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Walking Legends Lake Waikaremoana
Guided Hiking Tours New Zealand
Waikaremoana Discovery Tour

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Explore the best of Lake Waikaremoana, Whirinaki Forest and Te Urewera National Park on this New Zealand walking holiday.

Journey into the North Island's most remote and untouched wilderness area, where the mountains are cloaked in mist, mysticism and primordial forest. Walk some of the most spectacular sections of the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk and world-famous Whirinaki Forest, while staying in comfortable lodgings.

  • Join a small group
  • 4 days / 3 nights all-inclusive New Zealand walking holiday
  • Flexible itinerary - can be tailored to suit any fitness level
  • Carry a day pack only
  • Includes: all meals and snacks; wine;
  • 2 star lodge accommodation; boat cruise, return Rotorua transport; passionate and experienced guides
  • Optional activities: trout fishing; amazing natural hot spring swim; informal local marae visit
  • Easy/Moderate Fitness


Day One: Whirinaki Forest

3-5 hours walking (Lunch Dinner)

Pick-up from your Rotorua accommodation approx 8:30am. A scenic drive follows ancient Maori trails into the heart of Te Urewera National Park to Lake Waikaremoana. Stop in Whirinaki Forest for a 3-4 hour walk through the best example of NZ's native Podocarp forest. Towering trees such as giant totara, kahikatea and matai, plus rare birdlife (kaka & blue duck) as the trail follows a pristine river to a dramatic canyon.

Relish a fresh picnic lunch before continuing on to Lake Waikaremoana, where a short walk leads up to an awe-inspiring lookout over Lake Waikaremoana.

Settle in to your accommodation with pre-dinner drinks and nibbles on the lake-shore.

Day Two: Panekire Bluffs

3-5 hours walking (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

After a hearty cooked breakfast day two of your NZ walking holiday features some of the most spectacular views from the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk Track. A 1.5 hour steady climb through mixed broadleaf podocarp forest rewards you with inspiring views over Lake Waikaremoana and the forest-clad mountains of Te Urewera National Park, New Zealand. Spectacular sandstone rock bluffs drop sheer to the lake 600 metres below. An unforgettable lunch spot!

Later we follow a gorgeous loop track through sparkling tawa forest to New Zealand's largest rata tree.

Then visit a local marae (Maori meeting house) for an informal chat with a Maori elder about the regionís fascinating history and culture. This is a great opportunity to ask questions and provides a real feel for the culture in this isolated area, where Maori is still the first language.

Day Three: Lake Waikareiti

3-5 hours walking (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Stroll through a magnificent ancient beech forest to the tranquil Lake Waikareiti. Reached only by walking track, this lake is free of introduced aquatic plants and motorised boats, so has outstanding water clarity and is blissfully peaceful!

Returning to Lake Waikaremoana after lunch you have the option of walking around a dazzlingly clear fresh-water spring, or exploring the Onepoto Caves.

After dinner there may be a chance to walk to a lookout to watch the sunset over the lake.

Day Four: Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk

2-4 hours walking (Breakfast, Lunch)

Begin your journey back to Rotorua with a scenic boat cruise right across Lake Waikaremoana, to complete another section of the Great Walk Track. A stunning forest and lakeside trail traverses from the shores of a secluded arm of the lake across a peninsula, and on to an estuary. Thanks to the pest-control in this area the forest is some of New Zealand's best, and home to many bird species, including the North Island Brown Kiwi.

Driving back you stop in a small Maori village for afternoon tea, and close to Rotorua have a soak in an amazing natural hot spring beneath a roof of native trees (time permitting). Arrive Rotorua approx 5 - 6pm.


The walking trails on the Waikaremoana Discovery Tour are of easy to moderate difficulty, and range from well-formed paths to tracks broken with tree roots, rocks and mud. Your guide will choose the best walks to suit the group's interests and abilities. Walking times vary between 2 to 6 hours per day. You will need to carry a daypack with your lunch, water, raincoat and jersey.
During the Waikaremoana Discovery Tour we stay in an old lodge (2 star), which is run by the local iwi (Maori tribe). These character facilities are basic but comfortable, with hot showers, good beds and linen, and are located in a tranquil setting in a small Maori community. Rooms are twin share or double. Single rooms are available on request. Bathrooms are shared between 2 or 3 rooms. World-class trout fishing is on offer in the lake at the front door step. Dinner in served in the lodge dining room, and consists of a hearty main meal followed by dessert. The meals are old-fashioned New Zealand fare, with plenty of vegetables and salads. Wine can be bought from the licensed bar.
The Waikaremoana Discovery Tour departs Rotorua regularly, between October to June. Check out our Walk Calendar. If none of these dates suit please contact us, we may be able to add more departures, and offer exclusive trips for groups. This trip is also available in winter on demand, please contact us for details.

This activity is available as part of one of our Custom Itineraries or holidays, please visit our home page to learn more about how we can help you with your holiday.

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