Go NZ! Gourmet hiking trip celebrates Coromandel cuisine

If all the hikes were like this one, what great hikes they would be, writes Juliette Sivertsen from a Waihī trail in the Coromandel

Don’t tell the Aussies, but in the middle of the bush in the Coromandel, there’s fresh toilet paper everywhere. Five-ply. Nature’s toilet paper. Known colloquially as “Bushman’s Friend” the soft fuzzy leaves of the rangiora plant have been used for various purposes throughout history, from wound healing, to an emergency accessory for hikers in the middle of the bush.

I would have walked straight past these big leafy trees were it not for my guide, Kylie, who conveniently had been on an educational trip the day before, learning about native plants and which ones you can eat, which are antiseptic, which are poisonous – and which ones can be used as back-up loo paper without resulting in a rash.

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We’re a group of seven trampers, including Kylie, the owner of foodie hiking company Nature and Nosh. It’s the first time I’ve been on a guided hike within New Zealand, usually preferring to go my own way, but the concept of this one appealed to all my senses. It’s more than just flaunting beautiful hiking tracks in Aotearoa, but also about showcasing local gourmet food and drink. We’re promised locally roasted Pinnacles coffee on the beach, a gourmet picnic lunch, a mini kombucha fermenting class at Falls Retreat, concluding with a gin-tasting tour of Thames micro-distillery Coromandel Distilling Co.

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