Lake Waikaremoana Guided Walk
Day 1 - Hike to Waiharuru Hut
Pick-up from Rotorua accommodation 8:30am. A three-hour scenic drive through remote villages and dense rainforest into the heart of Te Urewera National Park. A half way stop for a cup of tea, then arrive at the lake at 11:30am. An easy first day's walking helps you slip into the simple rhythm of your adventure. Following the edge of an estuary, the track uses high ground and swing bridges to wind out to the lake edge. Welcome to the “sea of rippling waters,” Waikaremoana. Keeping on the lake shore the track dips in and out of forest, and along beaches, before climbing a low saddle to reach the comfortable Waiharuru Hut. The boat driver welcomes you with a hot drink and hearty cooked meal. The hut is situated near the Puketukutuku Peninsula, where the environmental battle to save the Kiwi continues. Listen for its night time calls.
MEALS INCLUDED - L, D
DAY TWO - Waiopaioa Hut
Who's for bacon and eggs? This is the longest day of walking, but there is still plenty of time to enjoy the bush, birds and beaches of the western arm of the Lake. Make the most of the many secluded bays and cool off in the lake, warm up in the sun! The boat glides in at midday offering tea and coffee, and the chance for a short boat cruise across the lake. Lake Waikaremoana claims the best forest of all the great walks, with the highest plant diversity in New Zealand. Lots of rest stops allow for guide stories and bird watching, and a side trip to an idyllic waterfall is not to be missed. Waiopaoa Hut, nestled amongst the luxuriant rainforest on the lake edge, is your home for the night. Time for a well earned beer and delicious dinner!
MEALS INCLUDED - B, L, D
DAY 3 - Panekire Range
Today you tackle the Panekire range, which has been looming ahead for the last two days. Plenty of rest stops and breathtaking views make the morning's steady climb an enjoyable challenge. After about 2 hours of climbing you reach the Panekire ridge, where the track undulates up and down for another couple of hours to the hut. No worries! The track passes through several different layers of vegetation: from mixed broadleaf Podocarp forest featuring giant rata, rimu and miro; to enchanted cloud forest of silver beech trees, cloaked in vibrant green mosses, which dominate the higher altitudes. Listen for the mythical fairies, said to inhabit this forest. Sunset, tired legs, a glass of wine, views over your first two days of walking and of the Pacific Ocean - all from the deck of the hut! A very special place to bask in Mother Nature and congratulate yourself.
MEALS INCLUDED - B, L, D
DAY 4 - 5 hours of walking
Wake to be among the first in the world to greet the new day and sunrise over the Pacific. At 1200m a chilly morning is warmed with hot porridge, toast, good coffee, and some delightful walking. Along the Panekire range the gnarled cloud forest wraps itself around the landscape. Mist clings to the trees and shrouds the valleys below, before slowly clearing to reveal the deep blue lake. Rest on rocky ledges to contemplate the geology or folklore that may have created Lake Waikaremoana only two thousand years ago. Plunge through the changing forest as you descend back to lake level. Elated and tired, time to relax with a celebratory drink and lunch at the end of one of NZ's greatest tramping tracks. Return to Rotorua by 6pm.
MEALS INCLUDED - B, L
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