IntroductionModerate tramping, magnificent scenery and plenty of opportunity for swimming and fishing ensure the Lake Waikaremoana track is well used throughout the year.
In this section
- Walk in Te Urewera, the home and ancestor of the Tūhoe people, the first natural feature to be recognised in New Zealand law as a legal entity in its own right, and learn the cultural and spiritual history of the area.
- Incredible views from Panekire Bluff.
- The spectacular Korokoro Falls drop off a sheer cliff amidst rainforest.
- An ancient mountain range of lakes, valleys and peaks formed by landslides and storms.
Lake Waikaremoana can be walked either from Onepoto in the south or Hopuruahine in the north. It's not a circuit track and is described here from Onepoto.
For a 3 night/4 day trip:
- Day 1 – Onepoto to Panekire Hut
- Day 2 – Panekire Hut to Waiopaoa Hut
- Day 3 – Waiopaoa Hut to Marauiti Hut
- Day 4 – Marauiti Hut to Hopuruahine
Guided options are available.
Places to stay
There are four huts and five campsites on Lake Waikaremoana. These must be booked in advance.
Camping on the track is only permitted at the designated campsites.
You can stay at the nearby Waikaremoana Holiday Park before or after walking the track. It has a range of accommodation including tent sites, cabins and chalets.
Onepoto to Panekire Hut
Time: 4–6 hr
Distance: 8.8 km
This is the most strenuous part of the trip, but the views from Panekire make it worthwhile.
The track starts from the Onepoto Shelter through the former Armed Constabulary Redoubt and climbs steadily up to the top of Panekire Bluff. It then follows the undulating ridgeline before reaching Puketapu Trig (1180 metres) and onto Panekire Hut. Be prepared for low tank water levels at times during summer.
Panekire Hut to Waiopaoa Hut and Campsite
Time: 3–4 hr
Distance: 7.6 km
From Panekire Hut, the track heads south-west down the range to the top of the Panekire descent. From here the track drops steeply off the range into rolling valleys of beech, podocarp and kamahi forest and the lake.
At the mouth of the Waiopaoa inlet is Waiopaoa Hut. The Waiopaoa Campsite is nearby.
Waiopaoa Hut to Korokoro Campsite
Time: 1 hr 30 min
Distance: 3.6 km
Head up the Waiopaoa Stream a short distance before crossing grassy flats and heading through kanuka forest on the lake shore. Just before the Korokoro suspension bridge there is a turn-off to Korokoro Falls. Korokoro Campsite is 200 metres past the bridge and a short distance off the main track, towards the lake shore.
Side trip: Korokoro Falls
Time: 1 hr return from Korokoro Campsite
These falls are a must-see.
Korokoro Falls on Google Street View
Korokoro Campsite to Maraunui Campsite
Time: 2 hr 30 min
Distance: 6.8 km
The track, while undulating, weaves its way through and up and over a number of small ridges, through young rimu wooded areas and along the lake edge. A short track off the main track leads to the Maraunui Campsite.
Maraunui Campsite to Marauiti Hut
Time: 30 min
Distance: 1.7 km
A brief climb over Whakaneke Ridge takes you to Marauiti Hut. This is great spot to stop for the night - at dusk you can go for a walk to the edge of the Puketukutuku Peninsula where you may hear the call of the kiwi.
Marauiti Hut to Waiharuru Hut and Campsite
Time: 2 hr
Distance: 6.2 km
After crossing the bridge over the stream running into Marauiti Bay the track crosses a saddle to rejoin the shore at Te Totara Bay. The track then stays close to the shore to Waiharuru Hut and Waiharuru Campsite.
Waiharuru Hut and Campsite to Tapuaenui Campsite
Time: 1 hr 30 min
Distance: 2.1 km
The track runs parallel to the lakeshore before rising over the neck of the Puketukutuku Peninsula, then down to the Tapuaenui Campsite on the Whanganui arm of the lake.
Tapuaenui Campsite to Whanganui Hut
Time: 1 hr
Distance: 3.2 km
From here the track follows the shore to Whanganui Hut in a clearing alongside the Whanganui Stream.
Note: Whanganui Hut is closed
Whanganui Hut to Hopuruahine Landing (water taxi pick-up/drop-off point and track start/end)
Time: 2 hr
Distance: 4.2 km
From Whanganui Hut, the track contours above the lake shore before a climb up and over the ridgeline into the Huiarau Stream. The track then follows the grassy Hopuruahine River flats to reach the Hopuruahine suspension bridge.
Water taxi pickup and drop off
Water taxi pick-up and drop-off is in the near Whanganui Hut. This hut is around 300 metres away – lake level dependent.