Lake Waikaremoana is a scenic gem in the heartland of the mystical Te Urewera National Park in the Central North Island.
This ‘Sea of Rippling Waters’ nestles among rugged bush-clad mountains between Rotorua and Wairoa. It is a three hour drive from Rotorua but the relative isolation is what has preserved Waikaremoana’s unspoilt beauty. Tuhoe people, known as ‘The Children of the Mist’ still retain their traditional way of life in these remote valleys.
The range of recreational pleasures this area has to offer attracts people from all over the world. Visitors find delight in the towering native forest, crystal-clear streams and tumbling waterfalls. Campers relax at the motor camp, trampers climb the Panekiri Bluffs as a day trip or undertake the Great Walk, boat owners and kayakers explore deep inlets and secluded beaches, fishermen and hunters have limitless choice of places to seek their quarry. Comfortable chalet-style accommodation, a shop and petrol supplies are available at The Landing.
The main attraction of the area is the Waikaremoana Great Walk. It is suitable for well-equipped trampers and family groups. Huts are placed at convenient intervals and need to be pre-booked. Allow at 3 to 5 days to enjoy this 46 km walk around the lake. An on-demand water-taxi service enables you to start and finish at any point.
Short walks from the Aniwaniwa visitor centre include the Hinerau Walk, an easy stroll to view three waterfalls, collectively known as the Aniwaniwa Falls. The Lake Waikareiti Track climbs through beech forest to an idyllic bush-fringed lake (hire boats are available). The Aniwaniwa Valley Track passes through magnificent groves of kahikatea trees, resonant with rich notes of tui, bellbird and kereru (native pigeon). The Ngamoko Track climbs steeply to glorious views of the lake from the summit of the range. It was a landslip here 2,200 years ago that formed a natural dam, which created Lake Waikaremoana. The landslip created the Onepoto Caves, which are worth exploring.
The timeless universe of Lake Waikaremoana is a marvellous place to get away from the pressures of modern life and be in tune with the harmony of nature.