Te Urewera, the largest wilderness region of New Zealand’s North Island, is home to Tuhoe, one of New Zealand’s largest Indigenous tribes, since Hinepukohurangi (the Mist maiden) and Te Maunga(the Mountain) union eons past. This remote 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 what is still classified as a Great Walk, even though Te Urewera has been emancipated. Our local Tuhoe guides bring the forest alive, sharing tribal stories, histories & culture with you on the trail, whilst relaxing around the fire or staring up at the stars. The track pays homage to the landscape and demands an adventurous person, that enjoys an undulating terrain broken up by fantastic views.
Leaving Rotorua at 8.30am, we travel into the heart of Te Urewera, through a number of small Maori settlements, to the Hopuruahine Landing. Here, we will have a Mihi Whakatau and lunch, before starting our walk. After a short break at Whanganui Hut we proceed to Waiharuru Hut, where we spend our first night. Walking time is 4 - 5 hrs.
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.
We continue on along the lake edge, at times climbing spurs until we reach Korokoro campsite. Here we will break for lunch before the last leg to Waiopaoa Hut, our last nights stay on the lake before climbing Panekire. This is a long day of walking, between 6 -7 hrs.
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.
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 our vehicle – a total walk time of around 4 - 5 hours.
We return to Rotorua, arriving sometime around 5pm.
This trek is on well formed trails requiring a good level of fitness. You will need to be able to walk at least 5 hours per day, carrying a pack with your supplies, clothing, sleeping bag and snacks.
We cater for small groups, starting from 4 and ending at 10. We like to get to know you, and you, us.
Bookings available between October and April of the following year.
Fitness level needed: Very good.
Degree of difficulty: moderate to hard
Price (subject to change): NZ$1500 adults, NZ$1100 children (10-15 years)
Group size: 4 - 10
Minimum: 4 to book
Solo travelers or couples can enquire and be put on a wait list. Please email your interest and particular dates.