IntroductionThere are a range of short walks near the Āniwaniwa Visitor Centre and holiday park at Lake Waikaremoana. The area's natural features include beautiful waterfalls and one of the country's biggest rata trees.
Te Urewera is recognised in New Zealand law as a living person. Te Urewera is spoken for and governed by a board. Care for Te Urewera, including the tracks and facilities, is carried out by Te Uru Taumatua – Ngāi Tūhoe’s operational entity.
The Hinerau Walk begins and ends near the Āniwaniwa Visitor Centre and is an easy stroll suitable for all. The highlight is the three waterfalls, collectively known as the Āniwaniwa Falls (Āniwaniwa means rainbow in English). The first fall is the 15 m Bridal Veil fall. The Momahaki Fall is on the other side of an island in the middle of the river. This fall, together with the 11 m lower fall form a spectacular sight from the next viewpoint down. The lower part of the Āniwaniwa Falls is called 'Te Tangi o Hinerau' and commemorates the legend of Hinerau, a Tuhoe woman of high rank famed for her beauty.
Continue along the track, past a view over the lake to end up back at the Āniwaniwa Visitor Centre.
Āniwaniwa Falls Track
Time: 20 min return
On the other side of the river from the Hinerau Track, the Āniwaniwa Falls Track gives a closer view of the falls. It leads down to a tranquil stretch of river below the bottom falls. Introduced black swans and mallards share habitat with native scaup and pied shags.
Time: 2 min
To complete your visit to the suite of waterfalls drive or walk 2 km up the Āniwaniwa Road (opposite the Visitor Centre) to Papakorito Falls. Although the forest has previously been burnt near here, the 20 m fall is spectacular.
Black Beech Walk
Time: 30 min one way
This pleasant walk links the Waikaremoana Holiday Park and the visitor centre. It follows the line of the old road, which after Lake Waikaremoana was lowered 5 m in 1946, was bypassed by the new easier road built on the former lake beach.
There is a spectacular view over the Home Bay (Te Whanganuioparua) area of Lake Waikaremoana to the holiday park and beyond to Panekire Bluff. A few specimens of black beech, one of New Zealand’s four species of beech, grow beside the track.
Time: 20 min one way
A short walk from the back of the Waikaremoana Motor Camp up to Whaitiri Point offers good views of the lake. Whaitiri Point was once the site of the Lake House Hotel, for years the only accommodation close to the lake.
It opened in 1900 and became the official Government Tourist Hotel in 1909. In 1918-19 it closed briefly during an influenza epidemic. But by 1930 the Wairoa-Rotorua Road had opened and the hotel had launched its own boat, the 'Ruapani'. Further improvements were made and in 1956 the Tourist Hotel Corporation took responsibility. Because of financial difficulties the hotel was closed in 1972, and demolished 5 years later.
Directly across the road from Whaitiri Point the Ngamoko Track begins.
Time: 30 min round trip
The walk is described in clockwise direction. Follow the Ngamoko Track from Whaitiri Point for a short distance, then turn left onto the Tawa circuit. One highlight of this walk is the delicate willow-like yellow green foliage of the tawa tree.
Another spectacular sight is the number of northern rata of various ages growing on their host trees.
Follow the Tawa Walk round until it rejoins the Ngamoko Track. Turn right to head back to the road. A short detour along the Ngamoko Track to the left takes you to one of the biggest rata trees in the country. It is around 1,000 years since it began life as a germinating seed high in the forks of a tree that itself was probably 400-500 years old.
Time: 45 min return
About 9 km from the Āniwaniwa Visitor Centre on the road towards Wairoa this track begins on the uphill side of the road. It rises through rock bluffs and huge boulders in the forest to a platform which gives a spectacular view of Lake Waikaremoana and Panekire Bluff. The reason for the lake’s name, “sea of dashing waters” is sometimes apparent from up here when strong winds whip up the lake’s surface.
Lou’s Lookout and the track up to it lie on a massive landslide from the end of Ngamoko (the peak to the east of the lookout) 2,200 years ago.
Lou’s Track is named after the late Lou Dolman, a long-serving Tuai policeman who was instrumental in constructing the track in the 1960’s.
Time: 10 min return
About 5.6 km from the visitor centre towards Wairoa a walk leads to a safe shallow sandy bay, suitable for swimming and picnicking, and featuring wide views.
In 1946 the lake was lowered 5 m to enhance hydro-electric generation at the Kaitawa, Tuai and Piripaua Power Stations. The former lakeshore benches and beaches exposed by the lowering have in places been slow to regenerate to forest.
Armed Constabulary Redoubt, Lake Kiriopukae
Time: 45 min return
The Onepoto Road, 10.3 km south-east of the visitor centre, leads to the start of the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk. Ten minutes along the track is the site of a pa visited by William Colenso in 1841. Here on the urupa (burial ground) the former Armed Constabulary built a redoubt initially seeking to capture or destroy support for the powerful Maori leader Te Kooti.
The track passes to the right of a fenced rock overhang where the soldiers scratched their names while stationed here. A little further on, the grassed area past the remains of the redoubt’s stone walls was once a 'nicely levelled parade ground'.
At the far end of the old parade ground a left fork takes you down to Lake Kiriopukae. This is an area of low turf and wetland vegetation with two small picturesque lakes, but after wet periods the whole area may fill to form a single lake. Look out for the small cemetery on the right just before the first lake. Members of the Armed Constabulary and early farming families are buried here.
In spring the bush around Lake Kiriopukae is alive with birds - tui, kereru and bellbirds. The lake itself is home to a number of waterbirds e.g. white-faced heron, paradise shelduck, mallard duck and the pied stilt.
Lake Waikaremoana is located in Te Urewera.