Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk (48km, 3–5 days) is one of New Zealand’s Great Walks. It is a varied trek through the wilderness surrounding Lake Waikaremoana that allows you to see many of New Zealand’s unique birds. The track offers splendid views over the lake.
Although there is no charge to hike the track, you will need to pay for transport to and from the trailhead as well as accommodation in huts along the track. The combined cost will run to between $146 and $210 depending on how many days you take to complete the tramp.
Because it is not a circular track, you will need to arrange transport between the start and end of the track. Most people park at either the Big Bush Holiday Park or Lake Waikaremoana Holiday Park and get dropped off and picked up at each end of the track by Big Bush Water Taxi. The return trip costs $50.
The track can be hiked in either direction and the last three sections can be combined in one day.
The challenging first section of the track, from Onepoto to Panekiri Hut (8.8km, 5 hours), involves a steep 600m climb to the top of the Panekiri Bluff where you are rewarded by breathtaking views. The track then follows the ridge to Panekiri Hut.
The second day, Panekiri Hut to Waiopaoa Hut (7.6km, 3–4 hours), is mostly downhill through beech and kamahi forest.
The third section of the track passes through kanuka forest by the lakeshore and there is a short detour to the dazzling Korokoro Falls. This section runs between Waiopaoa Hut and Marauiti Hut (12.1km, 4½hrs).
The section from Marauiti Hut to Waiharuru Hut (6.2km, 2hrs) is an easy walk along the lakeshore. The area is home to kiwi and it is common to hear them at night if you’re staying at either the Marauiti or Waiharuru Huts.
The stretch between Waiharuru Hut and Whanganui Hut (5.3km, 2½hrs) crosses the neck of the Puketukutuku Peninsula and then follows the lake shore.
The final stretch of track, from Whanganui Hut to Hopuruahine Bridge (5.2km, 1½hrs), takes in lovely views of the Huiarau Inlet before crossing the Hopuruahine suspension bridge.