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.

From A$13,995AUD



  1. 1. Explore temperate rain forest in Northland including the Kauri tree habitat
  2. 2. Enjoy the famous Kepler Track hike
  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
30 September 2024

Ends 13 October 2024

A$13,995 Twin

A$15,995 Single

04 November 2024

Ends 17 November 2024

A$13,995 Twin

A$15,995 Single

03 March 2025

Ends 16 March 2025

A$14,695 Twin

A$16,745 Single

29 September 2025

Ends 12 October 2025

A$14,695 Twin

A$16,745 Single

03 November 2025

Ends 16 November 2025

A$14,695 Twin

A$16,745 Single


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.

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.

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, this program is limited to 10 travellers. 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: The Duke of Marlborough Hotel

Haere mai ki Aotearoa – Welcome to the Land of the Long White Cloud.

This morning (time to be confirmed),the group and your private guide (Jean-Michel Jefferson) will meet at the Heritage Hotel in Auckland and start your journey North to Russell (drive time: 4 hrs. approx.).

Welcome dinner this evening is confirmed for 06:00pm at the hotel with the group.

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 Hotel

After breakfast, we will pick up our pre-packed lunch and board the ferry at the jetty in front of our hotel and take the 40 min journey to Urupukapuka Island.

Ferry details: 08:30am – Paihia Wharf (Pier 7) to Otehei Bay Travelling on Explore service 0830PRO (arriving 9:15 a.m.)

We will disembark at Otehei Bay and visit the Island Conservation Centre before heading off on your day walk. Here we can learn about the island’s 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.

Urupukapuka Island is packed with fantastic walking tracks, ranging from 1-hour strolls to 5-hour hikes, 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 two shorter 2.5-hour walks. As well as boasting some of the most spectacular panoramic views imaginable, 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, there are countless historic sites to explore on Urupukapuka Island.

Return to Russell by ferry: 12:15pm: Otehei Bay to Paihia Wharf (Pier 7) Travelling on Explore service 1215ORP (arriving 1:00 p.m.)

Day 3: Bay of Islands - Auckland

Accommodation: The Heritage Auckland

After breakfast we depart Russell and drive to Puketi Forest (1.5hrs drive) where we meet our private walking guide. We enjoy an intimate 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. Learn to recognise and name some of the native trees: the mighty kauri, tawa, rimu, totara and nikau (New Zealand’s native palm tree) to mention just a few. Listen and maybe see the native birds: tui, fantail, pied tit, fernbird and kukupa. Spot the Northland green gecko and tusked weta. Learn more about the unique flora and fauna. Discover what’s threatening New Zealand’s subtropical rainforests: possums, stoats, ferrets and kauri dieback and what we can do to protect the ecosystem.

Day 4 : Taupo

Accommodation: Hilton Lake Taupo Hotel

After breakfast we depart Auckland and continue Southbound to Sanctuary Mountain. (2hrs drive). We meet our guide for a privately guided tour of the Tuatari Wetlands. We discover the secrets of the Tautari Wetland and learn why wetlands need to be restored. We will 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. The wetland is also home to a breeding pair of flightless takahē. A species once thought to be lost forever, the takahē made history when they were rediscovered 1948. Encountering a takahē for the first time can transport you to a pre-historic world! Please note: Viewing of takahē may be restricted during their breeding season (Oct-Jan).

Day 5: Taupo

Accommodation: Hilton Lake Taupo Hotel

Early morning breakfast is included at the hotel this morning, before heading to the meeting point to meet our private hiking guide. Today we will hike half-day a Volcanic Explorer Guided Walk. Enjoy the beautiful landscape of the Tongariro National Park with this half-day tour. We will start on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing track and head up to Soda Springs before returning to the start.

Day 6: Wanaka

Accommodation: Wanaka Homestead

We will have a more leisurely start today as you recover from yesterday’s big hike. We then travel to Rotorua to check in for your flight to Queenstown (1hr 45mins drive).

Flights included:

NZ8150 Rotorua to Auckland Departing 11:00am and Arriving 11:40am

NZ 621 Auckland to Queenstown Departing 12:25pm and Arriving 14:15pm

On arrival at Queenstown Airport, we will pick up our new vehicle and drive to Wanaka (1hrs drive).

