New Zealand's Te Araroa: The North Island

Cape Reinga to Tongariro


The Te Araroa (Maori for “long pathway”) is the world’s newest long-distance hiking trail, from the northernmost tip of the North Island to the southern point of the South Island. If you were to walk all of it, it would take five months! Our adventure begins in the seaside town of Russell among the subtropical splendor of the Bay of Islands. Here, we’ll meet a local Maori family who still follows some of the traditional Polynesian practices handed down through generations.  We start our first hike of the roughly 2,000 mile-long Te Araroa Trail at remote Cape Reinga, where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific, and where the Maori believe the spirits of their dead depart for their ancestral homeland in Polynesia. Heading south, we’ll pass remote villages, mystical kauri forests, and “Lord of the Rings” volcanoes, then ferry into Auckland, the City of Sails, to walk the Te Araroa Trail right through the city. On the central plateau, our hike brings us into the dramatic volcanic scenery of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a World Heritage Site, and when we reach the beautiful and sacred Wanganui River, part of the Te Araroa Trail, we’ll drift down as the Maori did before us—by waka (canoe). Our trail leads us into cosmopolitan Wellington, the nation's capital. 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 1-5, Jan 21-25, 2023
Kerikeri / Cape Reinga / Moturua Island / Russell Forest

Flying to Kerikeri, we visit historic Russell, the first European settlement in New Zealand, then head out to Moturua Island to hike amid Maori archaeological sites. We’ll visit the award-winning Waitangi Treaty Grounds for a Maori performance, then hike along the Kerikeri River to the spectacular cascade of Rainbow Falls. The Te Araroa Trail at Cape Reinga Lighthouse brings us down to sweeping Twilight Beach, and the next day we’ll hike into the primeval Russell Forest, with its majestic kauri trees.

Duke of Marlborough Hotel
Russell, New Zealand
Days 1 to 2 (2 nights)
Doubtless Bay Villas
Cable Bay, New Zealand
Days 3 to 4 (2 nights)
Lodge 9
Tutukaka, New Zealand
Days 5 to 6 (2 nights)
Oceans Resort Hotel
Tutukaka, New Zealand
Days 5 to 6 (2 nights)
Days 6-8, Jan 26-28, 2023
Poor Knights Islands / Mangawhai Heads / Matakana Wine Country

We boat out to the marine reserve of the Poor Knights Islands for a memorable day of sea kayaking, cave exploration, and swimming. Back on the mainland, we enjoy spectacular coastal views as we hike the Te Araroa Trail across the Mangawhai Heads, nestled between the Pacific and rolling farmland, and explore Matakana wine country.

Lodge 9
Tutukaka, New Zealand
Days 5 to 6 (2 nights)
Oceans Resort Hotel
Tutukaka, New Zealand
Days 5 to 6 (2 nights)
Plume Villas
Matakana, New Zealand
Days 7 to 8 (2 nights)
Days 9-11, Jan 29-31, 2023
Auckland / Tongariro Alpine Crossing

After a walking tour of harborside Auckland, we hike through the limestone bluffs of Mangaokewa Gorge, then make the spectacular Tongariro Alpine Crossing, bringing us into a world of emerald lakes, lava flows, and breathtaking volcanic scenery.

Henley Hotel
Cambridge, New Zealand
Day 9 (1 night)
The Reef Resort
Taupo, New Zealand
Day 10 (1 night)
Powderhorn Chateau
Ohakune, New Zealand
Days 11 to 12 (2 nights)
Days 12-14, Feb 1- 3, 2023
Whanganui River / Wellington

A jet-boat brings us to the start of our hike through dramatic river gorges in Whanganui National Park, and we drift down the beautiful Whanganui 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 via Wellington.

Powderhorn Chateau
Ohakune, New Zealand
Days 11 to 12 (2 nights)
Sofitel Wellington
Wellington, New Zealand
Day 13 (1 night)



Exhilarating hikes in the Te Araroa’s spectacular environments
Cape Reinga Lighthouse, the northernmost point of the Te Araroa Trail
Maori archaeological sites of Moturua Island, historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds
The pristine marine reserve of the Poor Knights Islands, with sea kayaking and cave exploration


Length: 14 days
Cost From: $9595  
Arrive: Kerikeri, New Zealand
Depart: Wellington, New Zealand
Lodging: 3 nights hotels and historic inns
Meals: All meals included except 1 dinner as indicated in the Detailed Itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Wildlife and Natural History, Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level:

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