LAKE WAIKAREMOANA DISCOVERY TOUR

A traverse into the wild. Explore the best of Lake Waikaremoana, Whirinaki Forest and Te Urewera on this New Zealand walking holiday.

DAYS

4

KM

35 – 45

MILES

21 – 27

DIFFICULTY

3/5

ACCOMMODATION

Lodge

PRICE

$1950

Under 15 yrs 1300 NZD

WALKING SEASON

Oct-Apr

Book now

WALKING TOUR SUMMARY

Explore the best of Lake Waikaremoana, the Whirinaki ‘Dinosaur’ Forest Park and the Te Urewera region on this 4-day North Island guided walking holiday. 

Journey deep into the North Island’s most remote and untouched wilderness area, Te Urewera, where the mountains are cloaked in mist, mysticism and primordial forest. Walk some of the most spectacular sections of the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk track and explore the world-famous Whirinaki ‘Dinosaur’ Forest, while staying in comfortable lodgings on the lakeshore.

  • Join a small, fun group or bring your own crowd
  • Enjoy selected sections of the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk track
  • Carry a day pack only 
  • Includes: delicious, nutritious meals and trail snacks; New Zealand wines and beers, 3 star chalet accommodation with ensuite; return Rotorua transport; passionate and experienced on-trail hiking guides.
Book now

“Brad & Wade were great hosts, guides, chefs and drivers! Great company with lots of stories!!”

HARVEY, Waikaremoana Discovery Tour

“This was a fantastic trip. It was challenging enough to stretch us all but not so hard that some had to opt out. The food was FANTASTIC!”

AMY, Waikaremoana Discovery Tour

A traverse into the wild. Explore the best of Lake Waikaremoana, Whirinaki Forest and Te Urewera on this New Zealand walking holiday.

DAY 1

Whirinaki Conservation Park, to Lake Waikaremoana

Pick-up from your Rotorua accommodation between 8.00am and  8:30am. We’ll get to know each other as we drive east across towards the Huirau & Ikawhenua Ranges, following ancient Maori trails into the remote heart of Te Urewera to Lake Waikaremoana, the North Island’s deepest lake.

Our first stop is the Whirinaki ‘Dinosaur’ Forest, where we’ll have a very special experience hiking through New Zealand’s most pristine, giant podocarp forest. There is only 5% remaining worldwide of this type of forest and Whirinaki is one of only two remaining sites in the North Island. Relish the opportunity to spend some deep, introspective time amongst a unique tract of nature. Stop awhile to fully observe stands of towering native trees, including giant totara, kahikatea and matai. This was the site of New Zealands first environmental protest, backed by some very famous faces.

Keep an eye out for kākā (a large forest parrot) & whio (rare blue duck) along the way, as they choose to make their homes in only the cleanest ecosystems. This hiking trail skirts the moss-lined Te Whaiti-Nui-a-Toi canyon – one of the most picturesque rivers in New Zealand and a closely guarded secret.

Relish a fresh picnic lunch before continuing on to reach Lake Waikaremoana, the  ‘sea of rippling waters.’ 

Settle in to your peaceful accommodation with pre-dinner drinks and a tasty grazing  platter on the lake-shore. 

DAY 2

Onepoto to Panekire Bluff

After a hearty cooked breakfast, day two of your New Zealand guided walking holiday features some of the most spectacular views from the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk Track, one of only 3 Great Walks in the North Island.  A 1.5 hour steady climb upwards through mixed broadleaf podocarp forest brings us to the spine of Panekire Bluff.

From here, the trail levels off and undulates through old-growth Silver Beech ‘goblin’ forest, draped in hanging moss. We’ll enjoy an unforgettable picnic lunch on a spectacular, wide sandstone rock bluff with awe inspiring views over Lake Waikaremoana and the forest-clad mountains of Te Urewera, New Zealand. 

Your guides make this incredible hike even more memorable by sharing local stories and legends and bringing the extraordinary cultural, social and geological history of Te Urewera to life. Te Urewera is an extremely important cultural and geographical asset to the North Island. It is now considered a legal personhood and is a world-leading example of the indigenous world view in practice.

Before dinner, we’ll get together on the verandah to toast a fabulous day with a cold glass of crisp New Zealand wine or beer and linger over a grazing platter of fresh, seasonal fruits, cheeses and dips. We’ll sit back and enjoy each others company over another generous two-course, Kiwi-style meal to finish our evening off nicely.

