Small group walking tour of New Zealand

Escorted 14 day small group walking tour of New Zealand. Off the beaten track, for hiking fit like minded people curious about history, culture wine and landscapes. For mature couples and solo travellers, walk tracks from the Bay of Islands to Stewart Island.

From $8,884CAD



  1. 1. Explore temperate rain forest in Northland including the Kauri tree habitat
  2. 2. See Kiwi's in the wild on Stewart Island on a walk
  3. 3. Spend a day on the famous Milford track
  4. 4. Helicopter up into a former glacial valley the Southern Alps and tramp back down.
Small group walking tour of New Zealand itinerary

Departure Dates

Departure Date Price
03 October 2022

Ends 16 October 2022

07 November 2022

Ends 20 November 2022

05 March 2023

Ends 18 March 2023

04 September 2023

Ends 17 September 2023

02 October 2023

Ends 15 October 2023

06 November 2023

Ends 18 November 2023

15 January 2024

Ends 29 January 2024

12 February 2024

Ends 26 February 2024

04 March 2024

Ends 18 March 2024

02 September 2024

Ends 16 September 2024

30 September 2024

Ends 14 October 2024

04 November 2024

Ends 18 November 2024

Small Group Walking Tours of New Zealand for seniors.

Odyssey Traveller is pleased to introduce our new small group walking tours of New Zealand for seniors and mature travellers, focusing on the spectacular scenery of the North Island and the South Island . Our walking tour is for up to 10 people, typically mature and senior travellers joining as a couple or as a solo traveller . These New Zealand hiking tours will guide travellers through the history, Maori culture, and landscapes of the North Island and South Island of New Zealand. Our itinerary for this guided walking tour gets off the beaten track into parts of New Zealand many do not explore. Away from the likes of a popular walking holiday such as the Hollyford track, or the Routeburn track.

For many visitors, the South Island gets all the attention, with the big tourist draws of Franz Josef Glacier , Milford Sound, Queenstown and historic Christchurch . But dig deeper and you'll find that New Zealand's North Island has as much to offer, including the beautiful Bay of Islands , Poor Knights Island, White Island, and Waiheke Island, the bird sanctuary of Tiritiri Matangi , the Art Deco of Hawke's Bay, alpine Tongariro , and the glow worm caves in the Waitomo Caves complex. Odyssey's New Zealand hiking tours hiking tours have an itinerary with a guided walk on both islands as well as Stewart Island .

This small group walking holiday of New Zealand is limited to a maximum of 10 people. (You can book this program as a private group with a minimum of 4 people)

Our hiking tours of New Zealand for seniors walk between 8 to 20km each guided day walking (tramping) has been organised. This guided walking tour has an itinerary that is a blended collection a short walk and a reasonable hike in a diversity of settings with a tour guide as a collection. We have a collection of articles for getting fit for a walking tour.

They are walking tours of New Zealand that have monthly departures from late September to late April each year.

Overview of Walking tours of New Zealand

The arrival of Europeans - mostly British settlers - in New Zealand set in motion a startling and ultimately largely successful co-existence with the Maori people. Both Maori traditional owners and new settlers had to come to terms with the fiercely disparate environments and climates found through New Zealand , from the subtropical north to the alpine south. This is the route we will follow on this hiking tour. Heading North from Auckland we transfer up to the Bay of Islands , to begin this walking holiday then tracking south through Auckland and south to the Tongariro National Park . Your small group walking tour of New Zealand spends the day walking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing a great outdoor adventure through stunning landscapes of the volcanic peaks in the national park. A walking trip that is regarded as a great walk in the world. The Tongariro National Park is a World Heritage site which has the distinction of dual status, as it has been acknowledged for both its natural and cultural significance. The crossing passes over the volcanic terrain of the multi-cratered active volcano Mount Tongariro , passing the eastern base of Mount Ngauruhoe . The following day Odyssey's hiking tours of New Zealand small group tour takes a flight to Queenstown, New Zealand's south Island and we transfer to Wanaka. The group has a different day exploring the Mountain and glaciers of the Southern Alps under Aoraki ( mount cook ), this is spectacular scenery on a clear day. We travel to Makarora and take a 20 minute scenic flight in a helicopter up and around the Southern alps for a heli hike. Landing in the remote Siberia Valley we have a great walk of some 3 hours on a well-marked track back down the mountain.