New Zealand’s South Island hosts the purest natural landscapes you’ll ever experience. From wildlife to wineries, from glacial valleys to star-filled skies, nature’s best flourishes against a palette of dramatic scenes.

Day 7: Wanaka

Accommodation: Wanaka Homestead

After breakfast we will drive to Makarora (1hr drive) to start our Siberia Wilderness Adventure in Makarora with a 10-minute scenic helicopter flight, taking in aerial views of the towering ice-carved mountains and glaciers.

We land in the remote Siberia Valley and enjoy a relaxing 3-hour unguided walk on a well-marked track. You will then rendezvous for a fast-paced 30-minute return jet boat ride through the icy blue waters of the Wilkin and Makarora Rivers.

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.

Your driver/guide will be available to advise on activities and offer transfers where possible.

Day 9: Te Anau

Accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel Te Anau

After breakfast at the hotel, we drive to Te Anau today with stopping off at Mavora Lakes for a short walk on the way, ending in Te Anau for the evening (drive time: 4 hours 30 minutes).

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 World Heritage site. We will stay three 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.

Day 10: Te Anau - Milford Track

Accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel Te Anau

After breakfast at the hotel we will meet our hiking guide who will join us on our Kepler Track hike. A packed picnic lunch is included today. We begin with a short helicopter flight over scenic Lake Te Anau, beech forest and alpine areas to land near Luxmore Hut on the Kepler Track. From this Department of Conservation Hut we explore the alpine tussock fields and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding Fiordland mountains. From here we have the possibility of ascending to the summit of Mt Luxmore if fitness levels, the weather and time allows. After time in the alpine area, we hike down the mountain on the well-formed Kepler Track. The track descends through mountain and silver beech forest and passes under towering limestone bluffs to the sandy beach of Brod Bay, the pick-up point for the rewarding water taxi trip back to Te Anau. From Luxmore Hut it is a downhill walk (8 km) requiring a medium level of fitness. If you wish to explore past the Hut and toward the Summit there would be an additional 1-3 hours of hiking up and down. Your guide provides an opportunity to learn about the natural and human heritage of Fiordland, with plenty of stops for photographs, bird-watching and interpretation along the way.

What to Bring: Comfortable walking boots/shoes, waterproof jacket, warm clothing including thermal hat and gloves, sun hat, water bottle, and day pack. Walking poles are optional and may be provided by tour operator, if requested.

Day 11: Te Anau

Accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel Te Anau

After breakfast at the hotel, we meet our hiking guide who will join us on our Milford Track hike. A packed picnic lunch is included today. We will experience a guided walk on the ‘finest walk in the world’. Departing from the Milford Sound end, this 11 km walk meanders alongside the cascading river to the spectacular waterfall Giants Gate, and is suitable for all abilities. The Milford Track walk is in the lush west coast rainforest at sea level. This tour includes water taxi transfers and a scenic cruise in Milford Sound. We will cruise along calm waters between sheer cliffs, carved out by centuries of ice erosion, catching sight of majestic Mitre Peak and cascading waterfalls that thunder into the depths below – it’s no wonder Rudyard Kipling described it as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’.

Day 12: Queenstown

Accommodation: The Heritage Queenstown

Today we transfer to Queenstown, where we meet our private driver for a back road 4wd adventure from Te Anau to Queenstown and end it by taking a shared Earnslaw cruise, Queenstown.

This leisurely 90-minute cruise across Lake Whakatipu showcases some of Queenstown’s spectacular alpine scenery, while offering you plenty of time to explore a piece of Queenstown’s living history – the over one hundred year-old TSS Earnslaw. Inside a visit to the engine room reveals the giant steam engines at work. Close by, we will be able to view the collection of historical photos in our mini-museum, check out the bridge, or, if you’d rather, kick back and enjoy a wine or beer or some café food at our on-board Promenade Café and Bar. The TSS Earnslaw has carried many famous visitors, including Queen Elizabeth, Prince Phillip and even President Bill Clinton.

Day 13: Queenstown

Accommodation: The Heritage Queenstown

Today is a free day in Queenstown, but we suggest a drive over the Crown Range and stop for lunch at the iconic Cardrona Tavern (at own cost) before descending into the Queenstown Basin. We can stop off at historic Arrowtown and have some free time to explore the area. If desired, some of the group can go on various short walks in the area.

