Journey deep into New Zealand's last frontier, a land cloaked in mist, mysticism and primordial forest. This unique Great Walk is a hut-to-hut hiking expedition, circumnavigating beautiful Lake Waikaremoana, with secluded beaches, fascinating history and truly breathtaking views.
10.5 kms, 4 hours walking (Lunch, Dinner)
Your New Zealand guided walk begins with a scenic drive from Rotorua to the start of the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk Track, along one of New Zealand's oldest Maori trails. Journey through remote villages and dense rainforest, into the heart of Te Urewera National Park and the secluded Lake Waikaremoana.
Walk alongside an estuary, home to a variety of water birds, then catch the first glimpse of the lake itself and the reason for its name, sea of rippling waters, becomes apparent. The hike follows the shores of Lake Waikaremoana for most of the afternoon, before crossing a headland where a Kiwi Recovery Programme is successfully increasing the numbers of our threatened national icon. The Waiharuru Hut welcomes you with a hot drink and hearty cooked meal. Tonight you may hear the night time calls of the North Island brown kiwi and the morepork / ruru.
18.3 kms, 6-8 hours walking (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
This is the longest day of walking, but you still have plenty of time to enjoy the bush, birds and lovely beaches of the western arm of the lake. Make the most of the many scenic lakeside and lookout spots for rests and refreshments, and some may indulge in a swim! After lunch an optional boat cruise reduces walking time, and makes the side track to Korokoro Falls more achievable. These stunning falls are worth the detour!
The Urewera forest is home to many native and endangered birds. You are likely to witness the amazing flights of the fantail and kereru, and hear the melodious calls of the bellbird and tui. Waiopaoa Hut, nestled amongst the lush rainforest that stretches to the lake edge, is your home for the night.
7.6 kms, 4-5 hours walking (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Height gain 600 metres
Today you tackle the Panekire Bluffs, which have been looming ahead for the last two days. Plenty of rest stops and breathtaking views make today's climb an enjoyable challenge. Hike through different layers of vegetation: from mixed broadleaf podocarp forest featuring giant rata, rimu and miro trees; to enchanted cloud forest of silver beech trees cloaked in eerie mosses, which dominate the higher altitudes. At the close of the day relax with a glass of wine on the verandah of the beautifully situated hut, and soak up the panoramic vistas right out to the ocean. Watch the sunset over the lake and forest clad mountains, while a birds eye view gives an appreciation of the remarkable terrain you have covered over the last few days.
8.8 kms, 4-5 hours walking (Breakfast, Lunch)
Wake to be among the first in the world to welcome the day's sunrise over the Pacific Ocean! Continuing along the Panekire Ridge, breaks in the forest offer more magnificent views and fantastic photo opportunities from the colossal rock ledges that form the range. Look across Onepoto Bay to see the evidence of the landslide that created Lake Waikaremoana over two thousand years ago.
Celebrate completing the Great Walk with a delicious BBQ lunch and drinks. Return to Rotorua approx 6pm.
Fitness?The Lake Waikaremoana Track is graded as a moderate hike. A reasonable level of fitness, agility and sense of adventure is essential. 4-6 hours walking each day over varied terrain. For the first 2 days walkers carry only a day pack, for the last 2 days walkers carry a backpack containing a sleeping bag and clothing for one night (6 - 8kg). Pack cartage for the final 2 days is available by prior arrangement. All other gear will be transported by boat to the end of the track. A support boat is nearby throughout the trip to carry injured or tired walkers. You are encouraged to walk at your own pace, and to rest and enjoy the many spectacular lookouts as much as possible.
Accommodation?Classic New Zealand backcountry huts, located in stunning natural surroundings. They are clean and dry, and provide fresh drinking water, bunk beds with mattresses, outside toilets, separate dining and communal areas, and heating. There is no electricity or hot water. A booking system ensures no overcrowding. The isolation and lack of mod-cons create a very special and social atmosphere for hut-goers! See Accommodation Photos under "More Information" on the right of this page.
Departures?Scheduled Lake Waikaremoana Guided Walk trips depart Rotorua every one or two weeks between late October to early May. There are also additional walks departing over holiday weekends, such as Labour Weekend (October), New Years Eve, and Easter Weekend (March or April). Check out our Walk Calendar.
If none of these dates suit please contact us, we may be able to add more departures, and offer exclusive trips for groups.