After 3 nights in Wanaka the this small group walking tour of New Zealand heads further south, to Te Anau and the Fiordland National park . We have a great walk on a section of the Milford track within the Fiordland National park which is often a highlight because of the history and spectacular scenery on any New Zealand tour for those interested in hiking . The following day, from Te Anau our coach takes us to Bluff and a ferry across to Stewart Island . Not many come to hike on Stewart Island or enjoy the park the covers 85% of the island. This is a unique part of this walking holiday and in 2 days the group enjoys hiking to some of historically important locations in the wildlife park on Stewart island . In the evening after dark, we have a guided walk to help the group spot kiwis. The following day we depart Stewart Island by ferry to join the coach for the return journey to Queenstown where this small group tour has a farewell dinner.

On our small group guided walking tours of New Zealand :

New Zealand ( Maori : Aotearoa ) is an island country with a total land area of 268,000 square kilometres (103,500 sq mi) in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It is one of the most southernmost countries in the world, about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia . The country has two main islands: the North Island (Te Ika-a-Māui) and the South Island (Te Waipounamu), and about 600 smaller islands.

Our 14-day small group hiking tours of New Zealand requires a reasonable level of fitness to be able walk up to 15 kilometres a day on flat to reasonable grades as well as uphill and downhill sections of track.

This small group tour will be accompanied by an Odyssey tour guide and are joined by expert local guides who will impart their knowledge about the places we will visit. Odyssey conducts educational tours designed for small groups of mature and senior travellers , focusing on history, culture, wildlife and other areas of particular interest where the trip is taking place. A small group tour is typically between 6 to 12 people. The cost of a Odyssey Traveller guided tour is inclusive of all entrances (unless otherwise indicated), tipping, and majority of the meals throughout the trip .

This particular tour has periods of free time built into the itinerary, allowing you explore some destinations at your own pace, and choose from a variety of available activities. This way, we make sure that there is something to enjoy for every kind of traveller.


New Zealand is well known for its network of boutique lodges and small charming hotels as well as traditional hotel style accommodation types. For this program we have selected accommodation that represents good value, is close to where we need to be, has some but not many amenities that the group need and has a good reputation for looking after travellers who are visiting and finally has rooms with terrific beds to sleep in after a day in the open air. We trust you enjoy the choices we have made that are above our usual choice of hotel to stay in.

For all the articles Odyssey Traveller has published for mature aged and senior travellers, click through on this link .

Articles about New Zealand published by Odyssey Traveller:

For all the articles Odyssey Traveller has published for mature aged and senior travellers, click through on this link.

External articles to assist you on your visit to New Zealand:


14 days

Day 1 : Auckland - Russell, Bay of Islands

Accommodation: Duke of Marlborough Hotel. The Duke of Marlborough is one of New Zealand's oldest hotels - an iconic waterfront property situated in the historic seaside village of Russell. As such, it offers a wonderful touch of yesteryear.The hotel has lovely views over to Paihia and Waitangi and the rest of the Bay of Islands.


Participants of this small group walking tours of New Zealand meet early in the afternoon in Auckland and take the trip to transfer as a group to Russell in the Bay of Islands. There is a welcome dinner shortly after our arrival at the hotel.

This charming town is the perfect base for exploring the Bay of Islands. Russell holds an important place in New Zealand’s history, being the country’s first sea port, its first European settlement and New Zealand’s first capital in nearby Okiato. The town’s streets retain their original layout and names from 1843, and many of its historic buildings can still be visited today.

Day 2: Russell

Accommodation: The Duke of Marlborough

Today your small group tour has a day tour of Urupukapuka island. We board the ferry at the jetty in front of your hotel and take the 40 min journey to Urupukapuka Island, the largest island in the Bay of island collection. The guided walkstarts after a short vist to the Island Conservation Centre at Otehei bay before commencing our trek, exploring the island. Urupukapuka Island has a fascinating prehistoric and colonial history, as well as the ground-breaking work of Project Island Song and DOC to restore native bird life to the recreation reserve.

Before European’s arrived the Bay of Islands was a populous place with a complex political, ancestral, and cultural history. Maori stories tell of a long settlement on Urupukapuka relating to Ngare Raumati, Ngatiawa, Ngati wai, and Ngapuhi sub tribes and hapu. A 1772 plan of the Bay of Islands made by the French expedition, led by du Fresne, shows a village on Urupukapuka fortified by palisades. Later in the 1800s two European families leased some land for grazing began to clear the island and build a fence line. In the early 1900s the Baker family acquired land on Urupukapuka and farmed on the island. It was eventually sold by its Maori shareholders early in the twentieth century. While farming continued the island also became a recreational focus for visitors to the bay. In 1927 the author Zane Grey began to use Otehei Bay as a base for game fishing. Grey was an internationally influential character and the maritime recreation activities now central to the Bay of Islands were pioneered at his Urupukapuka resort.