DAY 3

Lake Waikareiti Track, Te Urewera

After a hearty cooked breakfast, we’ll take a walk through a magnificent, ancient red and silver beech forest up to the pristine Lake Waikareiti, which lies a further 300 metres in elevation above Lake Waikaremoana. Reached only by walking track, this lake is free of introduced aquatic plants and is inaccessible to motorised boats, therefore has outstanding water clarity and is blissfully peaceful! If conditions allow, we’ll take a dip (optional) in the crystal-clear, fresh water or spend some time at the day shelter soaking up the peaceful surroundings. Lake Waikareiti is home to 6 islets, the largest of which contains another lake – yup, that’s a lake on an island on a lake, on an island!

Listen out for more kākā and kākāriki (yellow-crowned rainforest parakeet), be surrounded by bold toutouwai/North Island robin and tiny, energetic titipounamu/riflemen. Take the time to stop and see the sights and sounds of abundance and maybe glimpse a rare native mistletoe clinging to old growth native forest. This time is yours to enjoy.

Later, we’ll return to Lake Waikaremoana via Lake Kaitawa near Tuai, with a 1.5 hour walk through 100-year-old tree ferns to a dazzlingly clear, fresh-water spring that seeps through the sandstone rocks, emerging pure. We’ll begin at the Lake Kaitawa Power Station, an art-deco building constructed in 1947 and walk through regenerating podocarp forest of matai, rimu, tawa and kahikatea.

DAY 4

Wild Waterfalls & Whistling Ducks, Lake Waikaremoana

This morning, we’ll pack up our kit and bid fond farewell to our lakeside accommodation.

A visit to Lake Waikaremoana wouldn’t be complete without a short, 60 minute stroll to the beautiful Aniwaniwa Falls, which means ‘Rainbow’ and Papakorito Falls, a wide, thunderous explosion of water falling down a smooth, sloping rock wall. From two lookout points, we’ll be able to view the falls from an upper and lower perspective and give you a chance to spot the rare fleshy-lipped whistling duck or whio bobbing about on the river-side.

We’ll make a quick stop at Mokau Landing for a picnic lunch while we enjoy views of the impressive Panekire Bluff to reflect on our achievements over the past 4 days. Then, we say a fond farewell to Te Urewera and make our way back to civilisation, enjoying a quick dip in a natural hot spring on the outskirts of Rotorua, a perfect way to finish off a fantastic walking holiday in New Zealand’s last, true wilderness area. We’ll return you safely to your accommodation in Rotorua between 5 – 6pm to meet your onward travel connections.

Check Dates & Book Now

During the Waikaremoana Discovery Tour we stay in peaceful, lakeside chalets with great views over Lake Waikaremoana. The chalets are simple but comfortable, with hot showers, good beds and linen, heat pumps and ensuite bathrooms.

Rooms are twin share or double. Single rooms are available on request. World-class trout fishing is on offer in the lake at the front door step. Dinner is served in the communal dining space, and consists of a hearty main meal followed by dessert. The meals are classic New Zealand fare, with plenty of vegetables and salads.

Check Dates & Book Now

What’s included?

  • Accommodation: Ensuite rooms, bed linen, bath towels, pillows & blankets. Rooms also have refrigerators and heat pumps for heating and air-conditioning. 
  • Transport: Comfortable, air-conditioned vehicles with professional, qualified driver-guides.
  • On-trail Hiking Guides: Our guides are fun, compassionate, friendly and entertaining. They are trained in outdoor-specific First Aid and carry First-Aid kits and satellite locator beacons.
  • Meals: Generous, nutritious meals full of fresh produce; packed picnic lunches with the best sandwiches you’ve ever eaten, trail snacks & chocolate; fresh fruit, hot & cold drinks.
  • Drinks: A complimentary glass of NZ beer or wine with dinner, each evening. Due to our remote location, additional alcohol is not available for purchase.
  • Hiking Gear: Complimentary hire of hiking equipment; raincoats, backpacks and pairs of hiking poles by prior arrangement.

PLEASE NOTE: The Waikaremoana Discovery Tour doesn’t cover the full Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk track, just the very best highlights sections.

What else do you need to know?