Tonight we will enjoy a group farewell dinner at Botswana Butchery.

Day 14: Queenstown

Our walking tour of New Zealand concludes after breakfast.

Includes / Excludes

What’s included in our Tour

  • 13 nights accommodation.
  • 13 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 2 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.

Book now


30 September 2024


Ends 13 October 2024 • 14 days

Change departure date


Room Type

Single Traveller
Two Travellers
A$13,995 pp

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

Payment Type

You can reserve your spot by paying a A$1,000 pp deposit, for full details please see our Terms & Conditions .

Pay Deposit
Pay Full

Prices are per person and valid until 30th December 2024.

Need Help?

We're here to help you with any questions you have. Call us anytime 24/7.
Australia flag 1300 888 225

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.
Get in touch to find out more.

Easing your journey

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.


Odyssey's walking tour of New Zealand was a perfect return to travel after the Covid break. It exceeded all my expectations and was a great sample of what NZ has to offer for the active mature-aged traveller. Elizabeth W. Nov '23

Reading List Download PDF

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

Stephenson Percy Smith

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.


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

James Boyle

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.


The Penguin History of New Zealand

Michael King

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.


Pounamu Pounamu

Witi Ihimaera

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.


Do They Speak English Down There?

Susan C. Tunney

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.



Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland, city of Sails is part of a Small group tour of New Zealand for mature and senior travellers with your partner or as a solo traveller. Explore and learn about Rotorua, Wellington or Te Anau whilst you are visiting.

6 Apr 20 · 2 mins read
Read Article

Questions About New Zealand

Enjoy one of our small group tours of New Zealand for mature and senior travellers with your partner or as a solo traveller. Explore Rotorua, visit Hawke's bay and learn about wine, or Wellington or take a walk in the Fiordland National park.

7 Apr 20 · 2 mins read
Read Article
New Zealand world map

The Foundations for Democracy in New Zealand (900 to 1945)

Early New Zealand: A Brief History from New Zealand is aptly named as new, as its history is very recent and only dates back a few hundred years. The Maori people were the first to…

23 Apr 19 · 12 mins read
Read Article
senior travel

Advice for Mature-Aged Solo Travellers

Advice for solo travellers seeking advice on holidays for solo travellers over 50. Odyssey has been offering small group tours for mature and senior travellers all around the world since 1983.

11 Nov 19 · 8 mins read
Read Article
Women's walking shoes

Women's Walking Shoes: The Definitive Guide

Choosing the Right Walking Shoes: Advice for Women For women, especially older adults, choosing the right walking shoes has repercussions beyond fashion. A study in 2005 showed that “incorrectly fitting footwear is common in older…

20 Nov 19 · 6 mins read
Read Article
Affordable small group tours with Odyssey Alumni

Walking tours for active travellers – tips for seniors

For the active mature and senior traveller be they a couple or solo traveller this article outlines preparation for walking tours even for the over 80's. It may on the Wainwright, the lake district or a pilgrims walk across Europe or St James Way, the Camino. This artices give advice on getting fit, shoes and socks including for particular advice for women on this topic.

14 Jan 21 · 6 mins read
Read Article
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
Read Article
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.

16 Apr 20 · 2 mins read
Read Article
Te Anau, New Zealand

Te Anau, New Zealand

Te Anau is a small town on the South Island of New Zealand, often labelled as the gateway to the wilderness and amazing scenery of Fiordland.

16 Apr 20 · 2 mins read
Read Article
Bay of Islands
19 May 20 · 7 mins read
Read Article
Te Anau, New Zealand

Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

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.

8 Nov 20 · 4 mins read
Read Article
Emerald Lakes
20 May 20 · 7 mins read
Read Article
Golestan Palace,Tehran, Iran

10 books about Iran

Ten books to read about Iran Throughout history, Iran’s position in the centre of the famous Silk Road has seen it crisscrossed by travellers, traders and armies. In more recent times, its rich oil resources…

10 Oct 19 · 2 mins read
Read Article


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

Related Tour Categories

Hiking and Walking

View 18 tours

Level 3 - Moderate to Challenging

Lake district walking small group tour View 21 tours

Join 22,383 like-minded travellers receiving our weekly newsletter.

Special offers and promotions
A$350 AUD first trip travel voucher
The latest tours and articles