Urupukapuka Island is packed with fantastic walking tracks, ranging from a 1 hour short walk to a 5 hour hike, so whatever your stamina level we will find something for you.The most notable of these is the 7.3km Urupukapuka Island Archaeological Walk . This track, designed to be walked in a clockwise direction, can be accessed from most of the larger beaches on the island, and if a 5 hour trek is a bit too much for you, it can be broken down into a walking trip of about 2.5 hours long. As well as boasting some of the most spectacular scenery on the walk you will be taken past many of the dozens of pristinely preserved archaeological sites on the island, some of which may be up to 1000 years old. From prehistoric Māori pa, villages, gardens, and food storage, right up to early 20th Century buildings used by famous author Zane Grey. Also of note is coastal pohutakawa forest on the island that we walk through today.

Day 3: Bay of Islands - Auckland

Accommodation: Stay one night at the Heritage Hotel Auckland.

Today this small group tour heads south to Auckland , but first we drive to Puketi Forest (1.5hrs drive) where you will meet your private walking guide.

The small group has a 3 hour guided walk through Puketi Forest, the ancient kauri rainforest (15,000 hectares). With over 360 indigenous species of plants. This subtropical rainforest is one of the most diverse in New Zealand. Puketi and Omahuta Forests together form one of the largest continuous tracts of native rainforest in Northland. Both forests have populations of endangered kokako, native short-tailed bats and giant kauri snails. Omahuta’s largest kauri tree is Hokianga, possibly the tallest kauri in Northland at 53.3 metres. Te Tangi o te Tui is Puketi’s giant, the fourth largest in the country with a height of 50.9 metres and a diameter of 3.94 metres. The Kauri is related to the Queensland species. On our guided tour as we walk through the park we learn about the uniques flora and fanua in New Zealand’s bush and what to expect to see as this walking tour heads all the way south to Stewart island .

We pause for lunch before heading south through stunning landscapes to Auckland for an overnight stop.

Day 4 : Turangi

Accommodation: Stay two nights at the Tongariro Lodge. This Turangi luxury lodge is located in beautiful park-like grounds on the banks of the legendary Tongariro River on the southern shores of Lake Taupo at the foot of New Zealand’s outdoor playground - the world heritage Tongariro National Park.Pre dinner canapes and your evening meal is included at the Lodge tonight.

This morning we leave Auckland to head to Turangi. Almost two hours from Auckland we stop to have a guided walk of the Tuatari Wetlands.

Tuatara are the sole surviving members of an ancient group of reptiles found only in New Zealand. See their unique characteristics and hear about their life history and journey to Maungatautari.

Observe the endearing takahe, a New Zealand conservation icon. Thought to be lost forever, takahe made history when they were rediscovered in the remote mountains of Fiordland in 1948. This large, flightless bird helped shape the future of conservation techniques in New Zealand. Encountering a takahe or the Tuatare for the first time can transport you to a pre-historic world!

Meet your guide for a privately guided tour of the Tuatari Wetlands. (1.5hrs). Discover the secrets of the Tautari Wetland and learn why wetlands need to be restored. You’ll hear the story of the people behind the wetland; the family who gifted the land to the Trust. Walk along the inside of our multi-species predator-proof fence and find out how we keep the wetland pest-free. Explore the Tuatarium with your guide for an insight into the fascinating world of tuatara – their history, life cycle and unique physical characteristics and hear about how they came to be at Sanctuary Mountain.

This small group hiking tour continues onto to Turangi, breaking for Lunch and time to stretch our legs on the journey. Time permitting we pass for a break and photo opportunity at Huka falls just before Lake Taupo.

Day 5: Turangi

Accommodation: Tongariro Lodge.Pre dinner canapes and your evening meal is included at the Lodge tonight.

Today’s walk is expected to be a highlight of all the guided hikes on this small group walking tour of New Zealand as the group experiences a guided walk across the Tongariro Crossing. The group climb steadily up through stunning landscapes of alpine meadow and the three volcanic peaks to then commence the trek down Tongariro to the edge of the national park.

Tongariro was the first national park formed in New Zealand, and the fourth in the world. It was the first national park in the world to be gifted by a country’s indigenous people, on 23 September 1887. When established the original size of Tongariro National Park was 2,640 hectares and it has gradually increased to its present size of 79,596 hectares. Today, approximately one million people visit Tongariro National Park each year due to the excellent hiking opportunities.

Tongariro national park is a dual World Heritage area. This status recognises the park ‘s important Maori cultural and spiritual associations as well as its outstanding volcanic features.

