Our small, dedicated team of guides are all passionate outdoor lovers with years of experience in the New Zealand bush.
Owners Steve and Kylie Rae
We are a small, family run business. Except we don’t run, we walk. Well, hike to be specific. And we eat good food and drink good wine.
It’s safe to say that hiking and eating fast became a favourite hobby of ours. As a small girl, my parents would take me on tramping adventures (what we Kiwi’s call hiking) and quiz me on native trees and birds. I wish I had paid more attention to the answers now! For Steve and I, our love of the outdoors was cemented together when we had the opportunity to walk in the Himalayas several years ago, one of those once in a lifetime experiences.
Shortly after, we joined the expat crew living in London and spent our time there working, travelling and of course, hiking. We took the long way home, hiking trails and climbing mountains in many different countries. We chose to spend all the pennies we saved sampling local cuisine and eating like royals. We also booked a few guided hiking tours with small groups which we absolutely loved. We still stay in touch with many of the awesome people we met on these tours.
Our light bulb moment came during a day hike on the small island of Chiloe in Chile.
After nearly getting lost and hitchhiking our way out to a trail we had heard whispers about, we were discussing the pros and cons of self-guided versus locally guided hiking tours when in a foreign country. We were also drooling at the thought of the chorillana, (a delicious Chilean dish recommended to us by a local), that we were going to enjoy after our 20km adventure.
And just like that, the idea for Nature & Nosh Tours was born. Hiking and eating. Tramping and tasting. Walking and savouring.
It took an overseas trip for us to realise just how lucky we were to live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, with the great outdoors on our back door step. When we eventually got home, we decided to take two of our favourite things in life and marry them together into our unique, fully inclusive, guided tours – a way for us to show off our slice of paradise to many new groups of friends.
Meet our guides...
Never found too far from his walking boots, James has been an outdoorsman all his life. "There’s nothing like a good fire with good company, a few quiet ales, some good stories and a guitar tune or two. Beats staring at a TV!"
James grew up in the Bay of Plenty, but now lives in Paeroa with his family. He’s most at home in the hills with good company, although he misses being able to bring his dog along on adventures! He has a wealth of experience in the wilderness, working in pest control, for the Department of Conservation and owning a business. Being a local lad, he makes the most of the regions proximity of sea to land, often going hunting, fishing, horse riding and snorkling.
James reckons when it comes to the nosh, it’s pretty hard to beat a nice roast leg of hogget with vegetables. "Or, fresh fish marinated in lemon, add coconut cream, onion, chopped tomato and cucumber. Am I allowed two favourites? I could easily add a third," he says.
Dylan is our tour botanist. We dare you to find a native (or other) plant he can’t name! He’s also a passionate historian when it comes to our country’s colonial and indigenous past. Born and raised in the beautiful Hokianga, about four hours north of Auckland, Dylan and his family now call the mighty Waikato home. He has dedicated his career to the conservation of New Zealand’s native flora and fauna, from pest control and protecting our native birds, to cutting new tracks.
The idea of showing visitors around his playground, eating amazing food and staying in some top-notch accommodation was too good to pass up. “It’s a good way for me to share some of my knowledge with people that want to be outdoors experiencing New Zealand’s beauty. I really enjoy meeting interesting new people.” Just don’t ask him to choose his favourite dish. “I really enjoy a hot juicy lamb roast, where the meat is falling off the bone with all the trimmings. But then scollies (scallops) fresh out of the water, fried up on the boat with a squeeze of lemon into the sizzling pan are pretty good too...!”
Steve 'Coxy' Cox
Coxy is a true Jack of all trades. Whatever he turns his hand to, he picks up like a natural. A trained engineer, he's our go to man for solutions. Between tours he lends the Department of Conservation a hand as a hut warden on the Pinnacles track (included on our Coastal Charm tours!), guiding groups and making sure everyone has a bed or a camping spot for the night.
Steve and his wife Karyn also own and manage one of our beautiful lodges, Mangotahi Lodge in the Kauaeranga Valley, a country-style stunner they built from scratch together. If you join us on our Coastal Charm classic or taster tour, you'll enjoy a stay here and will be spoiled by Karyn's incredible home cooking.
From a young age, Peter could be found sneaking out of school to climb the mountains and hills of the Coromandel Penninsula. Born and raised in the beautiful Kauaeranga Valley, the outdoors was his playground. Dedicating a good chunk of his life to controlling New Zealand’s pest populations, often in remote areas, Peter knows his way around the bush here like the back of his hand and has a deep interest in conservation.
A self-taught farmer, he currently runs a beef farm in the Waikato with close to 300 cattle. Peter still heads for the hills whenever he can, looking for new tracks to explore or walking his favourite one – the Homunga Bay track, which he says is “a great example of New Zealand coastal bush, you really can’t beat its beauty when the pohutakawas are blooming”. He loves seeing the enjoyment that visitors get out of our native bush walks, views and special places. When not farming or on tour, you’ll find him fishing rod in hand, trying to spot that elusive brown trout in the solitude of our backcountry rivers, or perhaps enjoying his favourite tipple, a Glenmorangie whiskey or exploring other parts of New Zealand. Peter is also Kylie's dad - keeping it in the family!