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Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk

The Best Multi-day Walking Trip in the North Island of New Zealand.

Journey deep into New Zealand’s last frontier, a land cloaked in mist, mysticism and primordial forest. This unique Great Walk is managed by the local iwi, Ngai Tuhoe, offering a chance to get amongst wilderness whilst also exploring indigenous culture!

It is a hut-to-hut walking expedition, circumnavigating beautiful Lake Waikaremoana, with secluded beaches, fascinating history and truly breathtaking views.

  • Lush rainforest
  • Secluded beaches
  • Stunning mountain views
  • Cultural history
  • Great company
  • Experienced attentive guide
Tour Type

Walking Tour


4 days / 3 nights




Book now for Next Season!

Secure your places now for next summer!

  • December 16, 2021-FULL
  • December 29, 2021-2 nights Waiharuru Hut
  • January 10, 2022-FULL
  • January 20, 2022-only 2 places left
  • February 3, 2022-FULL
  • February 17, 2022
  • March 3, 2022-last 2 places
  • March 17, 2022-FULL
  • March 31, 2022-last 3 spaces
  • April 14, 2022-last 4 places
  • April 28, 2022

Tour Itinerary

Price: NZ$1,630

Day 1

Rotorua to Waiharuru Hut

10.5 km

Waiharuru Hut

Your New Zealand guided walk begins with a scenic drive from Rotorua to the start of the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk Track, along one of New Zealand’s oldest Maori trails.

Journey through remote villages and dense rainforest, into the heart of Te Urewera and Lake Waikaremoana, the North Islands deepest lake.

Walk alongside an estuary, home to a variety of water birds, then catch the first glimpse of the lake itself and the reason for its name, sea of rippling waters, becomes apparent.

The walk follows the shores of Lake Waikaremoana for most of the afternoon, before crossing a headland where a Kiwi Recovery Programme is successfully increasing the numbers of our threatened national icon. Waiharuru Hut welcomes you with a hot drink and hearty cooked meal.

Tonight you may hear the night time calls of the North Island brown kiwi and the morepork / ruru.

Walking Time: 4 hours, 10.5 kms.

Day 2

Waiharuru Hut to Waiopaoa Hut

18.3 km

Waiopaoa Hut

This is the longest day of walking, but you still have plenty of time to enjoy the bush, birds and lovely beaches of the western arm of the lake. Make the most of the many scenic lakeside and lookout spots for rests and refreshments, and some may indulge in a swim!

After lunch, we can take the 45 minute side track to Korokoro Falls. These stunning falls are worth the detour!

Te Urewera forest is home to many native and endangered birds. You are likely to witness the amazing flights of the fantail and kereru, and hear the melodious calls of the bellbird and tui. Waiopaoa Hut, nestled amongst the lush rainforest that stretches to the lake edge, is our home for the night.

Walking Time: 6-8 hours, 18.3 kms

Day 3

Panekire Ridge

7.6 km

Panekire Hut

Today you tackle the Panekire Bluffs, which have been looming ahead for the last two days.

Plenty of rest stops and breathtaking views make today’s climb an enjoyable challenge.

Walk through different layers of vegetation: from mixed broadleaf podocarp forest featuring giant rata, rimu and miro trees; to enchanted cloud forest of silver beech trees cloaked in eerie mosses, which dominate the higher altitudes.

At the close of the day relax on the verandah of the beautifully situated hut, and soak up the panoramic vistas right out to the ocean.

Watch the sunset over the lake and forest clad mountains, while a birds eye view gives an appreciation of the remarkable terrain you have covered over the last few days.

Walking  time: 4 – 5 hours, 7.6 kms, 600 m height gain

Day 4

Panekire Ridge to Rotorua


Wake to be among the first in the world to welcome the day’s sunrise over the Pacific Ocean!

Continuing along the Panekire Ridge, breaks in the forest offer more magnificent views and fantastic photo opportunities from the colossal rock ledges that form the range.

Look across Onepoto Bay to see the evidence of the landslide that created Lake Waikaremoana over two thousand years ago.

Celebrate completing the Great Walk with a BBQ lunch and drinks. Return to Rotorua approx 6pm.

Walking  time: 4.5 hours, 8.8 kms. Driving time: 4 hours – (B,L)

What's included?


  • Night 1:  Waiharuru Hut on the lake edge – (L,D)
  • Night 2:  Waiopaoa Hut on the lake edge – (B,L,D)
  • Night 3:  Panekire Hut on the mountain top – (B,L,D)

Classic New Zealand backcountry huts, located in stunning natural surroundings. They are clean and dry, and provide fresh drinking water, bunk beds with mattresses, outside toilets, separate dining and communal areas, and heating. There is no electricity or hot water. A booking system ensures no overcrowding. The isolation and lack of mod-cons create a very special and social atmosphere for hut-goers!


You will enjoy great local cuisine; continental breakfasts and hearty packed lunches during the day, and  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 and snacks are included.


The management & guardianship of the Te Urewera area has recently been passed to the local iwi, Tuhoe.

In order to improve the health of the whenua (land) and the spiritual relationship and connectedness that manuhiri (visitors) experience, they have introduced two new policies:

1. No single-use plastic. 2. No alcohol.

An experienced and fully qualified guide

All transport

Access and Concession fees paid to the Department of Conservation

NZ Goods and Service Tax (GST)

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.

*This tour is operated in conjunction with another operator.

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