Early morning breakfast is included at the Lodge today before heading to your meeting point to meet your private hikingguide . Today this small group tour has a guided walk for the 19km Tongariro Crossing. The Tongariro Crossing is considered one of the most beautiful 1 day walks in the world. The Tongariro National Park is not just a simple mountain but a complex of active volcanoes. Being an exposed and volcanic area in the middle of the North Island the conditions can change very rapidly. This is a 7-8 hour hike so you will appreciate your experienced and personable guides who will provide you with a safe, enjoyable and memorable adventure of the Tongariro area.

The three andesitic volcanoes at the heart of the park , the mountains Tongariro , Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu, form the southern limits of the Taupō Volcanic Zone, part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. A plate boundary lies just east of the North Island of New Zealand, where the Pacific Plate slides under the Indian-Australian Plate. This area of ‘subduction’ has created a line of volcanoes which stretches from the pacific island of Tonga to Ruapehu, including White island.

The Pacific and Indian-Australian plate boundary is almost totally responsible for the existence of the New Zealand islands and the volcanoes of Tongariro provide a graphic illustration of the power generated by the movement of these plates. The region of volcanic activity that occurs from Mt Ruapehu to White Island in the Bay of Plenty is known collectively as the Taupo Volcanic Zone.

Volcanic activity in the zone started about 2 million years ago and continues today.

Day 6: Wanaka

Accommodation: Wanaka Homestead is situated in an idyllic location nestled amongst Wanaka's Station Park, once home to the town's original Homestead (the New Zealand term for farmhouse). The Park's expansive lawns and towering redwoods will lead you down to the lake and the start of seemingly endless and stunningly beautiful walking tracks.

Today your small group tour has a leisurely start today as you recover from yesterdays big hike . We travel to Rotorua to check in for your flight to Queenstown in New Zealand’s South island (1hr 45mins drive). On arrival in Queenstown you will drive to Wanaka (1hrs drive).

Day 7: Wanaka

Accommodation: Wanaka Homestead

Today this small group walking tour has a day tour with a heli hike that takes a scenic flight up towards the Southern Alpsof the South Island of New Zealand, walks back down the mountain pausing for lunch and finishes with a jet boat ride. This is often an amazing flight with views from Wanaka across to Aoraki ( mount cook ). We land in Siberia valley, an alpine meadow and enjoy a 3 hour unguided walk on a well-marked track, breaking somewhere for lunch and to take in the view across towards Aoraki . New Zealand prides itself in much of of its tourism activities in providing some adventure on a New Zealand tour, today after the scenic flight and the walk down a mountain, the group rendezvous for a 30 minute return jet boat ride through the icy blue waters of the Wilkin and Makarora Rivers to Wanaka. This boat ride is a shared excursion. A packed lunch is included today.

Day 8: Wanaka

Accommodation: Wanaka Homestead

Today is a free day for the group to explore.

Wanaka is set against the pristine alpine backdrop of Mount Aspiring National Park . Crystal clear lakes and rivers are fed from the glaciers of Mt Aspiring National Park and is the backdrop to the stunning landscapes of the region. There are a number of options today such as exploring the Mount Aspiring National Park wilderness, or a trek up to the instagram famous Roy’s peak, or hiking around the lake or perhaps a late afternoon wine tasting from the local wineries which are known for their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Day 9: Te Anau

Accommodation: Stay two nights at Distinction Luxmore Hotel. Distinction Luxmore is conveniently located in the heart of Te Anau's town shopping centre and a short stroll from Lake Te Anau, the South Island's largest lake.

Breakfast is included at Wanaka Homestead today. This small group walking tour of New Zealand departs Wanaka for Te Anau, deep in the Southern alps. The quaint and peaceful township of Te Anau is nestled on the edge of a lake of the same name and is known as the “‘Gateway to Fiordland “. Fiordland National Park is the largest of New Zealand’s 14 National Parks with an area of approximately 12500 sqkm and is a major part of the Te Wahipounamu UNESCO World Heritage site. This park is home to the famous Milford track, which remains for a hiker the most popular hiking tour. This afternoon in Te Anau you can enjoy one of the optional activities below or just spend the afternoon relaxing such as a Helicopter flight to Milford Sound or a guided half day Kepler track walk.

Day 10: Te Anau - Milford Track

Accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel.

