Heart of the North Hiking and Food Tour

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Walk our secret backcountry trails, away from the crowds. Explore the lands that time forgot on some trails even the locals don't know about.


Duration: 6 Days
Starts in: Auckland
Ends in: Auckland
Group Size: 4-10
Difficulty: 4/5

Operated by:

Nature and Nosh Tours New Zealand

Nature and Nosh offer guided hiking tours (pack-free!) for small groups. Experience stunning day walks and sample regional flavours. Stay in boutique accommodation local fo...

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Traverse our sanctuary mountain where the air is filled with bird song in a forest alive with some of our rarest native birds, thanks to the world's longest pest-proof fence. Taste traditional Māori delicacies on a local marae.

Hike to the top of the tallest waterfall in the North Island before visiting a fifth-generation, family owned and operated winery and sampling multi-award winning wines. Admire the limestone bluffs that line the gorges of middle earth and wander through the enchanted forests of Pureora. Wrap up the week with a gentle walk along the banks of the stream leading to the purest turquoise spring water of Te Waihou. 
Recount stories and experiences from each day's hike over delicious and hearty kiwi meals, matched with a very well-earned glass of wine or beer. Unpack, unwind and take the time to soak up the atmosphere of each place as we base ourselves at a charming guesthouse and boutique lodge for three and two nights respectively.

All inclusive. Return transfers from Auckland. Prices are per person, double/twin share.

Day One: Sunday

Transfer day. Short walk only, 1 hour. Your journey starts from either Auckland or Hamilton where our guide(s) will collect you and we head out to Wairēinga Falls. A short walk through lush native bush brings us to a spectacular 55m fall that seems to leap from the sandstone rock bed above. Gathering at our guesthouse at the base of Sanctuary mountain we take in the full profile of tomorrow's climb over a glass of wine. We guarantee you will be made to feel right at home with Mary's delicious cooking where you'll be treated to no less than a four-course meal. Get used to it, because you'll be eating like kings and queens for the next two nights at their guesthouse!

Day Two: Monday

12km (7.4 miles) / 5-6 hours hiking (moderate to hard grade). Wake to the dawn chorus of native birds singing their happy song thanks to the sanctuary sitting above us. Fuel up at breakfast before a short drive delivers us to the Southern Enclosure of the mountain where we begin our hike to the rocky outcrop with magnificent views across the Waikato basin. Explore primeval forest where ferns, fungi, nikau and native seedlings carpet the undergrowth and huge trees tower over us. An option here to continue up to Pukeatua peak. A trip to the local marae to try some 'kaitimotimo' - traditional Maori delicacies makes for a unique cultural experience and a memorable afternoon.

Day Three: Tuesday

5km (3.7 miles) / 3-4 hours hiking (moderate grade). Relish in a leisurely morning and home made breakfast before climbing to the top of the tallest waterfall in the North Island. Plunging 153m from the Kaimai range above, a well maintained track winds across bridges with lovely views of cascades, before reaching to our first view of the falls. From here the track gets serious as we climb to the top of the falls for a breath-taking view over the valley and Waikato plains. A visit to a local family-owned and operated winery where we are treated the tastes of their multi-award winning wines rounds off our day before heading back to base for more of Mary's home cooking.

Day Four: Wednesday

13km (8 miles) / 6 hours hiking (moderate to hard 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, with many idyllic spots to stop and explore along the way. An easy walk on a new track takes us to one of the most impressive waterfalls in the country and a 17m high natural limestone arch. We head south for the night to the newly built Timber Trail Lodge nestled in the Pureora Forest and share stories around the fire pit under the stars.

Day Five: Thursday

5km (3.1 miles) / 3 hours hiking (easy grade). After a hearty cooked breakfast from our lodge hosts, we head to the Mt Pureora track with a short climb to the summit. The rich and protected rain forest of Pureora bear an abundance of 1,000-year-old podocarp trees, draped with moss and dense with undergrowth. These trees boast a lineage that stretches back to the time when New Zealand was part of the super continent of Gondwana. Walking these tracks truly gives you the distinct sense you've stepped back in time to ancient forests. On a clear day, you can soak up 360 degree views of Lake Taupo, Tongariro, the Kaimanawa Ranges, and South Waikato. We have a couple of other hidden gems to visit today, including our lunch stop at the Waihora lagoon, one of the most beautiful spots on the park.

Day Six: Friday

10km (6.2 miles) / 2-3 hours walking (easy grade). North bound, we head for the famous Blue Springs of Putaruru, with water so pure and clear it supplies around 70% of New Zealand’s bottled water. But first, coffee. Really, really good kiwi coffee at a stop on the way. Now we are ready to wrap up the week with a gentle walk along the banks of the pristine turquoise stream leading to Te Waihou. 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. One final stop for a sweet handmade treat to sweeten off the palate before we deliver you back to Hamilton or Auckland.

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 shuttle transfers from Auckland or Hamilton.
  • Comfortable and spacious transport with air conditioning.

  • Professional local guide and assistant guide with local knowledge and stories leading the way.

  • Comfortable boutique lodges or bed & breakfast accommodation with local hosts.

  • ALL meals. Cooked and continental breakfast options, nutritious and uniquely Kiwi packed lunches, wholesome evening meals with a glass of New Zealand wine, beer or drop of your choice. 

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

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


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