Lake Waikaremoana

Image: Stefan Marks | Creative Commons


Remote, rugged, immense, Te Urewera is the home of the Tūhoe people and is famous for its lakes and forested beauty.


Alerts and important information

Check for alerts on the Ngāi Tūhoe website.

Place overview


  • Bird and wildlife watching
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Walking and tramping

In this section

Find things to do and places to stay Te Urewera

About this place

History and culture

The Homeland of Tūhoe

Te Urewera is the homeland of the Tūhoe people. It is the first natural feature to be recognised in New Zealand law as a legal entity in its own right, meaning it owns itself and exists for its own sake.

The Tūhoe tribal authority, Te Uru Taumatua, provides operational management of Te Urewera and the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk.

Getting there

Te Urewera lies between the Bay of Plenty and Hawke's Bay in the North Island. The nearest towns are Whakatane and Tāneatua to the north, Murupara and Ruatahuna to the west, and Wairoa to the east.

Lake Waikaremoana

Waikaremoana can be approached from two directions. SH38 links Wairoa and the East Coast with the central North Island, and passes the lake and the Te Urewera Visitor Centre in Te Karetu (by the Waikaremoana Holiday Park).

The highway is a gravel surface for about 90 km between Murupara and Onepoto.

Walkers can travel to either end of the walk via water taxi. Book early.

Parking space is available at:

  • Waikaremoana Holiday Park
  • Near the lake side – up to 10 days free parking
  • Onepoto at the Great Walk trail-end car park, and near the boat ramp
  • Hopuruahine Landing at the Great Walk trail-end car park, 2 km off the main road
  • Āniwaniwa near the old visitor centre site – from here you can follow the Black Beech track to the Te Urewera Visitor Centre, approximately 20 mins walk.

Waimana Valley

To access the northern part of Te Urewera via the Waimana Valley, take the Bell Road turnoff from SH2. The road travels about 30 km up the valley to the Matahi Valley Road end. Caution is advised as most of this road is unsealed, narrow and windy.

All parking is at the owners' risk. Do not leave valuables in your cars.

Know before you go

Extreme weather changes are a feature of the area, including snow in summer. Te Urewera is a rainforest and so tracks can be muddy. 

Care for Nature principles

the Tūhoe people, Te Urewera is not just their homeland, but also the mother of their first ancestors. The Care for Nature (Manaakitana Te Urewera) principles help visitors experience Te Urewera in a way that accords with its needs, and helps us all to build our connection to nature.

That means embracing experiences in nature that are beautiful and child-friendly, and caring for our wildlife and environment.

  • Camp only in huts and approved campgrounds, which are alcohol-free.
  • There are no rubbish facilities provided. You must remove all rubbish from huts and camps.
  • Avoid single use plastic and don’t litter.


Te Urewera Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 6 837 3803
Address:   Te Kura Whenua
6249 Lake Road/SH38
Waikaremoana 4195
Te Urewera
Postal Address:   Kaitawa DOC Mailshed
Kaitawa Village
RD 5
Wairoa 4195
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