“The 'Great Walk' around Lake Waikaremoana.”
— Kerry Suter
Birding · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Trace the shoreline of Lake Waikaremoana, the 'sea of rippling waters.' Pass giant podocarp trees and remote beaches, and enjoy breathtaking views from Panekire Bluff. Be aware that the route begins and ends in different places, and you'll have to arrange a ride or take a water taxi back to your starting part on Onepoto Road.
Need to Know
To ensure you enjoy your trip in all weathers, you'll need to be reasonably fit and have good equipment. Note that it can snow in summer - come prepared.
Always carry additional clothing and suitable lighting should your trip take longer than anticipated.
The trail is rough and muddy in places. Appropriate footwear is recommended.
Onepoto to Panekire Hut (8.8km)
This is the most strenuous part of the trip, but the views from Panekire make it well worthwhile.
The track starts from the Onepoto Shelter through the former Armed Constabulary Redoubt and climbs steadily up to the top of Panekire Bluff. It then follows the undulating ridgeline before reaching Puketapu Trig (1180 metres) and on to the Panekire Hut. Please be prepared for low tank water levels at times during summer.
Panekire Hut to Waiopaoa Hut and Campsite (7.6km)
From Panekire Hut, the track heads south-west down the range to the top of the Panekire descent. From here the track drops steeply off the range into rolling valleys of beech, podocarp and kamahi forest and the lake.
At the mouth of the Waiopaoa inlet is Waiopaoa Hut.
Waiopaoa Hut to Korokoro Campsite (3.6km)
Head up the Waiopaoa Stream a short distance before crossing grassy flats and heading through kanuka forest on the lake shore. Just before the Korokoro suspension bridge there is a turn-off to Korokoro Falls. Korokoro Campsite is 200 metres past the bridge and a short distance off the main track, towards the lake shore
Korokoro Campsite to Maraunui Campsite (6.8km)
The track, while undulating, weaves its way through and up and over a number of small ridges, through young rimu wooded areas and along the lake edge. A short track off the main track leads to the Maraunui Campsite.
Maraunui Campsite to Marauiti Hut (1.7km)
A brief climb over Whakaneke Ridge takes you to Marauiti Hut. At dusk you can go for a short outing to the edge of the Puketukutuku Peninsula where you may hear the call of the kiwi.
Marauiti Hut to Waiharuru Hut and Campsite (6.2km)
After crossing the bridge over the stream running into Marauiti Bay the track crosses a saddle to rejoin the shore at Te Totara Bay. The track then stays close to the shore to Waiharuru Hut and Waiharuru Campsite.
Waiharuru Hut and Campsite to Tapuaenui Campsite (2.1km)
The track runs parallel to the lakeshore before rising over the neck of the Puketukutuku Peninsula, then down to the Tapuaenui Campsite on the Whanganui arm of the lake.
Tapuaenui Campsite to Whanganui Hut (3.2km)
From here, the track follows the shore to Whanganui Hut in a clearing alongside the Whanganui Stream.
Whanganui Hut to water taxi pick-up/drop-off point and track start/end (3.7km)
From Whanganui Hut, the track reaches the water taxi pick-up/drop-off point. If you're catching a boat back to your starting point, this is where the vessel will pick you up/drop you off. This isn't the end of the track however, which then follows the grassy Hopuruahine River flats to reach the Hopuruahine suspension bridge where the track officially ends.