Located in the East Coast region
The Ruapani Circuit Track, which passes 7 wetlands, is a great place to see wetland birds such as scaups/pāpango, grey ducks/pārera, Australian coots and little black shags.
Most craft are permitted on Lake Waikaremoana, although jet skis, house boats and float planes are not permitted. Carry approved safety equipment and a local chart of the lake. Observe water safety regulations.
Row boats can be hired on Lake Waikareiti when the Te Urewera Visitor Centre is open.
Be aware that conditions on the lake can change rapidly.
Brown and rainbow trout are found in Lakes Waikaremoana and Waikareiti. Fishing licenses can be bought from Fish & Game New Zealand and from the Waikaremoana Holiday Park store.
Visit the Lake Waikaremoana area - there are many walks to the caves, springs, waterfalls and rainforest of the Tūhoe homeland.
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.
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:
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.
Extreme weather changes are a feature of the area, including snow in summer. Te Urewera is a rainforest and so tracks can be muddy.
To 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.
The area is formed from young mudstone, siltstone and sandstone, mostly about 10 -15 million years old. These sediments were originally part of the sea floor, but about two million years ago uplift brought them above sea level. Erosion has since created major valleys like Aniwaniwa, Whakatane, Waimana and extensive ridges like Panekire.
Major geological faults show as zones of weaker rock along which the main north flowing rivers (Whakatane and Waimana/Tauranga) have carved their valleys. The western escarpment of the Ikawhenua Range - a striking feature seen on the approach to Te Urewera from Murupara - is also a major fault where the volcanic crust of the central North Island has pulled away from the uplifted block of mountain country to the east.
In the southern part of Te Urewera lie two of its treasures, Lakes Waikaremoana and the smaller Lake Waikareiti. Waikaremoana was formed 2,200 years ago by a huge landslide, which blocked a narrow gorge along the Waikaretaheke River. Water backed up behind this landslide to form a lake up to 248 m deep. In 1946 a hydroelectric development lowered the lake level by 5 m.
The land left exposed when the lake was lowered is slowly regenerating while all around the lake misty mountains stretch off into the distance, cloaked in ancient podocarp and beech forests.
The vegetation of Te Urewera is a green cloak, mantling countless ridges. There are more than 650 species of native plant present in Te Urewera. The forest is comprised of mainly beech forest in the southern end and a mix of predominant rimu and tawa in the north. The vegetation pattern is not static; over the years volcanic activity, fire and storms have all left their mark. Introduced possums and deer cause significant change and hunting of these species is encouraged.
As much of Te Urewera is remote and not easily accessible this has helped protect much of its native wildlife. Te Urewera is unique in that it contains a full complement of North Island native forest birds (except weka) including threatened species like kiwi, kokako, kaka, falcon and the distinctive whio or blue duck. The northern part of Te Urewera has the largest remaining kokako population in New Zealand.
Te Urewera Mainland Island is one of a number of mainland islands set up to protect and restore habitats through intensive management of introduced pests. Find out more about Te Urewera Mainland Island.
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.
|Te Urewera Visitor Centre|
|Phone:||+64 6 837 3803|
Te Kura Whenua
6249 Lake Road/SH38
Kaitawa DOC Mailshed
|Full office details|