Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk
Te Urewera, the largest wilderness region of New Zealand’s North Island, has been home to Tuhoe, one of New Zealand’s largest Maori tribes, for more than 1000 years. This remote and mountainous region is home to the beautiful Lake Waikaremoana, surrounded by mountains clothed in dense, sub-tropical rainforest dating back to the Jurassic period.
Te Urewera Treks takes you on a 4-day journey through this ancient and pristine landscape, on one of New Zealand’s Great Walks. Our local Tuhoe guides bring the forest alive, sharing tribal stories, histories & culture with you on the trail, or whilst relaxing around the fire, enjoying the view with a delicious home cooked meal and a glass of superb New Zealand wine or beer.
Leaving Rotorua at 8.30am, we travel into the heart of Te Urewera, through a number of small Maori settlements, to the start of the walk at Hopuruahine, on the northern shores of Lake Waikaremoana. After 4 – 5 hours of relatively easy walking, we arrive at the Waiharuru Hut where we spend our first night. Gear & food ferried by Water Taxi.
From Waiharuru Hut, we traverse the shores of the lake to Te Totara Bay, where the track climbs over a saddle before descending to Maruiti Hut. There is then a brief climb over the Whakaneke Spur and a steady sidling descent with magnificent lake views, to Maraunui Bay where we have a late morning tea.
Option 1: From this point, the Water Taxi will ferry us around to disembark at Korokoro campsite, seeing a different perspective of the Lake and the lake surrounds along the way. A short walk to Korokoro Falls to have lunch and swim if the weathers fine makes the most of this leg of the trek. From the falls it's a 1 1/2 - 2 hour walk to Waiopaoa Hut where we spend our second night. Total walking time 4 -5 hours. Gear & food ferried by Water Taxi.
Option 2: After morning tea we continue to walk around the Lake track to the Korokoro Campsite. We will pitch tents and make camp here for the night. After a good nights sleep, we head off to ascend Panekire Bluff, calling into Korokoro Falls on the way through if desired. Total walking time for this option 4.5 - 5 hours.
Leaving Waiopaoa Hut after a leisurely morning, we start the ascent of Panekiri Bluff. The first 200 metres of vertical elevation involves a relatively easy but steady climb along a long ridge. At about 700 metres above sea level, the terrain steepens and there are some magnificent views of the lake and surrounds on this part of the walk. Finally, at 1180 metres above sea level, the hut of Panekiri is reached where the third and last night is spent. The views from the hut are awesome which makes the climb so worthwhile – especially the setting sun. Lunch is had along the track. We allow a total walking time of 4 - 5 hours for this leg of the walk. Gear & food carried by group, majority is carried by guide.
If the morning is clear, being up to watch the rising sun from such a high vantage point is quite spectacular. After breakfast, the final day involves an undulating walk along the top of the Panekiri Bluff through magnificent beech forest, with spectacular views of the lake and the mountains of Maungataniwha to the south-west and Manuoha to the north. Finally the descent to Onepoto and the shuttle van – a total walk time of around 3 - 4 hours. Lunch is at the end of the walk, usually enjoyed lake side.
After lunch it is back on board the van for the journey back to Rotorua.
This trek is on well formed trails requiring a good level of fitness with about 4-5 hours hiking each day.
A range of treks are scheduled between October and April.
Fitness level needed: good
Degree of difficulty: moderate to hard
Price(valid to 30 May 2017 but subject to change): NZ$1500 adults, NZ$1100 children (10-15 years)
Group size: 4 - 10
Minimum: 4 to book
We can schedule treks between October and April for groups of 4 or more - to enquire contact us.
Four day trek includes:
- Pick up at 8.30am in Rotorua and drop off back in Rotorua on the evening of day four (about 6?7pm)
- All meals
- All park camp, and hut fees
- All camping equipment (sleeping bags, sleeping bag liners, etc)
- Maximum group size of 10
- At least one local Tuhoe guide
What you need to bring:
- Overnight pack for your clothing and personal items (our guides carry most of the food for Panekire)
- Day pack to walk with & carry drink bottle, camera, extra clothes etc
- Drink bottle filled with water
- Sunscreen, insect repellent, sunglasses and hat
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, etc
- Good walking boots, preferably with ankle support & light shoes/sandals for around camp
- Layers of clothing: underwear x4 sets, socks x4,pyjamas, woollen or polypropylene T-shirts x4, long-sleeved sweater/fleece x2, & a waterproof jacket
- Long, lightweight trousers (not jeans), polypropylene leggings and shorts
- Swimsuit and towel
- Camera or video camera
- We can also store personal belongings that you don't want to carry with you on the trek