  • Specialty diets; we can cater for a wide range of food allergies and specialty diets with sufficient advance notice. Please let us know at the time of booking if you have specific dietary needs and we’ll make sure you’re well taken care of!
  • Solo Travelers: Accommodation is based on a twin-share arrangement; if you’d rather have a private room, a single supplement fee of $300 NZD applies (this is for the whole trip, not $300 each night)
  • Power & Wi-Fi: The lodge has power outlets next to all beds so CPAP machines are easily accommodated. Wi-fi is not available in your room, but at the Tūhoe Visitors Centre nearby.
  • Drying Rooms: There are no drying rooms available but plenty of wide, covered verandahs for drying wet gear.
  • Drones: Sorry, the use of drones is not permitted.

FAQ

Papakorito Falls Te Urewera

What’s My Luggage Limit?

On the Waikaremoana Discovery Tour there’s no formal luggage…
Panekire Bluff

Is This The Full Great Walk Track?

On the Waikaremoana Discovery Tour we don’t cover the…
werewere kokako blue mushroom

I’m Travelling Solo – Who Will I Be Sharing a Room With?

The accommodation on the Waikaremoana Discovery Tour is based…
Hero_Waikaremoana-Guided-Walk_1920x1080-copy-2

Should I Bring Something Nice To Wear In The Evenings?

Our shared dinners on the Waikaremoana Discovery Tour are…
Delicious food on the Waikaremoana Discovery Tour

Specialty Diets – Can You Cater For Me?

Absolutely. We are happy to accommodate guests with specialty…
do i need to pay in full

Do I Need To Bring Cash?

No, cash is not essential, but you’re welcome to…
pink mushroom

I suffer from terrible car sickness, what will the roads be like?

Good question! In general, the roads we travel are…
hikers at waikaremoana

Fitness

The walking trails on the Waikaremoana Discovery Tour are…
serrated leaf bush

Can Non-Walkers Join This Trip?

If someone in your group is not a keen…
Fitness Level For A Guided Walk

Does the Lodge Have Wi-Fi?

There is Wi-Fi available nearby at Te Kura Whenua…
waikaremoana accommodation

Accommodation

During the Waikaremoana Discovery Tour we stay in peaceful,…
Waikaremoana Discovery Tour meals

Meals

The Waikaremoana Discovery Tour is a fully catered walk….

How Do I Get Here?

The Waikaremoana Discovery Tour departs Rotorua once per fortnight…
Check Dates & Book Now

DAYS

4

KM

35 – 45

MILES

21 – 27

DIFFICULTY

3/5

ACCOMMODATION

Lodge

PRICE

$1950

Under 15 yrs 1300 NZD

WALKING SEASON

Oct-Apr

Book now

WALKING TOUR SUMMARY

Explore the best of Lake Waikaremoana, the Whirinaki ‘Dinosaur’ Forest Park and the Te Urewera region on this 4-day North Island guided walking holiday. 

Journey deep into the North Island’s most remote and untouched wilderness area, Te Urewera, where the mountains are cloaked in mist, mysticism and primordial forest. Walk some of the most spectacular sections of the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk track and explore the world-famous Whirinaki ‘Dinosaur’ Forest, while staying in comfortable lodgings on the lakeshore.

  • Join a small, fun group or bring your own crowd
  • Enjoy selected sections of the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk track
  • Carry a day pack only 
  • Includes: delicious, nutritious meals and trail snacks; New Zealand wines and beers, 3 star chalet accommodation with ensuite; return Rotorua transport; passionate and experienced on-trail hiking guides.
Book now

“Brad & Wade were great hosts, guides, chefs and drivers! Great company with lots of stories!!”

HARVEY, Waikaremoana Discovery Tour

“This was a fantastic trip. It was challenging enough to stretch us all but not so hard that some had to opt out. The food was FANTASTIC!”

AMY, Waikaremoana Discovery Tour

A traverse into the wild. Explore the best of Lake Waikaremoana, Whirinaki Forest and Te Urewera on this New Zealand walking holiday.

DAY 1

Whirinaki Conservation Park, to Lake Waikaremoana

Pick-up from your Rotorua accommodation between 8.00am and  8:30am. We’ll get to know each other as we drive east across towards the Huirau & Ikawhenua Ranges, following ancient Maori trails into the remote heart of Te Urewera to Lake Waikaremoana, the North Island’s deepest lake.

