Imagine a hiking track which has dense thick forests with a view of turquoise blue lake? Seems like a fairy tale right? Yes, it was a fairy tale for us. It was as though we were living in a fairy tale, we were only lacking the mystical creatures! While searching for multi day hikes and walks in Australia and New Zealand, my friend Vijay and I stumbled upon the Lake Waikaremoana Track. We did a lot of research, but there was not one place where the entire information was available. So, I have decided to bring all the information together into one place.
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Overview of Lake Waikaremoana Track
Lake Waikaremoana is located in the North Island of New Zealand. It is in a place called Te Urewera, which is around 60 kilometres from Wairoa and 80 kilometres from Gisborne. In Maori language, Waikaremoana translates to ‘sea of rippling waters‘.
The Lake Waikaremoana track is 4 days and 3 nights hike from Onepoto to Hopuruahine, which goes around the Lake Waikaremoana. The track is part of the Great Walks of New Zealand. This hike can be done without the guide. Waikaremoana was said to be formed about 2200 years ago.
Huts & Campsites
The track requires the huts or campsites to be booked well in advance. Note: They have limited numbers. The huts or the campsites can be booked on the Department of Conservation website. Vijay and I booked the huts as we were not carrying our camping tents along with us.
The water taxis have to be booked in advance. The booking can be made by calling the Te Kura Whenua Visitor centre on +64 6 837 3803. The payment will need to be made on the start day of the hike.
There are frequent flights between Sydney and Auckland. The most economical airline provider is Jetstar.
From Auckland, we are taking a bus to Rotorua central. The cost of the bus is NZD 45 one way. Intercity NZ provides frequent buses between Auckland and Rotorua.
Unfortunately, the only way to get to the starting point of the hike Onepoto is by car. And the distance between Rotorua and Onepoto Bay is around 168 kilometres one way (3 hours 20 minutes driving).
There are free car parks available at:
- Waikaremoana Motorcamp
- DOC Visitor Centre
- Big Bush Holiday Park
- Byre B&B (4934 Lake Road, 5 mins before Onepoto).
Since this is my third multi day hike, I have had some lessons learned from my previous two hikes. I just followed the list that I had documented in my previous hike. The only change was that I only had one bag this time, so I had to merge the contents of both the bags.
Department of Conservation has also suggested a packing list, which can be found on their website. I have also downloaded their copy and uploaded it here in this post.
Details of Lake Waikaremoana track
Map of Lake Waikaremoana track
Logistics of Lake Waikaremoana track
- Total distance – 46 kilometres one way.
- Total hours – 4 days and 3 nights
- Grade – Hard
Day 1 – Onepoto to Panekire Hut
- Number of hours walked: 6-7 hours
- Distance covered: 13 kilometres
- Grade: Very Hard
- Stay for the night: Panekire Hut
Unfortunately, because of my knees not cooperating, I had to return to Onepoto on second day and my friend and I did not complete the below walks. I have left it here as I did lot of research and it will be useful for people doing the hike.
Day 2 – Panekire Hut to Waiopaoa Hut
- Number of hours walked: 4 hours
- Distance covered: 9 kilometres
- Grade: Hard (it is a complete descend)
- Stay for the night: Waipaoa Hut
Day 3 – Waiopaoa Hut to Marauiti Hut
- Number of hours walked: 6 hours
- Distance covered: 12 kilometres
- Grade: Moderate
- Stay for the night: Marauiti Hut
Day 4 – Marauiti Hut to Waiharuru Hut to Tapuaenui Campsite to Whanganui Hut
Marauiti Hut to Waiharuru Hut:
- Unfortunately, this section was closed due to the storm recently.
Waiharuru Hut to Tapuaenui Campsite:
- Number of hours walked: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Distance covered: 2.1 kilometres
- Grade: Moderate
Tapuaenui Campsite to Whanganui Hut:
- Number of hours walked: 2 hours
- Distance covered: 4.2 kilometres
- Grade: Moderate
Elevation of Lake Waikaremoana track
The elevation ascent and decent is about 600 metres.
This was a difficult one to plan. There are no cooking facilities in the huts. This means that we cannot carry any wet items as we cannot cook. We could have carried a portable stove, but since we are traveling from Sydney, we are not too sure of the airline rules about carrying a stove. So, we decided to carry the below items:
- Food like bread, sauce
- Chocolates and energy bars
- Paper plates
- Water bottles
- Energy drinks
I always buy travel insurance for my travels. It provides me security.
- Provider: Insure and Go Insurance
- Type of Cover: Gold
- Total number of days: 8 days
- Emergency phone number: +61 2 9333 3999
Total Cost for entire trip
- Flights –
- Sydney to Auckland – AUD 272 per person
- Auckland to Sydney – AUD 183.5 per person
- Huts for 3 nights – NZD 96 per person
- Intercity bus – Auckland to Rotorua return – NZD 90 per person
- Car with insurance – (NZD 382.5 for 2 people) NZD 191.5 per person
- Water taxi – NZD 0 per person
- Fuel – NZD 25 per person
- Travel insurance – AUD 75.32 per person
- Accommodation –
- Auckland (1 night) – (NZD 95 for 2 people) NZD 47.5 per person
- Lake Whakamarino – (NZD 120 for 2 people) NZD 60 per person
- Murupara – (NZD 50 for 2 people) NZD 25 per person
- Rotorua (2 night) – (AUD 125 for 2 people) AUD 62.5 per person
- Food & drinks – (NZD 226 for 2 people) NZD 113 per person
- Waimangu Valley – NZD 40 per person
Total cost: (assuming AUD = NZD) NZD 1281.32
- Always try to carry a lighter backpack. If possible, carry only up to 10 kilos.
- Never carry bread. Think about different ways of food that does not get monotonous. Now that there is an excellent product called Heatomate, which I reviewed recently, use that and carry some noodle packets.
- Always buy groceries when it is available.
- Take the walk slow and research a little more about the walk.
I know this time around I could not do the entire walk, but that does not mean that I will not go again. There is always a next time and I will be more prepared the next time around. As of the walk – I completely recommend this spectacular Great Walk of New Zealand.