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Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk

Start:RotoruaTours run:November - April (weekly)
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challenging grade
Duration:4 days/3 nights
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A Beautiful Lake Walk In Beautiful Rainforest

Join us for the Lake Waikaremoana Walk, one of New Zealand's official Great Walks.

Some say it's the best multi-day walking trip in the North Island of New Zealand.

Lake Waikaremoana is deep in the island's largest rainforest, in Te Uruwera National Park. It's famous for its beauty and cultural history, as well as great swimming.

You'll hike from hut to hut around the lake, enjoying secluded beaches, fascinating history, and stunning mountain views.

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Dates remaining for this Summer-last few spaces


  • March: 14, 28
  • April: 4 (2 left),14 (full), 22
Waikaremoana download


Dates and Availability?

Tours run:November - April (weekly)
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We can customise tours to suit.





Itinerary & Map

For dates, availability & customisations Enquire

Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk

A Beautiful Lake Walk In Beautiful Rainforest

The Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk is situated in Te Urewera National Park — one of New Zealand's 14 national parks, and the largest one in the North Island.

You'll enjoy a real Kiwi experience, complete with trampers' hut accommodation, and be lulled to sleep by the sounds of kiwi and morepork calling at night
Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk Map

Day 1: Rotorua to Waiharuru Hut

Welcome to the Lake Waikaremoana Walk. Your tour begins in the scenic geothermal city of Rotorua, where we'll pick you up. We'll drive through small villages and dense rainforests into the heart of Te Urewera National Park, up to the Lake Waikaremoana Track.

The track follows an estuary with great views of water birds, up to the lake itself. We'll follow the lake shore for most of the afternoon to a small headland, and the Waiharuru Hut. You will be welcomed with a hot drink and an excellent meal.

The hut is near the Puketukutuku Peninsula, where a kiwi recovery programme is increasing the numbers of our national bird. Listen for the night calls of the North Island Brown Kiwi and the morepork, a native owl so named for its calls which sound like 'more pork'.

Day 2: Waiharuru Hut to Waiopaoa Hut

Today: some challenging walking, rewarded by great views of birds, beaches and bush. You'll follow the lake's western arm. It's so inviting here that you may be tempted to have a swim!

After lunch, you may choose to take a an optional boat trip. As well as reducing walking time, this trip includes a detour to the stunning Korokoro Falls.

The vast Urewera forest is home to many native birds. You are likely to see the distinctive flights of the playful fantail and the fat kereru wood pigeon, with its heavy wing beat. You'll also bound to hear the melodious songs of the bellbird and tui.

Tonight you'll stay at the Waiopaoa Hut, nestled in lush rainforest.

Day 3: Panekire Ridge

An exciting day today. You'll climb 600 m up the Panekire Bluffs, with breathtaking views. The forests change with altitude from mixed broadleaf podocarp forest featuring giant native rata, rimu and miro to an enchanting silver beech forest cloaked in beautiful mosses.

At day's end you can relax with a glass of wine on the hut's verandah, and soak up panoramic ocean vistas. Watch the sun set over the lake and mountains, and reflect on the amazing terrain you've covered.

Day 4: Panekire Ridge / Rotorua

It's our final day today, and we'll be making the most of it. After breakfast we'll take in a beautiful East Coast sunrise. Then we'll continue along the Panekire Ridge, where small forest clearings offer awesome views and great photo opportunities. You'll see across Onepoto Bay to evidence of the landslide that created Lake Waikaremoana more than 2000 years ago.

This relatively young lake was probably created via an earthquake, and further developed by erosion. The result was a vast dam which collected rainwater and formed the lake we now enjoy.

We'll mark the end of our Lake Waikaremoana Walk with a delicious barbeque lunch and drinks. Soon it will be time to say farewell. We'll travel back to Rotorua at about 6 pm.

**This tour is run in conjunction with another operator.
  • Walking
Hrs, KM

Dates remaining for this Summer-last few spaces


  • March: 14, 28
  • April: 4 (2 left),14 (full), 22
Waikaremoana download


What's Included

For dates, availability & customisations Enquire

Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk


Days One to Three
  • Department of Conservation back country huts. Heating, outside toilets, cold running water, no showers. Bunk rooms with mattress provided, walkers carry a sleeping bag.


You will enjoy great local cuisine; continental breakfasts and hearty packed lunches during the day, and either restaurant meals or wholesome home-cooked fare prepared by your host/hostess in the evenings.

If you have any dietary issues or food allergies, we are happy to cater for these, please advise the office of details when you make your booking.

All meals are included in your tour cost. Alcohol is not included in the tour cost, you are welcome to bring a small amount with you for personal consumption if you prefer.

Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk Tours

Fully Guided

Our guides are very experienced, friendly walkers and bikers who love to share their knowledge of New Zealand’s flora and fauna and local history. They all hold current first aid certificates, passenger driving licences and are the very best people to ensure your experience will be one to remember.

Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk Guides
Staff induction day

Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk Guides

Social Time

What Should I Bring?

For your safety and comfort, please pack the following items:

For the first two days: In your day pack: raincoat, water, hat, gloves, a spare long-sleeved warm top, and lunch (provided by us).

The boat will carry anything you don’t need during your day’s walk. Pack these items in a sturdy sports bag or larger backpack (no loose items please). The boat will meet you at the first two huts with this gear.

For the last two days: You'll need to carry all the above items, plus your sleeping bag, toiletries, and clothing for 1 night. Items not needed for the last 2 days can be left in the boat. These will be brought to you at the end of the track.

