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Visiting New Zealand as a middle-aged lone traveller on a minimal budget!

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I am a 54 year old who has just booked her first ever long haul flight - to New Zealand. I have a month in which to travel around, although approximately one week will be spent with relatives at the top of North Island. I am very keen on walking and would like to fit in one 'trek' if possible. My budget is small, so I would like some advice/suggestions on how to get the best out of my time. I would be happy to join in with 'group' activities and would not mind having to share a room/dormitory if necessary to keep costs down.
Is it possible to visit both Islands in the time available?

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