Today the small group has a guided walk on a section of the famous Milford Track. New Zealand’s most famous tramping ( hiking ) trail. The Milford Track has origins as an overland greenstone route between Lake Te Anau and Milford Sound . In 1888, colourful local Quintin Mackinnon navigated the rainforests and mountain passes to create the route the track follows today. Word got out, and Mackinnon became the track’s first guide, famous for his good nature and scone-baking skills. In 1908, the London Spectator called the Milford Track ‘the Finest Walk in the World’ – and the rest is history. Leaving from you accommodation, we journey to Glade Wharf by private water taxi to the start of the track. The walkbegins as you cross a suspension bridge and venture into the spectacular scenery of the Fiordland landscapes that form the Milford Track. The great thing about this exclusive guided day is that you call the shots on how far you would like to go – trekking today can be up to 14 kilometres long. Enjoy a picnic lunch at the location of your choice before heading back to the boat for the return journey. The section of the Milford Track that you will walk is relatively easy going and is suitable for most ages and abilities.

Day 11: Stewart Island

Accommodation: Stay two nights at Stewart Island Lodge. Nestled in native bush on a sunny hillside, Stewart Island Lodge offers a peaceful sanctuary from the modern world. Located just 5 minutes walk from the village centre,the lodge is private and secluded with commanding views of Halfmoon Bay and the surrounding ocean.

Today our tour departs Te Anau and heads to the South of the South Island (2.5hrs drive). The tour catches the ferry at Bluff to Stewart Island. For all visitors Stewart Island offers a special experience – a glimpse into a simpler, slower lifestyle, in rhythm with the sea and the tides, attuned to the natural world of bush and beach. Not many people on a New Zealand tour reach this far South. In 2002 the very qualities that make this a great place to treasure were recognised in the formation of the Rakiura National Park, comprising 85% of the island’s 1570 square kilometres.Whether you go to enjoy the land and seascapes, view the wildlife, walk, or just relax, Stewart Island will be an experience that will you will never forget.

In the afternoon the walking tour meets with Ange who will be your guide for a leisurely Ulva Island walk. Ulva Island (Te Wharawhara), is renowned for its diverse and abundant birdlife with a forest dominated by Rimu, Southern Rata and Kamahi, surrounded by marine reserve. It was visited by Ngai Tahu Maori as part of their food gathering trips and in the 1890s it became one of New Zealand’s first reserves. After a lot of hardwork this 267 hectare island is now predator free, allowing the bird and plantlife to thrive.

Day 12: Stewart Island

Accommodation: Stewart Island Lodge

Today is this small group walking tour of New Zeland last day in the Wilderness. We have a guided walk for some 5 hours on a hike to Port Williams and Maori Beach. This is one of the most popular coastal and native bush walks on Stewart Island. The tour starts with a Water taxi to Port William, site of early Maori settlement, before continuing on to beautiful Maori beach. This was also where early Maori settled and later became a saw milling community in the early 1900s. The tour continues on walking to Lee Bay via Little River, a stunning tidal river mouth, overhanging with Rata trees. Along the coast lookout for a plethora of birdlife, such as, Mutton birds (Sooty Shearwaters), Shags, Buller’s Mollymawks, Cape Pigeons, and little Blue Pengiuns. In the native bush you may see and hear Bellbirds, Tui, Fantails, Parakeets, Shining Cuckoos, Grey Warblers, Kaka and Tomtits and more.

After dinner the tour takes, weather permitting, a late night guided walk with your tour guide to go kiwi spotting. The Stewart Island tokoeka is the largest of the kiwi and although can be seen during the day on Stewart Island the best chance to see them is at night. Listen for the males repeated high-pitched ascending whistle and the females deeper throaty cry. This is a a great experience!

Day 13: Queenstown

Accommodation: Kamana Lakehouse captures the essence of Queenstown, bridging the gap between exploration and relaxation. As the highest altitude accommodation in town, this gorgeously-designed boutique hotel presents sweeping views of the lake and The Remarkables mountain range, offering a peaceful retreat in the adventure capital of the world.

We leave Stewart island and return to the mainland by ferry for the drive back through central Otago to Queenstown, breaking for morning tea and a walk in Invercargill. (3hrs drive). The afternoon is free for you to explore the region. You may like to take advantage of local shopping or to visit Arrowtown. Arrowtown is charming and quirky – a delightful gold rush village nestled below the beautiful peaks that surround the sparkling Arrow River.

A Farewell dinner is included tonight.

Day 14: Queenstown

The small group walking tour of New Zealand program concludes after breakfast.

Includes / Excludes

What’s included in our Tour

  • 13 nights accommodation.
  • 13 breakfasts, 4 dinners.
  • Transport by modern and comfortable coach.
  • Entrances and sightseeing as specified.
  • Services of a Tour Leader for the duration of tour
  • Detailed Preparatory Information

What’s not included in our Tour

  • Return international airfare and departure taxes.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance.
  • Items of a personal nature, such as telephone calls and laundry
Level 3 - Moderate to Challenging

Participants must be in excellent health, extremely mobile and live an active lifestyle. Program activities may include up to 6 hours of continuous strenuous, moderate-to-fast paced activities per day on varied terrain.

