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:
Guided options are available.
There are five 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.
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.
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.
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.
Time: 1 hr return from Korokoro Campsite
These falls are a must-see.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 pick-up and drop-off is in the near Whanganui Hut. This hut is around 300 metres away – lake level dependent.
Bookings are open for the 2022/23 season.
Fees are charged per person, per night to stay in huts and campsites on the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk. There are no fees for entry into Te Urewera or to complete a day walk on the track.
Tūhoe wardens are stationed at major Great Walk huts during peak season.
Pay your fees by booking the huts and campsites before you start the track.
Discounts for Great Walks are not available online. If you belong to a group or organisation that is entitled to a discount we will need to see proof of your membership.
To receive your discount, you must email your organisation's membership card, showing your name, membership number and expiry date, to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to a DOC visitor centre in person. Visitor centre staff will make your booking for you and apply your discount. No booking fee will be charged.
If you make your booking online yourself, you must contact email@example.com or a DOC visitor centre within 48 hours of making the booking to receive your discount. Discounts cannot be retrospectively applied to bookings after this time.
Before you start your Lake Waikaremoana walk, you need to book:
If you don’t have a valid booking for your stay, you may be charged a penalty, or turned away if the hut/campsite is full.
Follow this step-by-step process to guide you through booking your Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk.
You can go from Onepoto in the south or Hopuruahine in the north.
For the direction you want to walk in, decide what huts or campsites you want to stay at.
If there is no space in one of huts or campsites, consider:
Bookings are required for children and youth even though it's free for them to stay.
If you’re booking campsites, you’ll need to know the number of people in your group as well as the number of tent sites required.
You can also contact a DOC visitor centre for personal assistance. Note:
Read the booking terms and conditions (scroll to the bottom to find the Terms and Conditions link) for general information, age ranges, prices, discounts, penalty rates and the alterations and cancellations policy.
Bookings that don't meet the terms and conditions will be treated as invalid and cancelled.
Waikaremoana can be approached from two directions on SH38 which runs from Waiotapu in the north to Wairoa on the East Coast. SH38 passes Te Karetu where Te Urewera Visitor Centre (Te Kura Whenua) and the Waikaremoana Holiday Park are located.
The highway is a gravel surface for about 90 km between Murupara (north of Te Karetu and Tuai (south of Te Karetu). This may be difficult for lower vehicles and 4WD/SUV is recommended.
The Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk can be accessed from either end – Onepoto or Hopuruahine landing. Hopuruahine is about half an hour's drive from Te Karetu.
Hopurauhine road is not currently suitable for 2WD vehicles. This may impact access to Hopuruahine landing Great Walk-end car park.
The start of the track at Onepoto is approximately 20 minutes drive from Te Karetu – follow State Highway 38.
Walkers can travel to either end of the walk via water taxi. Book early.
Tūhoe offers a water taxi service to and from each end of the Great Walk, and to individual huts and campsites around the lake, out of Te Urewera Visitor Centre (Te Kura Whenua).
The water taxi service is not available during the winter season from April to October.
This service is usually available from October to April.
You need to book ahead by contacting Tūhoe on:
Note: The water taxi operates a 5 day service from Wednesday to Sunday – it does not run on Monday and Tuesday.
|Departure time||Fare *|
|Route 1 – pick up and drop off|
|Te Karetu to Onepoto||8:30 am||Adult $62
|Onepoto to Whananui Hut||8:50 am||Adult $75
|Whananui Hut to Onepoto||9:30 am||Adult $75
|Onepoto to Te Karetu (arrival 10:15 am)||9:50 am||Adult $62
|All other huts and campsites||10:30 to 11:30 am only||Adult $100
|Route 3 – pick up only|
|Te Karetu to Whananui Hut||2:00 pm||Adult $75
|Whananui Hut to Onepoto||2:30 pm||Adult $75
|Onepoto to Te Karetu (arrival 3:15 pm)||3:00 pm||Adult $62
* Adult 17+, child 0–16 years old
Parking can be very busy at the lake during the summer season. All parking is at the owners’ risk – do not leave valuables in your cars.
Where parking space is available:
There is free day-time parking available at Te Urewera Visitor Centre at Te Kura Whenua, however no multi-day parking is available. This is to make space for other manuhiri (visitors).
Make sure you are properly equipped and well prepared. Your safety is your responsibility. Know the five essential steps of the Land Safety Code.
This track is not recommended for children under age 10, because of the exposed mountainous environment and often adverse weather conditions.
Lake Waikaremoana lies between altitudes of 600 and 1200 m. The weather at Lake Waikaremoana is changeable. Cold temperatures, snow, strong winds and heavy rain can occur at any time of the year, including summer. Te Urewera is a rainforest, so tracks can become muddy.
Huts on the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk don't have gas cooking facilities, lighting or toilet paper. Remember to take a portable stove and fuel, candles and toilet paper with you. Some provisions are available at the Lake Waikaremoana Holiday Park store.
Call in at the Te Urewera Visitor Centre at Te Kura Whenua for the latest information on weather and track conditions before you leave, and fill in your itinerary in hut books as you go. Check opening hours.
Boil, filter or chemically treat water if you doubt its purity.
Keep to the track. If you become lost, stop, find shelter, stay calm, and try to assist searchers.
There are no rubbish facilities – care for nature and pack in and pack out anything you bring into Te Urewera.
Huts on the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk do not have gas cooking facilities, lighting or toilet paper. Take a portable stove and fuel, candles and toilet paper with you.
You cannot buy food on the track.
Bring food that is lightweight, fast cooking and high in energy value. For example:
You'll also need water, snacks, biscuits, muesli bars, tea or coffee, powdered fruit drinks and emergency food in case of any delays on the track.
Te Urewera is a taonga and everyone has a responsibility to care for her. All manuhiri (visitors) to Te Urewera are asked to respect Tikana of the Lake and help us all to guardians of this place.
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 and the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk in a way that accords with her 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.
If you have questions about how best to respect Te Urewera, call in to Te Urewera Visitor Centre at Te Kura Whenua and speak to one of the team.