INTRODUCTION: Regular pedometer use can help initiate and maintain regular walking activity that can lead to a number of health-related benefits. The primary health care setting has been found to be an ideal venue in which to counsel low-active individuals for physical activity. AIM: To examine general practitioners' (GPs) views on the role of pedometers in health promotion. METHODS: Fifteen GPs working in urban, primary care practices in Auckland, New Zealand were individually interviewed. The interview schedule focused on physical activity counselling and the Green Prescription programme. For this sub-study, the focus was on questions relating to pedometer use. An inductive thematic approach was used to analyse the data. FINDINGS: Four main themes were identified. Pedometers were viewed as motivational devices that could be used to encourage low-active patients to become more active, as they provided feedback on step counts. A pedometer was also viewed as a self-management tool, whereby the individual could set daily step count goals, which in turn could help increase their physical activity engagement. GPs who currently wore a pedometer discussed the practicalities of being able to show a patient how to use a pedometer. Also discussed was how cost could restrict pedometer access for some patients. CONCLUSIONS: Pedometers were viewed by GPs as being helpful devices that could help motivate and support low-active patients in becoming more active. Information regarding step counts was seen as important because it could make people aware how little physical activity they were engaging in.