhouse, where the hot tub beckons. Our local chef will entertain and prepare a delicious farm inspired meal for us tonight.

Day Three: Tuesday

8km (5 miles) / 3 hours walking (easy & moderate grade)
A short drive today to explore Vivian Falls via the native forest-clad Harker Reserve. The falls are about 12 metres high, and cascade into several broken streams about halfway down by a large mass of rocks and are a local hidden gem with interesting story and legend behind them. Following this we visit Circleview farm for another walk with beautiful rolling views and a talk from farm owner Peter. Lunch is taken at the farmhouse with view across the farm. We head back to The Outcrops for our final night and can enjoy mulled wine and marshmellows over their outdoor fire as we take in the setting sun over rural Waikato.

Day Four: Wednesday

1.5km (1 miles) / and 4km (2.5miles) 3 hours hiking (easy/moderate grade)
Today we farewell The Outcrops and continue our journey south, deeper into the Heart of the North. Our first stop to break up the journey and stretch our legs is at the renown Blue Springs of Putaruru, with water so pure and clear it supplies around 70% of New Zealand’s bottled water. A short and gentle stroll leads to the spring where we can enjoy a cuppa before returning via the same path. Our next stop is a boutique specialty cheese factory and deli where you have the opportunity to sample handcrafted cheeses, in a region known for it's dairy farming. Our local cheesemaker has won more than 75 medals and a dozen trophies from around the world! We've saved something special for today. A visit to the world's largest mainland ecological island - Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari. On our short hike, we will soak up the ancient forests, now pest-free and teeming with bird song and abundance. A full day deserves a special ending and our final two nights are in glamping luxury at Wild Canvas. 

Day Five: Thursday

17km (10.5 miles) / 8 hours hiking (moderate grade)
Enter the hidden world of the Tawarau Forest, tucked deep in the heart of limestone-laden bluffs of Waitomo caves country. We have a full programme today with a hike through what can only be described as a true kiwi 'tramping' track through beautiful native bush. There are plenty of idyllic spots to stop and explore along the way, a swing bridge crossed and an open valley to finish. The track can be challenging in places and that's where our guide is worth their weight in gold as they help you to navigate any tricky bits. An five minute walk on a just up the road takes us to one of the most impressive waterfalls in the country - Marokopa Falls isn't to be missed. Back to our luxury glamping tent for a delicious cooked meal, hot tub and glass or two of wine as we share stories around the fire pit under the stars.

Day Six: Friday

7km (4 miles) / 3 hours walking (easy grade)
Our final day takes in more impressive limestone country as we explore Waitomo walkway and the Ruakuri bush loop.  We traverse a classic limestone landscape, meandering beside the Waitomo Stream through forest and open farmland before discovering a forested gorge, natural sculpted cliffs and low limestone arches before returning via the same track. After we have our final picnic lunch it's time to pack up and head back to Auckland with a stop at origin coffee in Otorohanga for a plant to cup coffee talk. Learn how your espresso begins it’s journey as an aromatic white flower on a luscious leafy bush all the way to your cup and discovering the techniques of roasting and blending the beans. We expect to have you back in Auckland around 5pm.

Note: This itinerary should be seen as a guide only and is subject to change at any time due to elements outside our control. We will always endeavour to stick as closely to this itinerary as possible to deliver the best experience to you. The above doesn't detail all 'Nosh' experiences in full as we like to keep some things a surprise!


  • Return transfers from central Auckland.

  • Comfortable and spacious transport with air conditioning. 

  • Professional guide with local knowledge and stories facilitating your food and flavour trail

  • Boutique farmhouse and luxury glamping shared accommodation, but exclusively for our groups

  • ALL meals. nutritious breakfasts, uniquely kiwi packed and picnic lunches, local cheese and antipasto platters, two-course evening meals

  • New Zealand wine, beer and non-alcoholic drinks served with evening meals.