Our first stop is the Whirinaki ‘Dinosaur’ Forest, where we’ll have a very special experience hiking through New Zealand’s most pristine, giant podocarp forest. There is only 5% remaining worldwide of this type of forest and Whirinaki is one of only two remaining sites in the North Island. Relish the opportunity to spend some deep, introspective time amongst a unique tract of nature. Stop awhile to fully observe stands of towering native trees, including giant totara, kahikatea and matai. This was the site of New Zealands first environmental protest, backed by some very famous faces.

Keep an eye out for kākā (a large forest parrot) & whio (rare blue duck) along the way, as they choose to make their homes in only the cleanest ecosystems. This hiking trail skirts the moss-lined Te Whaiti-Nui-a-Toi canyon – one of the most picturesque rivers in New Zealand and a closely guarded secret.

Relish a fresh picnic lunch before continuing on to reach Lake Waikaremoana, the  ‘sea of rippling waters.’ 

Settle in to your peaceful accommodation with pre-dinner drinks and a tasty grazing  platter on the lake-shore. 

DAY 2

Onepoto to Panekire Bluff

After a hearty cooked breakfast, day two of your New Zealand guided walking holiday features some of the most spectacular views from the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk Track, one of only 3 Great Walks in the North Island.  A 1.5 hour steady climb upwards through mixed broadleaf podocarp forest brings us to the spine of Panekire Bluff.

From here, the trail levels off and undulates through old-growth Silver Beech ‘goblin’ forest, draped in hanging moss. We’ll enjoy an unforgettable picnic lunch on a spectacular, wide sandstone rock bluff with awe inspiring views over Lake Waikaremoana and the forest-clad mountains of Te Urewera, New Zealand. 

Your guides make this incredible hike even more memorable by sharing local stories and legends and bringing the extraordinary cultural, social and geological history of Te Urewera to life. Te Urewera is an extremely important cultural and geographical asset to the North Island. It is now considered a legal personhood and is a world-leading example of the indigenous world view in practice.

Before dinner, we’ll get together on the verandah to toast a fabulous day with a cold glass of crisp New Zealand wine or beer and linger over a grazing platter of fresh, seasonal fruits, cheeses and dips. We’ll sit back and enjoy each others company over another generous two-course, Kiwi-style meal to finish our evening off nicely.

DAY 3

Lake Waikareiti Track, Te Urewera

After a hearty cooked breakfast, we’ll take a walk through a magnificent, ancient red and silver beech forest up to the pristine Lake Waikareiti, which lies a further 300 metres in elevation above Lake Waikaremoana. Reached only by walking track, this lake is free of introduced aquatic plants and is inaccessible to motorised boats, therefore has outstanding water clarity and is blissfully peaceful! If conditions allow, we’ll take a dip (optional) in the crystal-clear, fresh water or spend some time at the day shelter soaking up the peaceful surroundings. Lake Waikareiti is home to 6 islets, the largest of which contains another lake – yup, that’s a lake on an island on a lake, on an island!

Listen out for more kākā and kākāriki (yellow-crowned rainforest parakeet), be surrounded by bold toutouwai/North Island robin and tiny, energetic titipounamu/riflemen. Take the time to stop and see the sights and sounds of abundance and maybe glimpse a rare native mistletoe clinging to old growth native forest. This time is yours to enjoy.

Later, we’ll return to Lake Waikaremoana via Lake Kaitawa near Tuai, with a 1.5 hour walk through 100-year-old tree ferns to a dazzlingly clear, fresh-water spring that seeps through the sandstone rocks, emerging pure. We’ll begin at the Lake Kaitawa Power Station, an art-deco building constructed in 1947 and walk through regenerating podocarp forest of matai, rimu, tawa and kahikatea.

DAY 4

Wild Waterfalls & Whistling Ducks, Lake Waikaremoana

This morning, we’ll pack up our kit and bid fond farewell to our lakeside accommodation.

A visit to Lake Waikaremoana wouldn’t be complete without a short, 60 minute stroll to the beautiful Aniwaniwa Falls, which means ‘Rainbow’ and Papakorito Falls, a wide, thunderous explosion of water falling down a smooth, sloping rock wall. From two lookout points, we’ll be able to view the falls from an upper and lower perspective and give you a chance to spot the rare fleshy-lipped whistling duck or whio bobbing about on the river-side.