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07 November 2022


Ends 20 November 2022 • 14 days

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$8,884 pp

By booking two travellers sharing a room you save $2000 per person.

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You can reserve your spot by paying a $500 pp deposit, pay the rest 90 days before departure (excludes AU/NZ tours).

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Prices are per person and valid until 30th December 2022.

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Make it a private tour

If you have a group of 6 friends or more you can book this tour as a private departure, with all the benefits of our small group tours.
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Crossing international borders with restrictions

The list of requirements to travel internationally has changed and will continue to change for several years. Odyssey is here to assist you in managing your way through these requirements:

Pre-departure checklist for travelling across International borders.
Support over email or phone available 24/7 for any questions you have.

For more information see our Crossing international borders with restrictions page.

Book With Confidence

If less than 30 days before your tour starts you are unable to travel as a result of Government travel restrictions, Odyssey Traveller will assist you with a date change, provide you with a credit or process a refund for your booking less any non-recoverable costs.

See Terms and conditions for details.

Peace of Mind Travel

The safety of our travellers, tour leader, local guide and support staff has always been our top priority and with the new guidelines for public health and safety for keeping safe for destinations around the world, we’ve developed our plan to give you peace of mind when travelling with us.

See Peace of Mind Travel for details.

Reading List Download PDF

History and Traditions of the Maoris of the West Coast, North Island of New Zealand Prior to 1840

Excerpt from History and Traditions of the Maoris of the West Coast, North Island of New Zealand Prior to 1840

This history is much longer than perhaps suits the ordinary reader indeed, it is over a hundred pages more than was originally contemplated. But the amount of information collected will prove of interest to those living in the localities mentioned in after times; and it could never be collected again, for the old men who gave it have now passed on to Te Hono-i-wairua.

To others than members of the Polynesian Society it is right to say that the book has been published in the Society's Journal by instalments - it would otherwise never have appeared on account of the expense - and that the number of maps in it is due to the liberality of the Government, who had them drawn and printed at their expense.

About the Publisher

Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at

This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.

By Stephenson Percy Smith


New Zealand: People, Places and Events that Shaped the History of New Zealand

New Zealand is a country that has forever been admired for its beautiful landscapes – a wilderness that barely seems to be touched by humans. The populated areas are surrounded by forests, plains, rocky mountains – even beaches. All of this gives New Zealand that heavenly vibe.
However, the place we admire today has been heavily affected by its history. People who wanted to farm the land versus people who wanted to keep the land the way it is. A land that, despite the wars it had been through, has managed to hang on to its beauty.
Packed with colonization, war and expansion, the history of New Zealand is something everyone should know and study in this day and age.

By James Boyle


The Penguin History of New Zealand

New Zealand was the last country in the world to be discovered and settled by humankind. It was also the first to introduce full democracy. Between those events, and in the century that followed, the movements and conflicts of human history have been played out more intensively and more rapidly in New Zealand than anywhere else on Earth.

The Penguin History of New Zealand tells that story in all its colour and drama. The narrative that emerges is an inclusive one about men and women, Maori and Pakeha. It shows that British motives in colonising New Zealand were essentially humane; and that Maori, far from being passive victims of a 'fatal impact', coped heroically with colonisation and survived by selectively accepting and adapting what Western technology and culture had to offer.

By Michael King


Pounamu Pounamu

Pounamu Pounamu is classic Ihimaera. First published om 1972, it was immediately endorsed by Maori and Pakeha alike for its original stories that showed how important Maori identity is for all New Zealanders. As Katherine Mansfield did in her first collection In a German Pension (1911), and Janet Frame in The Lagoon (1951), Witi Ihimaera explores in Pounamu Pounamu what it is like to be a New Zealander - but from a Maori perspective. The seeds of Ihimaera's later works are first introduced in this ground-breaking collection: The Whale Rider in his story 'The Whale', The Rope of Man in 'Tangi', and the character of Simeon form Bulibasha, King of the Gypsies in 'One Summer Morning'; and the themes of aroha (love), whanaungatanga (kinship) and manaakitanga (supporting each other), which are so intergral to Ihimaera's work.

By Witi Ihimaera


Do They Speak English Down There?

Read how one family transformed a fantasy into reality when they traded in their San Diego lifestyle to move to rural New Zealand along with the challenges it presented adapting to a new culture. From duct tape to #8 wire, its been one helluva journey.