  • Nature & Nosh enamel trail mug to keep

  • Delicious food experiences unique to Nature and Nosh Tours (our secret ingredient!) including: 

    • Whiskey tasting and tour of New Zealand's only cooperage

    • Farm visit and lunch 

    • Award-winning specialty cheese sampling 

    • Plant to cup, single origin coffee tour at a roastery

  • First aid kits, safety equipment and all your fresh New Zealand drinking water.

What's not included

  • Airfares.

  • Personal hiking gear such as boots, clothing, poles and day packs. We do have some day packs and walking poles available for hire.

  • Travel insurance. We recommend all of our tour guests take out travel insurance.


Moderate grade overall, but a mix of walking with some easy and some harder graded walks.
3 – 8 hours of hiking per day.
Altitude gains of up to 500m on our harder days.
Carrying a small day backpack for your personal gear such as water,
lunch and a rain jacket.

Track conditions
Track surfaces on our Heart of the North tour vary from well maintained paths through to more rugged terrain and farmland where you will be walking over tree roots, mud and rocks and uneven ground. Walkers need to be sure-footed, have a good level of fitness and a good sense of adventure. Our guides ensure that the pace is dictated by the group and allow plenty of time for short breaks for water, refreshments, photos and interesting stories on the way. For us, it's about the journey, not the destination. You will get the most out of this tour if you have a good level of fitness and some hiking experience.

See our training guide for preparation tips.

Our Nature

We've carefully hand selected our combination of tracks throughout the Waikato and heart of the North Island for their beauty, diversity of terrain and landscapes, flora, special features and conservation values. The programme of day walks on this tour is designed to have a mix of mostly moderate walking (we short bursts of challenging hills), with some easier walks, with the walk grading averaging out to moderate. We like to give your legs a chance to recover with paced longer and shorter walks throughout. Some of our tracks are well-known and are too scenic to leave off our tours, others are so secret that not even locals know!

Our Nosh

You will enjoy a variety of kiwi cuisine experiences including wholesome home cooking by our local hosts - some even source fresh produce from their own gardens! Breakfast is an option of cooked or continental to fuel you properly for your day of hiking. Lunches are freshly packed for you in the mornings and we have plenty of snacks for the journey. Evening meals always accompanied wine for the table, and you are welcome to bring your own! Our 'Nosh' tastings and experiences are also all included!

Our Accomodation

We stay in a charming boutique farmhouse (pictured right) for our first three nights. For our final two nights, we stay in our very own luxury 4-bedroom, 2.5 bathroom hilltop glamping tent! With a majestic double-sided fireplace, hot tube, fire pit. pizza oven and panoramic views, you might not want to leave! Tucked away in picturesque settings, private rooms at both accommodations have shared bathrooms with our group. There is one room option for each night available to upgrade our our master bedroom with ensuite. We have great relationships with our local hosts and you'll most likely get to meet them. 


"I thoroughly enjoyed the Heart of the North Tour lead by Kylie and James. Being my first guided hiking holiday, I was very impressed with the well chosen areas we explored and conversations with the local people we met. The hikes provided a variety in terrain , exciting challenges and beautiful landscape scenery. Kylie and James were fun to hang out with each day like traveling with friends. As experienced guides they also made us feel safe and shared their vast knowledge of the areas we visited. This tour provided me with a greater appreciation of conservation of the local flora and fauna, insights into the Maori culture , tastings of local produce and confidence with tackling a mixture of tramping/hikes. Topped with great food , wine, company and comfortable accommodation at the end of the day, I highly recommend it!!" - Mimi, Adelaide, Australia

"Did 6 days heart of north trip with Kylie and James. Magnificent scenery and hiking. The itinerary was well thought through. Loved the tramping, food, wine, cheese and singalongs. There was five of us including our guides in the group. I had a great time, it was like me spending 6 days with my close friends. Loved the trip and would do it all over again soon."
- Bun, Adelaide, AUSTRALIA


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