We’ll make a quick stop at Mokau Landing for a picnic lunch while we enjoy views of the impressive Panekire Bluff to reflect on our achievements over the past 4 days. Then, we say a fond farewell to Te Urewera and make our way back to civilisation, enjoying a quick dip in a natural hot spring on the outskirts of Rotorua, a perfect way to finish off a fantastic walking holiday in New Zealand’s last, true wilderness area. We’ll return you safely to your accommodation in Rotorua between 5 – 6pm to meet your onward travel connections.

Check Dates & Book Now

During the Waikaremoana Discovery Tour we stay in peaceful, lakeside chalets with great views over Lake Waikaremoana. The chalets are simple but comfortable, with hot showers, good beds and linen, heat pumps and ensuite bathrooms.

Rooms are twin share or double. Single rooms are available on request. World-class trout fishing is on offer in the lake at the front door step. Dinner is served in the communal dining space, and consists of a hearty main meal followed by dessert. The meals are classic New Zealand fare, with plenty of vegetables and salads.

Check Dates & Book Now

What’s included?

  • Accommodation: Ensuite rooms, bed linen, bath towels, pillows & blankets. Rooms also have refrigerators and heat pumps for heating and air-conditioning. 
  • Transport: Comfortable, air-conditioned vehicles with professional, qualified driver-guides.
  • On-trail Hiking Guides: Our guides are fun, compassionate, friendly and entertaining. They are trained in outdoor-specific First Aid and carry First-Aid kits and satellite locator beacons.
  • Meals: Generous, nutritious meals full of fresh produce; packed picnic lunches with the best sandwiches you’ve ever eaten, trail snacks & chocolate; fresh fruit, hot & cold drinks.
  • Drinks: A complimentary glass of NZ beer or wine with dinner, each evening. Due to our remote location, additional alcohol is not available for purchase.
  • Hiking Gear: Complimentary hire of hiking equipment; raincoats, backpacks and pairs of hiking poles by prior arrangement.

PLEASE NOTE: The Waikaremoana Discovery Tour doesn’t cover the full Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk track, just the very best highlights sections.

What else do you need to know?

  • Specialty diets; we can cater for a wide range of food allergies and specialty diets with sufficient advance notice. Please let us know at the time of booking if you have specific dietary needs and we’ll make sure you’re well taken care of!
  • Solo Travelers: Accommodation is based on a twin-share arrangement; if you’d rather have a private room, a single supplement fee of $300 NZD applies (this is for the whole trip, not $300 each night)
  • Power & Wi-Fi: The lodge has power outlets next to all beds so CPAP machines are easily accommodated. Wi-fi is not available in your room, but at the Tūhoe Visitors Centre nearby.
  • Drying Rooms: There are no drying rooms available but plenty of wide, covered verandahs for drying wet gear.
  • Drones: Sorry, the use of drones is not permitted.

FAQ

Papakorito Falls Te Urewera

What’s My Luggage Limit?

On the Waikaremoana Discovery Tour there’s no formal luggage…
Panekire Bluff

Is This The Full Great Walk Track?

On the Waikaremoana Discovery Tour we don’t cover the…
werewere kokako blue mushroom

I’m Travelling Solo – Who Will I Be Sharing a Room With?

The accommodation on the Waikaremoana Discovery Tour is based…
Hero_Waikaremoana-Guided-Walk_1920x1080-copy-2

Should I Bring Something Nice To Wear In The Evenings?

Our shared dinners on the Waikaremoana Discovery Tour are…
Delicious food on the Waikaremoana Discovery Tour

Specialty Diets – Can You Cater For Me?

Absolutely. We are happy to accommodate guests with specialty…
do i need to pay in full

Do I Need To Bring Cash?

No, cash is not essential, but you’re welcome to…
pink mushroom

I suffer from terrible car sickness, what will the roads be like?

Good question! In general, the roads we travel are…
hikers at waikaremoana

Fitness

The walking trails on the Waikaremoana Discovery Tour are…
serrated leaf bush

Can Non-Walkers Join This Trip?

If someone in your group is not a keen…
Fitness Level For A Guided Walk

Does the Lodge Have Wi-Fi?

There is Wi-Fi available nearby at Te Kura Whenua…
waikaremoana accommodation

Accommodation

During the Waikaremoana Discovery Tour we stay in peaceful,…
Waikaremoana Discovery Tour meals

Meals

The Waikaremoana Discovery Tour is a fully catered walk….

How Do I Get Here?

The Waikaremoana Discovery Tour departs Rotorua once per fortnight…
Check Dates & Book Now

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