By Susan C. Tunney



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Selecting Shoes and socks

Selecting Shoes and Socks: Advice for mature travellers

For mature and senior travellers on a small group guided walking tour or walking holiday selecting good socks and shoes for the journey will improve your experience on European walking tour considerably. This article discusses the range socks available and what to consider when choosing a pair of walking shoes to use on a Odyssey guided walking tour.

9 Jun 21 · 12 mins read
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Queenstown, Otago, New Zealand

Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown is a resort town on the South Island of New Zealand. Built on the lakeshore of Lake Wakatipu, the town provides amazing views having the Remarkables Mountain Range as its background.

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Te Anau, New Zealand

Te Anau, New Zealand

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Te Anau, New Zealand

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Explore the sights and wonders of Fiordland National Park, home to some of New Zealand's most stunning natural landscapes. Odyssey offers small group tours for mature and senior travellers couples and solo travelers to Fiordland and New Zealand.

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Golestan Palace,Tehran, Iran

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What to see on the North Island of New Zealand?

While the South Island gets most of the attention thanks to Franz Josef Glacier, Milford Sound, Queenstown, Christchurch and more, the North Island has just as much to offer. You can learn about the volcanic and geothermal activity of the island and the Maori culture. Destinations worth a visit are the beautiful Bay of Islands and Cape Reinga up north with the Waitangi treaty grounds, Auckland and its volcanic islands, such as Waiheke Island and Rangitoto Island, Rotorua, Tongariro, the Waitomo glowworm caves, the Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay and Wellington.

Some of the main cities of the North Island are Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton, Tauranga, Napier, Rotorua, Hastings and Gisborne.

How Maui fished up the North Island?

Maui is a very important demigod in the Maori mythology. One day he overheard his four brothers that they wanted to leave him behind while going fishing. Maui made a fishhook from a magical ancestral jawbone and hid in the brothers’ canoe. When they were far out on the sea, Maui revealed himself, and threw the magical fishhook in the sea while chanting powerful incantations. The hook caught fast, and with the help of his brothers Maui brought the fish to the surface. He then begged them to wait until he had appeased to Tangaroa, the god of the sea, but the brothers did not listen and started to carve out pieces for themselves, forming the many mountains, valleys, lakes, rivers and coastlines of the island.

Crossing from the North Island to the South Island

If you want to cross from the North to the South Island, you either have to fly or take the ferry across the Cook Strait. The Interislander ferry operates between Wellington and Picton since 1962, and it takes about 3-3.5 hours to complete the crossing. The ferry route is one of the great journeys of New Zealand. On your journey, marvel at the beauty of Marlborough Sounds, the north coast of the South Island, which is made up of 1500 kilometres of sunken river valleys.

Which one is bigger, the North or the South Island?

The South Island. The North Island’s area is 113,729 square kilometres (43,911 sq mi), making it the world’s 14th largest island. With 150,437 square kilometres (58,084 sq mi), the South Island is the 12th largest.

North Island vs South Island population?

The population of New Zealand is around 4.9 million people, and according to the latest census, 76% lives on the North Island, equalling about 3.7 million people, while the South Island accounts for 23%, and the rest of the 600 islands for 1%. This means the North Island is the smaller but more populous island between the two main islands.

Initially Pakeha (European New Zealanders) settled on the South Island, and it wasn’t until 1911 that the population of the North Island overtook the South Island (56% vs 44%). The drift north still continues, with Auckland, the biggest economic hub of the country being the main driver of the change.

Why book a walking holiday to New Zealand?

New Zealand is home to some of the world’s most spectacular scenery, and there’s no better way to explore than by walking. Walking tours get you away from freeways, cities, and suburbs and into the heart of the pristine wilderness of New Zealand.

New Zealand offers a range of walks and hikes for different fitness levels, spanning from easy beach walks to the nine Great Walks, multi-day treks through some of the country’s most spectacular scenery.

What do you need to bring to enjoy short walks in New Zealand?

Essentials include hat, sunscreen, comfortable walking shoes, warm clothing, a water bottle and a camera! For more suggestions, take a look at our list of things to bring on an Odyssey walking tour.

We also have a number of packing guides:

How fit do you have to be to enjoy short walks in New Zealand?

Our walking tours of New Zealand are rated as Level 3 – Moderate to Challenging on our fitness scale. For more information on our fitness levels click here.

Our Level 3 guidelines suggest that:

Participants must be in excellent health, extremely mobile and live an active lifestyle. Program activities may include up to 6 hours of continuous strenuous, moderate-to-fast paced activities per day on varied terrain.

What is the best time to visit New Zealand?

