Hiking the North island

Please note this itinerary reflects our Fall 2018/Spring 2019 season, which has completed. We are finalizing the details of our Fall 2019/Spring 2020 season, please call for details.


The Te Araroa (Maori for “long pathway”) is a spectacular hiking trail that stretches from the North Island to the South Island of New Zealand. With our phenomenal Trip Leader Jon Imhoof, we hike the best sections on the North Island (watch for the South Island trip in 2020!), from Moturua Island, with its Maori archaeological sites, through remote villages and mystical kauri forests to the Tutukaka Coast. On the central plateau, we hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a World Heritage Site of remarkable volcanic scenery, and travel the sacred Wanganui River by waka (canoe). This unique adventure is full of fantastic hikes, great food, world-class wine, craft beer, and easy-going Kiwi culture.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-4
Kerikeri / Cape Reinga / Bay of Islands / Russell Forest

Flying to Kerikeri, our first hike on the Te Araroa Trail brings us to the Cape Reinga Lighthouse, where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific in a spectacular swirl of currents. On Moturua Island, we hike along sheltered bays and visit Maori archaeological sites. Our trail leads us through stunning native bush in the primeval Russell Forest, with its majestic kauri trees, and then down the Tutukaka Coast.

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Days 5-8
Poor Knights Islands / Mangawahi Cliffs / Auckland

We boat to Poor Knights Islands, a pristine marine reserve, for a day of sea kayaking, cave exploration, and a chance to spot dolphins and whales. Back on the mainland, we hike the Mangawahi Cliffs Walkway, nestled between the Pacific and rolling farmland, and follow an ancient Maori path through coastal forests. The Te Araroa Trail brings us right into delightful Auckland, the City of Sails, with a trip out to Waiheke Island, home to wineries and artists.

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Days 9-11
Rotorua / Tongariro Alpine Crossing

In Rotorua, we watch a spine-tingling haka war dance and visit the Maori who live in the unique geothermal landscapes of Whakarewarewa. As we hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, we are immersed in a world of emerald lakes, lava flows, and breathtaking volcanic scenery.

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Days 12-14
Wanganui River / Wellington

A jet-boat brings us to the start of our hike through dramatic river gorges in Wanganui National Park, and we drift down the beautiful Wanganui River by waka (traditional Maori canoe). Our last hike on the Te Araroa Trail brings us on foot into Wellington, New Zealand’s urban jewel, with a visit to its famous museum, the Te Papa, full of Maori treasures. Depart on Day 14.

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Exhilarating hikes in spectacular coastal, mountain, and volcanic environments
Cape Reinga Lighthouse, the northernmost point of the Te Araroa Trail
Ancient Maori sites of Moturua Island, spectacular haka warrior dance in Rotorua
Tongariro Alpine Crossing, with its volcanic scenery and emerald lakes
Boat through the pristine marine reserve of the Poor Knights Islands, with kayaking and cave exploration


Length: 14 days
Cost From: $7795  
Arrive: Kerikeri, New Zealand
Depart: Wellington, New Zealand
Lodging: 13 nights hotels and historic inns
Meals: All meals included except 1 dinner (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Wildlife & Natural History, Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level:

Varied hikes of 3-6 hours, some sections on rough or rocky trails