Hello! My husband and I will be traveling to New Zealand for one week in December. We will be flying into Aukland. We would like to do some moderately difficult hikes as well as visit wineries. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you!
North Island day walking ...
Unless you really have your hearts set on a week on the North Island, my suggestion would be to continue down to the South Island for your visit - fewer people, better scenery, more hiking opportunities, and quite frankly better wineries. The Marlborough area at the top of South Island is famous for its Cabernet Sauvignons, and there are enough wineries in the district to keep you busy for a month. Abel Tasman National Park is also close by - many terrific hiking opportunities there, along with some beautiful beaches that rival anything you'll see in Hawaii. Many other outdoor activities to keep you occupied as well.
Christchurch and the Canterbury area would also be of interest I think, as would the university town of Dunedin and the Otago peninsula.
Everyone's favorite is Queenstown which bills itself as the adventure capital of NZ...and for good reason. Several of NZ's "Great Walks" (Routeburn, Milford, etc) are there, as well as easier day trips that are an easy drive from the city. It really is a spectacular place, and I can't think of a better introduction to the country than a week in the area.
I'm headed to New Zealand for two weeks in Feb and based on recs from an Aussie friend who's been seven times, I'll be promptly flying to the South Island from Auckland, basing for five days in Queensland, doing an overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound (which sounds amazing! Check out Real Journeys). I understand that Milford Sound has more tourists, but may be better for hiking.
Look into Lake Wanaka as well! This glacier hike (4 hours) came highly recommended by our airbnb host in the area:
We'll be heading there after Fox Glacier where you can hike on the glacier! (Adventurers like to get a guide and helicopter in for the hike.)