If you enjoy the many outdoor activities available, such as hiking and mountain biking, you should visit New Zealand during the summer months of December to March, which brings long, bright and sunny days and temperatures of 16°C to 24°C. If you are a winter sports fan, you should visit from June to the first week in October, Though temperatures in the mountains are cold; once you get away from there, the winters are relatively short and mild.

Which New Zealand glacier to visit?

There are many stunning glaciers in New Zealand. There are few places in the world you can easily access glaciers at low altitudes and New Zealand is one of them. There are over 3,000 glaciers in New Zealand. The South Island’s West Coast is home to New Zealand’s two most famous glaciersFox and Franz Josef. It’s an easy walk to the terminal faces of both glaciers. Or, if you’re adventurous, then a helicopter ride or a guided ice walk are simply unforgettable experiences.

On the other side of the Southern Alps, the Tasman Glacier is the largest in New Zealand. The Tasman Glacier has a beautiful terminal lake. It’s a short walk to view the glacier.

Doubtful Sound or Milford Sound?

Both Milford and Doubtful Sound are located in Fiordland National Park on New Zealand’s South Island. Milford Sound sits to the north of Fiordland and is the last fiord in the national park. Doubtful Sound, on the other hand, is located much further south and is roughly in the middle of Fiordland National Park. Milford Sound is easily the most visited place in Fiordland National Park and arguably the most beautiful and offers the widest range of experiences out of the two fiords. This makes Milford an easy front runner for those who love to personalize their experience and make it one the whole family will love. Doubtful Sound is a rather untouched paradise that’s off the beaten path. It’s an adventurous journey and one you’ll share with fewer people.

What to do in Auckland?

Auckland is a bustling urban city, that also offers beautiful lush native rainforests, golden sand beaches, rolling hills of wine country, hiking trails, picturesque country gardens, unspoilt forest and tranquil bays to explore. Auckland region is dotted with 48 volcanic cones which provide spectacular panoramic views of the city and harbour. Auckland is also famous for its shopping, nightlife and diverse range of cafes and restaurants. Don’t forget to go north to visit the amazing Bay of Islands. The Bay of Islands consists of 144 islands between Cape Brett and the Purerua Peninsula.

What to do in Wellington?

Wellington is a small and creative city with a mix of culture, history, nature and cuisine and surrounded by nature.

There are many museums, art galleries and theatre shows that make up the city’s pulsing cultural scene. If you’re into the outdoors, you can relax at Oriental Bay, Wellington’s golden-sand inner-city beach and delve into the Wellington has action-packed adventure activities like mountain biking and sea-water kayaking, as well as beautiful walks around the harbour and surrounding hills. Try the visually Ride the cable

New Zealand’s national museum, or Te Papa, as it’s colloquially known, means ‘our place’ and is one of the best interactive museums in the world.

What to do in Rotorua?

Rotorua is renowned for its geothermal activity and Maori culture. In Te Puia’s Whakarewarewa Valley, there are bubbling mud pools and the 30m-tall Pohutu Geyser, which erupts many times daily. It’s also home to a living Maori village and the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute. Besides exploring the geothermal hot pools, you can:

  • Ride world-class mountain bike trails.
  • Swim in natural hot springs.
  • Walk among natural springs and river trails.

What to do in Christchurch?

Christchurch, known for its English heritage, is the most walkable city in New Zealand. The city is constantly evolving, always giving locals and visitors something new to explore. After the devastating earthquakes in 2011, Christchurch was rebuilt as a more creative and funky urban centre. Wander through the streets admiring the colourful murals that tell stories of the city’s resilience and indomitable spirit.

The Hooker Valley Track, in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, is one of the finest half-day walks in the region. You’ll get to spot the peak of New Zealand’s tallest mountain, Mount Cook, across a glacial lake scattered with icebergs.

Visit Castle Hill, 80min north-west of Christchurch, famous for beautiful landscapes and being declared by the Dalai Lama as a ‘spiritual centre of the universe”.

Take a day trip to Kaikoura, 180 km north of Christchurch, many New Zealanders number one most beautiful place in their country.

What do things cost in New Zealand?

You should plan to spend around NZ$185 ($129) per day on your vacation in New Zealand, which is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors. Past travellers have spent, on average, NZ$41 ($29) on meals for one day and NZ$27 ($19) on local transportation.

What to do in Queenstown?

Queenstown is famous for offering adventure and adrenaline. Surrounded by towering mountains, positioned on the edge of a lake,

Queenstown sits on the shore of Lake Wakatipu among dramatic alpine ranges.

There’s skiing from winter right through to spring, and activities such as bungy jumping, sky diving, canyon swinging, jet boating, horse trekking and river rafting all year round.

If hardcore adventure isn’t your thing, there are plenty of mellow options available. Experience one of the many walkin

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