New Zealand's Te Araroa: The North Island

Cape Reinga to Tongariro

Trip Level

This trip is rated Level 4, Moderate to Strenuous and is for people who enjoy a real hiking challenge. The Te Araroa Trail is a 1,900-mile pathway from the tip of the North Island to the very bottom of the South Island and connects some of the country's iconic hiking trails such as the Tongariro Crossing, but often follows paths that range from flat and paved roads to barely discernible routes through nearly impenetrable bush and steep climbs of extended duration. To walk the entire length of the trail requires an admirable strength of character and fortitude. You will gain an appreciation for the “through hikers” who take on this 4-month challenge as we sample a range of hikes. We have selected hikes that are within the description of a “Level 4” Wilderness Travel trip but also sample the incredible diversity of the Te Araroa Trail.  Although you carry only a daypack, there are some steep ascents and descents and many sections that cross rough or rocky trails. Many trails are not “groomed” but follow the natural contours of the land and are therefore uneven. On one occasion, our hiking route follows a stream and you will be walking in water that is mostly ankle-deep but at times could be thigh-deep. Obviously, your shoes will get wet (bring some Tevas or shoes appropriate for walking in water). This is not the most difficult hiking on the trip—just a little unusual! 

We will no doubt experience every conceivable type of weather on this trip, so it's best to be prepared. For your own enjoyment, we recommend you make a special effort to be in good physical condition for the trip. Daily walking and/or regular hiking (or using a stair-climbing machine at your gym) are excellent preparatory exercises, but you will still need to be sure-footed. You should wear lightweight, well-broken-in hiking boots for maximum comfort on the trail.

One of the highlights of this trip is the chance to enjoy the fresh local food New Zealand is famous for. We’ll be close to the source of much of the food we eat, experiencing a variety of dining experiences, most of which will also be memorable for the location and the company. Most lunches will be either a picnic or packed lunch on the trail.


Temperatures on the North Island in midsummer usually range between 65°-72°F, but it can get much colder. Since the weather in New Zealand is often variable so we may occasionally have to wait for it to change in order to participate in our planned activities or change our activities to suit the weather. In such a case, we may rearrange the daily itinerary to accommodate the weather conditions.

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.


We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.