What next after a prize winning Garden Centre

Story by Hannah Spyksma

After selling Mangawhai’s award winning Naja Garden Centre barely 18 months ago, local business veterans, Natalie and Jac Spyksma have just announced the opening of their latest venture.

The couple have opened a business in Langs Beach, providing two or three day fully catered walking adventures for small groups.

This venture, like Naja, has come about as Nat and Jac have turned their passion into a business. Just as their Garden Centre evolved from a love for plants, this project has come about through their love of walking and exploring and meeting people.

Each day, walkers head off on a new day of discovery from ‘home base’, which is set on forty acres of regenerating bush overlooking Bream Bay.

The idea for “Catered Coast Walks” was a seed that grew in their minds each time they walked a new track or discovered a new piece of paradise.

It blossomed somewhat when the ‘missing link’ of the Te Araroa walkway, connecting the Mangawhai Cliffs and the Brynderwyn Hills tracks, opened literally at their doorstep.

The husband and wife team have taken their favourite aspects of living in the area, and combined it with their knowledge of horticulture and hospitality, to create an overall experience for guests.

Natalie, who explores the beautiful Bream Bay coastline on her daily walks, wants to share her secret with the rest of the world.

Husband Jac also shares Natalie’s enthusiasm for the surroundings. His slice of paradise is perhaps a little closer to home, however.

Jac takes pride in his orchard and vegetable garden. With fresh fruit, vegetables, and eggs from the chickens on offer, together the Spyksma’s are aiming to provide an experience that goes beyond just walking.

All guests will be able to sample their organic fare, with meals fully catered for. This also extends beyond the garden to the beach, where Jac tries his luck at bringing home fresh fish.

In fact, the last guests to stay were treated to Kahawai – caught and cooked on the day. Presented in three different ways; sushimi, smoked and fish salad, their desire to bring the best of the area into a packaged experience covers not only walking but cuisine too.

“Catered Coast Walks” will allow guests to explore the area by day and relax in a secluded and peaceful setting at night.

The business will take advantage of the Northland summer, being open from October 1st – April 30th each year.

Natalie’s love of plants has contributed to her also starting another business taking small group tours to Japan with her brother in the off season. As well as famous gardens, the tours will visit parts of Japan that few foreign tourists ever see. A treat for all concerned.

Phone: 09 4321124  naja.home@xtra.co.nz