Please pack clothing and sleeping bags in water-tight plastic bags! Also, spare plastic bags are useful for storing dirty footwear and laundry.

Note: the huts DO NOT have drying facilities.

For more information on what or how to pack, please feel free to phone us on 0800 377 378.


We supply all meals, snacks, and hot and cold drinks, from lunch on Day 1 to lunch on Day 4. This includes a glass of wine with your evening meal. You are welcome to BYO additional alcohol if desired.

We also supply:
  • cutlery and crockery
  • toilet paper
  • soap
  • a trail map.

  • Boots (must be worn-in!)
  • Light shoes or sandals you can wear with socks (for the evenings)
  • Warm hat and gloves
  • Sleepwear
  • Drink bottle or CamelBak® (at least 600 ml capacity). Bottles can be filled from rainwater tanks at huts. Please have your bottle full when your are picked up on Day 1.
  • Small torch
  • Toiletries/medicines
  • Sunscreen and sun hat
  • Ear plugs (for a peaceful night's sleep in communal accommodation)
  • Blister kit
  • Plasters
  • Camera, spare film and batteries
  • Togs (bathing suit) and towel for swimming in the lake. (No soap or shampoo in the lake, please!).


Walking clothes: Bring several layers of wool, polypropylene and/or polar fleece for comfort regardless of the weather. Do not bring cotton shirts, as they are cold when wet, and are difficult to dry.

  • Shorts / lightweight trousers (preferably quick-dry)
  • Short sleeved shirts x2 — quick-dry, polypropylene or wool. Merino wool is ideal.
  • Long-sleeved shirt or sweater (wool/polar fleece)
  • Woolen socks (at least 2 pairs). Well-fitting socks = fewer blisters.
  • Leggings (wool or polypropylene).

Clothes for evenings:
  • Thermal underwear (wool or polypropylene, long-sleeved and long-legged)
  • 2 more layers for upper body, to go over polypropolene or woolen thermal underwear
  • Warm wool or polar fleece jersey
  • Shorts or lightweight trousers for over thermal underwear
  • Socks.

Spare clothing:
  • It is best to pack plenty of spare socks and polypropylene layers. Huts can be cold at 1200 m a.s.l, even in summer. Also, there are no drying racks at the huts.

Don't worry about the weight of carrying these items — just pack lots of warm clothes. Spare clothing can be transported by boat!

Please bring the following items. Alternatively, you can borrow these from us:
  • Backpack with good harness and waist belt (medium size, approx. 40 litres)
  • Waterproof coat with hood
  • Sleeping bag (minimum 3 season, preferably down, 1–2 kg)
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Pillow and pillowcase
  • Pack liner or plastic rubbish sack for keeping items dry in your backpack.

  • Small day-pack for your lunch, water and raincoat for the first 2 days (for the second 2 days, you will be using your 40 l backpack)
  • Lunch-box to protect your sandwiches (we provide paper bags)
  • Waterproof pack cover (included with our backpacks)
  • Walking poles (highly recommended)
  • Over-trousers (waterproof)
  • Wet wipes and/or flannel
  • Insect repellent to repel pesky sandlies and mosquitoes present at some times of year
  • Fishing gear and licence
  • Small amount of money for incidental purchases (e.g. icecream, coffee, souvenir clothing).

Safety and Risk Management

To ensure maximum safety for all, our guides are certified first aiders and fully qualified drivers. Tuatara Tours operate under a Safety and Risk Management Plan which is regularly audited and approved by a qualified and independent auditor.

Dates remaining for this Summer-last few spaces


  • March: 14, 28
  • April: 4 (2 left),14 (full), 22
Waikaremoana download



For dates, availability & customisations Enquire

Dates remaining for this Summer-last few spaces


  • March: 14, 28
  • April: 4 (2 left),14 (full), 22
Waikaremoana download



For dates, availability & customisations Enquire


Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk


Whalers were the first Europeans to arrive. Warmonger and maori chief Te Rauparaha (author of the All Blacks’ haka) spent a lot of time in the region, and ongoing disputes over land rights in the region led to a bloody confrontation between him and a party led by members of The New Zealand Company.
Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk  Wildlife
Fantastic colour in this forest fungus
waikare Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk
fantail, waikare Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk
New Zealand Native Fantail

Flora and Fauna

Flora: The vegetation of the Waikaremoana area forms a protective green cloak, mantling countless ridges and valleys. There are more than 650 types of native plant present in the park, some nationally rare. The vegetation pattern is ever changing - disturbances by volcanic activity, fire and storm damage, possum and deer have modified the forest in many areas. The lowering of the lake for power generation has encouraged forest regeneration along the shore.

Fauna: Many birds live in the forest. Among the more notable are kereru (wood pigeon), kaka (forest parrot), kakariki (parakeet), North Island robin, New Zealand falcon and rifleman, and at night, morepork (forest owl) and North Island brown kiwi.

Grey, mallard and paradise ducks are common on the lake edge, and New Zealand scaup, kingfishers and white faced herons are found in sheltered areas.

Both of New Zealand's rare native bat species, the long-tailed and short-tailed, are present in the park.

Deer, pigs and possums are found throughout Te Urewera National Park. They have a major impact on the ecology of the forest and its bird life. DOC encourages hunting of these animals and permits are available free from any DOC office in the East Coast Hawke's Bay.

Dates remaining for this Summer-last few spaces


  • March: 14, 28
  • April: 4 (2 left),14 (full), 22
Waikaremoana download


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contact us

new zealand: 0800 377 378
australia: 1800 044 633
world: +64 3 962 3280